Actual Buzzfeed clickbait on Twitter, that was.
Russia's Defense Ministry now says that its Black Sea flagship, the guided missile cruiser Moskva, sank all right, but insists it went down while being towed in stormy seas after a fire onboard blowed up its ammunition stores. Ukraine says it sank the ship using Ukrainian-built Neptune anti-ship missiles. CNN reports that two "sources familiar with US and Western intelligence" said that "Ukraine’s claim is believed to be credible, although US officials do not yet have definitive proof," although the US has not independently attributed the reason for the sinking. [CNN]
Russia appears to have retaliated by attacking Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities with missiles. [Reuters]
And yes, there were memes. Because we love you, we will spare you the video with stock footage of Moskva and a really bad recorder rendition of "My Heart Will Go On."
Ukraine arrested Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Putin Ukrainian media oligarch who escaped from house arrest near the start of the war, and seized an assload of his assets, including "26 cars, 32 apartments, 23 houses, 30 plots of land, 17 parking spots and a yacht." It's the second yacht belonging to Medvedchuk that Ukraine has confiscated this year. [CNBC]
Here's Ukrainian news video of the bizarre fake railway station and luxury train car at one of his mansions, as featured on Maddow last night.
The New York Times reports that the European Union is preparing to vote on phasing in a complete embargo of Russian oil imports, following an earlier ban on importing Russian coal (although that's being phased in over four months, to "wind down ongoing orders"). The earliest it could come up for a vote would be sometime after the third round of France's elections, which will be held on April 24, the Times says, to "ensure that the impact on prices at the pump doesn’t fuel the populist candidate Marine Le Pen and hurt president Emmanuel Macron’s chances of re-election," according to EU officials. [NYT]
Separately, the Times also reports that Marine Le Pen vowed in a press conference that if she's elected, France would pull out of NATO's integrated military command and stop being so mean to Russia. She also ranted about "globalists" and downplayed the significance of climate change. Le Pen has not yet been offered a prime time show on Fox News. [NYT]
We had no idea that Kim Carnes's 1981 hit "Bette Davis Eyes" was a cover of a 1974 version by Jackie DeShannon. The original is ... very different from the cover, oh golly. Somehow, this is not a parody. [Twitter]
A number of anonymous congressional sources, most of them Democrats, told the San Francisco Chronicle that Sen. Dianne Feinstein suffers episodes of memory loss; some days, the sources said, she's as acute as ever, but "some close to her said that on her most difficult days, she does not seem to fully recognize even longtime colleagues." The sources worry that Feinstein isn't fully able to do her job, and those who spoke to the paper said that raising concerns about Feinstein's age and mental acuity "was painful because of their respect for the senator and her groundbreaking career."
Multiple other Democrats, in on-the record comments, defended Feinstein and said such concerns were misplaced. After the story ran, Feinstein herself told the Chronicle's editorial board that no one had raised such concerns directly with her, and that she has no intention of resigning. She also said that she has had some moments of forgetfulness recently, which she said were due to stress resulting from the death of her husband in February. We have a feeling this story may be with us for a while. Please try not to be monstrous in the comments. [SF Chronicle]
A jury convicted January 6 insurrectionist Dustin Thompson on six federal charges Thursday, including felony obstruction of Congress. The jury was not persuaded by Thompson's attorney's claim that Donald Trump had led the poor lad into a crime he would otherwise never have committed. [Politico]
A very stupid Republican bill that would have combined elements of "Don't Say Gay" with a ban on "Critical Race Theory" was quickly put out of its misery Monday in a Rhode Island House committee. Among the weirder elements of the bill was a line insisting that "History shall be taught using the standards, customs, and traditions in use at the time of the historical event." We're assuming the intent was to prevent teachers from saying slavery or the genocide of Native Americans was bad? In any case, real historians had a fine time making snarky fun of that idiocy on Twitter. Had it been paſsed, the leſsons on Colonial American hiſtory would ſurely have cauſed hyſterical confuſion for ſubſitute teachers. [Patch / Rhode Island H 7539]
Janelle Shane trained an image-generating AI to design Easter eggs in various artistic styles; some runs went quite nicely, like "Easter eggs, acrylic on canvas":
Janelle Shane, AI Weirdness
Since the algorithm included a wide variety of photos from the internet, it sometimes went with fried eggs instead of the boiled kind in a colored shell. In this set, the AI took the cue of "matte painting" and situated monumental eggs in backgrounds for epic movies.
Janelle Shane, AI Weirdness
I kind of love the flying yolks in the upper-right corner here; I may have found a new screensaver. Wonder if I can get a giant sized copy... [AI Weirdness]
Finally, here's a pretty amazing image from storm chaser Chris Riske, who has definitely already heard all your "Riske Business" jokes. It's a video still showing the moment lightning hit his friend's Prius. It fried the car's everything, but the friend is fine. [Twitter]
MY FRIEND'S CAR WAS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING AND I CAUGHT ITpic.twitter.com/qfCLjJXtdk— Chris Riske (@Chris Riske) 1649885606
In the video, you can see a puff of smoke as the car is hit. Poor car stops moving immediately.
Again, nobody hurt but the car, which is probably totaled. Now it's a Toyota Postus. [Chris Riske on YouTube]
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We'll just assume the GOP Asshole Caucus will ground the entire Air Force.
The US Air Force (and also the Space Force, too) announced last month, to little notice, that it will be offering help to servicemembers and their families if they're affected by the various anti-LGBTQ laws being passed by Republican-led states. Mind you, the Air Force hasn't mentioned anything openly partisan, because that's just not done. But the service did let its members know that the USAF is there to help with medical or legal assistance if they or their kids need it because of the new laws.
The press release puts it as apolitically as humanly possible, which may be why the offer of assistance hasn't gotten much press:
Various laws and legislation are being proposed and passed in states across America that may affect LGBTQ Airmen, Guardians, and/or their LGBTQ dependents in different ways.
The Department of the Air Force has assignment, medical, legal and other resources available to support Airmen, Guardians and their families.
Probably a good idea to not name any states or specific laws, or even to say the laws are discriminatory; there's little chance, though, that servicemembers worried about the laws' effects on their families aren't plenty aware of what's going on in states where they're stationed.
HuffPo notes that the Air Force is the only military service — so far — to offer such help. Undersecretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones makes clear in the announcement that it's a matter of making sure Air Force members get all the benefits of military service, regardless of what state they're assigned to:
The health, care and resilience of our DAF personnel and their families is not just our top priority – it’s essential to our ability to accomplish the mission. We are closely tracking state laws and legislation to ensure we prepare for and mitigate effects to our Airmen, Guardians and their families. Medical, legal resources, and various assistance are available for those who need them.
The announcement tells servicemembers to go to Air Force medical facilities if they "need help with screening, treatment, or mental health support for medical concerns." It diplomatically doesn't mention specific terrible policies like Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott's order that families be investigated for "child abuse" if they seek gender-affirming care for their minor children. (That policy has been put on hold by a judge's order for now.)
The memo also reminds servicemembers that on-base legal offices are a "free source of information for personnel who need assistance navigating new and existing local laws," although it also points out that the offices can't directly represent servicemembers or their kids in legal disputes. Still, they can "provide vital advice and council."
Also too, the Air Force lets its members know that if it comes to it, the service can help them get assigned to a different location through the "Exceptional Family Member Program." Again, the statement doesn't explicitly say that's what members should do if they're stationed in one of the 15 states that have banned or are considering bans on gender-affirming care. But again, Undersecretary Jones made it very easy to read between the lines:
As is the case with all of our family members, if the support a family member needs becomes unavailable, commanders can work to get the service member to an assignment where their loved ones can receive the care they need.
This is all remarkably smart and thoughtful of the Air Force, and a pleasant change from the days when the USAF — and the Air Force Academy in particular — seemed to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fundagelical Jesus Inc.
The LGBTQ rights group Human Rights Campaign is glad to see it. Spokesperson Delphine Luneau told HuffPo,
"Like any good employer, the Air Force is taking steps to support their service members and their families.”
Luneau added, “We hope service members and their family members who are being affected by the wave of discriminatory legislation in many state legislatures will take advantage of the supportive services that the Air Force is offering, and HRC will continue working toward the repeal of these terrible laws.”
A USAF spokesperson told HuffPo that the service hadn't yet fielded any requests for legal help, and added that if there's been any uptick in Air Force members or their families using counseling or mental health services, that can't be measured because the Air Force doesn't track it — which seems to us like probably a good privacy thing?
As of yet, GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz hasn't yet attempted to defund the Air Force for treating its LGBTQ+ members like human beings, but we have little doubt he or one of the other rightwing jerks who say the hell with the troops will insist the Air Force stop being so woke, or on autoeroticpilot, or some damn thing.
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Today's Republicans are strange, aren't they?
You know, we often say people like Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene and that whole crew are some of the most severely anti-American trash we've ever laid eyes on, and we say it because that's what we think of them. But usually, at least lately, it's because they're giving aid and comfort to America's enemies and siding with Vladimir Putin against the innocent Ukrainians Putin is genociding.
This time Marjorie Taylor Greene just decided to go for it and directly took a squatting shit all over American troops, personally. Newsweek reports that the other day Greene went on Lou Dobbs's podcast, whereupon she explained that if you join the military right now, you're "throwing your life away."
ICYMI: Joining the military \u201cis like throwing your life away\u201d according to Marjorie Taylor Greenepic.twitter.com/KLcf2FkrJ9— PatriotTakes \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@PatriotTakes \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1649805706
Lou Dobbs went on a tirade about how bad the military is these days, and asked who would want to have anything to do with that. And Greene responded:
"Not my son, and I know a lot of young people don't want to have anything to do with that, it's like throwing your life away."
Sorry, we need to spend one sentence here imagining how horribly embarrassing it would be if Greene was your mom. OK, anyway!
Dobbs gave his wingnut analysis of people joining the military after Joe Biden ended the Afghanistan war, saying potential recruits would be just left to get murdered like the 13 servicemembers who were tragically killed at the Kabul airport during the withdrawal. But then Greene made it so much fuckin' weirder, like she does. Newsweek with the transcript:
"Not to mention how they've been forced to take the vaccine and the ones that didn't want to take it have been discharged. Who wants to be treated that way?"
Nobody tell her they take a shitload of other vaccines too. Just shuffle 'em through at boot camp and throw needles in all their arms, whichever vaccines they currently need. And nobody gets to hee haw and grunt at their drill sergeant and say their religion doesn't allow them to take vaccines on account of how they are morons who believe every vaccine is made of a fully formed partial birth-aborted fetus.
Greene also suggested that rules of engagement mean that people are "shot at, killed and maimed" before they're allowed to fire back and defend themselves.
"It's a disaster from the top down and the bottom up."
Yeah we bet Marjorie Crossfit Greene knows a whole lot about rules of engagement. Maybe she learned about it when she was doing her own research on Jewish Space Lasers.
"We can add in the training, the woke training, where they have to undergo this ridiculous ideology of the sick and satanic Left."
Yep, that's how basic training is. "Drop and give me 50 ridiculous ideologies of the sick and satanic Left!"
Newsweek suggests Greene might have been talking about a letter fellow moron and retiring Oklahoma GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe sent to General Mark Milley suggesting that the military under Biden has spent six million hours teaching the military about "woke" and "critical race theory." It was signed by all the stupids. Tom Cotton, Marsha Blackburn, Tommy Tuberville, bunch of others ... basically, hell's dumbest trivia team. They're allllllll snorting this particular coke out of each other's cracks right now.
So that's cool.
Of course, Greene isn't unique in smearing her hateful brain thoughts all over the troops lately.
Tucker's been whining about vaccine mandates and the military rooting out white supremacists, accusing Biden of trying to remove "sincere Christians" and "men with high testosterone levels" from the military. You know, the things Tucker is worried about the most. And he's been having a masculinity crisis all over all the women who serve, particularly pregnant women. He's really been leading this charge lately.
And then, in a precursor to Greene's comments about troops "throwing their lives away," it's hard to forget just before the 2020 election when Jeffrey Goldberg reported in The Atlantic on what Donald Trump really thinks about people who fight and die in America's military. "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," he said, about a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Paris in 2018. It was raining, and he was reportedly scared of getting his hair wet.
Trump thought John McCain was a "fucking loser," because he got captured. He thought George H. W. Bush was a "loser" because his plane got shot down in World War II.
"I don't get it. What was in it for them?" Trump said to John Kelly, as they stood at Kelly's son's grave at Arlington in 2017.
"Nobody wants to see that," Trump said, asking people planning a military parade in 2018 to please not include any amputees or other war wounded.
"It's like throwing your life away," said Marjorie Taylor Greene, about joining the military. "We can add in the training, the woke training, where they have to undergo this ridiculous ideology of the sick and satanic Left," she added, because she's not just anti-American, she's fucking stupid.
Play us out, Adam Kinzinger.
Just an absolute idiot. Yet still will be praised by people like \u2066@GOPLeader\u2069 because, well, money and speakership\n\nMarjorie Taylor Greene Says Joining Military Is 'Throwing Your Life Away'https://www.newsweek.com/marjorie-taylor-greene-military-throwing-life-lou-dobbs-interview-1697176\u00a0\u2026— Adam Kinzinger (@Adam Kinzinger) 1649821714
Hello MTG. I\u2019m still in the military and it certainly is not a life thrown away. \n\nYou are an absolute, utter, Faux patriot. Some might say fraud. \n\nAll my veterans out there need to RT this far and wide. #mtg #disgracehttps://twitter.com/wendyforus/status/1514026456619405318\u00a0\u2026— Adam Kinzinger (@Adam Kinzinger) 1649812193
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Maybe someone else did all the racism until 1964, when it ended.
Former "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace has started doing his new longform interview show "Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace," on CNN+, the new streaming service from CNN. This week, Wallace spoke with New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones about her bestselling book adaptation of The 1619 Project, which argues quite persuasively that the story of American democracy is largely the story of African Americans and their exclusion from that very democracy. Slavery and segregation weren't a glitch or a sidebar; they were integral to the project of creating a nation where white people did very well by exploiting the labor and lives of Black people and other racial minorities.
Although you have to subscribe to see the full interview, Mediaite provides a nice seven-minute clip, in which Wallace pushes back on two of Hannah-Jones's assertions in her Pulitzer-winning introductory essay for the project (non-paywalled but legal PDF version here).
While Mediaite notes most of the interview was a "mutually warm and respectful discussion" of her work, Wallace took issue with Hannah-Jones's point that "Without the idealistic, strenuous and patriotic efforts of black Americans, our democracy today would most likely look very different. It might not be a democracy at all," which she fairly effortlessly defended by noting that for much of US history, roughly half the states in the country denied the vote to vast portions of the adult population. Add to that the period up to 1920 when women were unable to vote, and America was even less of a democracy.
But what really bothered Wallace was Hannah-Jones's Greatest Generation libel, because after all, those young folks who grew up in the Great Depression and fought WWII were heroes who saved the world from fascism, weren't they? Wallace seemed unable to wrap his head around this bit from the essay where Hannah-Jones argues that during the "Good War,"
Many white Americans saw black men in the uniforms of America’s armed services not as patriotic but as exhibiting a dangerous pride. Hundreds of black veterans were beaten, maimed, shot and lynched. We like to call those who lived during World War II the Greatest Generation, but that allows us to ignore the fact that many of this generation fought for democracy abroad while brutally suppressing democracy for millions of American citizens.
Wallace doesn't dispute that Black GIs fought abroad for "democracy" but then returned to a nation that didn't recognize their humanity, but he had a problem with the notion that the same white people who fought in the war were also the ones behind the systematic oppression at home. Wasn't that mostly their parents?
Jones wasn't having it, as we can see in this Twitter video excerpt:
Chris Wallace Goes At Nikole Hannah-Jones for Claim Greatest Generation 'Violently Suppressed' Black Voters in Heated CNN+ Exchange https://mediaite.com/a/hszln\u00a0 via @mediaitepic.twitter.com/X95MhXtt7e— Tommy moderna-vaX-Topher (@Tommy moderna-vaX-Topher) 1649349849
Wallace agreed that Jim Crow and northern inequality were a horrible betrayal of American values, but he just didn't buy the idea that The Boys who fought in the Big One were themselves part of the problem. It's a weird thought, given that military segregation remained the rule until
1947 1948, and there were well-documented racist attacks on Black soldiers by white soldiers — all the same age! — in both the European and Pacific theaters during the war.
Wallace mulishly clung to his Tom Brokaw mythology all the same:
Wallace: I think Tom Brokaw when he originally wrote the book, The Greatest Generation, was talking about 20-year-olds, 30-year-olds who came out of the farm fields of the Midwest, who came out of ethnic neighborhoods in Brooklyn and South Philly and storm the beaches of Normandy and and, you know, fought to defeat the most, the worst regime, I would argue in, in world history. And to say that they were 20, 30 year olds, the country was brutally suppressing Blacks, but the Greatest Generation wasn’t.
Hannah-Jones: Well, they were.
Wallace: No, they weren’t, you don’t be telling me that a farm, that a kid coming off a farm in Indiana or a kid who came from Brooklyn, is, was suppressing Black people.
Hannah-Jones: Indiana has the largest population of the Klan in the United States. The Klan was raised, was reached first in Indiana.
Basically, Wallace couldn't seem to understand that the white boys who grew up in unquestioned privilege could in any way be enforcing that privilege, as if no young white men ever participated in a lynching or belonged to the Klan — or as if, after the war, none ran for Congress or city council as both "war heroes" and diehard segregationists.
As a reminder of what ordinary Americans did to Black members of the Greatest Generation, remember the 1946 attack on Sgt. Isaac Woodard, who was pulled off a bus carrying him home, in uniform, and was beaten by police in Batesburg, South Carolina, for the offense of talking back to the white bus driver who called him "boy." Woodard told the driver, "I'm a man just like you," and the driver called police. One hit him with a blackjack in the eyes, blinding him immediately. In jail, police poured whiskey on him and claimed he'd been drunk. The attack was a central impetus for President Harry Truman's later order ending military segregation.
Hell, who does Wallace think carried on the Jim Crow laws following WWII and right up through the Civil Rights Movement? Strom Thurmond fought at Normandy. George Wallace was a crew member on B-29s that bombed Japan. Lester Maddox worked at Bell Aircraft during the war, helping to build the bombers that won it. Sheriff Jim Clark of Selma, Alabama, the nemesis of young John Lewis, was in the Army Air Corps, stationed in the Aleutian Islands. Herman Talmadge, the segregationist governor of Georgia from 1948 to 1955, served in the Navy and was present in Tokyo Bay for the surrender of Imperial Japan. It only took him a few years to go from war heroing straight to preserving Jim Crow.
You get the idea.
After some fairly pointless back and forth over who was in the KKK and when (my own adoptive father, in the 1920s in Texas, I'd add, when he was in his 20s), Wallace tried again to separate the young WWII heroes from their bad old racist parents' generation (this next bit is only in the non-embeddable excerpt at Mediaite):
Wallace: [That's] a broad brush, that you’re willing to paint, the 20- and 30-year-olds who defended democracy, I’m not talking about the leaders. I’m not talking about the laws. I’m not talking about the country. I’m talking about the young people who risked their lives. For instance, on the beaches of Normandy, they were brutally suppressing African-Americans.
Hannah-Jones: I think it’s a it’s a strange point to parse to, I don’t want ... I don’t think a 30-year-old is not a young person. But 30-year-old is a fully grown person who can serve in Congress, who can be the mayor, who can act, enact laws and policies — these are not children. These are not babies. [...]
These were countrymen and they were fighting by the way in a Jim Crow military, they were fighting in an Army, in the Navy, where Black people were segregated, where Black people didn’t even have equal rights in the military. [...]
This trying to parse off who gets guilt or who does not for our collective history. We have to be more honest about piercing that mythology not to destroy our country, but to, if we can honestly face who we are, then we can actually become the country that we want to be.
But we can’t do that by suppressing the truth and to ask a Black person whose view of the Greatest Generation was "Black people are getting lynched." There were mass executions. I mean, right now they’re trying to pardon the [soldiers killed in a 1917] mass execution of Black soldiers that happened in Texas, right? This was our experience.
And we were feeling more free going to Europe. And actually there are stories of, of military officials telling the Europeans how to treat Black soldiers so that they don’t come back feeling they’re going to have those same freedoms at home, we have to confront that. And by having these gauzy narratives about the Greatest Generation doesn’t help us confront the facts.
Wallace: That was good.
Well yeah. That's why she wrote the essay and the book. And yes, credit to Chris Wallace for apparently being willing to set aside his simplistic ideas about the Greatest Generation.
And that's how we slowly dismantle white supremacy, Charlie Brown.
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