Doug Jones wins Alabama Senate seat

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Republicans will have a problem managing the sexual harassment issue and they know it

While neither party can claim innocence when it comes to sexual harassment, a significant difference in how it is being addressed is emerging. Democrats are pushing offenders out; Republicans continue to lie about past behaviour.

Conservatives know that Democrats will be coming after them with this difference front and centre, and they are trying to get out ahead if it.

A new Bannon-affiliated outside group is “out with a new television and digital ad that accuses Democrats of hypocrisy in their calls for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to resign after allegations of sexual harassment,” according to The Hill

The spot from Great America Alliance points to donations from disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and the Democratic defense of President Bill Clinton, who the advertisement calls the “harasser-in-chief,” arguing that the change of heart is political.

“Liberal hypocrisy on this issue is shameless as are the political motives behind their newfound zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment,” Andrew Surabian, a senior GAA adviser, said in a statement released alongside the new ad.

He went on to criticize Pelosi for supporting both Clinton and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), who resigned this week from Congress after a slew of allegations surfaced against him.

Well, fine. But Bill Clinton isn’t running for anything. Dems are throwing out their trash. And if we want to drag in the morality of donors, I’ll take that challenge. Bottom line is that Democrats are taking the charges seriously, Republicans are not, and are most often vilifying women who have come forward.

I can’t wait see Roy Moore in the Senate, with that big mouth and questionable morals on display. And I also can’t wait to see the ads Democrats will run in the 2018 midterms, which will make what conservatives come up with, an example of which is displayed below, look like thin gruel.

Nice try. No cigar.

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Sen. Al Franken resigns. I hope it helps

Sen. Al Franken made it quite clear that his resignation was not an admission of guilt. I, however, am inclined to believe that when a substantial number of women step forward to allege inappropriate behaviour, there’s something to it. I’m nervous about what some people have called the flattening of discourse on sexual assault, which conflates things like rape and child molestation with boorish behaviour, not that bad behaviour is acceptable. I hope we can talk more about that.

As well, what counts as proof and how we ought to fairly align the offence with the punishment should be topics for further discussion. While I appreciate that it is always important to respect women who make the difficult decision to come forward, I suspect that simply “believing her” without some sort of due process is a slippery slope we should consider with a degree of caution.

As for Senator Franken, the election calendar was as much responsible for his downfall as anything he might have done. Democrats need to take the high road and need to be seen doing so. Next week’s election in Alabama, and the mid-terms next year will provide a chance for Democrats to argue that America can do better and no shades of gray, or opportunities for counterattack, should be allowed to diminish the force of that meassage.

Let’s give the last word to the former funny man himself.

I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has preyed on underage girls is running for the Senate with the full support of his party.

You’re right, Al. But you still have to go.

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Campaign News

Richard Cordray

The Washington Post: Alabama race is neck and neck, with voters divided over Roy Moore allegations, poll finds

CBS News: Poll: Alabama Republicans say allegations against Roy Moore false

Detroit Free Press: U.S. Rep. Sander Levin: Thank you for the honor to serve Michigan

Politico: Trump Moves to block Romney from the Senate

The Hill: Cordray expected to announce Ohio gubernatorial bid on Tuesday

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What we have come to expect and accept of President Trump

Because we have no expectation that President Trump will tell the truth, we have more or less stopped expecting the truth, which may have been his goal from the beginning. Earlier today, when asked about former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Trump did what you would expect, he lied about Hillary Clinton.

“Well, I feel badly for General Flynn. I feel very badly. He’s led a very strong life, and I feel very badly, John.

“I will say this: Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI and nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and they destroyed his life. I think it’s a shame. Hillary Clinton, on the Fourth of July weekend, went to the FBI, not under oath – it was the most incredible thing anyone has ever seen. She lied many times. Nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and it’s like they ruined his life. It’s very unfair.”

Well, no. Hillary Clinton did not lie to the FBI, which then-FBI Director James Comey made clear in testimony before Congress. There is video of Comey saying this and yet, because we expect Trump to express himself in terms of preferences rather than fact, it’s barely a story.

Again, the then-Director of the FBI in sworn testimony before Congress provided proof that Trump is lying about Hillary Clinton, and no one cares.

The man is a genius after all. He always knew his presidency could not survive the truth, so he redefined all truth as a matter of what he and his followers prefer to believe and he seems to be getting away with it.

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Hell of a way to say thank you. New York Giants bench Eli Manning

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Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas – Riddle Films

The Canadian Broadcasting Company will be airing “Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas” on December 7th at 9:00 p.m. The film was produced by my friend Liam Romalis and his colleagues at Riddle Films in Toronto. I’m not sure where and when it might be airing in the States, but I suspect it will get picked up, so look for it.

An offbeat, irreverent documentary that tells the story of a group of Jewish songwriters, including Irving Berlin, Mel Tormé, Jay Livingston, Ray Evans, Gloria Shayne Baker and Johnny Marks, who wrote the soundtrack to the world’s most musical holiday. It’s an amazing look at the 20th century North American immigrant experience and the extraordinary outburst of musical energy from the children of those immigrants. This new generation rejected their parents’ European past and instead embraced Tin Pan Alley, Broadway and, finally, Hollywood. The outsiders began writing the soundtrack to the insiders’ American dreams and in doing so, wrote themselves into history.

Telling this story through words and song, Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas features rarely-seen archival footage, musical performances and interviews with contemporary writers and performers, as well as connoisseurs of North American popular music.

Here’s the trailer. Looks like fun.

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Headlines

New York Times: Emails dispute White House claims that Flynn acted independently on Russia

Washington Post: ‘I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn’: Trump goes on tweetstorm about the FBI

Los Angeles Times: GOP tax bill is latest example of Senate leader Mitch McConnell breaking the norms he often espouses

BillboardNeil Young’s huge online archival project is now open

CBS SportsGiants could reportedly fire Ben McAdoo Monday, botched Eli benching angered owner

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Charles Mingus – “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” (1963)

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Headlines

New York Times: Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the F.B.I. and will cooperate with Russia inquiry

Washington Post: Mueller’s swift moves signal mounting legal peril for the White House

Los Angeles Times: After last-minute compromises, Senate leaders say they have the votes needed to pass GOP tax plan

Variety: NBC News starts internal review of how it handled Matt Lauer harassment allegations

ESPN: Aaron Boone to be named next manager of Yankees

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Nothing says the holidays like the Border Brass’ Tijuana Christmas

It’s December, so it is officially okay to start playing Christmas music. This album was around the house when I was growing up. It was clearly an attempt to ride the whole Herb Alpert thing.  It is neither good music nor bad music; it is music hardwired to my Yuletide sensibilities and therefore necessary music. The release date is 1968.

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Production values be damned, I don’t have a penis

Dana Nessel is running to become Michigan’s attorney general. Taking full advantage of the current climate she had put together this clever little political ad. In truth, not having a penis may be the best reason to vote for someone, at least at the moment.

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Jimmy Kimmel was on fire last night, accepts Roy Moore invitation to fight

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Tweet of the Day

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This Day in Music: November 30, 1982 – Michael Jackson releases Thriller worldwide

Thriller was Michael Jackson’s sixth solo studio album. It would become the best-selling record album in history.

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Campaign News

The HillBannon-linked group to make six-figure ad buy for Moore in Alabama

Washington Post: After sex revelations, GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas says he will retire from House seat

CNN Politics: Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks: Roy Moore accuser forged yearbook inscription, is ‘clearly a liar’

Roll CallPelosi calls on Conyers to resign

Mother Jones: Disgraced coal barron Don Blankenship is running for Senate in West Virginia

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Jim Nabors – dead at 87

Jim Nabors is best known for his role as a goofy Marine recruit in the mid-late 1960s sitcom Gomer Pyle USMC. It was a character developed for The Andy Griffith Show in the early ’60s. Nabors/Gomer also had an impressive singing voice that was occasionally woven into the story line.

I am the right age to have thoroughly enjoyed the Gomer Pyle character as it appeared on TV, and as a bonus one of his Christmas albums was a childhood favourite. Nothing says the holiday season like his version of “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

It was an oddity that Nabor’s portrayal of a happy-go-lucky marine recruit ran at the same time so many young Americans were having a different experience during a government mandated tour of duty in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

But I was a kid, and military life sure seemed like fun to me. Golly!

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Goodbye, Al Franken. And I really liked you

Democrats apologize. Republicans deny. And that really sucks, but Al Franken still seems to have a problem when it comes to treating women with respect. As we try to convince voters that the behaviour of people like Donald Trump and Roy Moore is so far beyond not acceptable, we can’t protect Democrats just because we like so much about their politics.

In recent weeks, five women have said Franken touched them inappropriately, most notably broadcaster and model Leeann Tweeden, who described him forcibly kissing her with tongue during a USO tour and “jokingly” groping her breasts for a photo while she slept. Four women have also said that Franken groped them during photo ops, including the latest, Stephanie Kemplin, on Thursday morning. (Three women say Franken groped them while taking campaign photos, while Kemplin says he touched her breast while posing for a photo during a USO tour in 2003.)

And now a “former elected official in New England has come forward saying “Al Franken attempted to give her a ‘wet, open-mouthed kiss’ onstage at an event in 2006, shortly before he ran for Senate.”

I don’t think anyone should be believed just for making an allegation, but there is too much here to dismiss.

Sorry, Al. You gotta go. I just don’t want to see you anymore.

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Headlines

New York Times: NBC fires Matt Lauer over sexual misconduct allegation

CNN:  White House defends anti-Muslim Trump tweets, says it doesn’t matter if videos are real

The Hill:  Mueller delays Flynn associate’s testimony amid plea deal rumors

New York Times:  How can the Oscars celebrate in Weinstein’s long shadow?

SB Nation:  By benching Eli Manning, the Giants have now completely lost their way

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It’s all good for Roy Moore

 

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