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Tommy Carcetti

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Member since: Tue Jul 10, 2007, 03:49 PM
Number of posts: 42,057

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You guys are getting it all wrong. It's actually called the Bowling Greens Massacre.

The Bowling Greens was the name of an extremely successful bowling team from Mason City, Iowa comprised of four brothers: Earl Green, Bob Green, Phil Green and Billy Green. Together, they formed a seemingly unstoppable powerhouse in the North Central Iowa Summer Bowling League that won six consecutive league championships from 1949 through 1954.

However, what happened on the fateful evening of June 27, 1955 would shake the close-knit bowling community of Cerro Gordo County forever.

It was a tragedy of unmistakable proportions. The four brothers were scheduled to compete in the famed Shibboleth Open that night. All four men planned to arrive at the Mason City Lanes separately an hour before the tournament was slated to begin. Yet for reasons that challenge the faith in the almighty of many, God choose to pick all four men off one by one in most cruel of fashions.

It was Phil Green who was the first victim. While driving his milk delivery truck, a cat ran out in front of him. As his widow would attest, her husband was an avid animal lover who could not stand to see any creature in peril. He quickly swerved his truck to avoid the creature, but was unable to avoid the stately oak tree that would greet the front of his truck. Police announced Phil dead at the scene.

Next to go was Billy Green. A highly superstitious man, Billy had bowled seven consecutive games over 250, which he attributed to the fact that he had neglected to shave on the first day of his lucky streak. As such, Billy had developed quite a finely coifed beard during the time. However, as he refused to be beholden to slovenliness, he insisted that the beard remained neatly trimmed with a pair of scissors he kept by his sink. After taking a shower before preparing to head off to the lanes, Billy walked towards the mirror and grabbed his scissors. What he forgot was the discarded remnants of his bar of Lifebuoy directly below him. Maneuvering to trim his beard, he inadvertently stepped on the soap on the floor. He lost his footing, and the scissors in his hand were rammed directly into his throat. Undoubtedly his last moments bleeding out were most painful and he likely cursed the facial hair that up to this point had given him so much good fortune.

Unlike their brothers Phil and Billy, Bob Green and Earl Green both made it to the Mason City Lanes that evening, but they would not escape the night's fate. Earl arrived first, and not seeing any of his brothers at the time, proceeded to start a practice round of his own to hone his game. While clutching a can of Heileman's Old Style in his right hand, on the sixth frame he approached the ball return to take his lucky ball that he had nicknamed Marsha. As luck would have it though, while shampooing the rug, the alley's maintenance man had ripped a seam in the carpet that morning right below the ball return. Unlike Billy's fatal fall, Earl's stumble over the shorn rug was quite mild. But it was enough to send his Old Style flying toward the ball return, soaking the mechanism. Not one for expertise on electronic machinery, Earl didn't see the harm in reaching for Marsha as the suds bubbled and fizzed on the return. What awaited him was a shock, quite literally a deadly one that was powerful enough to stop his heart. People around him called for help and rushed to his side, but it would not turn out well.

In a cruel twist of fate, Bob Green arrived at the Mason City Lanes on the opposite eastern side of the building, as opposed to the western side he usually came in. As such, he missed the legion of paramedics wheeling his brother Earl out the door on the western side in preparation for what would be an ultimately futile ride to the hospital. Not seeing his brothers there, and being rather hungry at that, Bob proceeded over to the lane's concession stand and ordered himself his regular choice of a hotdog with fries. Unbeknownst to Bob, however, that week the lane had ceased its orders from its regular hot dog supplier, Walter and Sons Family Farms, and had instead gone with the more economic option in Stenson's Pork and Meat. Stenson's had a notorious reputation of trying to lower the overhead by cutting quality control, and in what would blossom to a statewide pandemic, it released upon the unsuspecting public dozens of trichinosis laden frankfurthers. Bob was naturally unaware of this fact, and finished the dog and the fries in good order. What first he suspected as nothing but a routine visit to the lane's lavatory ultimately manifested itself into something way more horrid. Guests at the lane standing outside the door were horrified by the sound of Bob's projectile vomiting echoing against the tiled walls. Eventually, the lane's manager mustered the bravery to burst through the restroom door, only to find Bob splayed on the floor, completely unresponsive and covered in his own half-digested stomach contents.

By the scheduled 8:00 pm start time of the 1955 Shiboletth Open, none of the Bowling Greens remained alive on this earth.

The community was rocked to its core. The remaining North Central Iowa Summer Bowling League season was cancelled, and the pall of the death of the Bowling Greens refusing to leave, it officially disbanded the following year. The entire city was awash in mourning, unable to comprehend the unspeakable tragedy that had befallen four of its proudest citizens. Perhaps a silver lining to the story might be found in the fact that a local doo wop band, Frankie Ford and the Kickers, penned a memorial anthem entitled "The Ballad of the Bowling Greens", which rose to the top of the charts in the Midwest and provided the group with notable but brief time in the spotlight before internal squabbling befell the band.

Officially, the deaths of all four of the Bowling Greens were ruled accidents--cruel, horrific and freakish but entirely explainable accidents. Some of the Bowling Greens contemporaries in the league, however, still subscribe to a much more nefarious theory. It is their heartfelt belief that what is known today as the Bowling Greens Massacre was not merely a series of horribly unfortunate events, but rather in fact premeditated foul play by the Bowling Greens' most heated rival, the Simpson Strikes. The Bowling Greens had defeated the Simpson Strikes by a mere two points in the 1954 league championship, and the Simpson Strikes emphatically protested that the Bowling Greens had incurred numerous technical violations during the tournament. The league--which the Simpson Strikes believed to be heavily influenced by the luster the Bowling Greens had provided over the years--refused to overturn the results, and many claimed that John Simpson (the team's senior member) had vowed revenge against the Bowling Greens at all costs.

To this day, rumors swirl that it was John's cat set loose upon Phil Green's truck; that he had placed the soap under Billy Green's sink; that he had paid off the lane's maintenance man to rip a hole underneath Earl Green's ball return; and that he had convinced the lane's management to switch to the poisoned Stenson's hot dog that Bob Green consumed.

But all that remains merely as rumors, rumors spread and possible exaggerated down through the generations, and authorities have repeatedly denied that the death of the Bowling Greens was nothing other than a terrible twist of fate. But whether it be merely a horrible cascade of entirely coincidental carnage, or cold hearted murder most devious, many in North Central Iowa to this very day shudder at the mere mention of the phrase that has come to memorialize the unspeakable tragedy: The Bowling Greens Massacre.

Now, why would Kellyanne Conway be talking about this? To be honest.....I have no fucking clue.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Fri Feb 3, 2017, 05:45 PM (13 replies)

I feel violated. We should all feel violated.

On the National Day of Patriotic Devotion, also known as the day in which Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States, also known as last Friday, I chose not to watch any of the festivities. I chose to look at the day without a respect of what was going on in Washington, focusing only on how the sun rose in the east and set in the west, just like any other day I've lived in my thirty-something years on God's green earth.

Instead, on that particular day, I took my kids to the local fair, where they rode rides and saw farm animals and played games. I did all I could to keep the specter of what was going on out of my mind. I was only briefly reminded of things while passing by a television in a fair booth keeping track of festivities. (The odd, jarring sight of the titushky anarchists setting a limousine on fire during the motorcade parade briefly had me thinking a major breaking story had just occurred, but a check on my phone confirmed nothing particularly abnormal had actually taken place.) But watching my kids riding the swing ride, holding their little stuffed animals they had won at the booth, smiling and laughing--it managed to take me out of the greater, darker shadow and into my own little peaceful moment, if only for a bit.

But reality came a'callin, and eventually I knew I had to slowly ease myself into the undeniably unfortunate situation where we all find ourselves. I watched some of the footage of the marches on Saturday, where my mother and my sisters had traveled to participate. I forced myself to view the Madman's self-serving and utterly bizarre "speech" before the CIA. Eventually, for posterity's sake I decided I needed to see the Inaugural Address that I had boycotted watching live and which my father and many here at DU had labeled extremely dark and disturbing. First, I just read the text, but last night I mustered up the fortitude to actually watch footage online as the Madman's stilted, insincere delivery can't be fully replicated by printed words alone. Understandably disgusted, I then immediately watched President Obama's 2009 inaugural address to cleanse my soiled palate.

And so, here we are now. This is not some work of alternate historical fiction. This is real.

So how do I feel? One word: Violated.

I feel we as a country have been violated from both within, as well as from beyond.

We saw the rise of a man without true accomplishment and completely devoid of morals and civility rise to the highest level of power in our land. We saw a man display truly contemptible behavior to the point of absurdity--mocking a reporter with a disability, defrauding thousands with a phony "university", bragging about his desire to assault women. He is the stuff that fictional villains are made of. We were told time after time after time to give him a chance, that he's capable of changing, that he will change, that the office will change him. We forget that this Madman has already lived 70 years on this earth without any desire to reform himself or act to the appropriate standards that most of us take for granted. We forget that not less than three years ago he was on Twitter bragging about his "fucked up" "haters and losers", and that he continued to use phrases like those after he was a candidate, after he was a major party nominee, after he was a President-elect, up to virtually the day he was inaugurated. I'm generally an optimist when it comes to people's human nature, but this is an extreme case. People like him don't get better after years of perfecting their anti-perfect image.

And yet this is what won the day for him back in November. (Albeit thanks in part to a constitutional technicality known as the electoral college, and I'll continue to take slight comfort in the de facto--but not de jure outcome of the popular vote.) Too many of us took the legitimate cynicisms and criticisms of longstanding institutions like politics and media and like fools threw their hands to a far, far worse monster. And now this creature has taken ahold of us and releasing its grasp will be no easy task.

But that's only half of the violation we have endured. Over the past decade, we watched overseas what happens when a person takes charge of a nation who has no tolerance for democracy, dissent or autonomy of other nations. We saw what happens with power without morality. Somehow we deluded ourselves into thinking the likes of Vladimir Putin was the problem of others and not of us. And yet three years ago I watched my family's homeland descend to chaos and uncertainty thanks to his subtle hand. We should have been alarmed that a man running for president had recently openly opined on Twitter that he desired Putin to be his "new best friend." But most of us shook that off as an amusing triviality and not as a threat to our national security. Yet here we are today, and the evidence continues to mountain that our collective national mindset in the events running up to the election was stealthily manipulated in a masterful Russian mindfreak, with the only beneficiaries in the end being the Madman and Vladimir Putin.

So yes, we were indeed violated, both from within and from outside. And we the people are victims, whether we recognize it or not. Perception of victimhood these days is a funny thing though. Too often it gets conflated with being weak, or even worse, being whiny and needlessly self-pitying. But there's no shame in to admitting you have been a victim of another's bad actions. In fact, recognizing and admitting to that fact properly transfers back the culpability to the person who should be held to account. So while we have been violated, we should not shrink from admitting that we were victims to a dasdardly deed. It does not make us weaker. Quite the opposite is true.

Every victim has a breaking point. That is a fact that both the Madman and Vladimir Putin will inevitably have to face.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue Jan 24, 2017, 12:20 PM (7 replies)

The untold abject horror of the turn of events at today's press conference.

The soon to be President of the United States very literally shouts down a reporter from a news organization that--while not in any way perfect--has been a legitimate source of news for nearly four decades, refuses to even allow him to ask him a question, and he proceeds to brand said news organization in front of his peers as being "fake news."

He then immediately turns to another reporter of a news organization that has existed for less than 10 years, that serves as a popular destination for members of the alt-right and white supremacists, that contains stories with absurdly provocative racist, sexist and bigoted headlines such as "BIRTH CONTROL MAKES WOMEN UNATTRACTIVE AND CRAZY", "THE SOLUTION TO ONLINE 'HARASSMENT' IS SIMPLE: WOMEN SHOULD LOG OFF", "HOIST IT HIGH AND PROUD: THE CONFEDERATE FLAG PROCLAIMS A GLORIOUS HERITAGE" and "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS PROTECTS MUSLIM RAPE CULTURE", who very recently ran a documentably false story about Muslims supposedly burning down a church in Germany which was immediately debunked by German authorities, an organization that until recently was run by his soon to be senior policy advisor, and gladly takes that organization's reporter's question, which was........

"With all the problems that we've seen throughout the media during the course of this election, what reforms do you recommend for this industry here?"

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we've officially arrived at the Dystopia. I hope you've enjoyed your trip.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Wed Jan 11, 2017, 04:34 PM (58 replies)

The Madman's Press Conference: A short story by Tommy Carcetti

It all came back to where it had first started--where everything had first started.

Several dozen reporters sat somewhat patiently in the gilded gold lobby of the Darth Vader-like Midtown Manhattan monstrosity that was Trump Tower. The din of murmured conversations echoed against the vaulted ceilings and brass plated fixtures that slowly squeezed the transversing humanity inside of it like a tacky, gauche boa constrictor. At the front of the folding chair set-up stood a podium, empty at the moment, with a Kinko's manufactured sign hastily taped onto its face.

A red, white and blue unofficial logo on the placard read: "Donald J. Trump. President-Elect of the United States."

Members of the press mostly browsed on their phones. Some checked their watches. Others explored their modest press packets containing one eight ounce miniature bottle of Trump Water, a pen with the Trump Tower logo, a Trump Tower notepad, and two Andes chocolate mints. Those who did talk amongst themselves were admittedly curious, because the Madman who at one point in his campaign attacked Secretary Clinton for not holding enough press conferences had gone silent for months after one July press conference where he notoriously dared the Russian government to hack into US government emails and mine them for valuable information.

The advance press release teased that the Madman would discuss the subject of the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails and the possible culprits of such infiltration, but questions abounded. Would the Madman point his modestly-lengthed finger at the Russians? Would he call for greater cyber security measures? Would he bring along Don King this time, or perhaps would it be Dennis Rodman instead?

The clock ticked passed the announced 11:00 am start time for the press conference. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen. Twenty. Still, the press stayed, in great anticipation of whatever newsworthy information the Madman might intentionally--or unintentionally--throw them.

Just as the collective patience of the audience was about to wane, the Bose speakers flanking the podium rung out and throttled the attention of everyone in the lobby.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," an unidentified voice announced, "The President-Elect of the United States.....Donald....J.....Trump!"

Immediately, music began playing.

Cheesy, 1980s styled synth rock instrumental music.

The intro to Van Halen's "Jump," to be exact.

The reporters looked around trying to find where the Madman would be entering. The answer should have been obvious, knowing the past. A large mass of people wearing dark suits began descending on the Trump Tower escalator. In the middle of the gaggle stood a figure that was unmistakable to the entire world. That yellowish-whitish tuft of sheened hair, oddly sculpted in helmet like fashion around the spray-tanned orangish wrinkled face, all on top of the sloped, hulking shoulders that somewhat resembled a vulture at rest.

It was the Madman.

The Madman made his gradual, mechanical descent down the escalator, extending both his thumbs out to the crowd while a smirk formed at his mouth. At the bottom of the stairs, as if on cue, the music segued from Van Halen to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" as the Madman and his entourage made their way toward the podium. As the huddle began to disburse, a second figure emerged walking next to the Madman. This one was much shorter than the others, wearing a dark suit and red tie, his hair thick blonde but much more naturally so than that of the Madman. It almost appeared as though there was a genetically miniaturized version of the man walking alongside him.

"Good God," one reporter whispered to his neighbor. "He's cloned himself."

In reality, it was the Madman's 10-year old son, Barron Trump.

Mercifully, the Greenwood tune died down as the Madman took to the podium. Barron took to the Madman's right, looking as understandably bored as any 10-year old would being forced to accompany his father on the job as opposed to lazying the day away on an X-box.

"Good morning. Good morning everybody," the Madman said in his unmistakable nasal-tinged New York accent as he fiddled with the microphone attached to the podium. "Isn't this great? Isn't it great to be here? You all love it here. Admit it. There's nothing that beats this, nothing at all."

Flashes and camera snaps abounded as the Madman begun his remarks. Dualing teleprompters stood at the side of the podium. They were both left unplugged.

"I'm calling you all together today to give you a very brief statement and announcement regarding the claims from the intelligence community that the DNC emails were hacked during the election," the Madman continued. "A lot of you out there have made a lot of claims that I somehow benefited from these hacks or had something to do with them. Some of you have even said that the Russian government was behind the hacks because they wanted me to win."

The Madman let out an impulsive sniff. Barron stood passively next to him, hands at his side, taking in the press before him.

"I just think for you all to say that, it's sad," the Madman declared, "It's sad and it's pathetic and it's sad. So sad. You guys just want to sabotage me as I start my journey with the people, the people, to Make America Great Again©. And it's not fair to me and it's not fair to the Russian government and Vladimir Putin who has so graciously reached out to me and expressed a desire to repair relations between our two countries after years and years of the failed Obama policies."

He paused and sniffed again.

"But enough about you, because it's not about you. It's about the American people. And of course, me," the Madman said.

"Anyways, the reason I'm calling you together here today is because I decided to conduct my own intelligence review about the hacks," the Madman continued. "So I got a bunch of guys, smart guys, the best guys, and they sat down together and they looked at the intelligence, all of it, and they found out what was really going on. And I have to tell you, it's shocking. It will shock you. Truly shocking."

Another sniff.

"So remember when I had that debate with Crooked Hillary Clinton, I mean Hillary Clinton, sorry, and I told her that anybody could hack a computer, even some really fat disgusting 400 pound guy?" the Madman asked. "And then I went on about how great my son was with computers, and all you guys could talk about was how stupid I sounded and how you thought Crooked Hillary Clinton, I mean Hillary Clinton, won the debate?"

Barron, at the time nearly falling into a standing slumber at the boorishness of his father's remarks, shook to alertness upon being referenced by the Madman.

"Well, when I had my guys, who were the best guys, look into it, and yeah, so it turns out that Barron is actually the one who hacked the DNC. My son. He's the one who did it," the Madman announced.

"Huh, Dad?" Barron shot his father a quizzical look.

"Much as I'm as proud of my children, all of my children, but especially my oldest three, I know you here in the press are going to demand accountability, so I have to do something about it or you guys aren't going to shut the hell up," the Madman declared. "And I'd really like for you guys to shut the hell up."

"Wait, what?" Barron gestured as his father, who ignored him and continued on unfazed.

"So that is why I, with a very heavy heart, and using the absolute powers granted to me by the United States Constitution as the President-elect, am hereby instructing my private security detail to seize Barron and transport him to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to be held indefinitely, and maybe then, just then, he'll learn his lesson."

"WHAT THE FUCK, DAD?!?" Barron shouted.

Gasps of horror emerged from the press corps. Out of a side corridor emerged two large, muscle-bound men dressed in khaki fatigues and black bulletproof vests, their faces obscured by balaclavas, with no insignias on their uniforms but for a golden "T" badge sewn on their shoulders. They surrounded Barron and grasped him by both arms.

"Dad....Dad....DAD!" Barron screamed as the men began to pull him away.

The Madman shrugged and sniffed before continuing with his remarks.

"So, in conclusion, I alone have solved the DNC hacking mystery and thanks to you as a result of you people continuing to pester me about it, a ten year old boy is going to be sent off to a detention center to live alongside terror suspects who have spent years stewing in custody without the benefit of due process of law," the Madman said. "I hope you in the press are all very happy for yourselves for that fact. I know you are. I'm sure you all just love it."

The Madman shot off a silent glare to the reporters. Barron's shouting became more faint as the Madman's security detailed pulled him off towards the hallway.

"Oh, Barron," the Madman shouted in the direction of the hallway, "While you're down there, say hello to your sister for me."

More muffled sounds emerged from the hall.

"No, not Ivanka," the Madman answered. "You know, the other one."

The Madman turned to the press corps and smirked. "Ivanka," he scoffed, shaking his head in disbelief.

The entire group of reporters sat in stunned silence, their mouths all agape.

"Oh yeah," the Madman added. "And in the event that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton somehow are able to evade my security detail and successfully flee the country before I take office, any subsequent economic downturn, err, um, well that all is going to be Barron's fault as well, so two birds and one stone and all that shit."

More silence. The Madman sniffed again.

"I think this is the part where you guys are supposed to ask me questions, so let's get this over with," the Madman said.

It took three more sniffs of the Madman before a female reporter finally mustered up the courage to stand up. She raised a shaking hand.

"Mr. President-elect," the reporter began. "Any idea as to what the future First Lady might think of this, with you sending her only son to Guantanamo Bay?"

"First Lady?" the Madman responded, "You mean Ivanka?"

"Um, no," the reporter replied, puzzled. "I mean Melania."

"Oh yeah. Her," the Madman went on. "Honestly, I don't know. I don't really care. Truth be told, the odometer on Melania keeps on going up and up and there's only so much plastic surgery can do for her. Time to trade her in for the newer model. She's like what, thirty-four?"

"She's 46," the reporter answered. "Forty-six years old."

Impulsively, the Madman shuttered and clenched his teeth, like a vampire faced with a crucifix.

"EHH!" he exclaimed. "Yeah, I guess you can say that settles that, then. Say, how old are you, sweetie? Because I have to say, not bad. Not bad at all."

The Madman leered in and smiled. The reporter shook her head and sat down, disgusted. Another one several rows back stood up in her place.

"Mr. President-elect," the reporter said, "Is this some sort of horrific publicity stunt? Sending your own son to Guantanamo Bay for hacking that the intelligence community clearly believes was perpetuated by the Russians to help get you elected? Do you really intend to keep your son down there as a scapegoat while blaming us for it?"

The Madman shot off a brief eyeroll accompanied by a sniff before answering.

"Well," the Madman said. "There's the pardon power. That's the great thing about being President, it's that you can pardon people. And I intend to pardon people around me. A lot. Like, constantly. And I'll be pardoning myself too, just to be fair. So to answer your question, sure, I could always pardon Barron if I like, so maybe I'll do that eventually."

The Madman stopped, waiting for some feedback from the reporter. Instead, he got shut out.

"But maybe I'll let him stew for a month or two before I do that," the Madman continued. "Teach him a lesson. You know, Millennials. He's a Millennial. They all just think they're entitled to everything, those Millennials. They think the world should just give them a job, even if they're not even remotely qualified for it. And everything will be about them, only them, that's all they want to talk about, themselves. And they're so goddamned obsessed with social media and broadcasting every single little thought in their head on social media and at some point you just have to say just shut the fuck up about yourself because you're just making yourself out to be a damn fool to the world and making more and more people hate your guts."

The press corps remained dead silent. The Madman sniffed again.

"Okay, well, I'm about tired of all this, so it's been fun. Really fun," the Madman said. "You're all going look forward to my next few tweets, believe me. I'll do this again, well, whenever I really want to. And when it happens, you're going to really love it. You really will."

With that, the Madman stepped away from the podium and was quickly surrounded by his entourage as they made their way to the escalator. Soon, the P.A. system kicked in the familiar choir intro to The Rolling Stones "You Can't Always Get What You Want," the unofficial and very much unauthorized show closer of the Madman's campaign. The Madman climbed aboard the golden escalator and gave the gathering one more double barreled thumbs up as he ascended upwards before being ushered into an elevator back to his palatial apartment at the top of Trump Tower.

And the press, somewhat overwhelmed by the spectacle that had just unfolded before their very eyes, slowly began to stand up, gather their things and leave, and wonder as to the next time they'd be called before the Madman.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Thu Jan 5, 2017, 01:20 PM (6 replies)

Guys, I've got to say, I'm sort of terrified right now.

The man in line to be the 45th President of the United States spent yesterday retweeting:

a) a 16 year old with absolutely no sense of logical thought

b) someone who posts things like this:

#IslamIsADeathCult #IslamIsTheProblem #BanMuslimsNotGuns #BanSharia #IslamIsCancer
#Muslims did not come to America to be Americans! WAKEUP!

in order to justify his position that he somehow was the victim of voter fraud in an election that he won electorally.

He then attacks a media outlet and claims he won the election in a "landslide" despite the fact he received over 2 million less votes than his opponent.

Finally, he decides to attack the pressing issue of flag burning and says people who burn the flag ought to be imprisoned and stripped of their US Citizenship.

The man is an mentally incompetent lunatic, pure and simple. And we're supposed to trust this person with our country?

I know there are some people who claim he's doing this all to distract against other issues, that he's playing multi-dimensional chess, but....no. He's not. He's essentially chucking checker pieces at his opponent. That's as deep as he gets.

Forget politics for a moment. Forget policy. Throw that all out the window for the time being--we can come back to all that if Pence gets into power. Right now, this is a watershed moment in US history, and in a very bad, dark way.

I've never be someone to be an alarmist. I've always tried to maintain a calm, reasoned and rational outlook on things. After the Supreme Court issued its ruling in 2000, I was pissed. I predicted we'd go back to war with Iraq and I was proven right. And in 2004, I was flabbergasted that we would re-elect Bush. But throughout all of that, I could clearly see four years down the road, what our next plan would be for the next go-round. And God help me, but I'm not seeing that clearly for 2020. I can hope we're still basically functional, but that's no longer a given.

And that's absolutely terrifying.

The first few months of the Trump presidency will have its ups and downs but won't feel too out of sorts. The problem will be when he faces his first major crisis, and at some point he will face that major crisis whatever it is. How he reacts will be everything, and I can't trust him to react normally because he's not normal. Will he send us to war? Will he attempt to expand his own powers? Will he crack down on fundamental rights? Will he threaten to punish or imprison his opponents? I can't believe I'm imagining any of this happening, but the day after election day I woke up literally shaking for the first time in my life and there's got to be a reason for that.

We cannot depend on this man to lead us. He's not right in the head and I fear he's going to take the country to some very dark places before we can right this ship again.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue Nov 29, 2016, 11:49 AM (156 replies)

Are we all ready to save the world today?

That's no hyperbole. I absolutely mean it 100%.

Every single American who gets to the polls today--or has in the past couple of weeks during the early voting period--and votes for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump should get credit for saving the world.

We voted for a sensible, reasonable, and extremely experienced candidate and against one who is without a doubt the most unqualified person ever to run for the office of President. We voted for inclusivity regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, and religion, and against divisiveness that threatens us to the very core. We voted for continuing the gains this country has seen over the past 8 years and against sending the country back to a darker era. We voted for a foreign policy that favors diplomacy and measured action and against impulsive recklessness.

We voted for sanity, and against insanity.

We are the very heroes that we have cried out to rescue us. Stand tall and stand proud. We are here to save the country and to save the world.

Because this is the year of David Bowie, I'll leave you all with this:

Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue Nov 8, 2016, 10:57 AM (3 replies)

My 3-second interaction with Hillary Clinton, and why I said everything that I needed to say to her.

If you only had literally a couple of seconds to speak with someone important who you've long respected, what would you say?

I had to think about that question a few weeks ago when I watched Hillary Clinton meticulously work the line at a rally where I attended.

It's not the first time I've asked myself that question. It's not even the first time I asked myself that question about someone with the last name of Clinton.

A few months ago, I met former President Bill Clinton at a rally for Hillary. Well, technically I shook his hand, but that constitutes a meeting in my book. The still frame screen capture of our handshake from the news footage confirms this. President Clinton was the president in my formative years, and I've long been fascinated by his life story, so needless to say, it was a huge thrill to shake his hand. I believe I said something to the effect of, "Thank you for being my president," but honestly, I can't say for sure. The adrenaline rush I got from the encounter sort of clouded my memory.

I had a little bit more time to plan things out with Hillary. Unlike with Bill--where I had arrived long before the doors opened to guarantee I'd have a front and center spot for his speech--I was way back in the line to get into the Hillary rally. When I finally entered the venue, it was packed 3,000 strong, with more in an overflow venue. I was about 20 feet behind the stage and figured I wouldn't be shaking anyone's hand this time. Which was fine--I honestly just wanted to see her speak.

But as more people came in, the closer and closer I was pushed towards the stage. And by the time Hillary was done with her speech (which was great, by the way), I was only about 5 feet from the rope line between the crowd and the stage.

As I waited patiently to see whether Hillary would make her way to my side, it gave me some time to think about what I could possible say to her with full knowledge that dozens of other people were waiting for that same interaction.

And at some point, it dawned on me--I thought of my two elementary school aged daughters. They're too young to understand the intricacies of partisan politics, but when they heard that there could be a "girl president", they couldn't help contain their excitement. They knew that there had never been a female president before, but that there could be one in the near future. So their preference this election was unanimous, needless to say.

So as her detail finally moved in front of me and I saw her face to face, I reached out my hand and told her, "Hillary, my daughters are so excited about you!"

And she smiled her huge Hillary smile as she shook my hand and said, "Oh that's great!"

And that was it. She moved onto the next person in the throng, and I retreated from the line with glee. I don't think there was anything else I could have said or done that would have made the moment any better.

While meeting someone who will likely be our next president is undeniably a thrill, that's only part of it. I met someone who will be remembered forever in the history books as our first woman president. And that's a huge and momentous occasion. And for my little three-second interaction where I let this historical figure know the importance of what she's doing for my own girls....there's no other way I would have wanted to plan it.

And yes, my girls were super-excited when I told them I talked about them to the next "girl president", and that she knows who they are.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Mon Oct 24, 2016, 10:40 AM (17 replies)

If I recall correctly, the whole "Lock her up!" thing began in earnest during Trump's Manafort days.

Namely, that bizarre mob mentality faux show trial thing that Chris Christie lead at the convention. The "Lock her up!" chants became common place at Trump rallies at that point.

Notably, this was all after the FBI issued its report saying that Secretary Clinton had not done anything criminal. So it was all just a matter of wish fulfillment of Trump supporters of something they knew actually wasn't going to happen, at least with an independent Justice Department still intact.

It's very interesting that this movement saw its birth during the time Paul Manafort was leading the campaign.

Why is this interesting?

Because as we all know, Manafort used to be a key advisor to former Ukrainian strongman President Victor Yanukovych. Ultimately, Yanukovych--who much to the ire of the majority of Ukrainians sought ties closer to Russia and Vladimir Putin and away from Europe--would sick his special police force on protesters, killing dozens of them. It did not dissuade the protesters, however, and rather than stick around for a Ceausescu-like fate, Yanukovych packed up his truckloads of belongings at his gaudy palatial estate and hightailed it to Russia, where he was welcomed with open arms right before Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine's Crimean province and helped stoked armed uprisings in the eastern part of the country that remain active to this day.

But back while Yanukovych ran Ukraine with a corrupt fist with the assistance of Mr. Manafort (who apparently was paid in cash for much of his work), he felt the need to settle scores with his political adversaries (many of whom were involved in the 2004 Orange Revolution, where a prior election of Yanukovych fraught with fraud and abuse was overturned and Yanukovych was temporarily left out of office). Arguably, Yanukovych's most popular opponent was Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. After a fracture in the alliance of Yanukovych's political opponents, Yanukovych won back the Ukrainian presidency and defeated the still-popular Tymoshenko.

Yanukovych was not done with Tymoshenko, and decided to prosecute Tymoshenko on charges of fraud and embezzlement, charges which international observers viewed as unfounded, vindictive and politically motivated. She was ultimately sentenced to seven years in 2011. However, she was freed in 2014 after Yanukovych abdicated the presidency and fled to Russia.

During this entire ordeal, Mr. Manafort did not stay out of the Yanukovych-Tymoshenko fray:

Before he fled to Russia two years ago, Mr. Yanukovych and his Party of Regions relied heavily on the advice of Mr. Manafort and his firm, who helped them win several elections. During that period, Mr. Manafort never registered as a foreign agent with the United States Justice Department — as required of those seeking to influence American policy on behalf of foreign clients — although one of his subcontractors did.

It is unclear if Mr. Manafort’s activities necessitated registering. If they were limited to advising the Party of Regions in Ukraine, he probably would not have had to. But he also worked to burnish his client’s image in the West and helped Mr. Yanukovych’s administration draft a report defending its prosecution of his chief rival, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, in 2012.


So while Paul Manafort may no longer officially be involved in Donald Trump's campaign, clearly he has left his indelible imprint on the candidate's mindset, and we saw that front and center on Sunday night. Trump's mind has been shaped in the vein of authoritarian strongmen who seek to quash all opposition with any and all means possible.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue Oct 11, 2016, 09:17 AM (0 replies)

He's just so.....horrible. At times, I'm just at a loss for words because he's just so horrible.

I find myself wanting to expand my thoughts upon the latest Donald Trump scandal or controversy and yet I keep on coming back to the simple fact that Donald Trump is an extraordinarily awful, terrible, horrible human being with no redeeming qualities or values whatsoever.

His horribleness is completely off the charts. He's ugly, both inside and out. While he may not be a complete imbecile, he's not smart--in fact, he purposefully doesn't aspire to be smart. He only aspires to be smarter than the people he's knows he's conning. So in that sense, he's lazy to boot. His life is built around greed, around vanity, around self-glorification. He's accomplished very little of the things that he's bragged to have accomplished. Most of his business adventures have ended in complete failure, and yet he's fashioned himself as a great success. He's petty and vindictive towards anyone who might look at him sideways. He'll show zero remorse for taking advantage of others for his own gain in the most crass and classless ways. The only charity he shows is charity towards himself, very literally. When he speaks, it's only to draw attention to himself and away from others.

What he's done over the past year has be for one thing and one thing only: Himself. He seeks to be the guardian of over 300 million people and a country who at least proclaims to be founded on lofty ideals such as freedom and democracy. But throughout that all, the only thing he's ever cared about is himself. He doesn't care about you. He doesn't care about anyone or anything, unless it has to do with him.

His appeal to the public is that of trashy reality television. It's that of virus infected internet clickbait advertising. It's that of calorie laden tasteless junk food that doesn't even rise to the level of a delicious guilty pleasure, and only leaves you feeling sick inside. It's that dizzying, flashing, neon lights that promise a great show and without fail always disappoint.

And yet, people have inevitably gotten suckered in. They like it. Somehow in the Bizarroland like atmosphere, the ugliness, the vapidness, the utter lack of class or decorum is considered a good thing. His opponent is intelligent, qualified, measured and competent individual, highly capable of standing head to head with the rest of the world's leaders and representing our interests in a proper fashion. She isn't perfect. She isn't without her flaws or shortcomings. If elected, inevitably she will on occasion let us down, just like the 43 men who held the office before her inevitably let us down from time to time. In other words, she's human. But when she takes the debate stage in less than two weeks, she will be the only real human on the stage. Standing at the other podium will be the human embodiment of a loud, intentional, prolonged and unrepentant fart, followed by a smirk and a giggle.

Don't get me wrong. He's not the first horrible person to enter politics and he won't be the last (assuming our country and world can survive intact if--God forbid--he is ever elected). For example, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were also horrible people. But the caricatures they invoked--a chuckling cowboy and Darth Vader, respectively--at least were interesting to ponder and expound upon, and dissect their dysfunctions. But with Donald Trump, you just want to avoid him. You want to steer as far away from him as possible. At this point, we've run out of movie villains or animals with which to compare him. He's now much, much worse. He's like green, sickly, slimy, noxious, oozing gunk collecting in the most unwelcome of places. He's the simmering, acidic gassy aftertaste in your mouth right after you've just thrown up.

He's just so horrible.

Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Thu Sep 15, 2016, 09:43 AM (68 replies)

If nothing else, at least I can say I lived under a historically great President in my lifetime.

I've been lucky to have lived under three Democratic presidents in my lifetime so far. Each one of them brought something unique and tremendous to the table.

Although I was too young to recall President Carter's actual presidency, from all my father's continued glowing on his legacy and character, all that I've read about him, and all that I've seen of him in his post-presidency, I am absolutely convinced he was by far the most moral, honest, upstanding, and decent human being ever to hold the Oval Office. It's why I honor him with my avatar on this site.

On the other hand, I do recall President Clinton's term in office. He was the President in my "formative years." I don't know if there's any other person in politics whose life and character fascinates me and inspires me as much as Bill Clinton. The story of a guy of humble origins but tremendous, raw natural leadership talents. His communication skills, his ability to connect with people every time he opened his mouth and have people resting on his every single word--it was unmatched. Even when he occasionally let us down, his sheer brilliance and persona always overshadowed his flaws. In my office, I have two notable items. One is a personally signed letter my grandfather received from President Clinton shortly after he was elected President. The other is a rather grainy screenshot of the moment of earlier this year when I had the opportunity to finally shake his hand, a moment I had literally dreamed about for years.

But as extraordinary as both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were, neither would probably meet the criteria of being a "great" president in the historical sense. Mind you, it's through a fault of neither of them, but merely a matter of context. President Carter only served one term, and was scapegoated for problems that were beyond his control. President Clinton served in the warm afterglow of a post-Cold War euphoria and thus any problems he did face were arguably too relatively mild to test his true potential. So as unique and tremendous as the assets of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were, historically speaking their presidencies won't be scrutinized along the likes of Lincoln or FDR.

Which brings me to President Obama.

Historically, President Obama could have simply been viewed as a novelty, a gimmick. A sign of a desire to move beyond our racially divided past and nothing more. When he was elected in 2008, I was excited, but feared he would only be a one-term president. I thought that his opponents would do everything and anything to lay every single tremendous problem facing our country (and in 2008, it was daunting) at his feet. And they most certainly did. How I completely underestimated the man was how he was able to overcome that resistance. How he was able to tenaciously push forward when he was being disparaged, being called every single name in the book, even literally having his own legitimacy as an American citizen challenged. And he just did not stop moving forward and pushing on. And he defeated not only his opponents in 2012, but my own pessimism as well.

Yesterday evening when I sat in my dark living room in front of the glowing television watching President Obama give his address, a feeling came over me. All these years I had wondered back to those who lived under Lincoln and FDR with a bit of envy, knowing that for all the turmoil of their times, at least they were able to see a truly great leader as an unshakable captain in the storm. And I suddenly realized that time for me was now, that I was living that moment now. I was watching someone who was able to right this country, someone who had that innate sense of leadership even with only four years prior experience at the federal level. I was watching someone whose voice was a clarion call, whose words would resonate decades after they were first spoken. And as he finished up his speech, I couldn't help the tears welling up because of the moment. This was history. This was greatness. And it was happening at this very moment.

I finally had my great President.

The thought of the likes of Donald Trump--someone so unabashedly unqualified and unfit for any public office, let alone the highest one--being elected President has caused me some anxiety and concern. If we have any sense whatsoever, we will elect President Hillary Clinton to build on the foundations that President Obama has given us. If we elect Donald Trump, well, God help us. I fear the long lasting consequences of such a decision for the lives of my young children and the children they may have. But if that be the case, I'll take solace that at least I'll have some point in my life where I saw a truly great President in action, that my children may have some vague recollection as well, and that there will always remain that undying sense of hope.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Thu Jul 28, 2016, 10:16 AM (2 replies)
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