Today Is My Friday [DOT 23/11/22]

Happy day before Turkey Day. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

But that’s not what he picked all those judges for!

Supreme Court denies Trump bid to withhold tax returns from Congress

This guy is so impressive and I’m so sorry he had to go through all this.

Army veteran who disarmed shooter in Colorado Springs attack: ‘It’s the reflex’

Why indeed. Seems the answer is “Colorado”.

Colorado Springs shooter had allegedly threatened his mother with a bomb. Why could he still get a gun?


FTX lawyer calls this case ‘a different sort of animal’ in first bankruptcy hearing

Ticketmaster is a racket and I hate them. Pissing off Taylor Swift is not going to go well for them IMHO.

Taylor Swift’s tour promoter says it had no choice but to work with Ticketmaster

I’m going to need this in my stocking this year:

Have a great day!



    • …yup…that would be the same as campaign the thing I mentioned yesterday about someone on tik tok running through a suggestion it was in fact somehow worse than it looked on account of the documents visible in some picture or other being a direct reference to a court case about where to draw the line between child exploitation & child-exploitation-adjacent

      …all in all I think I’d take not understanding what they were thinking as an indication of a well-balanced mind?

      • So you did! I must have glossed right over that in the larger discussion about Alex Jones and the other Musk/Twitter news. In that WWD link Balenciaga is vowing to find out who exactly created this campaign and maybe somehow punish them for it. Balenciaga was founded in 1919. In over 100 years they’ve never glanced at their own ad campaigns and just unleash them willy-nilly? It would be interesting to see what looks they were promoting during the Spanish Civil War. (It’s Spanish, not Italian like most people think; it was founded by Cristóbal Balenciaga in San Sebastian, Spain. That’s the Basque country and there’s a museum, so that gloss on the Spanish Civil War would be especially interesting.)

        • …I didn’t really want to find out much about the details…but I gather that the image with the court papers was technically a separate ad campaign/photoshoot to the one with kids & bdsm teddybears…which may or may not have been handbags?

          …I don’t think I was ever in much danger of giving balenciaga any money so in a sense it all seems a bit academic to me…& in that sense I can probably believe nobody looked that closely at the paperwork in the picture before…so I guess they’d be taking this supposed legal action against whoever did the set-dressing for that picture

          …but…they’re pretty much all about image…so I’m a little skeptical that they weren’t paying a lot more attention to the details of their images than they’re busily making out?

  1. I miss John Candy.

    Taylor Swift can’t do anything about Ticketmaster. That’s what monopolies are all about. Some of the biggest bands in the past 30 years have gone to war with them and lost. This will require government intervention, but I doubt very much that this time is any different than any other time.

    • …to the limited extent that I understand it ticketmaster seem to have locked most major venues into some sort of contractual obligation…so you can’t perform at those unless they sell your tickets

      …& although many people find it almost impossible to get the site to let them buy said tickets in the mad scramble when they’re released some bot or boiler-room based tactic seems to let touts buy up a lot

      …not sure what the definition is of a monopoly that invokes action from government but it sure sounds like they’re later to the game than they should have been?

      • It’s more than that.  After the LiveNation merge, Ticketmaster sells the tickets, owns the venues, manages the artists, and promotes the shows.  It’s like a super-monopoly because it owns everything throughout the concert environment.

        • …yeah…that would be an order of magnitude or two worse than I’d understood the situation to be

          …kinda begs the question of why there hasn’t already been some action taken…but clearly I don’t have any kind of grasp on the detail of how that kind of “vertical integration” could happen without triggering the monopoly thing?

            • And you need a few pieces to make it work — a boatload of lawyers, politicians who will help block enforcement, and a press that doesn’t want to ask too many questions.

              This is an interesting deep dive into the ATT-Times Warner merger by James B. Stewart and the NY Times, who is one of the rare skeptical business reporters out there. It was supposed to create a crazy level of integration between content and delivery, but it seems pretty clear ATT’s top brass hadn’t thought through the details very well at all.

              The advantage Ticketmaster has had on the business side is they were much more measured in their predations, and had a good idea how to get pieces that fit tightly into a business plan.

              But even Stewart fumbled one piece (because of course the Times can’t do politics) — the Trump side. He follows the Times narrative of Trump as a rogue actor animated by personal anger at CNN, but Trump was almost certainly paying back Murdoch, who had aims on big chunks of Time Warner and also had strong reasons to see parts of them fail.


  2. If only this country had a semblance of a working national passenger rail service and not that grotesque hybrid that is Amtrak. Here’s a (somewhat lengthy) excerpt from a recent Times Union story, reprinted here because the TU is behind a paywall:

    ALBANY — When will rail travelers once again be able to take the trip back and forth to Montreal through New York’s North Country? The answer remains unknown, prompting U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik to place public pressure on Amtrak.

    “Families throughout upstate New York and the North Country seeking to utilize passenger rail services deserve certainty on when service will resume, especially before tourist season begins, not continued ambiguity from Amtrak,” Stefanik wrote to in a letter to the corporation Tuesday.

    Stefanik described Amtrak’s lack of details as a “refusal to commit to a timeline.”


    “Gov. [Kickback] Kathy Hochul is committed to a transportation network which promotes connectivity and access for all users and helps regional economies stay competitive,” Dominguez said in June.


    Stefanik voted against the federal infrastructure bill that included additional resources for future Amtrak improvements.

    The last line reminds me that I miss the days when Congress sent bills to the President with specific purposes, rather than gigantic omnibus bills larded with pork and non-task-related spending. Howzabout someone crafts a bill that only deals with Amtrak, and see how Congress feels about that? Even the reddest of red states must have an Amtrak station or two, with a train coming through every week or so. No one would ever ride it, of course, because the train makes its stops at 3:40 AM every Thursday, but I bet constituents would be pissed off if the station closed, and maybe there are a few towns with abandoned legacy stations from when the railroads were privately operated that the locals would like to see reopened. Tons of former stations have been converted to restaurants, I can personally attest to that, but certainly not all of them.

    And furthermore (I adopt my Andy Rooney voice) bring back the Harvey Girls! MGM’s Gay and Lusty Musical! Angela Lansbury as a burlesque performer at 00:39!


    • A decade ago, I took that train from Montreal to NYC thinking it would be a quaint experience and save me some money… It was 14hrs of Hell as we stayed parked in the middle of nowhere. The whole car was silent like a library except for one extremely loud mouthed passenger who spent the entire time calling friends and family to complain about the situation. We all fucking get it! We’re stuck here too and worst of all we have to listen to you whine and moan at the top of your nasal ass voice. He also argued for 10min with the customs officer when they asked to see his passport. If he weren’t white and it was a plane, he would have been arrested. What an entitled bitch (sorry RIP, using entitled in its most common negative form).

      • We looked into taking Amtrak to Montreal maybe five or six years ago. A section of it was out of commission, so you were meant to take a train to Springfield, MA, I think, and then a bus to somewhere in Vermont, and then you somehow got up to Montreal via bus or train. I can’t remember the exact details but I do remember thinking I could fly to Rio de Janeiro in less (scheduled, mind you) time than it would take Amtrak to get me somewhere that it takes about seven hours to drive to.

        As a thought experiment, I just compared how much it costs to get from Germany’s capital, Berlin, to its media capital, Hamburg (that’s where Springer is HQ’d, among other media giants) compared to DC to New York. The distance between DC and NYC is about 30% longer, so keep that in mind. Both trains are “hi-speed”, in the American case the Acela, which the last time I took I had to stand for a good part of the journey, despite having a reserved seat. All seats on the Acela are at least “business class,” which is a stretch. The German seats are probably at least as comfy, I’m going to assume. I’m traveling on Tuesday, November 29th.

        Germany: 1 hour 46 minutes, $32.

        USAmerica: 3 hours (70% longer), $263 (822% more expensive)

    • Right wingers are firmly entrenched that trains = communism, so the constituents probably don’t give a shit–except for the ones whose jobs are dependent upon those few stations, because it only matters if it affects them directly.

      • …I haven’t taken a lot of train rides in the states…but I have taken some…& I figure the scale of the place might make it hard for them to be as useful as they are somewhere like france…the timetables are/were weird…maybe there’s a scenic route that makes people want to spend a whole day getting from LA to san francisco for example…but I’d have expected an overnight sleeper service on a fri/sun night to be able to do better than break even…& last I checked there wasn’t one?

        …shame, too…I’ve been on planes with less comfortable seats, worse service & for a more expensive fare for the distance travelled than the trains I’ve been on in the US

        • At some point about 30 years ago Amtrak premiered a service that went from New York to Seattle (not LA, God forbid.) It left on a Friday evening and got you into Seattle on a Monday morning, thus proving that you could cross the country by train and not lose a workday. It was a stunt, it flopped, it lasted about a month I think, and the tickets were eye-wateringly expensive, several hundreds of dollars. This was around the same time Better Half and I were flying NYC-LA sometimes for as low as $99 each way. We once did it for $169 round-trip.

          • …I figure it’s the domestic flights that make things like that sleeper service a non-starter…not trying to claim LA is a great place but it’s an international airport & there’s both business & tourist travellers…& the same is true in san francisco…so it seemed like there could be people who either lived or flew into one that might want to spend a weekend in the other

            …an overnight train would mean you’d only need a hotel for the saturday night & a two-bed “cabin” on a double-decker train may not be as well appointed as a hotel but it’s no hardship in my experience…so I remember being puzzled that apparently there weren’t enough takers to keep something like that on a timetable

            …but I guess a flight is quicker & the hotels get to book an hour extra night & “everybody” prefers it that way…or something?

        • Far and away the single biggest barrier is US rail infrastructure is garbage, and the GOP has blocked any serious effort to fix it.

          The quality of trains, track, road crossings, bridges, tunnels, switches and more is awful in so many places, and it’s come back to bite US corporations because so much of our current supply chain problems go back to trains being unable to handle any fluctuations.

          Amtrak travels on freight rails in most of the country, and one delay due to a screwed up switch or brake by the freights will then ripple and compound throughout the system. Speeds can easily average 25 mph in long stretches.

          The freight railroads need much higher regulation and taxation to force investment, but they own the GOP and the right wing think tanks. And now GM, Cargill and Home Depot are paying the price for letting the kooks run free.

            • …I was tempted to say the tube in london might be worse…but I was mostly thinking of the northern line & actually they did finally stop using trains from the 60s sometime in the 90s…so I suppose that wouldn’t quite measure up…that said, as you point out it is now 2022…so that would imply they’d be due to replace them…&…it doesn’t really seem like there’s a piggy bank to raid for that kind of thing…so…yeah…if the railways in the US are worse off than london underground…that ain’t good

              …does give me an excuse for this, though?

              […in fairness…the people who wrote that song were junior doctors…so they were working insane hours for not-nearly-enough-money…& the tube drivers kept going on strike at the time…which royally fucks up everybody’s day even if they don’t go near the underground…hence the song…but the tube system is a bit like the plumbing in that the victorians did such a good job that by the time it was starting to crack under the strain & the general wear & tear actually taking any of it out of service was basically suicidally unpopular?
              …thank you for listening to my ted talk]

    • Elise Stefanik has fought tooth and nail against funding railroads in the US along with the rest of the GOP.

      Of course she wants magical service to Montreal delivered by pixies and sprites that costs nothing and demands nothing of her fossil fuel and freight railroad lobbyist buddies. Of course she does.

    • I know very little about taking trains, but man, I love The Harvey Girls! Angela Lansbury as the rough, tough chippy and Judy Garland as Miss Mary Sunshine? Yes, please! (It’s on HBOMAX, I believe… I watched it a few weeks ago!)

  3. For a rundown on the absolute poison running throughthe skulls of the DC press corps, read this account of the freakish anger over the private Biden wedding at the White House:

    As a reminder, the DC press corps has also rushed to the defense of Trump’s press secretaries and organized social events on the grounds that it would facilitate good working relationships, even as Trump’s people were caught repeatedly lying to their faces. Huckabee Sanders was even forced to testify to that to Mueller’s team, and Trump’s press team was deliberately exposing reporters in briefing rooms and violating Covid safety rules in pre-vaccination days.

    This isn’t about access — if it was, they’d fight harder for truth from the GOP. It’s pure venal personal animus.

    • From the right-wing hurricane there are many questions about this: how much did it cost? Closing of the Ellipse! Biden has to realize this isn’t his actual house! As if there have never been White House weddings before. There’s never been a grandchild wedding (as far as I can determine Reagan’s oldest grandchild was only ten when he left the Presidency) but some Presidential daughters have gotten married there, including Tricia Nixon and Lynda Byrd Johnson. In fact, Nixon wanted his other daughter, Julie, to be married in the White House too, especially since she married one of Ike’s grandsons, but she refused. What happened was he had won the election in 1968 but he hadn’t been inaugurated yet. He asked Julie to push the wedding date off until after he was installed but instead she got married in the interim, as planned. At Marble Collegiate Church, no less, whose illustrious social pedigree became irreparably tarnished when one of Trump’s weddings took place there.

      • It’s absolutely in swing with how the DC press corps operates that they amplify on the one hand grumbling about decorum like feet on a table, whether Winston Churchill’s bust is in the Oval Office or in a hallway, or a tan suit, but on the other hand moan and groan when Biden decides to keep a wedding private and less ostentatious.

        They wanted the Biden wedding to be public because they wanted to be catty about it.

        DC reporters at outlets like the NY Times and and Washington Post sneer at tabloids, but in a lot of ways they’re just mad that tabloid reporters don’t have to pretend. They all get weird thrills at being lackeys to some people and picking on others.

        • …having only noticed this in a cursory sort of way I thought it sounded like a more prosaic kind of sour grapes…they wanted an invite & didn’t get one because it was deemed a non-public event by the white house

          …then vogue (or vanity fair or whoever) published a photoshoot & they got their knickers in a twist

          …except it would have been the couple not the white house who gave the ok for the photoshoot…& it would appear the whole thing was set up as a separate event so they weren’t at the actual wedding…so the press moaning they were lied to & denied access just looked like assholes

          …or at least that seemed to be about the size of it from what little I’d taken in?

          • If it had been just a single reporter getting pissy it wouldn’t have been remarkable. What got really bad was the way the corps as a whole started closing ranks around the screwups who kicked off the whining, and then using it as a launching pad for wide-ranging attempts to reassert the validity of their entire broken culture.

            • …fair enough…I only really heard about three or four people from the press corps whinging about it…pretty soon after that I started skipping past stuff about it

    • …I don’t know how much better luck the various teams/nations would have ditching them than taylor swift et al have getting clear of ticketmaster’s clutches…but FIFA is sketchy AF & it seems like this round of qatar-based grifting might have clutched a whole handful of short straws

      …I’d be curious to know if there’s a genuine chance they might cease to be the only game in town or whether the price of doing business won’t actually derail business as usual?

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