The ever-joyful People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have put the nail in their no-fun coffin by announcing a new target: the bizarre and beloved Pennsylvania-Dutch tradition of pulling a groundhog out of his burrow to predict the weather.
PETA branded the celebration “a cruel holiday display” because groundhogs are “naturally shy, sensitive prey animals who react poorly when handled in front of raucous crowds.” PETA cited as an example “a 2015 incident in which a groundhog named Jimmy bit a Wisconsin mayor’s ear at the sixty-seventh annual Sun Prairie Groundhog Day celebration.” But no mention of the ten-year anniversary of New York mayor Bill “Butterfingers” de Blasio dropping Staten Island Chuck on his head?! RIP.
PETA claims that Phil’s treatment is wrong because he is “denied the opportunity to prepare for and enter yearly hibernation” and that his handling could “also trigger stress-induced disorder.”
You know what else Phil is “denied?” The opportunity to become roadkill or be blown to smithereens by the hillbillies of the Pennsylvania Wilds who view groundhogs as extremely destructive vermin.
Cockburn has been to Gobbler’s Knob and partaken of Groundhog Day festivities, and let him assure you: not only is Phil not maltreated (does this thing look like it’s capable of being “stressed?”), he is worshipped by the Druid-like people who wear groundhog hats, groundhog sweatshirts, groundhog jewelry and full-blown groundhog costumes. The Punxsutawney Area High School, home of the Chucks (as in “woodchucks”) crowns a Groundhog King and Queen every year.
PETA should be grateful that the good people of Pennsylvania elevate, year after year, a marginalized critter from an underprivileged background. Even Governor Josh Shapiro has a sense of humor about the most hallowed of days.
Condi’s contentious chorus
There’s a disturbance in the rarified, elite DC social scene. Cockburn hears that at the secretive annual Alfalfa Club dinner, held last Saturday night, Condoleezza Rice left many members puzzled and dismayed as she led the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem on stage while she played piano, as the Ukrainian ambassador looked on approvingly.
Some attendees were reportedly aghast that Rice, chairwoman of this year’s dinner, turned the normally light-hearted, apolitical Alfalfa soirée into a Ukraine extravaganza, with a tipster telling Cockburn that Ukraine supporters are at risk of becoming the “CrossFitters of politics” for their inability to talk about anything else. Rice’s direct appeal to support Ukraine — a violation of the club’s norms, Cockburn is told — sent some attendees walking in a dignified manner for the exits in protest.
The club, which notably was started 111 years ago to honor the birthday of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, is one of the more coveted tickets in town — tickets to the dinner are for members and their guests only and run at $500.
Kennedy by name…
Oh so that’s what the “F” in “RFK” stands for…
Insurgent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was cowed into denying that he had commented “Wow 🥰🥰” on a TikTok by OnlyFans model Tyler Idol. In the clip, Idol subtly jiggles her half-exposed buttocks while filming in the mirror.
On her OnlyFans, Idol sells “nude pics/videos, masturbation videos, and much more!” for $12 a month. She has, unsurprisingly, been relishing in the attention. Yesterday she quote-tweeted a video showing the RFK account’s comment and wrote, “I think you’re going to need a new campaign slogan: ‘Make America Thicc Again!’🍑✨.” This morning she tweeted, “Do I have your vote? 🗳️ #RFKJr2024.” Both posts are accompanied by images of the model baring her rump.
“Do people really think I was TikToking in 2022?” Kennedy tweeted on Thursday lunchtime.
“The TikTok comment in question was made in 2022 long before I ever had a TikTok account. This comment now appears on my account because the account was previously owned by one of the campaign’s young social media managers… When I announced my run for the presidency in April of 2023 the team wanted it broadcasted on every social media platform, including TikTok. However, TikTok does not allow live streaming for accounts that have less than 1,000 followers. The social media manager decided to transfer his account, which had around 1,500 followers, to me in order to stream my announcement on TikTok.”
The Daily Mail identified the social media manager as thirty-three-year-old Rijoun Murphy.
Kennedy must have been hurt by the public discussion of the possibility that he’d betrayed his current wife, Cheryl Hines of Curb Your Enthusiasm — especially given how hard he’d worked to conquer his “lust demons,” as detailed in his diary excerpts, which were published by the New York Post in 2013. “Avoid the company of women. You have not the strength to resist their charms,” he wrote at the time. Given the rise of Instagram, TikTok and OnlyFans since then, clearly Kennedy was offering himself sage advice…
Morning Joe Biden
President Biden needs a fix of Joe first thing. An Axios report documents the central role MSNBC’s Morning Joe now plays in Biden’s daily routine, showing how far the show has come since it helped Donald Trump rise to power.
The Donald’s longtime friendship with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski was once the stuff of legend — and cause of much consternation in the NBC newsroom back in 2016 — but that was before Trump accused the former Republican congressman of offing his intern and turned his gaze to Fox & Friends instead. Between plugging his schmaltzy rock songs, Scarborough used to seethe about how he and his wife had been usurped by Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt as 45’s favored morning sycophants.
Now it’s Biden who loves the well-coiffed TV host. Axios describes that Bidenworld will oftentimes look to appear on Morning Joe between 7 and 7:40 in the morning to “reach one crucial and loyal viewer: President Biden.” Sounds eerily familiar to how Republicans constantly sought to have Trump view their Fox hits for a few minutes.
The fandom goes beyond just Joe Biden. His top aide, Steve Ricchetti, brother of mega-lobbyist Jeff Ricchetti, watches Morning Joe as well. And the president frequently references the show and calls its regular guests, like Richard Haas and Jon Meacham, even relying on the latter for help with big speeches.
Both likely presidential nominees can be fairly mocked for their fealty to their favorite cable news programs — which strikes Cockburn as, more than anything, the outcome of nominating two senior citizens for president…