It’s a hot take, except it’s cold and doesn’t take

Why is David Gergen still alive? This might seem like a rather harsh question — and certainly no one here wishes him dead — but what is accomplished by paying (?) this man for such penetrating glances into the obvious and useless entries into “expert” punditry such as this gem from CNN today: [2023-05-01]

Biden’s VP selection should hinge on this one question

I have found it useful to pay less attention to stories that have numbers in their headlines, a format that is most cherished by clickbaiters and Chris Cillizza, i.e. people who never have anything of value to contribute. (To wit: Chris Wallace’s Trump interview: The 55 most shocking lines). Yet sometimes there’s an urge — and this story promised there would only be one question, so why not. So what should it be?

But the Biden campaign should be paying the most attention to this question: If history calls, will his vice president have the capacity and talent to become a first-class president? The whole reason why the framers created the vice presidency was to have a person of high-quality waiting in the wings.

Oh, a first-class president which one gets by having a high-quality person waiting in the wings. Sure. You might be asking yourself why the framers didn’t come up with a way to make sure the country gets a high-quality person as president, but that would be juvenile. The important thing is this: the framers created the position, so it’s good.

Since closing days of World War II, we have had 15 vice presidents. No less than five of them have risen to the top after serving as vice presidents — Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. So, if history is any indication, there is a one-in-three chance that if Biden wins in November, his vice president could one day be president.

Yeah… but, no. First: history isn’t math, so who gives a shit. Second — two of those five served as presidents after having been elected, so whether Biden’s VP pick provides a first-class, high-quality candidate for later seems like a very unimportant consideration. Besides, the review of the 5 VPs to become Ps is what one would expect from a hot take maker: Johnson and Truman: Awesome. Nixon: Evil. Ford good because character and integrity, like when he pardoned Nixon. Bush good because of German reunification and dealing with Gorbachev. (It’s ok to start wars based on bullshit and lies if you win them).

Post-World War II history suggests that if a presidential contender looks for a potential president — a person with the character, experience and moral purpose needed in the Oval Office — the contender himself will not only be a better leader but he may one day leave the country a better legacy.

History suggests that David Gergen will be offering plenty more hot takes. No thank you.


0 to 0 in 46 words

The headline reads:

History professor who has accurately predicted every election since 1984 says Trump will lose

And the story begins:

History professor Allan Lichtman is used to being right. He has correctly predicted the winner of each presidential race since Ronald Reagan’s reelection victory in 1984 using his “13 keys” system. (It’s worth mentioning that in 2000, Lichtman predicted that Al Gore would win the election[.]

Indeed, it’s worth mentioning that.


And in this corner, we have…

Via Paul Campos at LGM, we read that the NYT’s Peter Baker has decided it’s not worth bickering about who killed who:

While truth was deemed an endangered species in the nation’s capital long before President Trump’s arrival, it has become axiomatic in the era of “alternative facts” that each person or party entertains only their own preferred variant, resisting contrary information.

In one corner, Baker identifies the following culprits:

  • Mr. Trump, whose myriad false statements and public lies […] is the Rorschach test of truth…
  • With the help of social media, friendly news outlets and congressional Republicans willing to follow his lead…
  • The [FBI inspector general] report debunked Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories about the origins of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election[.]
  • Mr. Trump’s insistence that he did nothing wrong has forced [!!!] at least some Republicans to accept and promote his account even when it contrasts with available evidence.
  • A Republican lawyer presenting the case to the committee on Monday went so far as to say that the evidence did not show that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
  • Richard M. Nixon[.]
  • The culture of dishonesty has resulted in multiple people once in [Trump’s] inner circle pleading guilty or being convicted of lying to the authorities
  • onetime [Trump] national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn[.]
  • [Trump’s] former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen[.]
  • several [Trump] campaign aides[.]
  • sometime adviser Roger J. Stone Jr.
  • Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, made clear during testimony before Congress in September that he felt perfectly free to lie on television[.]

In the other corner, we have:

  • Lyndon B. Johnson[.]
  • Bill Clinton […] the first president ever found by a court to have testified falsely under oath[.]


  • Mr. Trump, who regularly accuses critics of whatever they have accused him of, has taken to calling the congressman “Shifty Schiff” and likewise complains that the parody he gave of Mr. Trump’s July 25 call to make a point was dishonest even though Mr. Schiff made clear it was not a verbatim rendering.

So, a Democratic president who left office 50 years ago lied, and Bill Clinton lied about sexual relations with that woman. In addition, a Democratic congressman has been accused by liars of lying, though no actual evidence is presented to support that claim. I know all I can conclude is that clearly both sides do it, so it makes sense that the “expert” quoted to support this narrative is “Ben Domenech, the founder of The Federalist, a conservative news site.”

That shit makes a lot of sense.


Well, Karen, unofficially, we can call anything whatever we want…*

Because even when it’s about small, inane stuff there’s never any reason not to spout factually inaccurate nonsense. The short-fingered vulgarian says:

Trump continued, “Remember how long it took to get Florida? But I had, fortunately, enough votes, and they were sitting there waiting. […] The panhandle was so devastating to ‘Crooked Hillary’ — that thing came in, then all of a sudden Broward came in. And I won by, you know, I won by a lot of votes. I call it four Yankee stadiums.”

Trump won Florida by 119,770 votes. Yankee Stadium’s capacity (football) is 54,251.



The Right wing embrace of authoritarianism…

I mean it is not a new development, and attempts have been made to obfuscate that tender mercy, but nonetheless we are watching it unfold before us with a rapidity and force that should shiver any logistical timbers…

It would seem that we have been more than a bit alarmed by the developments of the ridiculousness on display, as well as a bit afeared at what has become of this land we inhabit.

In any event, for those that enjoy the continuation of this space, thank you for putting up with the decline….

I am no longer able to laugh about this shit…I would rather smoke reefer and contemplate….



Meanwhile in bizarro world…

This is a take so hot, it’s officially 2 Hot 2 Touch, by one Douglas Heye:.

Trump is uniquely positioned to cut a deal to prevent school shootings

Wait, don’t leave — that’s just the headline.

With yet another tragic mass shooting in the books, we’ve fallen back into a familiar, almost comfortable place in Washington. Both sides, especially on social media, go into their respective corners and essentially do not come out.

Both sides do it — you know this is gonna be good.

On the Republican side, we tend to offer thoughts and prayers and not much else. […] On the Democratic side, there are immediate calls for gun control, while mocking any Republican who offers thoughts and prayers as not only insufficient, but castigating anyone who does not support the Democratic agenda on gun control as being ultimately complicit in an attack. Much of the media echoes the sentiment.

So in these debates, the Republicans want to do nothing, while the Democrats want to do something and point out that Republicans are assholes for refusing to do anything. So clearly both sides are responsible for nothing getting done. The side that does nothing, and the side that wants to do something and calls out the other side for being assholes. Anyway — please do go on:

I was always struck by the reaction of colleagues whenever the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting was mentioned. […] Over time, I learned that it was […] a recognition of the work of so many in the immediate aftermath and how the government response to the Virginia Tech shooting was an example of how to get it right.

Getting it right is a sliding scale it turns out, because a mere 3 sentences later we’re told:

Ten years, later, it’s clear these actions — correct though they were — are not enough.

You think? These actions, meaning the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, are those about which the NRA wrote at the time:

In several ways this bill is better for gun owners than current law.

So clearly it had to be a really meaningful and impactful measure designed to address gun violence. So what should we do?

Many activists seem to mistakenly think that gun control is the only solution for immediate change. Indeed, we can take reasonable, proactive steps to help prevent future attacks, while protecting our Second Amendment rights. These need not be mutually exclusive.

Also, these need not be specified in any meaningful or even meaningless way. If you pretend to care about doing something, it will be done. But let’s get back to the headline — why and how is Trump uniquely positioned to cut a deal to prevent school shootings? Behold the entirety of the argument put forward.

But at a time when loud voices often rule the day, more calm voices, working together to solve this and other challenges surely is a better solution. Perhaps paradoxically, this creates a unique opportunity for President Trump to bridge this divide. He has a credibility with his base that other Republicans do not. He is the only person positioned to garner support for a deal that will simultaneously protect public safety and the Second Amendment.

So… the fact that we need calm voices means Trump has a unique opportunity to do something (what?), because his street cred with the Republican base is unparalleled. I can’t see any faults in this logic. I think Douglas should just go back to offer prayers, because it will take a miracle for President “I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with” to “come up” with something.


Just One Damned Thing After Another

So I was reading the news recently and it turns out that Obama had been using the entire US security apparatus to spy on every single person in the US (or maybe beyond as well, who knows?). Which is of course truly shocking and apparently means that Obama is going to jail — for good measure restrained like Dr. Lecter. [Do they think Obama is a cannibal? Why am I even asking?]

Anyway — since President Youppi* has been in office for a year which has prompted many contributions to the Trump assessment genre that, like the President, is driven first and foremost by hyperbole so inane it makes it hard to keep a straight face when reading it. (And really impossible to know if the writer is deranged or thinks everyone else is). Brent Smith, the “Common Constitutionalist” and Walter from The Big Lebowski thus writes:


Which I guess is par for the course though I do wonder why they didn’t just publishing these columns earlier, as in


Too late for that now, sadly. As for Brent, it turns out he’s very excited because it doesn’t matter how much you cut taxes on the wealthy, it’s only fun if you make life even more difficult for poor people:

And here we go again, with yet another example of conservative policy. With little fanfare, the Trump administration now will allow states to require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work for their benefits.

Besides a tax cut and the North and South Korea getting along better (!), Brent doesn’t actually list other accomplishments so I was left rather disappointed and left with no other choice than googling Trump accomplishments for which the first result comes from TownHall** (because of course). And lo and behold the list of the 7 greatest accomplishments!

  • Moving The American Embassy To Jerusalem
  • Improving The Economy
  • Hurting NFL Attendance
  • Pulling Out Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Trump’s Tax Plan Delivered
  • Decimating ISIS
  • Nominating Judges
  • Hurting NFL attendance is a of President Youppi accomplishment? Do they know Colin Kaepernick isn’t playing anymore?

    * I know — that’s what I’ve called Brent Bozell many times in the past but his hair is losing some of its orange so it’s time to pass the torch.
    ** Of course Google is liberal and thus bad, but the first result is TownHall, so it can’t be Google’s fault that the first result is garbage, can it?


    Keep fucking that chicken…

    Wow – a 4-month gap between posts is likely a new record for this humble blog. That is not going to be good for business. Indeed, that is not going to be good for anyone.

    It would be quite an understatement to say that I care a great deal about this blog. Going by blogspot, the first post dates back to July 2003 — when I was but a young man (who didn’t know what he wanted to be). The times offered fertile grounds for the Sadly, No! variety of blogging, at a time when there wasn’t much of it (blogging that is — inane commentary predates this blog and the internet). Bush II was a terrible president, and those who supported him and were around in those days, whether they fancied themselves honest intellectuals (David Frum), always wrong timepieces (Bill Kristol), plain crazy alternate reality would-be economists (Donald Luskin), or those who decided that throwing away their reputation in the service of incompetent power (Colin Powell, Tony Blair), deserved every profanity-filled blog post ever written.

    The army of court jesters that also appeared (Justin Darr and Amber Pawlik come to mind) was the icing on the cake. So from that day on, and thanks to a large number of extremely funny and great writers over the years, the blog continued. Eventually, as student life became working life, and as working life became married life, and married life became father of 1 and then father of 2 life, I had to, as we say at work, prioritize. So that over the last few years 99% of my contribution has been paying the bills. (Granted the traffic no longer requires much bandwidth, but a database that comprises over 800K comments and over 9,000 posts does limit low-cost options).

    Fact checking Donald Trump is probably most like explaining gravity to a chicken. Neither one cares, and even if you did find the best way of explaining it ever, it wouldn’t make a difference. Some Republican officials may pretend to be shocked at Trump’s behavior, but corporations and rich folks can never have enough money so unless Trump starts pushing for an increase to the minimum wage he need not worry. As for the Fox News viewers contingent, I can’t decide if they believe everything Trump says, or if they are simply happy every one of his pronouncements is a big fat “fuck you” to people they don’t like (which is the overwhelming majority of Americans at this point). So as much as Trump and his enablers can never get enough ridicule, it’s been harder to find the time and energy to contribute.

    A lot of really awesome blogs continue to be around — and while no one may care what I think, I don’t see how one gets by not reading LGM, No More Mister Nice Blog, or alicublog. Many of the blogs I read daily many moons ago are still around, though I often wonder why. When things have reached a point where your blog consists exclusively of open threads, daily reminders that self-driving cars are a stupid idea, and posts that would have been interesting had they gone on for more than 3 sentences rather than limiting themselves to Twitter-length (because why not I guess?), then why bother at all?

    At various times over my years of Sadly, No! neglect I’ve come back to say I am back — only to disappear again. So my aim for this first 2018 post is simply to say hello. Let’s see what happens.


    Apologies for the delay

    Which for all intents and purposes is an apology for the fact that I got nothing, and have been looking at that empty bucket for nigh on three weeks hoping that one morning I will awake and find within sustenance or inspiration, but each day has ended in a failure to see the worthiness in an attempt to find a gag writhing within the daily assault on the body politic, both currently occupying the same bag and being set upon by cloven hooved and cliven brained reprobates for whom an entire new lexicon is going to have to be established to deal accurately with the new norms that are being committed to the cultural asylum on a daily basis, so that some new, coarser, and more agregious ones can take their place on the morrow.

    Simply keeping up with the Madness is nearly a full time job, and as I may have mentioned It is my belief that one of my favored vectors of humor is hanging by a thread which is all I will say about that for fear of contributing….

    So in any event, tapping back into some Sadly Lore and to justify this exposition…It is now finished and if you so choose, you may now comment upon a thread about nothing…


    Quite a week or Alarming vectors

    It is not every damn week that one gets to witness a near total eclipse of the freaking sun and watch a storm be upgraded from tropical to category III hurricane headed straight for the Texas coast within the very same week, and the fact that some will get to experience both the totality of eclipse and eyewall of Hurricane from the safety of their own backyard is simply fascinating to me…I mean, what the fuck are the odds?

    I am not a betting man per se, but I do appreciate probability, the confluence of unrelated events, the evangelical nuttiness of Texas, and cannot help but wonder a couple of things…I have had to wonder how quickly the Fundigelical Swiss accounts have been fattening during the first year of the Victory of the TurDumpo and any number of cynical promises he might fullfill for them, such as (for interest and shits@grins™) the second coming of jeebus xmas, the whole revelations endgame fantasy baseball shootin arn match™ among a holee effing hosts of other grifting opportunities all the while returning Amercia to her antebellum roots after draping his cock and balls fishing tackle upon every doornkob in the place, you know, because he can…I would apologize for sharing these thoughts brief though they are, but as a wise man once stated, misery loves company…

    Anyway for those of you who might be in the path of harms way, I hope that you have battened down the hatches gotten the hell out of the way and are otherwise safe and secure, because shit is going to get real…And I will have to admit that I am just a bit jealous, because I am a weather nerd and would like to actually see one of those…I am always jealous of that one weatherchannel dude who films from the beach as the eye crosses overhead…

    Anyhow, landfall has been made:

    Stay safe gulf coast Texans…