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Sunday Slacker: Foghorn Leghorn Edition
Numbnuts, numbskulls, and Chonkosaurus
Links are at the end.
I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.
“Kennedy delivered his tirade against Mexico in a southern American accent that many of his detractors have likened to the voice of Looney Tunes character Foghorn Leghorn.”
One can’t say The Guardian is the epitome of the respectable press, but it’s pretty close, and not the kind of joint where you’d expect to hear somebody shouting “Foghorn Leghorn!”
“Kennedy” here is Louisiana’s John Kennedy, described saying some at once deeply racist and, by congressional Republican standards, entirely pedestrian stuff about Mexico during a Senate committee meeting.1
Mexicans “would be eating cat food out of a can and living in a tent behind an Outback” Steakhouse restaurant if it were not for their nation’s proximity to the US, and their country should be invaded because of the presence of drug cartels there, the US senator John Neely Kennedy said.
You’ll note that The Guardian gave him the three-name serial killer treatment, apropos of his intentions.
The Louisiana Republican’s racist remarks drew a strong condemnation from Mexico’s foreign affairs secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, who called Kennedy “a profoundly ignorant man”. Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, meanwhile, urged the 37 million Americans of Mexican descent – along with other Latinos in the US – “not to vote for people with this very arrogant, very offensive and very foolish mentality” in the future.
I’ve not run across any response from the Bidennaires, which doesn’t mean they’ve not issued one.
Maybe this is Kennedy throwing his hat into the Trump Veep ring.
“Poverty just taxes your mind. It captures your mind.”
Speaking of cat food—which, trust me, nobody is eating cans of because it’s really fucking expensive—sociologist, author and poverty whisperer Matthew Desmond, who was featured here a month or two ago,2 is interviewed at length by Annie Lowrey in The Atlantic.3
Lowrey: The book points out that our financial institutions, housing markets, and labor market all extract money from low-income families. How does that work for banking, given that wealthy families are the ones with all the money to begin with?
Desmond: By my calculation, financial institutions pull $61 million a day out of the pockets of the poor in fees—just fees, so they can access their money. Often this is just straight-up exploitative. Banks don’t have to charge overdraft fees. That’s not a thing they have to do to keep the lights on. That’s an incredible source of revenue. And people like you and me benefit from it, because we get free checking accounts subsidized by other people’s overdraft fees. Only 9 percent of bank users pay 84 percent of those fees, $11 billion a year. Payday-loan fees and check-cashing fees are part of that, but the overdraft costs are higher. This isn’t just about check-cashing stores with the bright-red signs in the poor neighborhoods. It’s also about the banks that you and I use.
One of Desmond’s points is that people who are neither rich nor impoverished benefit in myriad ways from the depredations inflicted on the poor by the wealthy and corporations, including the finance industry.
Lowery’s question reflects a common misconception. People in poverty or near it don’t have a lot of money, but there are a whole bunch of them. Take a few dollars a day from 40 million people and the money piles up pretty quick.
Desmond’s take on the poor as an extractive resource is central to his well-supported theory about why the U.S. approach to poverty is so much less effective and and so much more punitive than in other rich countries. The answer is capital, and propaganda in service to it. Other countries find poverty repellent and work to ameliorate it as best they can, with robust social welfare programs; the U.S. finds poverty repellent and holds the people in it responsible for it, and bills them accordingly, in cash and spirit.
“It was so fat, you know, the legs kind of spilled out,” Mr. Santore recalled. “It looked like a fat sandbag.”
Chonkosaurus, that is, a mammoth snapping turtle frequenting the Chicago River.
Kayakers enjoying a spring outing recorded the plump reptile, marveling at its wrinkled and chunky legs and its shell, which barely covered its thick green body.
In the video, which was posted on Twitter this month, one of the kayakers, Joey Santore, sounding astonished, cries with an expletive: “Look at the size of that thing!”
The Times is such a prude. Anyway, big-ass turtle.4
Two 1990s bands, with not a cowbell to be heard. I really do have a fever though.
That, Comrades, is all I got
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