How does he keep on impressing us like that?
When Elijah Cummings died in October, his congressional campaign had about a million bucks in funds ready to go for his 2020 reelection campaign. And while it's legal for campaigns of retired or deceased politicians to linger on for years, using unspent funds to influence future elections by supporting other candidates or political action committees, that's not what's going to happen with the money currently held by the Cummings for Congress Campaign Committee. Campaign treasurer Ronald Thompson emailed the Baltimore Sun to let the paper know Cummings said he wanted the funds to go to programs for local youth, like helping poor kids pay for college.
The committee "is in the process of winding down operations," Thompson wrote. "We contemplate that, in accordance with Congressman Cummings' wishes, at the conclusion of this process, any 'excess campaign funds' will be transferred to educational and charitable organizations for the purpose of need-based college scholarships and youth leadership programs."
That sounds like exactly the sort of thing Cummings, who went from being the child of sharecroppers to being a voice of moral clarity in Congress, would want. Even after he's been gone for months, he can make us get a bit teary-eyed with his vision of an America that's fairer and kinder for everyone.
But only the Nice Things, so we don't kill your soul before 2020 gets here.
2019 often seemed like a never-ending hellscape, particularly when it came to legal news. And, in a lot of ways, it was.
But Yr Wonkette can't let you go into 2020 all depressed, now can we?! So here are a few of our favorite things in law from the last year.
Letitia James is the New York Attorney General
And isn't she just lovely? From day one on the job, she has been a thorn in Donald Trump's side. James has filed a whole bunch of lawsuits against Trump and his cronies and just generally kicked ass and taken names since she was sworn in last January. And really, what more could we want from one person?
AG James's 2019 highlight reel includes:
A year-end grab bag, plus some new nice stuff too!
Holy moly, we just realized that we're just a few days short of a whole year of these Nice Things Sundays! We got started the first weekend of January 2019 when we realized the deleted comments were all boring, and maybe a break from the unrelenting awfulness of the news might be a good idea. (The deletia still tend to be boring.) So today I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the silliness we've brought you, and of course to add to it with some new stuff as well. Or maybe I'll just shovel in all the cat and puppy pictures I can find and call it a day, because that's what the internet runs on, after all.
Looking back over those first few posts, I see I put out my first call for readers' pet photos pretty quickly, in Nice Things' fourth outing on January 27. And wouldn't you know it, I'm still working through that trove of pics! The photo up top was in the comments on that day, and there are still a lot of other photos to choose from. Needless to say, if you have a pet photo (or a gorgeous True Life Nature Photo of your own) you'd like to submit, go for it, and you may even see it at the top of this column in 2020. Or 2021, at this rate. Please include your critter's name if you want your critter named! It helps if the photo is in landscape mode, and if there's some room to fit in the "Nice Things!" label. But I can work with other arrangements, like so:
Hark the herald ferrets sing.
Happy Solstice Boxing Day to all of you, and also almost-Hanukkah and Sacred Baby Festival and Festivus Eve, too! I may even remember to put up the ol' Festivus Pole this year.
Let's get right into the Nice Things with my favorite Christmas song, shall we?
The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York (Official Video) youtu.be
And yes, that's Matt Dillon arresting Shane MacGowan in the video, and Dillon had to be persuaded to shove MacGowan around a little more roughly. Also, there is no such thing as an NYPD choir, so they went with the NYPD Emerald Society's Pipes and Drums. The Pogues' manager, Frank Murray, "recalled that the Pipes and Drums had been drinking on the coach that brought them to the video shoot, and by the time they arrived they were more drunk than the band, refusing to work unless they were supplied with more alcohol." (Also too, Kirsty MacColl was the best and we do not talk enough about that, as a people. — Robyn)
When you can't think of a headline, go with Talking Heads lyrics.
No getting around it: I've been smiling off and on since I heard this old favorite on a streaming service yesterday. It's just such a perfect song.
This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) (2005 Remaster) www.youtube.com
In the liner notes to her cover of "This Must Be the Place," Shawn Colvin says she fell for the line "You got a face with a view." I'd quote exactly what she said about that if I could find the "Cover Girl" CD, but let's not get all hung up on completeness, OK?
Shawn Colvin - This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) www.youtube.com
We also like this 2012 assessment from James Verini in the New Yorker: "'This Must Be the Place' is a love song only in spite of itself (it dispenses about as much hope as Joy Division's 'Love Will Tear Us Apart')" -- but that's exactly why it works, too. (The whole article is good, go read it, you.) I've always loved the very ambivalence of the song; it makes me feel good the way Kurt Vonnegut makes me feel good -- everything's awful, everything's wonderful. And it's OK to just make it up as you go along.
So let's do some Nice Things!
Cats are pretty punk all on their own, thank you very much.
Welcome again to your weekly escape from all the nastiness out there! Let's dive right into the kitties and puppies and stuff, shall we? A quick reminder to folks who wonder when THEIR lovely pet pics will be featured in Nice Things: Check the date on that calander next to little Beto up there. I have a LOT of your kitty and doggy and ferret pics, and I may not get to 'em all immediately, or ever. But I will try! Yes, you can post or email more, but only if you promise you'll at least try to be patient!
And there's some good damn programs gonna get funded too!
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that he's taking action to release half a billion dollars in funding to address homelessness. The money is part of a $650 million package of emergency funding already approved by state legislators, but held up because the Trump administration has dragged its feet on releasing data that would allow the money to be spent. Cities and counties can begin applying for funding immediately.
While more federal money to help with California's homelessness crisis would help, this delay has nothing to do with Trump demanding Newsom investigate Joe Biden. The San Jose Mercury News explains how the federal government managed to prevent California from spending its own damn money:
The governor accused the Trump administration of trying to politicize the issue and preventing the funding from getting to local officials who can put it to use. State law says that funding allocations ultimately must be based off homeless counts approved by the federal government. But Newsom's office says Trump's team has been sitting on the data for months.
So instead, California will use preliminary homeless estimates to distribute $500 million and wait for the final numbers to allocate the remainder of the funds.
What? The feds are holding up routine government data at a time when Donald Trump is routinely attacking California for supposedly not doing enough about homelessness? Pardon us while we locate our shocked faces. Also not surprising: The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is responsible for the data on homelessness, didn't return the Mercury News's request for comment. Ben Carson was probably shopping for furniture.
She has a plan to make you tear up a little.
At a town hall in Marion, Iowa, Sunday night, Elizabeth Warren switched up her usual format. Instead of the usual stump speech followed by a few questions (followed by selfies until the wee hours), Warren spoke only briefly, about 10 minutes, before opening up the floor to questions. Seventeen-year-old Raelyn, whose short hair wasn't unlike Warren's own 'do, started choking up with tears as she asked a really personal question: "I was wondering if there was ever a time in your life where somebody you really looked up to maybe didn't accept you as much, and how you dealt with that?"
Raelyn, who asked only to be cited by her first name, later told reporters that her question grew out of some Thanksgiving-week conversations with family about her own membership in the LGBTQ community. And then Warren, on the verge of tears too, got to her own answer.
Do it up right.
One year -- it was 2005, I remember because it was the Great Thanksgiving Drink-All-Day of 2005 -- my mom put me in charge of booze. Because I am brilliant and also fun, I went to the hangar-sized liquor store in Costa Mesa and bought tiny airplane bottles of every different premium gin so we could all do taste tests. Suparna liked the Hendrick's! I liked the Thompson's! (Which the internet tells me cannot ship to the United States? TRUMP WHAT HAVE YOU DONE NOW.) Everybody else liked other everything elses! The tiny bottles meant we sipped like hamsters, creating a perfect toasty buzz all day that never fell over into us falling over. I mention this because I have nothing else to start this post with.
DC Court Says Climate Change Prof Can Sue The F*ck Out Of National Review And Man We're Broken Up About It
Go fuck yourself William F. Buckley :D
Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied a cert petition in Competitive Enterprise Institute and National Review v. Michael E. Mann, letting a DC Court of Appeals order allowing the lawsuit to go forward to stand.
And I don't know about y'all, but I can't wait to see the bros over at the National Review go in front of a DC jury.
When this Supreme Court refuses the opportunity to jump in to both protect the bootlickers at the National Review AND try to debunk climate change, you know someone done fucked up.
Excuse me for a moment.
Sorry Ken Layne, don't love you no more.
For years now -- seven at least, suckers -- we have been making Aunt Wonkette's Real Cranberry Business. It's great! (Needs more sugar. Not Oprah-level four damn cups, but one would be nice.) But last year, we did not do that. We wanted pineapple, which we almost always have on hand ever since your comrade Vegan & Peeara or whatever she is named these days told us while we visited her in Charleston that pineapples are symbols of hospitality.
So fuck it, we did it live!
What a week! Let's unwind!
Here at Casa Zoom, we capped off a week of impeachment hearings by coming down with a cold. Not one of those knock-you-on-your-ass colds that decisively sends you to bed because you're completely useless, just a sleazy insinuating cold that leaves you feeling like turds but more or less functional enough that you think you should just shrug it off but you also don't wanna do anything. It's not even an interesting enough cold to bother describing, is the kind of cold it is. So we're ready for some Nice Things, too, dammit.
We got us a Nice Time!
Dr. Scott Warren is a humanitarian and Arizona border activist. He was arrested, charged with a felony, and put on trial -- twice -- for being a good person.
His crimes? Literally saving lives. Warren was charged with two felony counts of harboring illegal immigrants for giving food, water, and temporary shelter to two migrants in the Arizona desert.
For saving two lives, Warren faced up to 20 years in prison.
Thankfully, the jurors weren't buying what the Trump prosecutors were selling, and the 12-person jury came back quickly with its verdict of not guilty on all counts.
As Laurie Roberts wrote for the Arizona Republic:
Fortunately, there are some things that endure, even in the Trump era.
Things like faith and hope and the ability to offer a cup of water to a thirsty man.
Warren was charged with a crime for WHAT?!
Happily, no need for rationing!
Switzerland ignited a very civilized -- if somewhat jittery -- outcry last week over its decision to stop stockpiling coffee beans as part of a century-old program to make sure that basic essentials of life can be made available to all Swiss folks in case of an emergency. Smithsonian magazine explains:
In the wake of World War I, Switzerland's government decided to stockpile enough essential items to sustain the country's citizens for three months. If the landlocked country faced severe shortages, the plan's creators reasoned, its residents would be able to survive on the rations. Today, writes BBC News' Imogen Foulkes, the list of staples earmarked for stockpiling includes fuel, fresh water, animal feed, medicine, sugar, flour, cooking oil, rice and—to the great satisfaction of Switzerland's caffeine-loving population—15,000 tons of coffee.
The Swiss government noticed that coffee has no real nutritional value, but came to the erroneous conclusion that means it's not an essential of life. Swiss people respectfully disagreed, and if they hadn't had their morning coffee, may have been somewhat less respectful. The government is now reconsidering the decision. Especially since a lack of coffee may constitute an emergency in itself.
Along similar lines, we would like to think that in these Hell Times, a regular supply of cat pictures, please, and other fluff may seem easy to dismiss, but nonetheless necessary for mental health. Or at least a welcome reminder that even in the deepening gloom, your dog is finally getting enough cheese.
Yesterday was a great day and also just a start.
The state of Oklahoma freed 462 inmates from prison yesterday after their sentences were commuted, in what's widely being called the biggest single-day release of prisoners in US history. We should note, however, that the New York Times fastidiously says it's merely "one of the largest," because what about that time Andrew Johnson pardoned all the Confederates? Either way, it's a huge step toward reform for Oklahoma, which the Times notes "continues to vie with Louisiana for the highest per-capita imprisonment rate in the country."
Who Wins Political Kid Halloween? 'Pierre Delecto,' Baby Unicorn, Or Baby Shark? (Duh, Babies ALWAYS Win)
It's time again for Halloween, that kids' holiday coopted by adults, which makes perfect sense since they have far more buying power. And so we bring you a brief collection of politicians' kids' costumes, or costumes of politicians, or just whatever, because it's the end of the day and we don't have to buy candy at all because in 14 years at this location no one has EVER trick-or-treated here. Apartments rule.
Mitt Romney is such a doofus, but his grandkids seem to have some fun! Check out this excellent "Pierre Delecto" get-up!
It's almost as good as this 2012 political dog costume we found online, the "revenge of Seamus":
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