Trash Talk: Won’t Somebody Think of the Children Edition

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Bonus second Trash Talk today, a day with perfect football weather here in Michigan — temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s , partly cloudy, light wind out of the southwest. The scent of freshly mown grass mingled with smoke from tailgaters’ grills, heightening anticipation for today’s games. Depending on where you live, games may already have wrapped or are underway as they are in East Lansing, Michigan.

~ ~ ~

Anticipation doesn’t fully describe what Michigan State University fans and students are likely feeling today. You may already have heard about a new scandal centered on MSU’s football coach, Mel Tucker, who has been accused of sexual harassing behavior by activist Brenda Tracy.

The entire situation reeks because MSU was caught flat footed in its response to the situation in spite of the university’s past history dealing with scandal related to sexual abuse. You’ll recall the prosecution of former osteopathic physician Larry Nassar based on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls and women gymnasts during his practice affiliated with USA Gymnastics and his career with MSU. It took nearly a decade from the first complaints by athletes before Nassar was convicted and jailed.

Here’s a timeline of events related to the allegations about to Mel Tucker:

April 28, 2022 — During a phone call between Tracy and Tucker, Tracy alleged Tucker made sexual comments about her and engaged in nonconsensual masturbation.

December 2022 — Tracy filed a Title IX complaint with MSU.

July 25, 2022 — Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger, an outside investigator hired by MSU, completed the Title IX investigation into Tracy’s allegations.

September 10, 2023 — USA Today published a story disclosing Tracy’s allegations against Tucker, revealing Tracy’s identity. Though Tucker acknowledged to the investigatore he masturbated while on the phone with Tracy, he claimed they were engaged in consensual phone sex, denying misconduct.

September 10, 2023 — MSU suspended Tucker without pay and asked former associate head coach/co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett to assume the role of Acting Head Coach in addition to his role as Secondary Coach.

September 13, 2023 — Michigan State University Trustee Dianne Byrum demanded MSU conduct an investigation in the leak of Tracy’s identity which appeared in USA Today’s report. “I am disturbed and outraged by recent reports indicating the name of a claimant in a sexual harassment investigation was intentionally released in an apparent effort to retaliate against her. We should unequivocally condemn attempts to silence or retaliate against victims,” Byrum said.

September 14, 2023 — MSU announced the return of retired former head coach Mark Dantonio to assist Barnett. Dantonio will take on the role of associate head coach.

A hearing has been scheduled for the first week of October, the outcome of which may decide Tucker’s continuing employment with MSU.

Reporting about the allegations has been far from neutral. This report by USA Today — Mel Tucker made millions while he delayed the Michigan State sexual harassment case — published on September 14 assumed Tucker was deliberately delaying the hearing when he refused to accept the August 22-23 dates.

Never mind that August is the busiest month for an NCAA coach. MSU Spartans players attend a preseason camp beginning August 3. Dorm move-in dates are August 22-24. First classes are August 28. The team had 15 practices scheduled between the end of camp and the season opener on September 1.

But sure, Tucker was delaying the hearing. Never mind that USA Today then hammered on Tucker’s wages which surely reflects the intense pressure Tucker’s been under to improve on the Spartans’ past lackluster performance.

The inability to find workable dates in September was a more legitimate problem, but September with a new team is also just as sensitive for NCAA football coaches. The October date makes a lot more sense (and is hardly the kind of extension a certain former president demands for criminal charges).

The intense public scrutiny about this case also wouldn’t have emerged had not USA Today decided to publish its September 10 and 14 pieces. The public would  have heard after the October hearing that Tucker was fired if it was determined he violated Title IX, or perhaps the public would never have heard anything if it was determined his behavior had no affect on education under Title IX.

Detroit Free Press shared an interview conducted by FOX 2 Detroit with Tucker’s employment attorney, Deborah Gordon. She’s one of the best employment attorneys in the state and also recommended for representation in Title IX cases. Her explanation of what Tracy and Tucker can expect from the hearing is worth a listen. And yet the Free Press also takes a position by not pushing back against Gordon’s claim to FOX 2 that Tucker was a “high profile guy” who Tracy wanted to “go after. And she did it.”

Of course Tucker’s attorney would say this. What kind of attorney wouldn’t do that for their client?

MSU Spartans play No. 8 ranked Washington Huskies at home in Lansing today – kickoff was at 5:06 p.m. ET.

Expect players, their families, friends, and fans to be quizzed about the scandal because the media needs clickbait.

Can’t imagine what current students and their families as well as prospective students and families are discussing at home about this situation, because nobody in the media is thinking about them at all, nor teaching them about the concept of assuming innocence until one is proven guilty.

~ ~ ~

Disgust as a “conservative” emotion — ?

We kicked around some disgusting GOP behavior in comments last evening beginning with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s skanky on-again-off-again-can’t-stop affair with GOP consultant and alleged sexual harasser Corey Lewandowski. I mentioned studies I’ve run across which found “conservatives” respond more negatively and more intensely to prompts which are often labeled disgusting. See the study linked below for a list of research, some of which underpinned the article in The Atlantic also linked below.

Elad-Strenger J, Proch J, Kessler T. Is Disgust a “Conservative” Emotion? Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2020 Jun;46(6):896-912. doi: 10.1177/0146167219880191. Epub 2019 Oct 16. PMID: 31619133.

McAuliffe, Kathleen. “Liberals and Conservatives React in Wildly Different Ways to Repulsive Pictures.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 7 Dec. 2022,

The fundamental problem with this is that many so-called conservatives regularly engage in disgusting behavior and yet this doesn’t shape their voting.

Take the obnoxious example of Lauren Boebert who acted like a particularly nasty spoiled brat recently. TPM has an overview and a video documenting Boebert’s latest public wretchedness:

There’s Videotape! Annals of Feral Lauren Boebert …

Why do GOP voters in Boebert’s district put up with her? This isn’t the first shitty behavior on her part. Even her business which has poisoned consumers giving them bloody diarrhea hasn’t been enough to stop them from voting for her. “Conservatives” in her district didn’t care. They voted her back in for a second term in 2022.

Ditto for Marjorie Taylor Greene and her sorry love life — okay, sex life, because her experiences don’t sound like they’re based on deep affection (It’s the DailyMail, brace yourselves for the photos of her extramarital partners). Just sex and a general disrespect for the traditional Christian institution of marriage with its demand to have and hold a partner while forsaking all others.

Why aren’t “conservatives” in her district disgusted by her readiness to swap sweat, voting her nastiness back into office?

You can surely think of many other examples of disgusting behavior by right-wing candidates and officeholders, like former GOP Senate candidate and spouse abuser Eric Greitens.

Or the mack daddy of marital disrespect, Newt Gingrich, who’s treated animals better than his ex-wives.

And of course The Donald whose proclivities have been hidden by catch-and-kill operations, although not always successfully.

We all know by now that hypocrisy makes not a lick of difference to so-called conservatives. They’re happy bashing on Hunter Biden for his drug addiction, trashing Joe Biden for continuing to love and support his son in spite of Hunter’s challenges.

Why do conservatives’ brains react differently, then to images of disgust, while failing to act constructively on disgusting behavior?

How does the left more effective appeal to conservatives’ disgust when it’s also obvious their disgust can be generated deliberately, as Chris Rufo demonstrated with his attacks on critical race theory?

How do we address this disparity between research results and real life in a way that makes a difference to our nation’s children? Because they’re being taught sexual infidelity and abuse is okay if you’re a Republican, disrespect for vows, oaths, partners is also okay, and other sordid behavior like vaping in shared public space disregarding others’ health is just fine if you’re a Republican.

114 replies
    • Ithaqua0 says:

      My daughter goes to UW. We ain’t cryin’ about the game, but yeah, the whole situation is not fair to anyone concerned.

      I suspect that men treating women as disposable is part of the conservative ethos, so it isn’t disgusting to them. Maybe it’s more like dominant people (lets female governors and congresspeople into the room) get to treat less-dominant people as disposable. It’s not disgusting; it’s a reward or perk.

      • Rayne says:

        So we need specific research on “conservative” brains testing for their disgust reaction wrt women in abusive situations?

        Ugh. But I guess it could explain why some law enforcement hasn’t acted appropriately, like the FBI’s failure to address Larry Nassar’s abuse much earlier. If the FBI has too many conservative brains which see abuse of girls and women as normal, they won’t treat that as criminal behavior as promptly as property crimes.

    • BriceFNC says:

      I can’t imagine Mel Tucker entering the home of a young quarterback prospect and out recruiting Jim Harbaugh, Ryan Day, James Franklin or Marcus Freeman after what has been reported/acknowledge to date. He is toast!

      What is it about Big Ten athletics that results in such tawdry characters rising to the top of their profession? Sandusky, Tucker, and the creepy medical personnel at OSU, UM, MSU?

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username and email address each time you comment so that community members get to know you. Your comment was held up in auto-moderation because you omitted the letter F in your username. I have edited this once. /~Rayne]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      What were Texas Republicans really after? Paxton’s conduct wasn’t that much of a surprise to Abbott or the legislature. Was there a campaign to get him that was overturned? Or was he always a ritual sacrifice toward some other goal? Distraction from something worse? It’s not as if Texas has too few problems and a govt – really, a collection of a few hundred families that traditionally run Texas – intend to do SFA about.

      Paxton will now be out for revenge, of course, and the federal govt will be his principal target.

      • Rayne says:

        Paxton has been under indictment since 2015. He’s managed to play the system for eight years to avoid prosecution.

        The TX GOP state senate did what the US GOP Senate caucus did for Trump — let him avoid any other accountability for his criminal behavior, even though some of the TX GOP don’t support his corrupt bullshit.

        • Ithaqua0 says:

          The Republicans in the Texas House voted 60-23 in favor of impeachment, with two absentions. I have a friend from way back in Houston who says Paxton is widely despised, even by the GOP, but big money backs him (I wonder why?), and the state Senators don’t buck the big money.

        • David F. Snyder says:

          No, it doesn’t apply to Texas. Where have you visited in Texas? Still, out in west Texas, there are some massive solar farms because that’s where the payoff for solar power generation is greatest (see this map: Texas generated 13% of the nation’s solar-generated power in June of this year, second only to California. If you look at solar energy generated per capita, Texas is still number two. Now, I know most people don’t make it out to Texas (because “there’s nothing out there,” so why would you?), but besides the expected oil rigs, plenty of wind and solar farms have been and will be built because drought-resistant money speaks louder than the Texas GOP does.

          But none of this changes the madness in the political climate in the state.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I’ve lived in Texas, which is why I would not voluntarily return there if I wanted to vote, had daughters or school-age children, or needed to visit a library. (That’s a short list.)

          That aside, I didn’t find that a useful graphic. Here are alternatives:

          Texas is rated number two in solar energy production, behind California. But as a percentage of state electricity consumption, it generates about twenty percent of California’s percentage, twenty-five percent of Vermont and Massachusett’s, about half AZ’s, and about the same percentage production as Florida and New Mexico.

          In terms of number of homes powered at least partially by solar, California has 11.5 million, Texas 2.24 million, Florida 1.5 million, NC, AZ and NV about 1.0 million. So, there’s an opportunity there for Texas to move on up.

        • Chetnolian says:

          OK I stand corrected as to centrally produced solar. I was talking about solar on individual roofs, which I have not seen much of in Austin (or `Phoenix ) They are common here and work well.

        • David F. Snyder says:

          Austin area is okay for solar. Where one big problem lies is with the utility companies, which give a poor return on excess power generation, amongst other things. Then there’s the golf-ball to softball-size hail that comes around every so often.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          My experience in California and Texas is that the power companies have considerable leverage over legislators and nominally independent review boards, through which they make it less economical to add solar.

          Unless you go fully off-grid, the rate the power company pays you for producing power during their mid-day, peak demand period, you end up subsidizing the power company.

        • tmooretxk says:

          Our local electric utility is a major chokepoint. They have to physically be present when the individual home solar panels go online, and refuse to make or keep appointments. Death of a thousand cuts ensues,

      • Building Guy says:

        He wanted the State of Texas to pay the legal fees of the whistleblowers who prevailed in their lawsuit against his retaliation. Total RW Christian criminal. Still no clear explanation of why that was a bridge they wouldn’t cross.

        • David F. Snyder says:

          Still no clear explanation of why that was a bridge they wouldn’t cross.

          It’s cheaper to buy off a few State Senators than more numerous State Representatives that would be required. That would fit right in with Texas GOP sense of ethics.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      The performance aspect is sufficient for the GOP. One wonders who Paxton would have been replaced by from their political bench.

      It may not seem obvious for a while but all of the rank hypocrisy will catch up to the GOP if the press lets it.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      I’ve been following Texas politics for over 50 years(wow, that makes me feel old). I really didn’t know whether or not Paxton would be acquitted until the verdicts came out.

      There are a few important things folks should know about Texas politics. First, Ken Paxton was not backed by “Big Oil” so much as he was the wholly owned subsidiary of a PAC (now called Defend Texas Liberty, previously it was Empower Texas) funded by three specific rightwing billionaires (Tim Dunn and the Wilks brothers) who made their money in the oil business.
      Last year, this PAC poured millions of dollars in an attempt to defeat Greg Abbott in the Republican primary because he’s not conservative enough for them. Think about that for a minute. Abbott’s approval rating among Republican primary voters was 80-90%. Those guys don’t appear to make rational political calculations.

      They also put big money into challenging several state representatives because of a beef they have with the Texas House speaker. The Texas Tribune article that the Earl links to below has some details on that.

      Everyone in Texas knows that Paxton is corrupt. So why did the impeachment happen this year? The proximate cause was Paxton asking the state legislature to cover the costs of settling the whistleblower lawsuit. However, something else happened right before the House Ethics committee started investigating Paxton. Defend Texas Liberty PAC’s main ally in the state legislature got booted out for some really despicable behavior.

      And then, before the Senate trial started, that PAC gave Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick a $1 million contribution and a $2 million loan (we’ll come back to that loan shortly). In Texas, the Lt. Governor position is incredibly powerful, primarily because he (gender-specific pronoun definitely intended here) controls the agenda in the state senate. The Lt. Governor has a greater ability to get his own agenda accomplished than the Governor does. If you are a state senator and get on the bad side of the Lt Governor, you kiss your legislative priorities goodby.

      So this trial was always in the hands of Dan Patrick. Loathsome as he is, Dan Patrick was going to make the decision based on what he thought was best for Dan Patrick. And I wasn’t sure whether Dan Patrick wanted get rid of Ken Paxton once and for all or just let him twist in the wind. Now we know.

      Oh, about that loan. If that gets converted into a direct contribution now that the verdict has been delivered, well what would you think it was for?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Allows a pleasure reading your comments, especially this backgrounder. If that $2 million loan gets converted to an outright contribution, I’d guess it was because Dan Patrick delivered.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        I live in Austin and I loathe Patrick, Abbott, and Paxton. It’s clowns like these that make it hard to be here (and the heat). The grandkids down the street make up for it, but high temps and corrupt politicians make it yucky at times.

        I’ve got my raised beds filled and Ho-e to grow enough for the food banks in the area. I’ll be supplementing the beds with container growing and diy aeroponics so I’ll be able to grow a lot each year.

    • Ithaqua0 says:

      From the Urban Dictionary:

      “Similar to a handjob, a sleevejob is when you rub someone’s genitals with some kind of cloth or fabric between your hand and their privates, like doing it with long sleeves, hence, a sleevejob. Because of the friction from the cloth, the resulting orgasm can be very intense.”

        • AgainBrain says:

          Neither her, nor MTG, nor Gaetz, nor Perry, Jordan or Roy are fit to be making judgements of anyone else’s civility, devotion, morality, ethics, or any other positive qualities whatsoever. So, of course, that’s all they do, constantly, loudly, and with giant smirks on their faces, while engaging in personal behavior constantly demonstrating the immeasurable hypocrisy of them making any judgements of others.

          These cretins make the late Rob Ford look like a respectable steward of responsible governance.

        • P J Evans says:

          She had her hand on his crotch, and he apparently fondled one of her boobs (not the one on top of her neck) but it was the vaping and her talking and phone that got them tossed.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Loren Boebert dropped out of high school, missing her senior year, because she was pregnant. Her “thinking ahead” score does not seem to have gone up. (Received a GED several years later.)

        • E Ricks says:

          In full view of everyone around them, he fondled both of her breasts while she “engaged” his crotch. Regardless of what the officers knew when they asked them to leave, there is a video that show the full extent of their behavior. There were children in the audience. As a parent I am more concerned about my children being exposed to lewd behavior than vaping.

        • P J Evans says:

          Unless those children were close enough to see and hear the goings-on, they should be left out. It was the people in the seats closest to the goings-on who were offended.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          There had to be some ‘audio’ too, since I saw Boebert’s head snap around to the pregnant lady as if the lady had said something more than ‘please stop vaping’. Boebert wasn’t vaping right then.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I understand the distinction, but it ignores why a pregnant woman one seat away might find her vaping (who knows what) a potential threat.

        • Rayne says:

          Ye gods and little fishes, the woman is absolutely shameless:

          The Texas Youth Summit needs a sharp boot in the ass for allowing her access to minors. Amazes me they think cross-dressing book readers are more disgusting than this shameless hoor (and yeah, engaging in sex acts in a public venue in the presence of children deserves all the shaming, save the language policing).

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          GOP hypocrisy in all it’s many and various forms should be a main thrust of Dem advertising this coming election season. It’s not just limited to sex and child endangerment, it runs the gamut from NatSec (SDFL trial, Ukraine extortion, etc) to freedom of speech (banning gay flags, etc), fiscal responsibility (budget brinksmanship driving up T-bill interest rates), and everything in between.

          Branding them the “Party Without Priniciples” or some such should be an intense national effort to drive the whole dishonest enterprise into the dirt.

        • Rayne says:

          If they’re hardcore GOP voters, pointing out hypocrisy doesn’t work. Hasn’t worked for decades — they were touting “freedom fries” for lunch while forcing new remove-footwear rules at airports and forcing REAL ID down our throats during the Bush admin.

          No, if we’re to persuade any GOP voters, we have to figure out how to play their sensitivity to disgust. They’re using it on themselves with their attacks on books and CRT and LGTBQ+ persons; what’s the touchstone which will disgust them to vote GOP?

          Really need to be working the gun rights angle with Hunter Biden, for one, IMO.

        • ButteredToast says:

          The challenge is finding a source of disgust for them that isn’t connected to a negative prejudice or bigotry, as are those Republicans/RW media trigger. Before 2016, I would’ve thought Donald Trump, with his vulgar speech, serial adultery, and ostentatious display of wealth, would be a perfect target. Yet of course, most hardcore Republicans don’t care.

          It might be more effective if there’s an angle that touches on the voters personally. For instance, Trump’s fleecing his followers with claims he’s going to use their donations to mount challenges to the 2020 election: “He thinks you’re stupid.” Regarding the GOP as a whole, other issues might have more salience if presented graphically and in simple terms. For example: “Republicans want to allow corporations to poison the waters you fish in and to drill for oil in the national parks you enjoy with your family.”

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Yeah, that gun rights angle David French thinks he personally discovered in the Times, and pronounced “interesting.”

          I agree with you Rayne. A lot of us scoped that one out when Bruen dropped. Goose, meet gander.

        • AgainBrain says:

          I suspect Boebert’s in for a tough fight again, regardless, (and deserves it). Hopefully including an endless loop of her groping and being groped in the theater with “Your Daughter’s Role Model” captioned underneath.

          Worth helping her lose, sure. Still, I can’t shake the sense that MTG or Gaetz is much more dangerous, and thus more deserving of removal. Closer to home, hoping McCarthy winds up more vulnerable after such a stellar performance to date, tough to say.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh, that’s an excellent frame, “Your Daughter’s Role Model” might work with those cis-het white GOP daddy figures who are a bit possessive of their daughter’s propriety.

          Gaetz is a tough nut to crack because the scandals in which he’s been involved are far worse than either Boebert’s or MTG’s and yet his district elects his sorry ass.

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          She acted like you’d expect her to act. She has zero class. That said, the security video with its night vision probably saw what would’ve been difficult for most people to see in a dark theater. I doubt a DA would want to charge something like this.

          The vaping, however, might get her arrested. I doubt that it will, but it’s a stronger case. She can’t argue nobody saw it like with her fondling behavior.

  1. Patrick Carty says:

    I’m waking up to find I missed a double overtime finish to Colorado- Colorado Sate. And I’m not really a Prime fan but they’re getting it done. Now for some ranked opponents for them in Oregon and USC.
    Speaking of climatic finishes in Colorado, if Lauren doesn’t recall vaping I wonder what else she did that day. Hunter Biden will say he doesn’t remember actions while on drugs, but he doesn’t hold a Security Clearance.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Uhhh I think I will wait to anoint Coach Sanders until they play a real, ranked team. You did see that Oregon beat Hawaii 55 – 10 ? That is Colorado’s next opponent. Followed by USC and ASU.

      The thing you missed in last nights game was seeing the Colo ST qb, Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi . He may have a future playing on Sunday. The difference between him and Shedeur Sanders is like the difference between Brock Purdy and Trey Lance. Sanders, like his Dad, is flashy and quotable, but Fowler-Nicolosi has very mature field vision and check downs.

      Colorado State prevented itself from winning with 9 personal fouls. But for those, there would have been no overtimes.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Yeah, there is a LOT of eyerolling here at Chez Go Bears, over the breathless giddiness of the press about Neon Dion. He has a segment on 60 Minutes tonight for Pete’s sake !

          It really bugs me that he gets to Colorado and tells all those existing players, Adios, find somewhere else to go, I’m bringing my own guys. I think that is despicable treatment of college athletes.

          I REALLY do not want him to succeed, because if he does, that will become the blue print for equally ruthless coaches. The transfer portal facilitates this behavior because they can cut them loose without a twinge of conscience; they put the responsibility of salvaging college careers on the athletes whose promises have been broken.

        • tmooretxk says:

          It was a bit abrupt, but then so is the end of a game those players didn’t win (ELEVEN TIMES LAST SEASON). I think he replaced about 1/3 of the team, not a tremendous turnover (to my way of thinking) under the circumstances. The portal is allowing a lot of movement that used to be prohibited, leaving a lot of capable athletes stuck at schools where they had no chance to play meaningful minutes. If the displaced players are worthy of a D-I slot, there are a lot of other teams out there. But a fair percentage were probably not productive, and were just taking up space. Which is, IMHO, an artifact of the insane recruitment dance, with teams locking up high schoolers at earlier & earlier stages, guaranteeing that at least some of them don’t fulfill their promise but can’t be realistically dumped until a complete house-cleaning takes place.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          Ah, the Bears… Perhaps they’ll get a lightning storm or something in Seattle and squeak out a win but I’m not holding my breath there. How many portal transfers improved their playing time? It’s like the ones who declare early for the NBA draft, but the success rate of landing a contract is under 50% IIRC, which might also include G league.

          Between the portal and NIL contracts it will be pretty good for a select few but perhaps not so much for the rest.

          One thing set Brock Purdy apart from Trey Lance: his playing experience meant Purdy decided what to do far more quickly than Lance did. More than a few times I saw Lance holding the ball a couple of counts too long.

          I think eventually Lance might evolve into a player like Pittsburgh’s ‘Slash’ QB Kordell Stewart but the pro game really doesn’t support learning on the job with the players being as fast as they are. With experience Lance will get better but where will he get it?

  2. ExRacerX says:

    In cycling news, after some high-profile drama within his team, young American Sepp Kuss only needs to finish today’s stage to become the first grand tour winner form the USA in many years. His teammates Jonas Vingegard and Primoz Roglic will flank him on the final podium of the Vuelta a España, with an unheard-of 1, 2, 3 finish for team Jumbo-Visma. Kuss is known as a “super-domestique”—a high quality rider expected to sacrifice himself for the team leaders daily—but managed to take and hold the leader’s jersey after. After some resistance to the idea and a few attacks upon Kuss by his own teammates, Roglic and Vingegard were clearly working for Sepp yesterday, and there were smiles and hugs all around at the finish.

    In other Vuelta news, last year’s winner/this year’s favorite Belgian Remco Evenepoel lost about 30 minutes on a bad day in the mountains, but bounced back to take the polka-dotted climber’s jersey by the biggest margin ever. Respect.

    Today will almost certainly end in a sprint in Madrid, and I’m picking Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Kaden Groves, who’s been in the green sprinter’s jersey most of the race and is in ridiculously good form for this late in the season, for the win.

      • ExRacerX says:

        It’s no secret that F1 drivers are in tip-top shape, but on a bicycle, Sepp would drop Max like a hot potato. The kid already worked his ass off in the Giro and the TdF, and now he’s winning the 3rd Grand Tour he’s raced this season? Incredible.

      • ExRacerX says:

        Thanks! Gotta admit it didn’t go down as I’d expected—whodathunk Groves would be in the break and then barely survive it to win? Craftily baiting Remco into leading him out was the cherry on top for me. Kuss in red + Jumbo-Visma 1, 2, 3 (though not without controversy) + Remco rising phoenix-like into the polkadots and winning that jersey by the biggest margin in history + Remco 2nd place in the green jersey competition = Craziest. Vuelta. Ever.

        • Just Some Guy says:

          It definitely was entertaining, though the first few stages were entertaining in a train wreck kind of way.

  3. ExRacerX says:

    Oops! Should read, “…but managed to take and hold the leader’s jersey after gaining some minutes on the field when deployed in a breakaway as a support tactic, resulting in a lead of a few minutes in the General Classification for the red leader’s jersey.”

  4. Ebenezer Scrooge says:

    I’ll try to answer the question Rayne poses about disgust. American conservatism is largely about masculinism. That’s almost invariably what our prissy press means when it says “culture wars.” Which gender, may I ask, is the one that doesn’t change the diapers? (#notalldudes)

    The full conservative narrative: The (((elites))) are taking everything (e.g., respect, resources, and masculinity) from normal Americans (mostly white non-college) and giving it to themselves and various others.

    • PeteT0323 says:

      I changed the diapers of both my granddaughters, now 8 and 6, back in the day at a rest stop on I-75 between FL coasts. And at 2:00AM when they visited and then rocked them back to sleep. I wanna trophy! #notalldudes

      • Rayne says:

        Sorry, badge not trophy. Had to dock you for the typo in your email address which I had to correct when I cleared your comment from moderation.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        First, tell me what a “conservative” is. I’ll be damned if I can figure this out through all the misuses of the term. It sure isn’t any current republican. There are probably more traditional conservatives in the Democratic party (total and by percentage.)

        But “elites” is easy. It’s anyone who is liberal. Period. I first thought I’d write “that isn’t on their side” but that was redundant. Then I thought I’d talk about “with influence” or “wealthy” but that’s also unnecessary.

        This is just another example of them redefining terms by misusing terms over and over. Perhaps started around the gingrich period.

        • ButteredToast says:

          At this point, I think they’d also include among the dreaded “elites” Republicans, no matter their views on issues or voting record, who express even tentative criticism of Trump or MAGA-fication of the GOP.

      • Ebenezer Scrooge says:

        If you can’t find a real live conservative to explain what the elites are, just read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, doing a global replace of “Jews” with “elites.” It works almost perfectly.

        • Rayne says:

          For you I guess I should have added the snark tag. The parens in the comment to which I replied made clear who the targets are of “conservatives'” hate.

          Elites are likewise Black, or Native American, or gay, or trans, or independent women, or academics, or artists — anybody not cis-het white Christian who question white supremacy and the oligarchic model of capitalism.

  5. bloopie2 says:

    “Men treating women as disposable”, and “dominant people get to treat less-dominant people as disposable”, are actions as old as recorded civilization. In ancient Greece, for example, women were nothing, and slaves (captured in wars) were routinely worked to death. That, in a civilization that is revered for its philosophical greatness. I think we are better than that today, but still … perhaps we’ll get there by the end of time?

    • Ithaqua0 says:

      See? They really are conservative values! Attila the Hun and the Spartans would have approved! What more do you want?

      On a less snarky note – I am under the impression that Finland is pretty much there today, and the Scandinavian countries, including Iceland, aren’t far off. Emphasis on “impression.” I’ve noticed that the farther away from Scandinavia a country is, with the U.S. and Canada counting as “Britain”, the worse it treats women, as a general rule.

  6. Ewan Woodsend says:

    Nevermind the sexual improprieties of Marge and Lauren, provided they go for males their voters can identify with. The reasoning being : That gym guy? Yes, that’s me, if only I put in the effort at the gym (can’t be bothered). So she is a bit frisky, well, you know, it happens. I wouldn’t mind if she did it to me.
    The big red line is anything gay: Madison Cawthorn was kicked out no matter how loud he screamed maga.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Cawthorne is instructive. Gay wouldn’t be a redline unless you were suppressing such feelings in yourself. (A friend from grad school once described a goth guy as “loving the smell of his own farts”–triggers disgust borne of recognition.) Conservatives find disgusting that which they seek most to distance from themselves, because it’s in there somewhere.

  7. trnc2023 says:

    Rayne, you meant 2023.”

    “July 25, 2022 — Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger, an outside investigator hired by MSU, completed the Title IX investigation into Tracy’s allegations.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Speaking of blergh, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott unsurprisingly says, “I’m dating a lovely Christian girl.” That suggests he’s dating someone younger than sixteen, otherwise, he would have said “woman,” not girl or lady. Scott probably doesn”t care, though, because he was responding to an insinuation that he’s gay. I would consider that neither here nor there, but for his and his party’s abuse of the LGBTQ community as a political pinata.

  9. BobBobCon says:

    One of the key issues with disgust (or the lack of it) has to do with how appealing power is to conservatives.

    When Trump flaunts his corruption or abuse, he’s doing it as a power move. Which is a big reason why I get so fed up with the constant refrain among some liberals that Republicans (supposedly) never face consequences — all they’re doing is reinforcing right wing messaging whch isn’t even true. It’s reflexive posturing by people who want to appear savvy but only feeds the beast.

    MW has made it a regular point that messaging about conservative abuses should focus on the harm it does to followers, and I think she’s absolutely right. When going after some awful megachurch pastor it’s not persuasive to their followers to focus on conflicts between the Gospels and their fleet of private jets. Followers see it as a sign of the power of the pastor, not a fault.

    You need to focus on how much they target their own people far more than liberals, how many actually pay a price and aren’t as powerful as they claim, and show how the rest of the congregation is next.

  10. BRUCE F COLE says:


    Jenna Ellis’ makeover in preparation for the GA RICO gig is beyond impressive. From head shots that erase her former patented rouge-enhanced, self-righteous smirk (to the point that the new look might even fool facial recognition software), to actual distancing herself from Shuga Daddy Don, it’s a master class in “Where is this person we charged with conspiracy and obstruction?”

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It was delightful to see the back of Chuck Todd, when he finally left MTP, although like a bad Jeopardy host, he’ll stay on behind the scenes and direct NBC’s political coverage, a worse assignment.

    Kristen Welker replaced him as MTP host. If her weak-kneed interview of Donald Trump recently is any guide, she’s not even half a notch better. Or perhaps it’s the producers behind her who remain the same, and want this Repubican-enabling rubbish that passes for news coverage.

    • Rayne says:

      I probably should have put up a celebratory Hasta La Vista, Toddy post today because I will not miss that moron.

      Welker should be allowed some time to find her feet. She doesn’t have the institutional imprimatur Todd had as Tim Russert’s slavishly devoted minion; being a Black woman she’ll also be hammered any time she pushes back on conservatives. You know, they can’t have another uppity Black woman at NBC; they’ve swiftly removed them if they don’t have a big enough audience to defend them (remember Tiffany Cross?).

      The question we should be asking is whether Todd will still have any input on NBC News programming. He wasn’t just the moderator on MTP but NBC News’ political director. It was reported he was moving to a chief political analyst slot at NBC but does this mean he’s retaining his role as political director? NBC hasn’t even updated his profile page so who knows?

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        I sure remember Tiffany Cross, who was removed ostensibly due to comments promoting violence. The sister made the mistake of being real, when that is *not* what NBC News wants from its tokens. (Joy Reid walks a fine line, and knows it.)

        I’m glad to see the network promoting talented Muslim men, Hasan and Velshi. But subbing Jen Psaki in for Chris Hayes on Mondays? Not thrilled by that.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The issue is her ability to stand up to the lies and word salad offered up by Trump and much of the GOP, and whether her producers want her to stand up to or enable it.

        She has a superb academic background and twenty-five years in the business, so I would say the latter is the more important question.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Welker did get Trump to say that he didn’t rely on his gubmint attorneys when he sought to pursue his false voter fraud claims, because he “didn’t respect them.” Trump doesn’t respect anybody, so that remark is code for “they didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear.”

        That means he sought out private, non-govt attorneys based on their willingness to agree with him, which deflates his reasonable reliance on counsel defense. Nor does it bode well for Jeff Clark and his Ed Meese-inspired argument to the contrary.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          Good points. And Clark hasn’t helped their case by claiming Trump had “unqualifited and illimitable” power to direct him to fuck with a state’s Constitutionally designated POTUS/VP election procedures, completely outside of the POTUS remit.

          Those two words scream “DICTATOR” to anyone with two braincells to rub together.

        • P’villain says:

          Deep inside, Trump’s attorneys must secretly hope Chutken will muzzle him, just a little. He makes their jobs harder every day.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        I would have paid money to see Jen Psaki interview Trump.

        I had never thought of Welker as a pushover, so it must be the producers hamstringing her.

  12. oldtulsadude says:

    When votes become meaningless there is no democracy. This is the long term goal of the GOP. Wisconsin is their first clear-cut victory.

  13. scribe says:

    Trash talk used to be about sport.

    Nice to see the cycling mention.

    Matt Canada is the latest in a line of craptacular O-coordinators Tomlin has hired and kept despite their clueless ineptitude. Exhibit A: Todd The Idiot Haley, a guy who couldn’t even get a high-school coaching gig, now getting a courtesy gig in the USFL.

      • bloopie2 says:

        Well, I was born and raised in Cleveland, and spent the first five decades of my life there. So, I’m a Browns fan and a Guardians (fka Indians) fan. I’m not certain, but I think the Browns have never won the title in the Super Bowl era. My most memorable Browns experience was watching them give away the game in the last minute against, well, someone, in well-below-zero weather. And as I recall, the Indians came within one out, one lousy out, of a World Series title. Once. Ages ago.

        I don’t know if that’s a good sports comment or not, but there you go. Anyone got a similar story?

        • scribe says:

          That Cleveland-Miami World Series in 97 is noteworthy because, for the rest of their careers, the then-Cleveland relief pitcher who coughed up the final game would plunk his [later former] teammate, for calling him a choker.
          From Wikipedia:
          “The failure of José Mesa to save Game 7 ultimately ignited a heated feud with teammate Omar Vizquel. In Vizquel’s autobiography, the veteran shortstop called Mesa a “choker.” The two men ended their longtime friendship. Mesa later vowed to “…hit him every time” he faced him, and also stated that he wanted to kill Vizquel. Though Mesa did not actually bean Vizquel every time he subsequently faced him, he did hit him with pitches at least twice.”

          I think there’s a good case Vizquel belongs in Cooperstown, even taking the Mesa feud into account. He was an exceptionally skilled shortstop and had a long career – 24 years – all or almost all at short. Gotta love what he said about Mesa:
          “The eyes of the world were focused on every move we made. Unfortunately, Jose’s own eyes were vacant. Completely empty. Nobody home. You could almost see right through him. Not long after I looked into his vacant eyes, he blew the save and the Marlins tied the game.”

          That’s poetry, not trash.

  14. Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

    “Why do GOP voters in Boebert’s district put up with her?”

    I just got back from Denver visiting relatives. One lives in Boebert’s district. We Democrat-voting members had resolved to not talk about politics but one relative didn’t get the memo. Hadn’t seen him since 2018. He hadn’t sat down for even 90 seconds before letting us know just how much he LOVES Boebert. (He lives in her district.)

    He is not a bad person. But his opinions turn out to be based on colossal levels of ignorance. He knew nothing of the details of her “policies” (such as they are) but what he loved was her “rebel” motif. “She’s a challenger.” The immediate story about her being ejected from a theater only reinforced his regard.

    Other tidbits was that he thought Ukraine was part of NATO. Biden was “extreme.” About what we weren’t sure. VP Harris was horrible for some reason. We were able to divert the conversation from politics after a little torrent of stuff like that.

    That is just the kind of thing we are up against.

  15. Matt Foley says:

    “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.”
    –Colorado’s Best Christian Lauren Boebert after getting thrown out on Sunday
    She wasn’t vaping, she was spreading frankincense and myrrh like a good Christian nationalist.

    • Rayne says:

      Wait…you’re telling me she has a nickname for her right and left boob? or her right and left leg?

      Some gift of the Magi this is. Sheesh.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        LOL. Trying to hide from the consequences of her self-destructive behavior, Boebert has apparently decided not to grope this particular beau any more. I hope Colorado has had enough of her, too.

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