$600 checks, pocket vetos, and calling out the troops

And the shitshow keeps rolling on. In today’s episode, the president of the United States hangs his supporters in Congress out to dry by threatening to veto the COVID relief bill because the $600 payments to individuals are a “disgrace.” He’s right, of course (even a broken clock is right twice a day), but this is after the White House refused to consider anything more than that amount and signaled to GOP members of Congress that the president would support such a bill. Now, not so much.

This, along with Trump’s veto of a massive defense bill, has Republicans angry and feeling a bit betrayed. The bill passed with a veto-proof majority in both houses, but now GOP representative and senators aren’t sure whether they should vote to override the president’s veto. It looks a lot like a loyalty test, and it also looks like a giant elephant trap.

Down they go.

Trump is also handing out pardons and commuting sentences for his friends, family, and supporters at a furious rate the past two days, including ones for people convicted of murdering innocent Iraqi civilians, abusing their political offices, or being related to his son-in-law. He may decide to “preemptively pardon” his own children and possibly even himself, though that seems to me to be an admission of guilt, because if you’re not guilty of anything (as he constantly claims), why would you need a pardon?

We were warned after the election that the worst was yet to come. There are still 28 days until Inauguration Day, and while martial law hasn’t been declared yet (as promoted by former Gen. Michael Flynn and supposedly former Trump attorney Sidney Powell), I wouldn’t say with any confidence that it’s off the table.

It feels like the worst political thriller ever written, but (unless I wake up from this nightmare soon) it’s real.

Some quickies on a Thursday

Let’s see if that headline works as clickbait. 🙂

Racism is still alive and well in baseball

A quick followup from yesterday’s post about MLB “recognizing” the Negro Leagues. Craig Calcaterra goes into more detail about how, even though the color line was broke in 1947, the damage from baseball’s racist policies continued and still has effects on the game today:

MLB’s skimming off of only a small handful of superstars in the 1940s and 1950s, while shunning the vast majority of its players and workers, was enough to crater the Negro Leagues as a business, leading to their destruction and leading to the end of countless on-the-field and off-the-field baseball careers. It also led to a much, much slower and less comprehensive integration of the game than we may have otherwise gotten. That foot-dragging foreclosed the would-be careers of multiple generations of Black scouts, coaches, managers, and executives which, in turn, foreclosed the sort of intergenerational role modeling and mentoring which would’ve led to a greater number of Black scouts, coaches, managers, and executives than we have in the game today. Which is to say that even if the sort of racism that motivated MLB’s failure to properly assess the worth of the Negro Leagues back in the 40s and 50s is not apparent in the game now, the legacy inspired by that racism persists.

Craig writes a newsletter on Substack called “Cup of Coffee,” and this is from today’s free edition. Check out the whole thing if you’re interested in a different take on baseball, sports, and everything else. If you like it, subscribe!

Trolling for a pardon

It’s hard to argue (unless you work there, I suppose) that Google might be a just a tad too big these days and that antitrust laws ought to be brought to bear before they (along with Amazon and Facebook) have effectively taken over commerce. But I’d feel a lot better about this lawsuit if it wasn’t being led by the same guy who did this a few weeks ago:

Paxton is under investigation for bribery and abuse of his office. He fired several of his senior staffers awhile back because they might have been collecting information for a whistleblower complaint. Between the nonsense lawsuit (which was quickly dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court because Texas had no standing to bring it in the first place) and now this salvo against Google (another frequent Trump target), it looks like Paxton is trying to show how deserving he is for a pardon. Which means I have some doubts about the legal competence behind this otherwise welcome investigation into the range of influence of one of the world’s most powerful corporations.