Archive for Cliff Schecter

Laffy leaves #TPC, moves to full-time!



Sometime back in 2007, my dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter invited me to blog at his new site, which eventually morphed into The Political Carnival. Cliff left for greener pastures, and another dear friend, Paddy Kraska, and I took the reins and the site took off. We had such a great run together, placed in the top 100 political blogs according to the various blogsphere ratings agencies (out of millions!), and established TPC as an eclectic mix of Humor and Serious that continues to this day.

But when Paddy unexpectedly passed away (not long after my dad did),I went into a tailspin, and the blog underwent some major changes. It took me six months or so to find just the right combination of writers, writers who had huge Paddy shoes to fill, and who had to be more than just writers. They had to have passion, dedication, and heart.

Lwdgrfx and Sher came to the rescue, as did regular contributor David Garber. Nicole Sandler joined us, and TPC got back on its feet and started thriving again. But the same can't be said for its remaining co-founder, yours truly. The entire ordeal took a toll, one that I'm still working through.

My doctors wanted me to stop writing and "retire" from politics. Impossible. But I have tried every which-way to de-stress. Unfortunately, the responsibility of writing and managing a site 24/7 was still having negative effects on my health. I had to find a solution. That finally happened.  I made a really, really tough decision.

I will be leaving The Political Carnival and teaming up with Nicole Sandler at her site.

nicole sandler radio or not logo

We do at least one radio show per week together, plus we're very good friends, so it's a natural fit. I already have a "Laffy's Place" tab there, and that page is where my new digs will be whenever I feel compelled to post. I will now be able to concentrate more on my "real" life and doing radio (and maybe even get back to my BLUNT videos, who knows?) instead of posting so many articles on a regular basis, as I've done for the past seven-plus years.

Lwdgrfx and Sherry will continue on here at The Political Carnival. So please give them your support and readership as you always have. They simply rock. The TPC Facebook page will stay as is.

You'll be able to find me at Radio Or Not and as always, on Twitter (@GottaLaff) and Facebook (Gotta L. Aff).

I love you, TPC, always have, always will. But even more, I love our readers. Thank you guys, every last one of you, for all the love and support you've given me all these years. It is you who have kept me/us going, and hopefully still will. See you at Nicole's place!

end of an era


Bullets & Burgers... and Brains Blown to Bits


Nicole Sandler


And after you witness an instructor get his brains blown out by a 9-year old shooting an Uzi sub machine gun, you can eat a giant, juicy burger. Mmmmm.

This is what we've apparently come to. Welcome to America.

 The website for Bullets & Burgers was down this morning. I expected either to see an apology and notice that children would no longer be able to shoot these lethal weapons - or a memorial to the now-dead instructor, Charles Vacca. Sadly, the website is now back up - with pictures of all the weapons that you can go there to shoot, but not a mention of the tragic and preventable shooting death that took place there less than 48 hours ago.  Interestingly, there is no phone number on their site either.

This is only the latest sickening gun story to emerge in a country that offers multiple similar stories each day. If you're looking for that kind of blood lust, just follow David Waldman's #gunfail blog over at Daily Kos. 

I had already invited my friend Cliff Schecter to join me on the show today to talk about Bill & Melinda Gates getting into the gun fight 

[They] have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.

I also wanted to speak with Cliff about the NRA's continued hypocrisy, this time in the wake of Ferguson and their failure to defend the African American community there. 

But, of course, we talked at length about this tragedy that killed a 39-year old man, and will forever haunt a 9-year old little girl.

Susie Madrak of Crooks & Liars joined me in the first hour of today's show. She pointed out that accidents preventable shooting deaths like this have happened before. 

We also spoke about the racial divide, not only in Ferguson, MO but all over this nation, that's been amplified since the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Susie has a piece up at C&L , "In Ferguson, Black Drivers Are Profitable Cash Cows For Town's Coffers," about the racial makeup of traffic stops in that town, something that's echoed in small towns across the USA.  We also discussed the plight of TV & film producer Charles Belk, in LA for the Emmys, who was detained by Beverly Hill police for being a tall, bald, black man. He posted his first hand account of what was done to him  on Facebook. It's a travesty.

Then there's the shooting death of John Crawford III in Ohio, killed by police in Walmart for carrying a toy gun he got off a shelf in the toy department.

These stories are all too plentiful, and they must stop.

I've been asking what the spark that'll light the fuse to get Americans off our asses to make sure things change. I think Mike Brown's death was the spark, but it's a very, very long fuse.

Anonymous is trying to take the lead. Operation Ferguson is calling for a General Strike this Friday in the state of Missouri. They've set up a website at with all the info. But here's a taste:

A Message From The Protesters In Ferguson To Anonymous - READ HERE

Press Release READ HERE

Communique READ HERE

Operational Information CLICK HERE

 ACTION ALERT 1: White House Petition To Enact "Mike Brown's Law" - SIGN HERE

ACTION ALERT 2: White House Petition To Remove Governor Nixon From Office - SIGN HERE

Missouri Statewide "Hands Up & Walk Out" General Strike - READ HERE

Real-Time Updated List Of Solidarity Protests - CLICK HERE


I hope the people of Missouri join in. If they don't and this goes nationwide, count me in!

I'll be back tomorrow for the Thursday show. I'll speak with journalist Steven Thrasher and The Brad Blog's Brad Friedman, Radio or Not!


Cliff Notes: 9-year-old kills instructor by mistake; NRA pisses off wrong nerd genius


cliff schecter on Today show 9-year-old girl shoots instructor

My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes. Below are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here.

Kudos are in order; Cliff's been showing up all over MSNBC and NBC these days, because they know how good he is at what he does. The above clip is from the Today show, and below is last night's appearance on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. The videos and excerpts focus on the horrific accidental killing of a shooting range instructor by a 9-year-old girl, as well as Bill Gates' million dollar donation for universal background checks:

Here is Cliff pointing out the impact that Bill Gates could have with his support of popular, common sense gun laws. Please link over for the entire post:  

Gates has the ability to grab headlines and make an issue go viral with the constant media coverage he receives, and the financial ability, if he wins, to fund similar efforts around the country. His involvement could be the answer to the public health crisis that makes American children 93 percent of those murdered in the 26 high-income countries around the world.

Meanwhile, the NRA has…Chuck Norris, doing its “Trigger The Vote” Campaign. [...]

Who knows, with that kind of dough, maybe even measures that “only” enjoy 56 percent support like bans on assault weapons and/or high-capacity magazines could pass via direct voting by uncorrupted American citizens. Or perhaps state legislators and members of Congress who bend easily to the will of these Lords of War could be swapped out for those who live in a closer neighborhood to the best interests of the American populace.

Likely the NRA will try to do to Gates what it has attempted to do to Bloomberg for a few years now, and seek to make this fight about him and not its right-wing radicalism in the service of avarice. He’s a billionaire trying to influence our political process, after all, unlike Manhattan resident David Koch, who along with his brother Charles has polluted our political process to no end, including funding the NRA.

Sure, in an ideal world big money wouldn’t play such an outsize role in our elections, such as this hugely important ballot initiative in Washington state. But that’s not what the NRA wants. It just wants its big money still to be all that decides the outcome, and it isn’t. Which is why Wayne LaPierre’s having a bad day.

Please read the entire post at The Daily Beast, here.


Cliff Notes: "NRA only worried about the civil rights of white people." #Ferguson


civil rights movement smaller

My dear friend and mentor, Cliff Schecter, has a new post up; Cliff has given me permission to share his work with you, so I’ll give you the latest edition of what I call Cliff Notes.

He skewers better than a chef at Smokey Joe’s BBQ. He’s sharper than the point on Sarah Palin’s pin head.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest, with permission. Please read the whole thing, because he has way more than I’ve included here. Kudos are in order; MSNBC's Alex Wagner gave Cliff and this article a shout out and some well-deserved attention. It's about the hypocrisy of the NRA and their apparent disdain for the civil rights of Ferguson residents. Well, some of them, anyway.

Here are a few bits and pieces, bu please link over for the entire post:

The National Rifle Association has been warning us about the threat of a heavily-armed and dangerous government crushing dissent for decades.  [...]

Their dystopian nightmare sounds exactly like what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri.

Yet somehow, the NRA seems to have missed the whole thing with the SWAT teams and the tank-like vehicles and the snipers and the LRAD sound cannon and the tear gas and the rubber bullets being trained on unarmed Americans. [...]

If I were suspicious of their motives--and I am--I might point out that when I visited their 9 acres of militarized gun-fun also known as their convention in Indianapolis, I saw fewer black faces than in your average episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. I'd also point out that LaPierre blows just about every tune he knows on his dog whistle, when warning his membership of the horrors confronting them during this period when violent crime has fallen to its lowest level in a generation [...]

The National Rifle Association often claims it is "America's longest standing civil rights organization" but apparently these minor issues were more important than the murder of an unarmed teen by a policeman, and the subsequent attacks by a militarized force on unarmed Americans in a U.S. city. It is the exact nightmare the NRA has been predicting. And yet, the NRA professes no kinship for those being crushed beneath the jackboots. It seems the NRA is only worried about the civil rights of white people.

Please read the entire post at The Daily Beast, here.