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The Richly Entertaining Buyer’s Remorse of Ted Cruz

[ 62 ] October 9, 2016 |


“Yeah, yeah, I know. But didn’t you watch Hannity? Nobody grabbed more pussy than King David. And, hey Lot would have been fine with calling his daughter a ‘piece of ass’ and he was in the Bible too! He was in the Democrat Party then anyway, so you can act according to your conscience. Can I put you down for 20 bucks? [click] THE LEADS ARE WEAK!”


Yes, and there was certainly no evidence suggesting that Donald Trump was a misogynist creep prior to this tape, and he had certainly not revealed himself repeatedly as a massive racist either. Really, before Friday there was never any reason not to endorse him. Boo hoo hoo.


NFL Open Thread: American Meritocracy Edition

[ 117 ] October 9, 2016 |


Ah, the AFC South. This week the four teams rank #19, #25, #27, and #29 in DVOA, and the #19 team was #28 last week and is likely to head back in that direction. As Mike Tanier puts it, the division “is like a combination pyramid scheme/self-esteem workshop for mediocre coaches and executives.” When a division has been this bad for this long there are obviously multiple factors involved. But what’s particularly amazing is that two of the four teams have Grade A QB prospects, one of whom has proven to be a top talent.  Putting Mariota into Mike Mularkey’s EXOTIC SMASHMOUTH we’ve already discussed. But what’s being done to Andrew Luck’s career is a crime. I would hold Ryan “I traded a 1st round pick for Trent Richardson and still have my job three years later” Grigson the primary culprit, but as Tanier says you can’t really separate the GM and the coach easily here:

The only way to fairly assign blame for the Colts’ shortcomings between Grigson and Pagano is to start at the edges and work your way toward the middle.

When Antonio Cromartie signed a $3 million contract in the offseason, that was on Grigson. Cromartie got burnt like the skillet in a Cajun restaurant all last year for the Jets, a team that has never met a big-name defender it couldn’t overpay. When the Jets decide they would rather eat dead money than keep a veteran, anyone who throws millions at that veteran needs an intervention.

When Cromartie got isolated against Allen Robinson on Sunday, giving up a touchdown and a string of clutch-for-dear-life penalties, that’s on Pagano—though the Colts are so thin at cornerback that it’s hard for them to match up against the receiver-rich Jaguars, so that’s a little on Grigson, too.

When the Colts lined up in shotgun on 4th-and-1 with 1:42 to play, with Frank Gore on the bench, then executed a play in which four receivers ran routes within five yards of the line of scrimmage and bunched themselves within a phalanx of Jaguars defenders, that’s on Pagano.

When Gore’s replacement for that play was undrafted rookie Josh Ferguson, who dropped two passes earlier in the game, that’s on Grigson for failing to stock the bench. So is the fact that the entire right side of the Colts line was manned by rookies—though it makes more sense to ask inexperienced linemen to block straight ahead for Gore than to pass protect in such a critical situation, so some of the blame rocks back to Pagano.

And so it goes. Some of the assignments are easy. The Trent Richardson trade was pure Grigson. The hallucinatory fake punt against the Patriots last year was 100 percent Pagano. The fact that Erik Walden still earns $4 million to play professional football is peak Grigson. Wasting six seconds at the end of a close game by not sending a returner to fair-catch a punt in exchange for a half-hearted block attempt? That’s pure Pagano.

But the Colts’ biggest issues are a result of the unique Grigson-Pagano synergy.

And when you consider the fact that they apparently don’t like each other, the fact that Irsay brought them both back is amazing. And even if they finally get canned after this year, Luck will already be 28 and having absorbed an enormous amount of punishment.

Trump Won’t Drop Out, And It Wouldn’t Save Republicans If He Did

[ 191 ] October 9, 2016 |


This time #NeverTrump will succeed” is presumably going to be the “no, this year there could really be a BROKERED CONVENTION!!!!!” of the next little while. A few points:

  • The logistics of replacing Trump are enormously difficult and get even harder with each passing day. It’s impossible if he doesn’t leave voluntarily and it would be hard to pull off even if he did.
  • I don’t see why anyone would think Trump would leave the ticket now. He’s going to humiliate himself to maybe protect some Republican senators? Why?
  • Crucially, only 12% of Republicans think he should leave the ticket. This is one reason to think he’s not going anywhere. But this is also why it’s never made any sense to think that Trump being replaced by Pence or Mittens would save the election for the GOP. A generic Republican who actually won the nomination would almost certainly be doing better than Trump. A generic Republican who was placed on the ticket because Trump was forced out would almost certainly do even worse than Trump, up and down ballot. The shallowness of Trump’s support among party elites shouldn’t be confused for a lack of support from the party’s base.
  • I don’t think it’s correct to say that “high-ranking” Republicans are breaking with Trump. The party’s actual leadership has notably refused to repudiate Trump. The Congresspeople who have stated they aren’t supporting Trump are mostly people who didn’t support him before the Billy Bush tapes or people in desperate election fights, and none of them are near the top of the party’s hierarchy. If Ryan or McConnell says they won’t support Trump, you’ll actually have something, but there’s no reason to think this will happen.

Natural Order Of Universe Reasserts Itself

[ 35 ] October 9, 2016 |


Distraught Oregon fans should keep three things in mind:

  • Even if this is the end of an era for Duck football, remember that Eugene will always have a national championship academics vibrant urban amenities gentlemanly club life hemp consumption per capita.
  • A year with Trent Baalke, Jed York, and Hey-Gabba-Gabbert has got to be making college recruiting look a lot more palatable to Chip Kelly.
  • You’re not Rutgers!


Projection is a Hell of a Drug

[ 100 ] October 8, 2016 |


Trump’s New York state chair, everyone!

Carl Paladino, Trump’s New York state co-chairman, a former gubernatorial candidate who had his own scandals over sexism and racism, said Trump’s “gutter talk” was something “all men do, at least all normal men.”

“The only people concerned with this are Hillary people right now and the treacherous ones in the Republican Party,” Paladino said. “The people in America look at this and say it’s another day in the life of Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter to them.”

Trump’s plan to carry New York seems to be going about as well as it ever has.

“Dinner? I think I’ll pass.”

[ 134 ] October 8, 2016 |

When trying to defend the one of his three disqualifying statements yesterday that finally seemed to slap Republican and media elites accross the head and compel them to say “My God, what have I done?,” Trump leaned on the idea that his comments about how he enjoyed sexually assaulting women with impunity were just “locker room talk.” Some of his remaining apologists have gone down the same road. Oddly, I have been in many locker rooms where people were able to avoid talking about how sexual assault was awesome. But perhaps I’ve just led a sheltered life:

“Are his words perfect? Absolutely not,” Lewandowski said. “Is this defensible? I don’t think so.” But he praised Trump for apologizing “if anyone was offended” and said “we want a leader who is going to lead America, and is that rough sometimes? It is.”

“He speaks from the heart,” Lewandowski added. “He speaks the way many times people talk around their dining room table.”

I dunno, call my existence sheltered, but I can’t say “it’s great when you can sexually assault women and nobody can do anything about it” has ever been a topic of conversation around any dining table I’ve been seated at. But I’ve never sat down for a Big Mac with Donald Trump, so…

TFW When You’ve Made a Last-Minute Decision To Endorse Someone Who Brags About His Sexual Assaults

[ 158 ] October 7, 2016 |


“Whoa, Whoa, Trump? Donald Trump? How am I going to make a living raising money for these deadbeats? Where did you get this nominee, the morgue?”

Donald Trump Expresses More Economic Anxiety

[ 84 ] October 7, 2016 |


The Republican nominee for president believes that African-Americans who are innocent should nonetheless be in prison:

The fact that DNA evidence exonerated five men wrongfully convicted more than two decades ago in the brutal rape and assault of a female jogger in New York City’s Central Park has apparently done nothing to convince Donald Trump that they are innocent.

The Republican nominee declined to apologize when asked by CNN this week about his role as what one of the wrongfully convicted men, Yusuf Salaam, has called “the fire starter” for mobilizing public sentiment against the so-called Central Park 5.

Instead, Trump issued a statement saying, “They admitted they were guilty. The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that the case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous.”

Trump’s critics have pointed to his persistent attacks on the exonerated minority individuals as evidence that his racially inflammatory stances predate the 2016 campaign.

The five then-teenagers, four of whom are black and one of whom is Latino, were arrested for the crime in the spring of 1989. Two weeks after the arrests, Trump famously took out a full-page ad in the New York Times calling for the perpetrators to be given the death penalty.

One thing that always amazes me in the Amanda Knox threads here is that there will always be at least one troofer who comes along to assert that while the coerced confession Knox gave might not be technically admissible it’s still real evidence. This is, of course, ludicrously wrong. In addition to the moral issues, coerced confessions are not legally admissible because as evidence they range from “extremely unreliable” to “worthless.” The wrongful conviction of the Central Park 5 is an excellent case in point.

Donald Trump Never Made Money For His Partners

[ 47 ] October 7, 2016 |


Donald Trump somehow losing tons of money on Atlantic City casinos in the halcyon days when they were a license to print money for any remotely competent operator is fascinating. But the story of his recovery, which we’ve discussed before, might be even more instructive:

What happened over the course of his decade at the helm of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts is that he ran the company into the ground, immiserating shareholders while walking away with enormous bags of cash for himself.

Thanks to a leaked copy of his 1995 tax return, the basic story fact that Donald Trump built a mini empire of Atlantic City casinos that crashed and burned in the early 1990s is now well-known. What’s not yet well-understood by the public is the even more important story of what happened next. As Russ Buettner and Charles Bagli write in Wednesday’s New York Times, 1995 was also the year in which “Trump began the transaction that would eventually free him from his financial travails.”

Mom-and-pop investors who had the misfortune to put their confidence in Trump lost nearly everything. But as a performance of low cunning, his stewardship of THCR really did verge on genius. The company itself was a dumpster fire, losing money every year Trump served as chair. But he managed to personally pocket $44 million in salary and bonuses. Even more egregiously, he offloaded personal debts onto the corporate balance sheet and had the public company purchase services ranging from bottled water to plane flights from Trump’s privately held enterprises.

Along the way, he bankrupted the company and all but completely wiped out the value of its stock. If you want to be generous to Trump, the saga shows that he really does have some impressive business skills. He spun gold out of worthless casinos in a declining resort town with a dazzling efficacy.

If you want to be less generous, you see that the one time Trump’s leadership skills were put to the test as an agent of middle-class people’s economic well-being, he ripped those people off ruthlessly and unapologetically. As president, Trump would be a custodian of the American people’s interests — just as he was of THCR shareholders’ interests as chair. And unless he’s had a drastic change of heart, he’d be an incredibly ineffective one.

Governor Who Looks Like a Cartoon Supervillain a Cartoon Supervillain

[ 60 ] October 7, 2016 |

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Attends Hurricane Conference

Vote suppression today, vote suppression tomorrow, vote suppression for as long as Republicans control the state:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) refuses to extend his state’s voter registration deadline because of Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm approaching the U.S. southeast coast.

The storm, predicted to be the strongest to make landfall in the U.S. in more than a decade, prompted Hillary Clinton’s campaign to call for extending voter registration beyond next Tuesday’s deadline.

“We’re hoping and expecting that officials in Florida are adapting deadlines to account for the storm,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters Thursday.

Scott, who has endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump for president, said he wouldn’t honor that request.

“I’m not going to extend it,” Scott said during a press conference Thursday evening. “Everybody’s had a lot of time to register. On top of that, we have lots of opportunities to vote, early voting and absentee voting, so I don’t intend to make any changes.”

Paul Ryan’s Steamroller

[ 216 ] October 6, 2016 |
An outtake from the Paul Ryan photo shoot that was inspired by his Facebook photos showing him working out with P90X creator Tony Horton

An outtake from the Paul Ryan photo shoot that was inspired by his Facebook photos showing him working out with P90X creator Tony Horton

The most terrifying thing about the fortunately dwindling chances of a Trump victory remains the fact that he would sign whatever legislation Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell put on his desk:

If Donald Trump is elected president and Republicans hold onto Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan is bluntly promising to ram a partisan agenda through Capitol Hill next year, with Obamacare repeal and trillion-dollar tax cuts likely at the top of the list. And Democrats would be utterly defenseless to stop them.

Typically, party leaders offer at least the pretense of seeking bipartisanship when discussing their policy plans. But Ryan is saying frankly that Republicans would use budget reconciliation — a powerful procedural tool — to bypass Democrats entirely. It’s the same tool Republicans slammed Democrats for using to pass the 2010 health care law over their objections.

While GOP leaders have made empty threats to use reconciliation to repeal Obamacare in the past, Ryan is making it clear that this time he plans to use it when it counts. And he would likely have support from a Trump White House. Larry Kudlow, an economic adviser to the GOP presidential nominee, said he is also strongly urging Trump to embrace reconciliation in order to pass sweeping tax cuts.

Anybody who thinks that the Democrats would be able to filibuster any legislation that is important to the Republican conference would probably sign a power of attorney form given to them by a Wells Fargo salesman.

It’s Like, How Much More Jill Stein Could This Be? And the Answer Is, Well, It Could Mention How Both Candidates Are Slaves to BIG VAXX

[ 155 ] October 5, 2016 |


Jill Stein has a take so hot it can melt steel beams, everyone:

I mean, your typical apologist for vanity candidates will at least concede that the parties differ on abortion, and then argue that it’s BLACKMAIL to observe that one party supports a woman’s right to choose and another fiercely opposes it and perhaps this should influence one’s voting behavior. Stein is just a talking robot that can only say BOTH SIDES DO IT, like Ron Fournier with more vacuous lefty posturing and less coherence. And this is leaving aside the fact that the pro-choice party has a woman on top of the ticket, a fact of which Stein may or may not be aware.

[HT Jean-Michel]

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