Three Things: Eff These Effing Effers

That mealy-mouthed compromised weasel Lindsey Graham spent a lot of time whining on the Sunday talk show circuit this weekend.

Somebody out there has the dirt on Graham. Just. Spill. It. Find a vehicle to do the job, get yourself clear, and let it rip because all of us, Democrats and Republicans alike, are going to spend too much time mopping up Lindsey’s alligator tears if his personal problem isn’t addressed out in the open.

He wouldn’t be doing all this whining about Democrats and backstabbing his own party if he was hidey-holed trying to lick his wounds. It’s not like he’s got anything to lose in 2022 or 2024 because he was just re-elected, goddamn it all.

Just. Spill. The. Dirt. Lance the festering boil animating Graham. Back up the truck, press DUMP, and run like hell.

~ 3 ~

Until somebody gets smart and dumps the dirt on Graham, we need to regroup and get in gear for 2022. We can’t lose the Senate or we’ll end up with two years of stagnation and worse. If the last two years were bad, an economic depression making the 1930s look like a piece of cake could result from the GOP taking the Senate again.

Here’s the targets of our offense:

State Class III Cook PVI Age Now Open ‘2018 Moscow Convict Trump
Pennsylvania Pat Toomey (R) Even 59 Open N Y
Wisconsin Ron Johnson (R) Even 65   Y N
Florida Marco Rubio (R) R+02 49   N N
Iowa Chuck Grassley (R) R+03 87   N N
North Carolina Richard Burr (R) R+03 65 Open N Y
Ohio Rob Portman (R) R+03 65 Open N N
Arizona Mark Kelly (D) R+05 56   N Y
Georgia Raphael Warnock (D) R+05 51   N Y
South Carolina Tim Scott (R) R+08 55   N N
Alaska Lisa Murkowski (R) R+09 63   N Y
Missouri Roy Blunt (R) R+09 71   N N
Indiana Todd Young (R) R+09 48   N N
Louisiana John Kennedy (R) R+11 69   Y N
Kansas Jerry Moran (R) R+13 66   Y N
Alabama Richard Shelby (R) R+13 86 Open Y N
South Dakota John Thune (R) R+14 60   Y N
Arkansas John Boozman (R) R+15 70   N N
Kentucky Rand Paul (R) R+15 58   N N
North Dakota John Hoeven (R) R+17 63   Y N
Idaho Mike Crapo (R) R+19 69   N N
Oklahoma James Lankford (R) R+20 52   N N
Utah Mike Lee (R) R+20 49   N N

These are all the GOP seats up for re-election or open in 2022, sorted by their Cook Partisan Voting Index rating. The strongest rated GOP are at the bottom, the weakest at the top.

There are three columns identifying which seats are open, which of these GOP senators went to Moscow on July 4 in 2018, and which ones voted to convict.

Sen. Shelby, one of those who went to Moscow, is 86 years old. He’s likely retiring due to age; it’s not clear why Putin would have ensured he was invited unless he knew something about Shelby not obvious to us. But Shelby is the likely ceiling on Cook PVI at R+13.

I’ve inserted two of the newest Democratic senators in the table, noting their state is rated R+5. This should tell us that every single seat at R+5 to Even is highly gettable with solid organizing on the ground. If you live in one of these states, you should be looking into helping as soon as possible. Those two Democrats, Kelly and Warnock, also need help; they won a special election, but must now fight for the Class III seat for the full six-year term.

Every one of the GOP senators who went to Moscow is vulnerable. Moscow wouldn’t have invited them if they weren’t either compromised, soft and could be compromised, or whatever psychographic and demographic data Putin’s data trolls had pulled together indicated these seats would trend left long before the pandemic.

Louisiana, for example, is increasingly non-white, its population become less white and more non-white at a rate of 1/4% per year. In 2018, the state was 58.4% non-Hispanic white. COVID may have stemmed some of that shift by way of Team Trump’s passive genocide by neglect, but that still means 41.6% of the population is non-white. Strong, effective organizing like that in Georgia this last election season could make Louisiana gettable, and it could explain why Moscow reached out to Sen. Kennedy.

Iowa is gettable for other reasons — the damage Trump did to farmers with his unnecessary trade war, Chuck Grassley’s decrepitude, a strong Democratic candidate pipeline, to name a few. What Iowa will need, though, is to get its act together with regard to its primary process. DNC’s new chair Jaime Harrison may be looking into this early rather than later to assure smooth sailing into 2022.

Speaking of Harrison, all those other less-gettable seats shouldn’t be ignored. Harrison appears ready to reinstitute a 50-state strategy leaving no seat uncontested. Kentucky, for example, shouldn’t be ceded because it’s rated R+15 and McConnell just won re-election there; if Charles Booker was interested in running against Rand Paul, he could stand a decent chance of winning, let alone make Paul work hard for his seat.

Pick a race or two. Get engaged early. Figure out how to help. Do not let the fascist GOP believe it has a chance at continued minority rule.

~ 2 ~

A new conservative party may soon emerge, consisting of more traditional conservatives who identified as Republican and are not Trump supporters.

This is a good move; I hope these folks do all the right things, getting their party formally established and organized in all 50 states. Could these folks peel away a few centrist Democrats? Possibly. But they’re more likely to fragment the power of the existing GOP.

We’d also be closer to a multi-party model than we have been, preventing a far more fascist entity like the Party of Trumpism from taking control of any branch of government.

Many Democrats have been upset about House Speaker Pelosi’s remarks saying this country needs a strong Republican Party:

But I wonder if what she really meant was a the country needs a strong party which believes in a republic — a democratic republic — giving a subtle nod to McMullin and the other breakaway Republicans who are interested in a pro-democracy conservative party.

Consider the timing of her remarks made on Saturday, while McMullin discussed the potential new party on Friday.

~ 1 ~

Of all the whining that pasty, soft-handed, slack-assed Graham did this weekend, this pissed me off the most.

Right, asshole. You want to impeach the first Black-Asian woman VP because she supported First Amendment-protected peaceful protests against racist police brutality while she was a senator? Or are you really just eager to impeach Harris because she’s Black-Asian, woman, and a VP like you will never be?

Go ahead and try it, whiner. You’re only giving every American who is non-white and/or woman impetus to organize even harder to get out the mothertrucking vote.

I really do hope there’s a new pro-democracy conservative party ready to run for Lindsey Graham’s seat in six years. I’d even donate money to them to see them make him whine even harder.

~ 0 ~

If you’re inside the polar vortex, I hope you’re able to stay warm. Reduce your electricity consumption as much as you can tolerate it to keep the load on the grid down. This web site is cheesy looking but it has some decent pointers about keeping warm. If you’re not in the vortex, do some emergency preparedness work because we don’t know with certainty how this or the next vortex will pan out.

And for dogs’ sake, stay off the road if at all possible if you live where snow and ice are rarities.

Oh, and double mask to protect against the newer highly-transmissible UK version of COVID.

134 replies
  1. cavenewt says:

    Speaking of the polar vortex, my sister is in Wisconsin. Her propane company is sending out warnings letting people know that if your propane tank is outside, temperatures of about 44 below zero can reduce the pressure in the tank so much that it effectively stops working — no pressure in tank, no gas in lines. That’s why they recommend keeping your tank topped up in the winter, it makes it less likely you will lose pressure.

    PS. I’m having trouble deciding whether Lindsey Graham or Mitch McConnell is more deplorable.

    • PeterS says:

      About your P.S., for a while I’ve played this mental exercise of trying to rank Barr, Graham, McConnell and Pompeo in terms of awfulness. It’s been a challenge, and not exactly uplifting.

      • timbo says:

        Pompeo, of the four, is my guess. Fortunately, he’s not as close to the levers of power as he was up to Jan 20. And hopefully he never is again.

    • P J Evans says:

      Oregon is still cleaning up – and reconnecting power – after a major ice storm last week. Friend says he’s using about 20 gallons per night, for minimal generator power, and is hoping the phone line (thoroughly iced) doesn’t break. They had 9 poles down on the major line in his area, east of Salem.

        • P J Evans says:

          It’s a semi-rural area, so there’d be a lot of people with generators. He has two, one for the shop building and one for the house, which is running the fridge, the freezer, and some heat and light.
          My parents had a small generator in west Texas, for the garage door, the well pump, the fridge and freezer, and minimal lighting. Also the house was framed with 2×6 lumber, so it had a bit more insulation than usual. They said it could go 24 hours without needing heat, but after that it cooled down inside. That part of the state handles cold better, because it’s not unusual.

          • Eureka says:

            That sounds like a nice home, keeping its warmth, and good that they had cold sense. Anyone with winter-sense in certain parts of the south for a storm becomes an instant hero (which is pretty amusing on first experience: uh, we’re just … driving). First time we ever saw lines going to the back of a store, three inches of snow were forecast and we’d thought nothing of it. Just incidentally needed bread and milk and you couldn’t even get into most parking lots the night before, they were so packed. The city was indeed crippled for a good couple days from those three inches.

  2. graham firchlis says:

    Thank you so much. Breath of fresh air.

    Heavy lift before us, wresting control of the narrative and the future of our nation. Blasting our only allies with imagined outrage harms progressive effort.

    Lindsey Graham is a loathsome hypocrite (and I see what you did there) but I don’t care if Diane Feinstein hugs him.* I care how she votes.

    And for the love of reality can those who do just stop with the absurdly false characterization of Nancy Pelosi as some Authoritarian Corporatist La Llarrona. Factually, provably, she is one of the most consequential progressives and groundbreaking feminists of the modern era. She is one of the most intelligent and morally upright people in public service, who leads a fractious caucus by reasoned consensus not dictat. Representing her otherwise is detached from reality.

    All politics is local. GOTV. Political power belongs to the people, but only to the people who are willing to put in the effort to sieze it.

    * (Sad, that, trying to fill a traumatic emotional hole she never can. A little empathy would not be amiss.)

    • bmaz says:

      Well, I see you once again have your lips firmly planted on Pelosi’s ass. Your love for her after not one, but now two horribly failed impeachment efforts makes Graham’s ass kissing of Trump look almost platonic. Is she your mother or something?

      Oh, and by the way, your beloved Pelosi is now making purring sounds about establishing a committee to investigate 1/6. That is swell. After completely squandering the impeachment power, she is going to establish a feckless committee that will have, at best, vague legislative purpose power. Swell.

      • Martin says:

        I see that you don’t like Ms. Pelosi. Strong, smart women threaten you much?

        [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Martin.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • Rayne says:

          You look new here so I’ll cut you some slack this time. If you’ve looked at the site’s About Us page, you’ll note there are strong women contributors, one of whom is the founder. We don’t take crap and bmaz isn’t threatened by us.

          What you are seeing is bmaz’s dislike of Pelosi as he feels she is not effective. He’s as verbal about his dislike as I am about that feckless twit Lindsey Graham. Add something constructive to the conversation or move on.

      • graham firchlis says:

        Well, I see you once agsin bring nothing but argumenta ad hominem, projection and coprolalia in defense of your unfounded claims.

        AOC and the Squad are in complete support of Pelosi as Speaker along with the whole of the House Democratic caucus. The approach to this impeachment and trial has concurrence without exception from the entire Democratic congressional caucus and President Biden. She has thier respect and support – and mine – because she has earned it, over decades of earnest, honest, courageous and productive public service.

        With a POV far removed from even AOC’s eccentric orbit, your stance in political space is an enigma.. It may be your view of the ‘Verse is distorted by close proximity to Uranus, but that would be mere speculation.

        • Rayne says:

          Look, we know you and bmaz are on different sides with regard to Pelosi as House Speaker. So noted.

          Add something new and constructive or move along.

          • Lilly Hobbs says:

            Definitely don’t want in a fuss but want to say that I read Bmaz’s posts even though I know I disagree with him on this. But I read him because, after reading many posts by him on a variety of subjects, his are reasoned, neatly expressed ,and sometimes snarky. He seems to know a lot of law, which is useful to me. He expresses himself . . . forthrightly; sometimes it grates when I feel he is unfair. I do not know a male Democratic Rep who could have herded the cats any better.
            Excuse my dropping in for this. Emptywheel is a daily must read for me.

          • graham firchlis says:

            New dunno, but here’s a thing I haven’t seen much discussed. All as I understand the tea leaves and little bird whispers.

            For those eager for Pelosi to step down, brace yourselves. Hakeem Jeffries will replace her, that deal is done and dusted. IMHO he is neither as progressive nor as skillful as Pelosi.

            She did not promise to retire this term, and odds are she’ll stay one more cycle. When she does Hoyer is expected to retire, and that replacement struggle is underway among bluedogs with a srong push for a younger woman leader.

            Expect Conyers to stay on a while”for continuity” and also until he sorts out his successor issues.

            The next few years will be critical for setting up next gen House leadership, now a void. Opportunty awaits.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Politics involves performance and it conveys a hefty political message when a senior Democratic Senator needs to reassure herself by hugging an arch rival after a contentious hearing. Feinstein’s need for assurance does not express bipartisanship or lower the political temperature, it does not move the GOP an inch toward compromise or the center. It is an own goal, something for which the Democrats are famous.

      As for establishing a commission to “investigate” 1/6, commissions of inquiry – the South African Truth Commission aside – are normally where bureaucracies send truth to die. If they succeed in documenting the truth, they normally bury it in a mountain of paperwork, false equivalence, and shovels full of other propaganda techniques.

      That’s not to say don’t try to use one. It is to say that like any investigation, its credibility and the chances of its success depend on its staffing, authority, powers, time frame, and budget. In other words, the devil is in the details. So far, Ms. Pelosi seems interested in the PR credit for announcing one so soon after a badly failed impeachment process. But she has a scant record of holding authority to account.

      • graham firchlis says:

        Sometimes a hug is just a hug. It is only an act of political import if observers choose to make it so.

        No question Feinstein has lost a step. OK, two steps. Time was her political acumen would have saved this display for the cloakroom, out of sight, and she would have demurred from the awkward followon presser. But she is still a reliable progressive vote, and if she wants to hang on long enough to set term records no one of importance here will deny her. She has earned a little deference.

        Those old enough to remember the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk also remember her stepping up in the midst of her personal horror, sacrificing her own healing process in favor of being the City’s chief comforter. Unresolved PTSD is not just for soldiers.

        When the shooting started, Feinstein ran toward the sounds. Had the assassin lingered, she would have been killed as well. She was the first to find Harvey, already dead as she took him in her arms. Always a serial hugger, she has ever since tried to fill the hole left in her heart, her soul, and her psyche by substituting huggy friendship with men of, ahem, a certain persuasion.

        The void left because her last embrace of Milk went unreciprocated cannot be be fixed, but if hugging Lindsey Graham gives her even a moment’s peace so be it. To castigate her for such a simple act is to my mind both cruel and inhumane. I know I am not alone in my position. I pity those who cannot empathize with her unresolved pain.

        These are actual real whole people, not cardboard cutouts extant only as targets for random poo flinging. Just a little humanity, please. Just a little.

        • P J Evans says:

          She’s not popular in CA, for whatever reason (mostly, I suspect, because she’s not paying attention any more). Should have retired already.

          • graham firchlis says:

            Popular enough to win re-election in 2018 by a million votes against another Democrat. The widely bandied recent UC poll is junk.

            After Nov 5 2022 Feinstein becomes the longest tenured woman Senator. She wants that, and the CA political power structure supports her. Her office continues to move worthwhile legislation, with a competent and experienced staff.

            Shortly after she’ll retire, setting off a political frenzy. Jockying has already begun, complicated by a recall of Newsom this fall. CA political power has been static for a while. A lot of built up tension is going to come unsprung.

            Reasonable analysis from LA Times via Yahoo:


        • timbo says:

          Yep. On behalf of the “enemy noncombatant” prisoners still held at Guantanamo, or more specifically, on behalf of the human beings that disappeared before they could even arrive in that prison forever, lost in the black-sites, I decided not to laugh.

  3. punaise says:

    I, too, am dying to know who’s got what on Cracker Graham. He was nominally in the occasionally sane McCain vein, then someone got to him. In this day and age it has got be more than the fear of being involuntarily de-closeted.

      • Rayne says:

        One golf game with Trump is all it took for Graham to do a 180 degree turn.

        One game out of reach of the press.

        A power hungry asshole without any self-respect AND Graham’s background should be able to finesse that reversal without looking like he got bent over the back of the golf cart. Nope — they have Graham by his short curly greys.

        • Tracy Lynn says:

          What IS Graham’s background, exactly? I know what people intimate—but it doesn’t seem like they know exactly what he’s about (other than being a power hungry a*hole, of course).

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That description doesn’t narrow the field much. It would describe many political personalities. Few of them demonstrate Lindsey’s political position shifting, which deserves a Twister gold medal. No, Lindsey’s behavior suggests he has more to hide than a lurid sexual history, common in congressional circles.

    • PeterS says:

      Complete lack of principles, ruthless ambition and an addiction to media attention can explain a lot. I wonder why he got worse after McCain passed away? McCain was protecting him (how would that work?) or it’s pretty recent dirt.

      • Rayne says:

        McCain needed a vote in his hip pocket, a voice to get his back when he got maverick-y with the party. It was a symbiotic relationship.

        The other thing Graham provided McCain in exchange for protection and strong guidance was cover for McCain’s health problems. The average American had NO idea how damaged McCain was during his last 6-10 years of life. I suspect Graham literally helped McCain get around his disabilities.

        • PeterS says:

          Your description of their relationship sounds right. But my train of thought went something like this …. if the dirt is not new, then whoever holds it had the option of pressuring Graham while McCain was alive. And the option of dishing it if Graham didn’t play ball.

          Graham either was pressured while McCain was alive or he wasn’t. If he was pressured it seems he resisted, because he only got really terrible later. Why wasn’t the dirt dished then, could McCain somehow protect Graham? If Graham wasn’t pressured while McCain was alive, why not? Why would someone wait for McCain to die before pressuring Graham?

          So perhaps the dirt is new, or Graham lost his way when the more principled McCain was gone. Or something else, I don’t pretend to have answers.

          P.S. I loathe Graham.

          • Rayne says:

            I think there’s another dynamic at work. Assume the entire GOP is compromised in some way — hello, RNC emails hacked but never released — and they all know it. They all vote in tandem because they know who’s holding the figurative gun on them; they have no reason to rat on each other provided they all vote together. But they were all corralled into that unified vote in October 2017, when Graham played golf the first time with Trump. Read this piece on that game; note how Bob Corker’s relationship is characterized with Trump; we know at that point already Corker’s going to retire. Corker had defected from Trumpism so Trump took his most outspoken GOP critic to the course and then [something happened]. Suddenly Graham is on Trump’s side, so immediately it’s revolting to read even four years later.

            Trump got Lindsey in line, which likely influenced the rest of the GOP senate, and the other intransigent retired. Whatever Team Trump has on Graham includes the implication that the most outspoken critic caved because of it and the rest had better get behind him.

            They’re none of them free to vote their conscience without Trump on their ass — today’s press release reminded them of this.

            • Savage Librarian says:

              Since you mentioned Corker, it brought Kushner to my mind. A few months prior to that golf game Lindsey had with DT, the article below was written.

              Although not named in this specific list, Giuliani (and others) are also mentioned in this article. And, at least one of these people (Kurson) has an interesting connection to Rudy.

              Now we know that both Ken Kurson and Charlie Kushner have received pardons from DT. On the surface, from evidence currently available, it seems like these pardons are for crimes unrelated to the Russia investigation. So, the question is, could there be something beneath the surface that is connected to Russia? Or connected to the hack of the RNC?

              “Inside Jared Kushner’s circle of trust” – Politico, 6/29/17 – Annie Karni

              “The Patriarch – Charlie Kushner

              The Base Connector – Jeff Roe

              The Washington Insider -Newt Gingrich

              The Old Steady – Ken Kurson

              The Democratic Lawyer –
              Jamie Gorelick

              Senator – Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

              The Billionaire – Steve Schwarzman

              The Media Mogul – Rupert Murdoch

              The Ambassadors –
              Israel Ambassador Ron Dermer

              United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef Otaiba”


            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              Rayne, thanks for the call-back to that Trump/Graham golf date. My first book, co-written with a PGA teaching pro, served as my introduction to the nearly invisible (to the rest of us) social transactions that golf enables among the powerful. The article illustrates one of many reasons why Trump will never acquire the upper-crust acceptance he so craves: Graham’s performative submission reflects Trump’s need to display dominance, and such displays are considered crass and boorish by those whose approval he’s always sought.

              • Rayne says:

                I’d swear Trump was the model for the loud-mouthed, crass character Al Czervik (played by Rodney Dangerfield) in the 1980 film Caddyshack, if Trump had been more well known in golfing circles at that time. Never accepted by the Judge Elihu Smails types until he became a reality TV celebrity and his manufactured wealthy boss persona was accepted as real by the public at large.

                Graham is a pathetic version of the needy caddy Danny, sucking up to whomever, whenever, because he has no standing of his own. I guess this analogy makes John McCain the golfer Ty Webb, who needs none of the sycophancy because he’s a proven maverick, we might say.

                I’m going to end up rebooting Caddyshack at this rate, updated for a Trumpy world.

    • cavenewt says:

      In her live broadcast today, Heather Cox Richardson said Lindsey Graham has seemed absolutely unhinged the last couple of weeks — even more so than before.

  4. joel fisher says:

    “Somebody out there has the dirt on Graham. Just. Spill. It.”
    Don’t you think that one possessor of said dirt is Team Trump? Keep the lapdog in line. If the dirt came out we might see a whole different, no longer under threat of revelations, Lindsey. Whoever does the big reveal would be doing the Senator a painful favor. Of course, that potential “new Lindsey” might be worse.

    • Chris.EL says:

      Re: Lindsey Graham; maybe it is nearly no dirt — Graham strikes me as one unable to “roll with the punches,” or *duck*. In other words, gutless.

      Re: Pelosi! I cannot imagine having or doing the job she has done for — lo these many years! Raising children, maintaining a marriage, rolling with constituents, communicating with opponents, being Speaker, going from coast to coast — it’s a killer!


      I did not know this option for dealing with Trump existed: from Washington Post … “Congress can — and must — pursue an alternative path to protecting our republic from a future Trump presidency: Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.”…

      Story is titled “Congress must invoke the 14th Amendment to stop Trump from running again”
      by Tom Coleman and John C. Danforth

    • Chris.EL says:

      The two authors of the WaPo piece are both Republicans!! There is *HOPE*

      … “Tom Coleman is a former Republican congressman from Missouri and an adviser to Protect Democracy. John C. Danforth is a former Republican senator from Missouri.” …

  5. Eureka says:

    Rayne, punaise: I was *just* discussing this with spouse but in a, uh, more graphic fashion. Out with it, whoever’s got it — I can’t take this hack anymore. Even though we wouldn’t care if it was related to him being closeted, it seems enough folks pop up to say it could matter for SC GOP politics. (And then there’s the LP guy — different circumstances but it shows the lengths some will go to maintain a facade that they believe they need to.)

    Toomey’s seat is *wide* open. ‘Bad’ news there is that a bunch of Never Trumpers have stepped forward already for the GOP side, and Toomey did better than Trump in key places in 2016. On the Dem side, current Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is first and loudest out the gate (and most nationally known, perhaps, from media), but Dems look to have a crowded field as well. (The PA Gov. seat is open, too, adding to the frenzy a bit.)

    Moving thread, can attest that these jars are hard to get to; my taller (than this woman) spouse couldn’t find my flavor, either, when it was right there. I’m so glad the woman and the writer shared this story — good preserves besides the ingredients:

    Michael Perino: “Incident in a NJ Supermarket At the supermarket today, I found a small, elderly woman standing in front of a high shelf holding @BonneMamanUS preserves. She was having trouble finding the flavor she wanted because the jars were set back on the shelf.” [thread]
    3:33 PM · Feb 14, 2021

    • P J Evans says:

      I hate shelves that are above the reach of most people, when that’s where they put the off-brands, the less-sold stuff, and the oversized. (But at mine, Ma Maman is on the shelf at 5-foot level.)

      • Eureka says:

        It didn’t used to be that inaccessible until they reorganized the store (which makes me wonder if it’s a related/chain in that NJ instance).

        During the pandemic sell-outs I learned how tough is the bottom shelf, too. I had to climb into it to get some ladies their peanut butter.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I think a number of large supermarkets – Dutch-owned Ahold Delhaize, for example, which owns several US chains – have rearranged store shelving. It is taller but shallower, creating the perception of larger volume while actually decreasing it, which lowers the cost and amount of inventory on hand.

          • Eureka says:

            Bingo, earl — that’s the pertinent co. in this case, and your explanation makes sense. It’s too bad that they don’t recognize in their redesign that many of us remember when all stores weren’t supersized (or currently frequent other, old-school locations).

            A scale-down, rather than UP, of looming product in any capacity would leave us better off. We can handle it, really. [Though I must say the death of malls is kinda sad in that nostalgic way — already a memory, but this puts the final corners on it. And it hurts communities in similar ways as the waves of other closures: factories, Main Streets… More to re-imagine.]

            • Valley girl says:

              Trivia response- I doubt that other people here read/ have read Reacher books (I can be pretty low-brow when choosing books), but a shelf-reaching event with the author’s family in a grocery store is where the name arose.

              • vvv says:

                Big fan here; absolutely the best of comic book novels, and there are a cuppla spin-offs: the Jack Widow series by Scott Blade and the Looking for Reacher series by Diane Capri. Those series are pretty close to the Reacher books – I like ’em all between more “serious” stuff (currently reading all the Smiley books by LeCarre, but just detoured into *Dark Star* by Alan Furst). They only take a day or two to read.

                We might could use a thread on reading material …

                  • vvv says:

                    Not sure of your question? Jack Reacher is a character from Lee Child’s series, the last book co-written with his brother, who is taking the series over. the Inferior (but mostly watchable) Tom Cruise movies are based on that series. The other two series I cite are approved by lee child, with one protag (Widow) apparently being Reacher’s bastard son; the second series is about FBI agents trying to locate Reacher, usually right after one of his books ends.

                • PeterS says:

                  Yeah, Alan Furst is good. My own choice for lighter reading is Connelly’s series of Bosch books. Lighter reading for somewhere like the beach I mean. Jeez, it’s 30 degrees where I am. Centigrade.

                  • vvv says:

                    Yes, just finished Michael Connelly’s latest, which is not about Bosch but rather his reporter character – helluva writer in the current noir genre, his latest is just OK.

                    I am also a big fan (just finished his latest, also) of John Connally, an Irisher who writes about a Maine PI named Charlie Parker who may, or may not be, some kind of touched-by-the-supernatural figure; his best friends are a retired pair of gay hitmen; his latest is excellent.

                    And yes, Furst is very heavy, and all of the Russian and German names complicate things for me. But for historical spy fiction = top notch.

                    I have a cuppla Iain Bank’s books here, also.

              • Ginevra diBenci says:

                Hey Valley Girl, total Reacher addict here! I never knew that, and I don’t think my dad did either; he recommended the series to me years ago. I still have every book on a special shelf. Childs writes powerful, clean prose, and I admire his plotting skills. But mostly I just enjoy the ride every time a new one comes out.

        • P J Evans says:

          Mine usually has a display of small jars of PB near the day-old bread rack. (Now if they’d just get more whole-wheat bread….)

  6. Eureka says:

    Ice-naive (and native) folks seem to find this helpful (I may quibble with the biomechanics a bit but do have my own shuffle). Caveat emptor and all that. Best to stay inside and off the ice!

    Sonia Moghe: “My hometown Fire Department put out an explainer graphic on *how to walk on ice* and … I know you’re going to make fun of it but, honestly, I could have used it the first winter I spent out of Texas. [graphic]”

    Sonia Moghe: “@brianstelter “One animal that has figured this out is the penguin. Think of yourself as a penguin and you’ll be alright.””

      • Eureka says:

        Yep, or yak traks (perhaps more suitable for environs less entrenched than those to which your name indicates you’re accustomed) — folks suggested each of those options in the replies.

    • Lawnboy says:

      If you run a small amount of cold tap water ( size of pencil lead) while the power is off, it keeps enough flow to stop the supply line from freezing up. Frost level was said to be 14 feet down ( hint; former Winter Olympics City) !!! And it worked for me.

      I wont mention using a welding machine to thaw the same copper lines to the house.

      Snow is just frozen Rayne.

      • P J Evans says:

        As a kid, living about 50 miles east of SF, it occasionally got cold enough (low 20s F) to freeze the water line in the (unheated, uninsulated) garage. My father would go out with a blowtorch and a piece of asbestos sheet to thaw it.

      • Eureka says:

        Your hint makes me think of a “tranquil” place.

        Glad you lived to not tell about that welder business (or were you resoldering joints for days, lol, and left that part out). That’s *kind of* worse than using a pressure washer to clean windows (requires about as much luck and finesse, though). As you can tell I may be familiar with such tool appropriation schemes.

        PJ: Blowtorch and asbestos sheet, yes. And even that can get dicey.


        This is why we’ve got heat tape in some spots. Much easier to plug that in than

        • Lawnboy says:

          Truth is, the welder is clamped to a nearby fire hydrant and the city side of the water meter. (no solder harmed) Its a last ditch effort and is not legal. Obviously all lines in the home are drained when you realize things are not going well inside.
          I want to clear that up for safety, so let a pro set it up. I also realized that those poor people in Austin will not have wifi.

  7. bmaz says:

    Okay, as to Rayne’s chart of seats in play, I know more about AZ and Kelly than most of the others that are up for 2022. As noted, Kelly won a special election, so he has to run again. Kelly hasn’t fully acquired the reputation yet, but he, excepting gun control, may be even less “progressive” than Sinema. But for Schumer blocking him as to support, it is extremely likely the wonderful Ruben Gallego would be sitting in that seat right now. But Kelly is there, has the name recognition and will get substantial money for reelection. Dem primary challengers need not apply. As to the GOP side, there will be many jockeying for the nomination. Current AZ governor/Trumpist stooge Doug Ducey has told several media, including the NYT, that he won’t be one of them. If so, fine, he is horrible, but probably would be the strongest GOP candidate. He is term limited out as Governor, so he may well change his mind. We’ll see. Bottom line, my guess is Kelly hangs on.

    • Rayne says:

      The one thing Kelly has going for him that Sinema doesn’t: a track record as a politician which could damage him.

      Sinema wrote in 2014 she thought it was obvious the minimum wage needed to be boosted to $15/hour. This month she says she doesn’t support doing that during a pandemic, which is exactly when minimum wage workers on the front lines need it the most. It’s this kind of history which could hurt any other politician running against Kelly.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Agree with harpie! I’ve been scrounging around for this information and it really helps to see it all laid out clearly in one place. 2022 is mere months away, and I don’t want to take my eye off that ball again (as in 2009-10). Because my work means performing an autopsy on the past, I can use the help keeping some focus on the future.

  8. Ravenclaw says:

    Looking forward to dirty revelations re Graham – though if it’s purely personal s**t honestly it’s less important than outing the constitutional traitors (no, not guilty of treason) Hawley, Cruz, and Tuberville.

    As for the Senate races of 2022 – wow, yes, if the Dems can pick up even 3 of the 6 really competitive seats currently held by the once-great (if much decayed) Republican Party and hold onto even 1 of the 2 seats just won in special elections, that would make for a much more comfortable position – no need for V.P. Harris to linger nearby or wheedle the more conservative Dems (looking at you, Manchin) into cooperation with the agenda. Are the rest of the Dems really ‘safe,’ though? I don’t know nearly enough about Cortez-Masto (Nevada), Wyden (Oregon), or Bennett (Colorado) to be honest, and of course Hassan (New Hampshire) could face a challenging election. Though I must say that if those states are as rough as it gets, the road looks paved and largely free of potholes.

    • heddalee says:

      I’m in Oregon. Secretary of State is the only statewide office where Republicans are truly competitive. Wyden and Merkley are safe seats for Democrats. The Portland area dominates the state, though the state’s decades-long skinhead plague continues on, wearing new clothes now. Portlanders may be easy to lampoon, but we vote in large numbers and vote blue, as do our adjacent suburbs.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Ron Wyden is an incumbent Senator and a very experienced politician—I’d be surprised if he sees much trouble in his bid for re-election.

  9. MissyDC says:

    It may be hard to believe that someone can be awful just because, but Lindsay is just that. There’s no compromise, he’s someone who needs a strongman. First it was McCain, now Trump. Most of these GOP are just craven, horrible, people who love power. It’s that simple.

    (I don’t post often and may be using different user name. Have notes this to future postings)

    • timbo says:

      It seems that it is unlikely that anyone would stay more than one term in the US Senate if they didn’t get some sort of high out of being a Senator. But, yeah, it is not clear what makes Graham keep doing whatever it is he’s doing… outside of a need for attention and free press back in South Carolina. Of course, if he seems increasingly unhinged of late, it might be because of a mistake or two on the phone to Georgia’s Secretary of State (et al?) a few weeks/months back…

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Trump wrote off Burr as an apostate after that Senate Intel report came out, IIRC. I have a hazy, pre-pandemic recollection of Loeffler kissing Trump’s butt extra hard last winter when the insider trading stuff started leaking; she seemed to be playing her good standing with the boss off against Burr’s bad standing, as if they were siblings–the way Trump always encourages his minions to fight.

        • Rayne says:

          There’s something more there I haven’t gotten around to investigating. I recall seeing something about a new investment fund established to which Loeffler was linked, can’t remember where I read it. Have a hazy recollection that it could have been used by GOP members of Congress.

          Which makes me wonder if the reason Trump backed off on Loeffler wasn’t just butt-kissing related but because she had a means by which 1) GOP MOC could invest and enrich themselves, 2) same MOC could be compromised, 3) and Team Trump could likewise enrich themselves with the possible added fillip of money laundering.

          Which is why we need to do everything possible to keep the Senate and especially help Warnock win the seat for six more years. In no way should Loeffler get elected again; I worry she may yet throw her name in the hat in spite of Perdue having already launched a campaign.

          EDIT: meant to add that Burr’s departure suggests to me that there was more to the insider trading which might not have looked good if a Biden appointed AG was to start digging into a senator campaigning for re-election.

  10. Manwen says:

    I appreciate this piece. It illustrates the broad national picture in the Senate and demonstrates that Dems have a chance of defying history. Ripe opportunities exist to pick up a Senate majority in the midterms. And, Biden is moving impressively, so far. He redefined bipartisanship to mean public support for policy rather than legislative compromise. The COVID relief package is popular with the public, yet Republican legislators unanimously oppose it. The Republicans are searching for constituents to oppose Biden, e.g., parents who want schools open now; but, they continue to struggle to generate support. The impeachment proved more a distraction for them, it appears than for the Democrats.

    If Biden can continue to pursue a legislative agenda with broad public support, infrastructure with built in policies on minimum wage, global warming, equity and social justice components he will continue to box the Republicans into corners. The Dems remain in a strong position to pick up seats in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. The data you shared on Louisiana makes it appear more ripe as another southern target state for Democrats.

    Meanwhile back in Georgia, David Perdue just filed to run against Warnock because he is “considering” a run. Doug Collins, who lost in the jumbled primary to Warnock and Loeffler, either runs for this seat in a bruising GOP primary or he primaries Kemp in the Governor’s race. Collins has big ambitions, so I expect him to pick one or the other soon. There is talk that Loeffler is also considering entering this race, but I think she is done with politics. She dove too deep into Trumpism. I believe the insurrection shocked her into the reality of politics. I expect her to step back from the public eye. In either case, Stacey Abrams for Governor and Rafael Warnock for Senate provide a formidable statewide”ticket” in Georgia. A rough Republican primary featuring Collins v. Perdue or Kemp v. Collins (with some added Trump spice) creates difficult conditions for Republicans in 2022.

    If Biden continues his wise political play, pushing publicly popular policies (alliteration unintended) and he avoids giving the Republicans a lot of demonizing options, I think the Dems enter the 2022 in strong position for an incumbent party at midterms.

  11. OldTulsaDude says:

    I’m pretty sure that to reach the right persons you’ll have to translate Spill. The. Beans. into Russian.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m pretty sure there are Americans who also know about Graham’s vulnerability. They’ve kept mum for too long. The only reason Graham can be kept under Trump’s thumb is fear of the truth getting out. Release the information and while disgust may remain, the vulnerability can’t be used any longer. And he’s in the seat until 2026. If the man wasn’t such a craven weakling he’d figure out how to out the information himself at a remove.

      • subtropolis says:

        During the election, author Don Winslow repeatedly threatened Graham with exposure, making much of the fact that he (Winslow) had formerly been a private investigator. He teased a big reveal right on up to the last weeks before polling closed but … nothing came of it.

        I’d love to know whether he’s been called on this failure to produce the goods, or whether he’s ever addressed his decision to keep what he allegedly knows to himself.

      • P J Evans says:

        It must be something he considers career-ending, but after the last few years, that bar is a lot higher than it used to be.
        (Has he ever heard the Duke of Wellington’s answer to someone trying this? “Publish and be damned!)”

        • Rayne says:

          He’s possibly suffering from internalized oppression, assuming we’re talking about someone who’s gay. If this is the case, it’s only in the last 10 years that the GOP would really be okay with someone being open about their sexuality. He may be having a harder time with it than the voters in his state.

          But let’s assume it’s worse and he’s got a thing for underage partners — people we refer to as minors or victims. Then there’s no cultural acceptance of this and a potential for prosecution. This might even have been something he hid from McCain who he clung to like a remora, relying on proximity to the shark to keep blackmailers at bay.

          Some day there’s going to be a soapy drama about this mess, whenever the truth comes out. I hope I don’t have to wait long to stream it.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            Friends of a friend moved from the Bay Area to South Carolina a couple years ago because California was too liberal and expensive. They liked the cheaper and more simplified state tax rates and the pockets of lily white racism in the low country.

            Don’t kid yourself about the, um, unpalatability of alternative sexual proclivities in South Carolina. The new residents reported to my friend that it feels like they are living in the 60’s again.

            • skua says:

              Considering Trump’s base as shadow-hippies trying to fuck the system, with violence, fear, rage, individualism, fascism, ice, opioids and Murdoch-propaganda replacing peace, love, understanding, marijuana and LSD, sometimes works for me.
              Now I can add “lots of bad sex” to their attributes.
              I saw one report that voting for Trump was highly correlated with social isolation – poor bastards, it must really suck to be a Trump supporter.

          • PeterS says:

            I guess there’s a sliding scale of acceptability for the GOP, from being gay to being gay and using male prostitutes to being gay and engaging in sex with minors (the last obviously unacceptable).

            Out of interest, in 2021, how much difficulty would a single male heterosexual GOP politician be in if he were “outed” for consorting with call girls? Would it depend on which state or district he represented?

  12. skua says:

    This is a great post Rayne – showing/reminding electors that they are agents in an on-going process, rather than victimized consumers in a 4th yearly big-bash, will have quite a few cognitively reframing their involvement in politics.

    • PeterS says:

      It appears there’s only one billboard at the moment. Which is a shame. I mean, even Mildred Hayes managed three.

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