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“Walking Dead” grumble thread: Where is your God now?

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Man, am I glad that doctor was offed at the end of last night’s hour. For 45 minutes I thought the show really was about to go all-in on some hokey story arc in which Father Gabriel acquires providential “second sight” as his vision deteriorates. He put his trust in the Lord and, lo, there was salvation. He stumbled across the house with the antibiotics he needed; he knocked over the piggy bank with the car keys they were looking for; then, in the episode’s most “Use the Force, Luke” moment, he literally closed his eyes and fired a gun at Dr. Carson while he was wrestling with a zombie, miraculously pulling off a perfect headshot to take down the walker. After eight years of wondering where the hell this show is going, we were about to have our answer. A blind prophet named Gabriel was preparing to lead the Grimes gang to the promised land, with nothing but his divinely inspired instinct to lead them. I was blind, but now I see.

Then Carson went for a Savior’s gun, got popped, and poor Gabriel dissolved into sobs, his faith shattered. It was the most atheist moment of Hollywood entertainment I’ve experienced since “A Serious Man.” It was pretty awesome!

The episode had other providential interventions, though. Tara was about to murder Dwight until, wouldn’t you know it, a squad of Saviors came traipsing by and yet somehow didn’t hear the gunshot she had fired at his head just moments before. Then, minutes after Doc Carson’s death seemingly squelched any chance of OBGYN care at the Hilltop, who comes walking through the gate but Siddiq, a man with medical training who never would have found his way to Maggie without Carl showing him some mercy. One doctor exits, another doctor enters. When God closes a door, he opens a window. I’m going on the record now: (1) Maggie’s baby will be named Carl, (2) Gabriel’s mystery illness will end up producing a medical lead on how to counter the zombie plague. That would be a poetic way to justify his belief that God has a plan for him. His infection may claim his life but if the other survivors can learn something from his strange illness, which is debilitating but not (yet) fatal like a zombie bite is, maybe they can figure out a vaccine. His faith would end up giving life, literally, to others. High time the survivors figured *something* out about the plague after eight seasons, no?

I’m not just spitballing here either. Gabriel’s illness is obviously zombie-related:

If you were paying close attention to season eight’s seventh episode, Eugene hinted Gabriel was sick because he covered himself in walker guts to escape the Sanctuary trailer with Negan.

“I don’t see an escape attempt without putting to use the same flawed technique of innards which landed you in your status, quote, ‘piss poor,’ condition,” Eugene told an ailing Gabriel…

“The science we never really know,” [executive producer Denise] Huth said. “It makes sense. It’s interesting, I always loved back in that episode, back in 805, where Negan says to him [Gabriel], when they’re starting to do it [cover themselves in walker guts], ‘Haven’t any of your people ever gotten sick doing this?’ That was certainly an indication that Negan has seen that happen.”

It seems to be common knowledge among survivors that mere contact with zombie guts can — but doesn’t always — make you sick, and not fatally so. (If it always made you sick, Negan would be going blind too.) That sounds a lot like … how inoculations work. Some people have reactions to vaccines as antibodies in their system increase but most gain immunity from the disease being vaccinated against. What if zombie guts work the same way? We’ll know for sure if Gabriel gets bit in a later episode and doesn’t die. I’m already looking forward to the episode where they figure this out, everyone spends the next 45 minutes rolling around in walker offal, and then Rick emotes for awhile that “Coral” could have been saved if only they’d realized this sooner.

Relatedly, a question: How stupid is Negan that he’s only understanding now, years into the zombie plague, that walker blood can be used as a biological weapon? He was so pleased with himself at the end of last night’s show, having put two and two together and realized that if stuff from inside the bodies of the dead gets inside your body, it can have bad effects — a lesson that the average five-year-old would have grasped the first time he watched someone die from a bite. As noted above, Negan already knew when he and Gabriel covered themselves with entrails a few episodes ago that contact with zombie guts can make one sick. So why is it only dawning on him now that blood-dipped projectiles could end up killing members of Rick’s gang even if the wound itself isn’t fatal?

All of that comes on top of the fact that his deputies — Dwight, Simon, now Eugene — keep deceiving him and plotting behind his back and he never seems to find out, despite the culture of terror he’s built inside the Sanctuary. He’s not a bright man.

Anyway. Exit question: How lame were those swamp zombies? They were exceedingly easy to kill and it makes no sense that they were submerged in the first place only to rise as Daryl et al. walked by, notes Vulture. “They’re not the Napping Dead or the Snorkeling Dead or the Please Do Not Disturb Dead.”

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Dianne Feinstein: ‘Twas the media that outed Kavanaugh’s accuser

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Is that right? The way DiFi puts it here, you would think Christine Blasey Ford’s name appeared like a bolt from the blue in the pages of the Washington Post on Sunday afternoon. In reality, the press had spent the previous 72 hours murmuring about a mysterious letter in Feinstein’s possession that may or may not contain a serious allegation against Kavanaugh. No one would say what the letter alleged but the Intercept knew that Feinstein knew something about it. BuzzFeed also knew that Feinstein knew something. Under pressure, Feinstein herself announced that she had finally referred the matter to the FBI. After sitting on it for two months. Six days before the Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote.

All of which is a long way of asking: Who do you suppose it was that tipped the media to Ford’s accusations, putting them in a position to “out” her at the eleventh hour?

Tom Cotton has a zany theory.

Democrats outed her. Maybe not Feinstein personally or someone acting at her behest, but someone in the Capitol high enough up the chain to have known Ford’s name. (Given that the Intercept and BuzzFeed are both online-only outlets, I’d guess the leaker trended younger.) And the very obvious reason they did so was because they were frustrated that Feinstein had held this weapon for two months and never used it, even during the closed session of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, leaving him on track to join the Court before the end of the month. A liberal, possibly on Feinstein’s own staff, shoved Ford into the spotlight for reasons of political expedience. Feinstein can babble all she likes about respecting the privacy of victims but them’s the facts.

Also, not to nitpick, but no one “outed” Ford. Unless I missed something, at no point did any media outlet reveal her identity against her wishes. She chose to speak on the record to WaPo over the weekend after Ronan Farrow and outlets like BuzzFeed came knocking, believing that someone *would* end up revealing her name against her wishes before long. But no one (I think) actually did so before the WaPo story came out. Whether Democrats might have been so frantic to stop Kavanaugh that they would have forced Ford’s name into print if she had declined to speak up this past weekend is a fascinating what-if. Probably they would have — which seems to have been Ford’s conclusion too. Again, so much for the privacy of victims.

Charles Cooke wonders if Ford ever really wanted to testify at all:

Dianne Feinstein has not yet submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee the original letter she was sent by the accuser. The Democratic party is almost universally calling for an FBI investigation that it knows full well is not going to happen, and should not happen, and using its absence as a reason for the hearing to be delayed. And, right on cue, certain figures on the Left have begun to play this both ways: Originally, the lack of an invitation to testify was cast as a “silencing act.” Now, the Senate’s broad invitation to the accuser to testify in whatever way she sees fit is being cast as . . . yes, as a “silencing” act. Perhaps there is something else going on here, but sure looks to me as if the aim is to delay, delay, delay — and keep the accuser as far as is possible from being required to take an oath.

Mark Judge and Patrick Smyth have both submitted statements to Grassley’s committee via counsel, notes Cooke. That’s enough for a criminal indictment if facts emerge to show they’re lying; submitting false information to a congressional panel amounts to lying to a federal official just as submitting false information during an FBI interview does. The one and only player in this drama who has yet to send a statement to the committee, as Cooke points out, is Ford herself. That’s curious, although of course not proof that she’s afraid to tell her story under oath. I think she will testify since that’s the foreseeable outcome of her decision to go on the record with WaPo. She knew that her testimony would be demanded after the story appeared and that it’d look very bad if she refused to provide it. She must have resolved to testify this past weekend, with the last few days of will-she-or-won’t-she drama little more than a PR play to frame the upcoming hearing as unfair no matter what happens.

Here’s Scarborough, who spends most of his time bashing the Trump Party nowadays, crystal clear on who it was that “outed” Ford.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham Fires Off Midnight Tweet: “Kavanaugh Nomination is Still on Track – Stay Tuned!”

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Senator Lindsey Graham; Photo: Twitter avatar

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) fired off a midnight tweet praising President Trump and reassured the American people that Kavanaugh’s nomination is still on track.

“Stay tuned!” Lindsey Graham said.

“Great job tonight by President @realDonaldTrump in Las Vegas laying out how strong America has become economically and how much safer we are with a strong military.”

Graham then said: The President is dead right about Judge Kavanaugh being highly qualified, the right person for the job, and also right about letting process play out.

Kavanaugh nomination is still on track. Stay tuned!


Senator Lindsey Graham was referring to the President’s comments during his rally in Las Vegas wherein he praised Brett Kavanaugh.

Graham has certainly changed his tune as of late–usually no ally to the President, he vowed to get Brett Kavanaugh confirmed as quickly as possible.

Christine Ford has accused–without corroborating evidence–Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a drunken high school pool party decades ago.

Accuser Christine Blasey Ford believes she runs the U.S. Senate as she continues to make outrageous demands of how and when her hearing will be held.

The lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee her demands for her public testimony at a hearing–preeminent is that Judge Brett Kavanaugh testify first and that he not be allowed to be in the hearing room when she testifies, reported TGP’s Kristinn Taylor.

Laura Ingraham reported the scheduled Monday hearing where Kavanaugh and Ford were invited to testify may be postponed. Kavanugh accepted but Ford has declined so far to appear Monday.

“Two sources have told me that @SenateMajLdr is WAVERING and may ask to further delay Monday hearing. GOP base will be in full revolt if so. Tune in tonight!”

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The inevitable “celebrities assure Ford they believe her” MoveOn video

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A leftover from yesterday. Not all of the women in the clip are celebrities, please note, just enough to add a patina of Importance to it. What right-thinking progressive would care about a video of average Americans stating their political views without a four-second cameo from Julianne Moore?

A fun fact about MoveOn, the creators of this spot: The group got its name from its efforts to get the country to move on from Republican efforts to impeach a credibly accused left-wing sexual predator. That’s the sort of feminist bona fides I always prize in woke attack ads involving rape. I try to resist Whataboutism, particularly when the matter at hand involves something as grave as what Ford’s alleging, but whenever the left starts sermonizing at Republicans about treating victims of sexual assault properly a variety of leering Democratic ogres waddles out onstage in the right-wing imagination. It’s led by the Kennedys, grinning broadly, drinks in hand, pants around their ankles, but not limited to them. Which is not at all to imply that Kavanaugh should get a pass because Ted Kennedy got one for 50 years: If he’s guilty, he should be borked with gusto and impeachment proceedings begun to remove him from the federal bench.

But it is to say that, despite their alleged wokeness, progressive outrage at sex offenses and judgments about who deserves the benefit of the doubt and who doesn’t remain mainly a matter of political expedience. Hint that you might blow up Roe and you’re guilty as charged. Hint that you’ll storm the ramparts if Roe is blown up and you’re entitled to a robust presumption of innocence. And that’s not just a historical relic; it continues to the present day. Which is why, although her reasoning is nonsense, Kirsten Gillibrand’s not entirely wrong in calling Monday’s hearing a “sham.” It is a sham in the sense that it’s being presented as a fact-finding inquiry when it’s not. No facts or lack thereof will be produced that changes any Democratic votes. This is a political exercise, not an investigative one.

To prove that I’m not doing knee-jerk Whataboutism here, let it be noted that the right has its own core constituency that seems completely disinterested in the facts of an alleged sexual assault when a political prize is within reach.

Worried their chance to cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court could slip away, a growing number of evangelical and anti-abortion leaders are expressing frustration that Senate Republicans and the White House are not protecting Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh more forcefully from a sexual assault allegation and warning that conservative voters may stay home in November if his nomination falls apart…

The pleas are, in part, an attempt to apply political pressure: Some evangelical leaders are warning that religious conservatives may feel little motivation to vote in the midterm elections unless Senate Republicans move the nomination out of committee soon and do more to defend Judge Kavanaugh from what they say is a desperate Democratic ploy to prevent President Trump from filling future court vacancies.

Franklin Graham, heir to the Graham family’s evangelical legacy, insisted yesterday that no one should get too worked up about what might have happened between a pair of teenagers. And that’s your daily news bulletin from “moral majority.”

One other thing. Befitting how rote and thoughtless the true message of the MoveOn ad is — “Ford is telling the truth because I *heart* legal abortion” — the format of the ad itself is painfully familiar. This style of staccato cross-cutting between people repeating each other’s lines to emphasize the message is so stale that even the parodies of it seem old. It’s phoned in, figuratively and apparently literally.

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