This man at Sunday’s Patriots-Jets game respects the United States and its national anthem so much that he turned the country’s flag into a picnic blanket. Reader Marshall spotted the patriot, who is better than all of us, at the Jets’ stadium.
“Your thoughts and your prayers are insufficient.”
Jimmy Kimmel’s voice began to break the second he started speaking as he opened his October 2 show. “Here we are again,” he said, barely choking out the words, “in the aftermath of another terrible, inexplicable, shocking, and painful tragedy."
The late-night host’s subsequent, achingly sincere monologue took a clear toll on him — a now-familiar sight, due to his recent focus on highlighting the injustices of Republicans’ recent health care reform efforts. But it also quickly became clear that Kimmel does not think the horrific shooting in Las Vegas, which happens to be where he grew up, is completely “inexplicable.”
“It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to throw up, or give up,” he acknowledged, as his studio audience remained eerily silent. But Kimmel, despite visibly struggling to get through these 10 minutes without openly sobbing, didn’t give up on saying what he felt he needed to say.
“I’ve been reading comments from people saying, ‘This is terrible, but there’s nothing we can do about it.’ But I disagree with that intensely, because of course there’s something we could do about it. There’s a lot of things we could do about it, but we don’t,” Kimmel said. “Which is interesting, because whenever anyone with a beard attacks us, we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every possible precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But when an American has a gun and kills other Americans, then ‘there’s nothing we can do about that.’”
From there, Kimmel pivoted, directing his pain toward both members of Congress and President Donald Trump — the people, in other words, who could do something about enacting stricter gun laws if they were only politically motivated to do so. Kimmel even called out many of them by name:
[Trump] spoke this morning; he said he was praying for those who lost their lives. You know, in February, he also signed a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip also sent their thoughts and their prayers today — which is good. They should be praying. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.
But if none of these individuals take any action, Kimmel concluded, “your thoughts and your prayers are insufficient.”
“The NRA has their balls in a money clip” was the closest Kimmel would get to telling a joke throughout his entire 10-minute monologue. Otherwise, he saved his energy for commiserating with his shell-shocked audience, reminding everyone that Vegas is home to both a strip of casinos and real people whose lives are now changed forever, and making sure that everyone saw the faces of those in Congress who continually vote in the National Rifle Association’s best interest.
“I want this to be a comedy show. I hate talking about stuff like this,” Kimmel later said, his eyes glistening. “I just want to laugh about things every night. But it seems to be becoming increasingly difficult lately. It sort of feels like someone's opened a window into hell.”
And it seems that as long as Kimmel has his platform, he has no plans to shy away from expressing his raw despair when he feels it, because “there is more we could do — and we need to do it.”
Poet and English professor Seth Abramson recently published a Twitter thread about his current understanding of Donald Trump: his deliberate terrorization of the American public, lack of policy positions, corruption, and keen understanding of America as “a chaos machine” that “spits out attention, headlines, sometimes money” when you feed it. I think Abramson is right about Trump in many respects and I’ve included a few excerpts below…it was difficult to pick out what to highlight.
We need to never again discuss this man with respect to policy — it’s become more than clear in 9 months that he holds no policy positions.
So if you support Donald Trump because of any view you claim he holds, I don’t ever want to hear from you again. The man holds no views.
There is no position Donald Trump has ever taken that he has not, at some point in the past or present, taken the opposite position to.
But the most important thing is this: this is the first U.S. president to systematically and willfully terrorize his own populace daily.
His changeability is intended to keep us anxious and on guard. In fact, he’s admitted publicly, many times, that this is a tactic of his.
His corruption is equally studied: his business model has always been “get away with what you can,” and that’s exactly how he’s governed.
It’s *more* than that he’ll go down in our history as the worst president we’ll ever have — he’ll go down as one of our greatest villains.
Benedict Arnold tried to betray America for a prior sovereign — Trump is trying to *torture* a nation that was good to him his whole life.
Have you noticed a change in your mood since January? I mean a change you can’t seem to escape? Anxiety, anger, fear, confusion, doubt?
The most ubiquitous man in your nation is trying to poison you daily — because it gives him power — and no one’s stopping him from doing it.
I’m not using hyperbole: you’re under attack. A deliberate, unprovoked, systematic, and — yes — evil attack. And it’s working. We’re losing.
Because the last thing — of the three I mentioned — humans look for in a crisis is hope, and he’s systematically taking *that* away as well.
We don’t have hope future elections will be fair. We don’t have hope our government is working in our interests. We don’t have hope we can trust and love our neighbors and they’ll trust and love us back. And we don’t have hope things will start to make sense again.
Abramson finishes by saying that we need to focus on “legally, peacefully and transparently” removing Trump from power. I’m probably going to get some email about this post,1 so I might as well go all in here with a ludicrous-sounding hunch2 I’ve had about Trump since before the election: not only will he not resign or be impeached (for Russia ties or otherwise), he will refuse to leave office under any circumstances. He will attempt, with a non-zero chance of success, to stay in power even if he’s not re-elected in 2020.
Obviously, this is ridiculous and will not happen. What about laws and precedence and democracy and social mores, you’ll say! And you’d be correct. But Trump’s got more than 3 years to lay the groundwork to make it seem normal for him to do this…and Fox News and the Republicans will let him and aid him if they can. (I mean, if you’re America’s increasingly authoritarian & extremist minority party struggling to stay in power, making the sitting Republican President not subject to an election is far more effective than suppressing the votes of likely Democratic voters through gerrymandering and voter ID laws.) Sure, we’ll be outraged about it, but we’re outraged about him anyway and that hasn’t seemed to matter in a significant way yet.
Ok, that’s nuts, right? Could never happen in America, yes? But watching Trump as President over the past few months, is it really that difficult to imagine him going full OJ here when confronted with losing his powerful position? Instead of Simpson being driven around LA in the white Bronco by Al Cowlings followed by a phalanx of police cruisers, on January 20, 2021, it’ll be Trump locked in the White House with Senator Kid Rock, taunting the military via Twitter to come in and get him.3 That sounds more plausible than Trump genteelly hosting the incoming Democratic President for tea in what USA Today calls “the 220-year-old ritual that has become a hallmark of American democracy: The orderly transition of power that comes at the appointed hour when one president takes the oath of office and his predecessor recedes into history”. Aside from “power”, not a single other word in that sentence even remotely describes anything Trump has ever cared about.
I always get email about my Trump posts. Political posts on kottke.org are pretty unpopular and lose me readers every single time. Stay in your lane, Kottke!↩
Or perhaps “speculative fiction” is a better descriptor? I’m way too level-headed to actually believe this. Aren’t I?!↩
Seriously though, what is the enforcement mechanism surrounding the transfer of power here? The 20th Amendment covers the beginnings and ends of terms and what happens when there’s no president-elect. But what about if a sitting President refuses to leave office? A lot of this stuff is ritual, presumably because of course (of course!!!!) the President is supposed to be a decent person who will honor tradition and democracy. Does Congress decide what to do? Does the Secret Service? The Supreme Court? The military? Can you imagine the cries of “coup” from Trump and his supporters if a bunch of Marines storm the White House? OMG, he’d love it. ↩
Late last week, Donald Trump called any NFL player who kneels during the national anthem protesting police brutality a “son of a bitch” (recall that this is the President of the United States we’re talking about here) and said they should be fired (Ha! He said his catchphrase! From that TV show!). Naturally, NFL players took exception to this and over the weekend, many many more players kneeled, sat, or no-showed during the anthem. And there were many takes, from political commentators and sports journalists alike. One of the best was from Dallas sports anchor Dale Hansen, who deftly cut to the core of the matter in a short monologue:
Donald Trump has said he supports a peaceful protest because it’s an American’s right… But not this protest, and there’s the problem: The opinion that any protest you don’t agree with is a protest that should be stopped.
Martin Luther King should have marched across a different bridge. Young, black Americans should have gone to a different college and found a different lunch counter. And college kids in the 60’s had no right to protest an immoral war.
I served in the military during the Vietnam War… and my foot hurt, too. But I served anyway.
My best friend in high school was killed in Vietnam. Carroll Meir will be 18 years old forever. And he did not die so that you can decide who is a patriot and who loves America more.
The young, black athletes are not disrespecting America or the military by taking a knee during the anthem. They are respecting the best thing about America. It’s a dog whistle to the racists among us to say otherwise.
They, and all of us, should protest how black Americans are treated in this country. And if you don’t think white privilege is a fact, you don’t understand America.
I shared this on Twitter last night and I still love it so much. This is a veteran (who we're supposedly offending) in Texas (red-bleeding state if there ever was such) who is on the correct side of the debate. The dog whistle comment is the whole reason this argument and "offense" exists. Because a person of color decided to speak out, it's time to rouse some rabble.
Trump’s son-in-law used a private email account to write messages about “media coverage, event planning and other subjects,” according to Politico.
Jared Kushner has used a private email address to conduct government business at the White House, Politico reported Sunday afternoon.
During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly and aggressively attacked Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. This new report suggests that Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser — may have engaged in similar behavior, using the private email account to write messages about “media coverage, event planning and other subjects.”
Politico reports that it has reviewed two dozen emails involving Kushner’s correspondence. Kushner has used the private account to trade emails with former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, and former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
In a statement to Politico, Kushner lawyer Abbe Lowell said:
Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business. Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account. These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal rather than his White House address.
And then there's that weird proprietary cable I've had since like 2004 that looks at a glance like micro USB but isn't, so I get halfway across the country for my vacation with no way to charge anything at all and have to buy spares at the airport for exorbitant prices.