The Wires

Public Service Announcement

August 8: About to give birth? About to get a new job? Beware the poppy-seed bagel. Seriously. Washington Post: "... poppy seeds really can make you fail a drug test, both peer-reviewed scientific studies and unofficial experiments conducted by journalists have found. Because they’re derived from opium poppies, they sometimes contain traces of morphine ― not enough to get you high, obviously, but potentially enough to register on a highly sensitive drug test." The report cites several instances in which mothers lost custody of their newborns because the mothers failed routine (but outdated) drug tests.

July 13: Washington Post: "A salmonella outbreak linked to a popular Kellogg's cereal has infected 100 people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday. The agency is urging consumers to avoid Honey Smacks, a sugary puffed wheat cereal which has been the subject of a recall by the company since mid-June. At least 30 of the 100 have been hospitalized, while no deaths have been reported, the CDC said. 'Do not eat Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal of any size package or with any "best if used by" date,' it wrote."

A Toke Before They Croak. Guardian: "For decades, seafood lovers have struggled with a confounding ethical dilemma: how do you balance out the delight of a lobster dinner with the discomfort of boiling one alive, generally regarded as the proper way to prepare the crustacean delicacy?... Sedating lobsters by blowing marijuana smoke on to them sounds like the type of idea you might come up with while smoking a bit of grass yourself, but Charlotte Gill, owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbor, is convinced it can help to ease the pain lobsters might feel while being boiled alive. An animal rights supporter who has owned the restaurant for seven years, Gill told the Mount Desert Island publication that she’s long struggled with the ethical implications of her line of work. After conducting an experiment in which she 'hot-boxed' a particularly aggressive lobster named Roscoe, she came away convinced the high significantly mellowed him out. 'The animal is already going to be killed,' she said in the interview. 'It is far more humane to make it a kinder passage.'”


Here's the Los Angeles Times' Emmy page. ...

... New York Times: "'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' won five [Emmys] on Monday night, including best comedy series, and “Game of Thrones” picked up the award for best drama. HBO and Netflix tied with 23 Emmys each. See a full list of winners here. Talk of #MeToo was largely absent from this year’s ceremony, with no one mentioning Leslie Moonves from the stage. Read our critic’s review of the show, which he said lacked diversity. See red carpet photos."

Guardian: "A pair of ruby red slippers, produced for Judy Garland to wear in the Wizard of Oz, have been discovered by police over a decade after they were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minneapolis [sic, Minnesota]. The discovery ends years of intrigue and scandal surrounding the whereabouts of the shoes. The slippers were recovered during an undercover operation in Minneapolis, the FBI revealed in a news conference today. Their lead came in summer 2017 when an individual approached the company that insured the slippers, claiming he had information about the shoes and how they could be returned. It quickly became clear he was attempting to extort the slippers’ owners and police were contacted.

You can see why Trump is insanely jealous of this guy:

There will be an answer. Best #CarpoolKaraoke evah:

     ... You're welcome. ...

... Matthew Dessem of Slate: "The only fly in the ointment is the knowledge that, demographically speaking, this video will make a lot of horrible people happy."


The Commentariat -- January 14, 2018

The Comments section of Reality Chex still is not working. It just sends your comments into the ether. I discovered a semi-solution that contributor MAG tested, and it works. Like MAG, you too can become a Reality Chex member! If you've commented here before & want to submit a comment before the Comments submissions function gets fixed -- e-mail me at Send me a login ID & password (I think they have to be at least 6 characters long), & I'll tell you how you can exercise the (I hope temporary) exclusive privilege of being a Reality Chex member. If you choose to do so, PLEASE don't give me a log-in or password you currently use anywhere else. I don't want to be the No. 1 suspect when some crook uses your Macy's card. When you're logged in, your comments should take -- at least for now. (But of course save them somewhere in case it doesn't work, as you always should before they appear.)

If you'd rather just e-mail your comments to me, that's okay, too. The downside is that I will be IDed as the writer (tho of course I'll credit you). BTW, two contributors who already have log-ins also can comment while they're logged in. -- Mrs. Bea McCrabbie ...

     ... UPDATE: The Bad News: The host won't be able to fix this right away. The Good News: It's a system-wide problem, so they're likely working on it.


Adam Nagouney, et al., of the New York Times: "An early-morning emergency alert mistakenly warning of an incoming ballistic missile attack was dispatched to cellphones across Hawaii on Saturday, setting off widespread panic in a state that was already on edge because of escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea. The alert, sent by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, was revoked nearly 40 minutes after it was issued, prompting confusion over why it was released -- and why it took so long to rescind. State officials and residents of a normally tranquil part of the Pacific, as well as tourists swept up in the panic, immediately expressed outrage. 'The public must have confidence in our emergency alert system,' the governor, David Y. Ige, said." An earlier version of this story was linked yesterday. ...

... Mrs. McC BTW: At least six hours after the false alarm, not a word from Trump. He has been golfing in Florida. He did take time out to tweet this, tho: "So much Fake News is being reported. They don't even try to get it right, or correct it when they are wrong. They promote the Fake Book of a mentally deranged author, who knowingly writes false information. The Mainstream Media is crazed that WE won the election!" Thanks, Donald, for reassuring the nation about the Hawaii media scare. ...

... New York Times Editors: "The authorities quickly announced that the alert was a mistake. But it made tangible the growing fears that after decades of leaders tryin to more safely control the world's nuclear arsenals, President Trump has increased the possibility of those weapons being used. At a time when many are questioning whether Mr. Trump ought to be allowed anywhere near the nuclear 'button,' he is moving ahead with plans to develop new nuclear weapons and expanding the circumstances in which they'd be used. Such actions break with years of American nuclear policy. They also make it harder to persuade other nations to curb their nuclear ambitions or forgo them entirely." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: If we had a responsible Congress, the scare in Hawaii would shake members into action working to reduce the dangers Trump presents. Instead quite a number of Republicans are knocking themselves out to exacerbate those dangers.

Mrs. McCrabbie: This might be all the news you need to know this week:

John Bowden of the Hill: "President Trump is responding to the widespread condemnation of his remarks about immigrants from 'shithole countries' with a two-word tweet: 'America First!' Trump offered the tweet at 8:14 a.m. with little other comment. And while the tweet didn't cite the criticism of his reported comments at a meeting with lawmakers in the White House, it was hard to see the words as anything but a response to that controversy." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Vivian Yee of the New York Times: ">Mr. Trump/s remarks [about 'shithole countries'] were 'sadly reminiscent of the language used by nativists and racists in the early 20th century against Eastern and Southern Europeans and Asians,' said Mae Ngai, an immigration historian at Columbia University. 'Obviously he likes Norwegians because they are white,' she added. 'But he knows nothing about Norway, a country with single-payer universal health care and free college education. Why would anyone want to leave Norway for the U.S.?... [In 1924,] Congress passed an immigration overhaul that set strict quotas designed to encourage immigrants from Western Europe, block all but a few from Southern and Eastern Europe and bar altogether those from Asia. Overall immigration levels were slashed. The racial theories at play in the legislation, wrote the immigration historian Roger Daniels, would later become the first draft of 'the official ideology of Nazi Germany.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: There is a short, direct line from the proto-Nazi 1924 act to Donald Trump's "shithole" remark. In 1927, police detained Donald's father Fred for refusing to leave a Klan parade in Queens, according to Philip Bump of the Washington Post. Mike Pearl of Vice found evidence that Fred was wearing a KKK outfit when arrested. The sentiments of the father are visited on the son. However, the 1927 incident is one part of the Trump family legacy that Donald denies: "He was never there! It never happened. Never took place," Donald Trump said of his father's detention. Bump links Donald's fake pretense that he had no idea who David Duke was to Fred's racism. (Both linked reports are good reads.) ...

... Josh Marshall: "Trumpism is ethnic-nationalism, rightist ethnic nationalism, specifically white ethnic nationalism.... The heart of Trumpism has always been fueled by panic over the decline of white privilege and a rapidly changing demography in which whites are no longer the overwhelming majority of Americans and in a few decades likely won't be a majority at all.... Trump administration policy means to and is in the process of, implementing the 'shithole' mindset which is to say get rid of as many 'outsiders' as we can and keep new ones from coming in." --safari ...

... Jacqueline Thomsen of The Hill: "The word 'shithole' was projected onto President Trump's D.C. hotel Saturday. Video shows the word, along with the 'poop' emoji, being projected onto the property. 'Pay Trump bribes here' 'emoluments welcome,' and 'we are all responsible to stand up and end white supremacy' were also projected onto the building." --safari ...

... German Lopez of Vox: "President Donald Trump reportedly couldn't avoid stereotyping black people during a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. He had asked members of the Congressional Black Caucus in a March meeting, Vivian Salama reported for NBC News on Friday, if they personally knew Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who is black. He was surprised when none of the attendees did, two meeting attendees told Salama.... In the same meeting, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus told Trump that welfare cuts would hurt her constituents, 'not all of whom are black.' Trump then reportedly responded, 'Really? Then what are they?'...The NBC News report comes a day after reports of Trump's racist remarks about Haiti and African countries.... And this is only some of the news from the past few days." --safari ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This is similar to Trump's press conference where he asked reporter April Ryan to arrange a meeting for him with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. He assumes there's a clique of powerful Washington black people who hang out & do black stuff together. He also assumes that black people would be glad to handle menial tasks for him (for free!), so getting a White House reporter to do his secretary's secretary's secretary (paid) work seems reasonable.

... Robert Mackey of The Intercept: "After bizarrely offering his 'congratulations' to the late Martin Luther King Jr. at the White House on Friday, President Donald Trump was asked for the first time by reporters to explain why he referred to Haiti and some African nations as 'shithole countries,'...[ April] Ryan then cut to the point, asking Trump the question that should be repeated every day from now until the end of his term: 'Mr. President, are you a racist?'... as reporters in the Netherlands demonstrated this week [linked below], asking politicians who make offensive statements to account for their remarks can be a public service, by at least attaching some sort of social embarrassment to making such comments." --safari

Trump Silenced Another Porn Star. Marlow Stern & Aurora Snow of the Daily Beast: "The Daily Beast was informed late Friday that porn star Jessica Drake is not allowed to discuss ... Donald J. Trump on account of a non-disclosure agreement she signed barring her from any such talk. NDAs are often deployed as part of settlements to silence accusers. 'Jessica's NDA blankets any and every mention of Trump, so she's legally unable to comment,' her publicist informed The Daily Beast. 'Jessica signed a non-disclosure agreement after her allegations of misconduct, and she can't do as much as peep his name publicly.'... n late October 2016, Drake became the 14th woman to accuse then-candidate Trump of sexual misconduct. At a public press conference, Drake, flanked by her attorney Gloria Allred, claimed that after she met Trump in July 2006 at Nevada's American Century Celebrity Golf Championship..., he made a pass at her. Trump's wife, Melania, had recently given birth to their son Barron at the time." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Maybe you were doubting the "unverified" "golden rain" memo in Christopher Steele's dossier. Maybe you find it pretty plausible now.

Michael Savage & Toby Helm of the Guardian: "Donald Trump's deteriorating relationship with Britain is likely to kill off any lingering cabinet hopes of a swift post-Brexit trade deal with the United States, a former British ambassador to Washington has warned. Sir Nigel Sheinwald said that a series of controversial interventions by the US president in British issues meant that the remote prospect of a quick transatlantic deal, heralded by pro-Brexit cabinet members, should now be 'put out of our minds' for good. His intervention comes as a new poll highlights the British public's opposition to Trump in the wake of his decision to cancel a trip to the UK, with fewer than a fifth of voters (18%) believing he is a friend of Britain." --safari

Jacqueline Thomsen of The Hill: "President Donald Trump retweeted a far-right figure& on Saturday night. Trump retweeted Jack Posobiec, who is well-known for promoting debunked 'alt-right' conspiracy theories. 'Dick Durbin called Trump racist for wanting to end chain migration. Here's a video of Dick Durbin calling for an end to chain migration,' the tweet read. The brief clip is a cut from a 30-minute September 14, 2010 Senate floor speech by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) arguing in favor of approving the Dream Act, not calling for an end to chain migration." --safari

Robert Litt, in Lawfare, explains how ignorant & irresponsible it was of Donald Trump to accuse an FBI agent of treason. (If you're unsure of what constitutes "treason," Litt gives an excellent -- and fairly short -- explanation.

Kevin Drum: "In his recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Trump said 'I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea.' It was certainly a peculiar thing to say. Today, instead of explaining it, the ever shameless Sarah Huckabee Sanders simply insisted [in a tweet embedding a picture of a denial by somebody] that the Journal was lying.... Unsurprisingly, it turns out it's Sanders who is lying." Drum embeds a WSJ audio of Trump saying exactly what the WSJ reported. "Any normal White House would have simply explained that Trump misspoke slightly and meant to say 'I'd.' Case closed. But this White House is the first in history to routinely deny the documentary evidence of audio and video.... It helps them keep up their faux war with the media, and I guess that's all that matters."

Matt Stevens of the New York Times: "The federal government said on Saturday that it would resume accepting renewal requests for a program that shields from deportation young immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children. In a statement, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said that 'until further notice,' the Obama-era program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, 'will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded' in September, when President Trump moved to end it. The decision came after a federal judge in California issued a nationwide injunction on Tuesday ordering the Trump administration to resume the DACA program.... But officials also said they were not accepting requests from individuals who have never been granted deferred action under DACA.... On Sunday morning, Mr. Trump blamed Democrats for preventing progress on a legislative deal that would permanently legalize the young immigrants and give them an eventual path to citizenship...."

Luke Barnes of ThinkProgress: "The newly-appointed U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, has finally admitted that he was wrong to say that there were 'no-go' zones in the country where Muslim youths were burning politicians and cars.... When interviewed last month at the U.S. Capitol by the Dutch news program Nieuwsuur, Hoekstra completely denied making the remarks, calling it 'fake news' -- despite his entire speech being captured on video.... On Friday, however, Hoekstra finally admitted defeat, telling the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that he had made the remarks, that he was 'shocked' by them and that they were factually incorrect." --safari: If only MSM could be so brave.

The Best People, Ctd. Robert O'Harrow of the Washington Post: Twenty-four-year-old Trump appointee Taylor Weyeneth is deputy chief of staff "at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the White House office responsible for coordinating the federal government's multibillion dollar anti-drug initiatives...." Since there is no chief of staff, Weyeneth has assumed many of the chief of staff's duties. "Weyeneth's only professional experience after college and before becoming an appointee was working on Trump's presidential campaign.... Current and former ONDCP officials who have served under Democratic and Republican presidents said in interviews that the turmoil, including the elevation of Weyeneth, hinders efforts to rally the government at a time when the nation is going through the worst opioid crisis in its history." Weyeneth has lied on his résumés, thrice claiming an MA from Fordham, although he has not completed his degree requirements. On the résumés, he also claimed various hours of volunteer work at a monastery that cannot confirm his work there. "When he was in high school, Weyeneth was 'Director of Production' for Nature's Chemistry, a family firm in Skaneateles, N.Y., that specialized in processing chia seeds and other health products. [While Weyeneth] held that job,] the firm was secretly processing illegal steroids from China as part of a conspiracy..., federal court records show. Weyeneth's stepfather, Matthew Greacen, pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge last year.... Weyeneth was not charged." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: So the kid who is unofficially running the administration's anti-drug campaign has no professional experience except in high school he was really close to an illegal drug-manufacturing operation. He claims he knows nothing about the steroid stuff even though he was directing the production. Oh, and this from O'Harrow's report: "In October, Trump's nominee to lead the office, Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), withdrew from consideration after a joint investigation by The Post and 60 Minutes found he had sponsored legislation favoring opioid makers and curbing the ability of the Drug Enforcement Administration to investigate abuses." The only attention Trump is giving to illegal drug containment is to reducing competition from south of the border (see "beautiful wall" & "they bring drugs.") And you thought Trump didn't have a strategy.

** Jamie Doward of the Guardian: "The introduction of medical marijuana laws has led to a sharp reduction in violent crime in US states that border Mexico, according to new research. According to the study ... when a state on the Mexican border legalised medical use of the drug, violent crime fell by 13% on average. Most of the marijuana consumed in the US originates in Mexico, where seven major cartels control the illicit drug trade.... The authors claim their study provides new insights into methods to reduce violent crime related to drug trafficking. But its publication comes as the US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is rescinding the Obama-era policy that ushered in the medical marijuana laws." --safari

David Rogers of Politico: "For the first time in their lives, millions of middle-class donors will be effectively shut out from claiming any charitable deduction under the GOP's new tax law. At the same time, the wealthy will get a still larger share of the tax benefit, even when sacrificing a smaller share of their income. Indeed, the few concessions by tax writers to promote charitable giving are aimed at the very high end of the income scale. The end result is a law that does more to promote gifts to pay for a grandchild's private schooling than it does to encourage the same grandparents to go outside their family and give to the local Boys & Girls Club."

"Capitalism is Awesome", Ctd. David Dayen of The Intercept: "The insurance firm Aflac has exploited workers, manipulated its accounting, and deceived shareholders and customers, according to nine former employees. This article is based on interviews with multiple current and former employees, as well as three previously unreported lawsuits. The allegations contained in the lawsuits involve nearly every aspect of Aflac's business and have already led to a series of investigations by state and federal regulators." --safari

Neo-Nazi Trolls. Ben Collins of The Daily Beast: "In the week before Martin Luther King Jr. Day,, a website run by the Neo-Nazi website Stormfront that calls King a 'sexual deviant' with an 'uncontrollable lust and propensity for violence,' was a top result for searches of 'Martin Luther King' on Google. The site's placement on the first page of results for King's name forces results with truthful content or historical documents off the first page in favor of racist propaganda." --safari ...

     ... safari: The other day I tried to find a clip on Youtube of Jim Acosta on CNN calling out Trump as a racist. The first few pages were all Confederate propaganda praising their Dear Leader or talking shit on Mr. Acosta. The Right's war on information has gamed all the search engines with their disinformation. Putin would be proud.

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: According to President Obama in his interview with David Letterman, it's even worse than that. Google knows what sites you call up, so & when you search for a particular political topic, its algorithm chooses the "news" you are likely to prefer. So if a confederate & I Google "Trump tax reform analysis," the top results a conservative will get might be the idiot Gateway Pundit, while I might get Paul Krugman. Obama suggests that one of the reasons the country is becoming increasingly partisan is this kind of search engine filtering. ...

... Julia Manchester of the Hill has more on President Obama's remarks re: partisan news media. ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Watched David Letterman's interview of President Obama. If you have access to Netflix, and unless you don't especially like Obama, you'll be doing yourself a favor to watch it. Nobody is perfect, but the U.S. has not had a better president in my lifetime (which is long!) than Obama. Obvious why Trumpelthinskin hates him. Trump is suffering from acute Obama Derangement Syndrome; Trump is tied in knots of jealousy. Obama is everything, everything Trump is not. That interview is one more jarring reminder of how far down we have come.

A few Sunday Laughs. --safari

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.

Senate Race

Sorry, But This Is Stupid. Justin Jouvenal & Jenna Portnoy of the Washington Post: "Chelsea E. Manning, the transgender former Army private who was convicted of passing sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks, is seeking to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, according to federal election filings. Manning would be challenging Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin, who is in his second term in the Senate and is up for reelection in November. Cardin is Maryland's senior senator and is considered an overwhelming favorite to win a third term." Mrs. McC: I suppose you could argue that Manning has plenty of government experience.

Beyond the Beltway

Expensive Poor-shaming for Fun. Judd Legum of ThinkProgress: "In 2015, West Virginia passed legislation requiring some applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to submit to drug testing. The state estimated that over the first year, the program would identify 390 people as drug users at a cost of $50,000. The program has now been in place for three months and just four people, less than one-half of a percent of all applicants, tested positive. In the general population, the rate of drug use is 9.4%.... West Virginia's experience mirrors those of other states who have implemented similar programs." --safari

News Lede

Washington Post: "Unforgiving cold has punished the eastern third of the United States for the past 10 days. But the most severe winter weather yet will assault the area late this week. First, a monster storm will hammer coastal locations from Georgia to Maine with ice and snow. By Thursday, the exploding storm will, in many ways, resemble a winter hurricane, battering easternmost New England with potentially damaging winds in addition to blinding snow."

Reader Comments (2)

Almost all of us who are not Native Americans come from "shithole countries." That is, we or our ancestors came as refugees from countries with miserable economies or that treated us or our ancestors badly, or that kicked us out. Sure, a few of our ancestors were (usually younger sons) of the aristocracy & received large royal land grants, but most came here either because they got deported from their own countries or were subject to economic and/or religious discrimination & hardships, or were deported as prisoners of war, including those herded onto slave ships. Maybe the whole country they lived in couldn't be described as a shithole, but their particular circumstances were shit.

Trump's own paternal grandfather was kicked out of Germany -- like Donald, he had avoided the Bavarian draft, & the Bavarian government sent him packing.

Donald Trump's mother came here as an "economic migrant" from the Scottish Isle of Lewis. "According to a Politico profile by Michael Kruse, she was 'brought up in an environment marked by isolation, privation and gloom.'" According to Kruse, historians & genealogists have characterized the area where she lived with terms such as “human wretchedness” and “indescribably filthy'” You know, "shitholes."

Some of my own ancestors were jailed in England for heretical teachings, deported to the colonies as English prisoners of a war with Scotland, probably came as indentured servants, fled Ireland to avoid the English draft, and so forth. My husband came from Italy after WWII, because the entire European economy was depressed. You know, a "shithole continent" -- like Africa.

You would think Donald would have some sympathy for people who wnat to come here as refugees because of his mother's & grandfather's experiences. But he's Donald Trump. He doesn't have sympathy for anyone but Donald Trump.


January 14, 2018 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

From across the pond, The Observer view on Donald Trump
The Guardian an editorial. "a disgrace to his country on so many levels"

"The overwhelming impression of Trump’s first 12 months is not of steady progress but chaos. "

(another sort of test run, seems odd not to see all the others commenting here. Hope Squarespace fixes soon!)

January 14, 2018 | Registered CommenterMAG
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