The Ledes

Sunday, July 15, 2018.

New York Times: France won the World Cup, beating Croatia 4-2.


The Wires

Public Service Announcement

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."

Welcome to the Bank:

The Mounties Always Get Their Man -- and Woman -- especially when the pair are the ones mimicking the Keystone Kops. This is real CCTV footage of a young couple who -- allegedly -- tried to use stolen credit cards at an Alberta, Canada, convenience store. The WashPo has more details. These comical suspects, BTW, are not teenagers; they're in their late 20s. Super-size for best viewing. There's an action-movie moment near the end, so don't tune out too soon:

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."

AP: "ABC, which canceled its 'Roseanne' revival over its star's racist tweet, says it will air a Conner family sitcom minus Roseanne Barr this fall. ABC ordered 10 episodes of the spinoff after Barr agreed to forgo any creative or financial participation in it. In a statement issued by the show's producer, Barr said she agreed to the settlement in order to save the jobs of 200 cast and crew members. ABC said Thursday that the new series has the working title 'The Conners' and will star John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert and other 'Roseanne' co-stars."

NAFTA No, NAFSA . North American Free Soccer Agreement. Washington Post: "The World Cup is returning to the United States, and this time, Mexico and Canada are along for the wild ride. A North American joint bid won the rights Wednesday to host the 2026 edition of the celebrated soccer tournament, defeating Morocco and bouncing back from an unfathomable U.S. defeat to Qatar in voting for the 2022 event eight years ago. The member associations in FIFA, the sport’s governing body, favored the North American effort, known as the United Bid, in a landslide vote, 134-65."

... Washington Post: "It was Justify’s moment, after all. In a dazzling display of power and durability, the late-blooming colt who didn’t race as a 2-year-old proved Saturday he couldn’t be worn out as a 3-year-old, thundering to victory in the Belmont Stakes to claim a place in history as the sport’s 13th Triple Crown champion. After a 37-year drought in which the feat seemed impossible, Justify became the second horse in four years to achieve it, tutored, like 2015 predecessor American Pharoah, by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Before Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, which Justify won by 1¾ lengths over surprise second-place finisher Gronkowski in a 10-horse field, the massive chestnut colt with the white blaze had won the Kentucky Derby by a 2 1 /2-length margin, becoming the first since Apollo in 1882 to win the classic without running as a 2-year-old. Two weeks later, Justify weathered torrential rain and a blanket of fog to win the Preakness Stakes, setting himself up for the Triple Crown bid."

Masha Gessen of the New Yorker on "The Americans." Mrs. McC Spoiler Alert: If you haven't seen the show's finale, & you plan to, see it before reading Gessen's post.

You may want to cut the sound on this video so you don't go nuts before you get to move overseas:

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: I found this on a political Website, so that's my excuse. Juliana Gray in McSweeney's: "The Incel Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." It begins,

"Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like an equal redistribution of sexual resources.
Let us go, through certain half-considered tweets
and form tedious arguments
about entitlement.

"In the room the women come and go
Talking of Maya Angelou."

Read on. Incels, in case you don't know,  (a portmanteau of 'involuntary' and 'celibacy') are members of an online subculture who define themselves as being unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom. Self-identified incels are almost exclusively male and mostly heterosexual," according to Wikepedia.


The Commentariat -- October 10, 2017

Afternoon Update:

Peter Baker of the New York Times: "President Trump escalated his attack on Senator Bob Corker on Tuesday by ridiculing him for his height, even as advisers worried that the president was further fracturing his relationship with congressional Republicans just a week before a vote critical to his tax cutting plan. Mr. Trump gave Mr. Corker, a two-term Republican from Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a derogatory new nickname -- 'Liddle Bob' -- after the two exchanged barbs in recent days. He suggested Mr. Corker was somehow tricked when he told a reporter from The New York Times that the president was reckless and could stumble into a nuclear war.... 'The Failing set Liddle' Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that's what I am dealing with!'... A Times reporter interviewed Mr. Corker by telephone and recorded the call with the senator's knowledge and consent. Mr. Corker's staff also recorded the call, and he said he wanted The Times to do the same." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Obviously, Trumpelthinskin has no idea that a making stupid, grade-school attack show that he is a lot liddler than Corker. The only ways Trump is bigger than Corker all have to do with his ass, both physically & metaphorically. What an embarrassing twit. ...

... Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "President Trump proposed an 'IQ tests' faceoff with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after the nation's top diplomat reportedly called the president a 'moron' and disparaged his grasp of foreign policy. In an interview with Forbes magazine published Tuesday, Trump fired a shot at Tillerson over the 'moron' revelation, first reported by NBC News and confirmed by several other news organizations, including The Washington Post. 'I think it's fake news,' Trump said, 'but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.'" See today's commentary. Mrs. McC: Tillerson should accept the challenge: back in the day, there actually was a category called "moron," & I'd expect Trump to qualify. Not sure about Tillerson.

Jodi Kantor & Rachel Abrams of the New York Times: "When Gwyneth Paltrow was 22 years old..., film producer Harvey Weinstein hired her for the lead in the Jane Austen adaptation 'Emma.' Before shooting began, he summoned her to his suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a work meeting.... It ended with Mr. Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting they head to the bedroom for massages, she said. 'I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,' she said in an interview, publicly disclosing that she was sexually harassed by the man who ignited her career and later helped her win an Academy Award. She refused his advances, she said, and confided in Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time. Mr. Pitt confronted Mr. Weinstein, and soon after, the producer warned her not to tell anyone else about his come-on. 'I thought he was going to fire me,' she said. Rosanna Arquette, a star of 'Pulp Fiction,' has a similar account of Mr. Weinstein's behavior, as does Judith Godrèche, a leading French actress. So unwanted advances on her in a hotel room, which she rejected." ...

... Ronan Farrow, in the New Yorker, details similar stories, and worse. "Three women ... told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex.... [Some Weinstein] employees described what was, in essence, a culture of complicity at Weinstein's places of business, with numerous people throughout the companies fully aware of his behavior but either abetting it or looking the other way. Some employees said that they were enlisted in subterfuge to make the victims feel safe."


"American Kakistocracy." Norm Ornstein in the Atlantic: "From cabinet officials jetting around on the public dime, to Trump's shattering of ethical norms, to disregard for congressional procedure -- there's a case to be made that the United States is governed by the least scrupulous of its citizens.... The problem is deeper and worse when ineptitude joins with venality and recklessness.... Donald Trump campaigned by promising to run government like a business. Unfortunately, that business is Trump University."

Trump Plans More Mayhem for Americans. Louis Nelson & Adam Cancryn of Politico: "... Donald Trump wrote online Tuesday morning that he plans to take unilateral steps to reform the nation's healthcare system, hinting at signing an executive order without clarifying what that order might be. 'Since Congress can't get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people -- FAST,' Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning." ...

... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Nelson & Cancryyn hypothesize that Trump's order will authorize companies to sell insurance across state lines. If they're right, the order -- no matter how bold Trump's signature -- may prove meaningless. Before & after the implementation of ObamaCare, states tried interstate insurance schemes, & no insurance companies took them up on it. Also, too, even if such a program were implemented, it would not lower overall consumer costs, as Trump & other know-nothing Republicans claim ...

     ... BTW, I'm a little slow-witted, so I just figured out another reason Trump is so hot to get rid of/undermine ObamaCare. According to this 2013 Kaiser Foundation report, "Reflecting their limited incomes and lack of access to employer-sponsored health insurance, people of color are more likely to be uninsured compared to Whites." Because of its requirements that force insurers to cover certain health needs, ObamaCare affects every type of coverage. But it has had a greater impact on people of color because, as Kaiser found, they were less likely to have any kind of coverage. Trump doesn't know much, but I'll bet he knows this. Also see Krugman, linked below, on this Kaiser finding: "People of color have particularly high stakes in state decisions to implement the ACA Medicaid expansion." AND as we all know, & as Money (& many others) reported, repeal of the ACA would "also limit coverage for millions of American women, particularly the poorest." BUT of course GOP "replace" bills did give big tax breaks to the rich.

Lisa Friedman & Brad Plumer of the New York Times: "The Trump administration announced Monday that it would take formal steps to repeal President Barack Obama's signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America's efforts to tackle global warming. At an event in eastern Kentucky, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said that his predecessors had departed from regulatory norms in crafting the Clean Power Plan, which was finalized in 2015 and would have pushed states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions. It will also limit coverage for millions of American women, particularly the poorest...." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: In case you were wondering why Trump didn't do the announcing of this horrible policy -- the better to flourish his executive order pen -- it was because he was busy golfing. And he played fantastically well! Emphasis on fantastic. BTW, since Pruitt made the announcement while Nero fiddled Trump golfed, it's possible the presidunce knows nothing about it. Even if he does, it wouldn't matter because he doesn't care.

Peter Baker & Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "President Trump's latest rupture with a Republican senator has widened the schism with his own party on Capitol Hill, potentially jeopardizing the future of his legislative agenda even as he presses lawmakers to approve deep tax cuts, according to veteran Republicans and independent analysts.... White House officials seethed on Monday, privately accusing [Sen. Bob] Corker of intentionally picking a fight with the president to draw attention to his new crusade against raising the deficit in any tax overhaul. But Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky ... and his allies were incredulous that the president would anger a senator just a week before a budget vote that is critical to tax cuts when the party's 52-vote majority can be thwarted by just three defections.... Few other incumbent Republicans rushed to the microphones to echo [Corker's] comments on Monday, but several made little attempt to hide their irritation at Mr. Trump for attacking Mr. Corker." ...

... Charles Pierce: "Bob Corker thought that Scott Pruitt was just the man for the job. Bob Corker also voted in favor of making a discreet racist the Attorney General, for putting a grifter at the head of Health and Human Services, and for putting unqualified buffoons at the head of the Departments of Education and Housing And Urban Development. Bob Corker was altogether fine with stiffing Merrick Garland for a year in order to hijack a Supreme Court seat for Neil Gorsuch who, apparently, even John Roberts can't stand. It was cool with Bob Corker, several times, if millions of Americans lost their healthcare and if even the surviving restrictions on Wall Street brigandage and campaign finance went up in smoke. Bob Corker voted with the administration 88 percent of the time. And as Alec MacGillis pointed out on the electric Twitter machine, Bob Corker stepped in and monkeywrenched a union drive at an automobile plant in Tennessee.... So, no. I don't have to 'give credit' to Bob Corker for anything. He owes his career to the same unreason and extremism of which this president* is a perfect end product." ...

... Robert Costa, et al., of the Washington Post: "Frustrated by his Cabinet and angry that he has not received enough credit for his handling of three successive hurricanes, President Trump is now lashing out, rupturing alliances and imperiling his legislative agenda, numerous White House officials and outside advisers said Monday. In a matter of days, Trump has torched bridges all around him, nearly imploded an informal deal with Democrats to protect young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, and plunged himself into the culture wars on issues ranging from birth control to the national anthem. In doing so, Trump is laboring to solidify his standing with his populist base and return to the comforts of his campaign -- especially after the embarrassing defeat of Sen. Luther Strange (R) in last month's Alabama special election, despite the president's trip there to campaign with the senator.... Trump in recent days has shown flashes of fury and left his aides, including ... John F. Kelly, scrambling to manage his outbursts." ...

... Babysitting Trump. Josh Dawsey of Politico: "... interviews with ten current and former administration officials, advisers, longtime business associates and others close to Trump describe a process where they try to install guardrails for a president who goes on gut feeling -- and many days are spent managing the president, just as Corker said.... [Strategies to manage Trump don't always work.] Trump wanted to fire FBI Director James Comey for at least a week before it happened. Aides, including [Reince] Priebus, [Steve] Bannon and White House chief counsel Don McGahn continually told him what a perilous threat it could be to his presidency. Outside advisers called Trump and warned him against it. Eventually, Trump went away to Bedminster ... and decided to fire Comey anyway." ...

... Karen DeYoung & Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post: "After nearly nine months of the Trump administration, many of America's closest allies have concluded that a hoped-for 'learning curve' they thought would make President Trump a reliable partner is not going to happen.... Instead, they see an administration in which lines of authority and decision-making are unclear, where tweets become policy and hard-won international accords on trade and climate are discarded. The result has been a special kind of challenge for those whose jobs are to advocate for their countries and explain the president and his unconventional ways at home. Senior diplomats and officials from nearly a dozen countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia expressed a remarkable coincidence of views in interviews over the past several weeks. Asked to describe their thoughts about and relations with the president and his team..., many described a whirlwind journey beginning with tentative optimism, followed by alarm and finally reaching acceptance that the situation is unlikely to improve."

New York Times Editors: "On Sunday, the White House announced a list of hard-line demands that it said Congress must include in any legislation to help the roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers, who were brought to this country as children. It was the latest flip-flop for the administration and a demoralizing turn for what seemed like a possible bipartisan deal on an emotional issue.... So what can Republicans do? Start by working across the aisle on sensible immigration legislation. That would begin with what got this entire discussion started: a deal to protect the Dreamers.... No matter what the final package looks like, it needs to get to the floor and be put to a vote -- which depends on Paul Ryan and ... Mitch McConnell embracing higher principles than fear of their Tea Party rebels."

Silly "News." Helena Andrews-Dyer & Emily Heil of the Washington Post: "Things are getting a little 'Real Housewives' around the White House.... President Trump's first and third wives, Ivana and Melania, respectively, on Monday had a very public war of words -- and his second wife, Marla Maples, is getting some shade out of the spat, to boot.... To promote her new book, 'Raising Trump,' about parenting Trump's three eldest children, Ivana Trump gave a Monday interview to 'Good Morning America' in which she ... [said] 'I'm basically first Trump wife. Okay?' Ivana Trump said. 'I'm first lady.' She offered faux sympathy for Melania Trump, saying 'I think for her to be in Washington must be terrible.' (She had less subtle insults for her ex's second wife, Marla Maples. 'A showgirl' was her epithet of choice.)... Melania Trump took a page out of her husband's playbook, the one that famously decrees he hit back harder at anyone who takes a swing. Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, dispatched a crisp response dismissing Ivana's remarks as 'attention seeking' from someone who just wants to sell books and making clear that Melania Trump does not, in fact, hate her Washington life."

Nicholas Confessore & Daisuke Wakabayashi of the New York Times: Incendiary YouTube videos "ended up becoming grist for a network of Facebook pages linked to a shadowy Russian company that has carried out propaganda campaigns for the Kremlin, and which is now believed to be at the center of a far-reaching Russian program to influence the 2016 presidential election. A New York Times examination of hundreds of those posts shows that one of the most powerful weapons that Russian agents used to reshape American politics was the anger, passion and misinformation that real Americans were broadcasting across social media platforms.... The Russians also paid Facebook to promote their posts in the feeds of American Facebook users, helping them test what content would circulate most widely, and among which audiences.... Boosted by Russian accounts, the material was quickly picked up by other American users of Facebook, spreading the posts to an even bigger audience." ...

... Daisuke Wakabayashi: "Google has found evidence that Russian agents bought ads on its wide-ranging networks in an effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign. The findings from an internal inquiry draw Google further into the growing investigation of how social networks and technology services were manipulated by the Russian government to spread misinformation and sow division during the 2016 election. Using accounts believed to be connected to the Russian government, the agents purchased $4,700 worth of search ads and more traditional display ads, according to a person familiar with the company's inquiry who was not allowed to speak about it publicly.... Google found a separate $53,000 worth of ads with political material that were purchased from Russian internet addresses, building addresses or with Russian currency.... It is not clear whether any of those were connected to the Russian government, and they may have been purchased by Russian citizens.... The messages of those ads spanned the political spectrum."

Beacon of Liberty: Torture Edition. Larry Seims of the Guardian: "274 documents the CIA and Pentagon were forced to declassify and release during pre-trial discovery...These documents, many of them scheduled to be entered as exhibits at trial, provide the fullest picture yet of what the three men suffered in that secret CIA dungeon -- and of how fatefully their lives intersected with the rise and fall of James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the men who designed the torture regime." Read on if you've got a strong stomach --safari (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Senate & Gubernatorial Races:

He's Breaking up That Old Gang of Theirs. Jonathan Swan of Axios: "Steve Bannon and his allies are planning a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. And only one Senator running in 2018 will get a free pass: Ted Cruz. Breitbart's Washington Editor Matt Boyle writes [Monday] that conservatives are 'running or actively seeking out' serious primary challengers for every incumbent Republican senator running in 2018 except the Texan. Bannon once said he successfully weaponized a human being in Matt Boyle. So Boyle's stories are a useful guide for what Bannon and his outside groups -- funded by billionaires like the Mercers -- are planning. Here are the races and candidates Boyle teases as part of Bannon's push to support 'America First' candidates in congressional and gubernatorial races nationwide[.]" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: It's tempting to be grateful to Steverino, but as we all know, some of his deplorable candidates will win both their primaries & general elections. Also, too, the primaried senators & governors will move even further to the right, so they may take their new oaths with a promise to deport anyone who can't prove s/he's among the Descendants of the Bastard Kings of England. BTW, there used to be such an organization, & I would qualify. It's the only one of those Look-at-Me-I'm-Whitey-White-White organizations I once considered joining -- because I loved the name.

Jordain Carney of the Hill: "Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced on Monday morning that she will run for reelection in 2018. 'I am running for reelection to the Senate. Lots more to do: ending gun violence, combating climate change, access to healthcare. I'm all in!' Feinstein said...."

Erik Schelzig of the AP: "Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn's Senate campaign announcement ad has been blocked by Twitter over a statement the abortion rights opponent makes about the sale of fetal tissue for medical research. Blackburn, who is running for the seat being opened by the retirement of Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, boasts in the ad that she 'stopped the sale of baby body parts.' A Twitter representative told the candidate's vendors on Monday that the statement was 'deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction[']: Twitter said the Blackburn campaign would be allowed to run the rest of the video if the flagged statement is omitted. While the decision keeps Blackburn from paying to promote the video on Twitter, it doesn't keep it from being linked from YouTube and other platforms. Blackburn took to Twitter to urge supporters to re-post her video and join her in 'standing up to Silicon Valley.'"

Funny how people who accuse their rivals of being unpatriotic worship men who engaged in armed rebellion against the United States. -- Paul Krugman ...

... Where the Confederacy Rules. Paul Krugman: "If you want to understand why policies toward the poor are so different at the state level, why some states offer so much less support to troubled families with children, one predictor stands out: the African-American share of the population. The more blacks, the less compassion white voters feel. The story gets even clearer if you look at the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.... Until recently, Virginia seemed to be emerging from some of the darker shadows of its history. The state is becoming more ethnically diverse, more culturally open; it is, you might say, becoming more like America.... Ed Gillespie, the G.O.P. candidate, is trying to pull off an upset by going full-on Trumpist, doing all he can -- with assistance from the tweeter in chief -- to mobilize the white nationalist vote.... Virginia is now the most important place on the U.S. political landscape -- and what happens there could decide the fate of the nation."

Medlar's Sports Report:

Kevin Draper & Ken Belson of the New York Times: "Jemele Hill, the 'SportsCenter' host on ESPN whose tweets last month calling President Trump a white supremacist caused the White House to call for her firing, was suspended on Monday for once again running afoul of the company's social media policy. After the Dallas Cowboys' owner, Jerry Jones, said Sunday that he would bench any players who 'disrespect the flag,' Hill suggested on Twitter that fans who disagreed with Jones's stance should boycott Cowboys advertisers." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: So it's okay if a rich white guy makes a political statement, but not okay if a black woman responds with a political statement. Seems fair. ...

... Erik Wemple of the Washington Post: "ESPN doesn’t deserve to retain the services of Jemele Hill.... Proof? On Monday, the Disney-owned sports-broadcasting colossus suspended Hill for issuing an insightful tweet about the NFL, a league that ESPN supposedly covers.... With his own autocratic announcements about the consequences of kneeling, [Cowboys owner Jerry] Jones is sounding a lot like an NFL stand-in for Trump, a position that'll harden some attitudes around the league."

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet srespond to Sharon Waxman's allegations, linked here yesterday, that Times editors killed her 2004 story on Harvey Weinstein. Baquet said, in part, "... if you read her own description, she did not have anything near what was revealed in our story. Mainly, she had an off-the-record account from one woman." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: According to Waxman's account, that's not true: "As head of Miramax Italy in 2003 and 2004, Fabrizio Lombardo was paid $400,000 for less than a year of employment. He was on the payroll of Miramax and thus the Walt Disney Company, which had bought the indie studio in 1993.... According to multiple accounts, he had no film experience and his real job was to take care of Weinstein's women needs, among other things.... I had people on the record telling me Lombardo knew nothing about film, and others citing evenings he organized with Russian escorts." As I recall, Baquet is a consistent defender of questionable NYT editorial decisions, including crap the Times had to amend four times its initial story about Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server. Waxman's reporting may or may not have required more sourcing to meet NYT standards, but accurately claiming that her report wasn't as deep or as broad as last week's NYT report on Weinstein is a phony excuse for squelching a narrower report. ...

This is a Donna Karan dress, which -- given the hat & handbag -- she apparently thinks is just right for the office. Asking for it?... Bonnie Malkin of the Guardian: "Fashion designer Donna Karan has come to the defence of film producer Harvey Weinstein by praising the movie mogul and saying women who dress sensually are asking for trouble.... On Sunday, Karan, who is also a friend of Weinstein's, told the Daily Mail that he was 'wonderful'. Karan said women must consider if the way they dress suggests they are 'asking for it'. 'I think we have to look at ourselves,' she said on the red carpet at the CinéFashion film awards in Los Angeles.... Weinstein's alleged conduct has been condemned by his friends Meryl Streep and Judi Dench, who called the claims 'horrifying' and 'inexcusable'."

"Capitalism is Awesome", Ctd. Joseph Cox of The Daily Beast: "Danny Manupassa sells everything the paranoid might need. As the director of PI-Products, he offers infra-red cameras, reinforced, security-focused doors to stop burglars armed with electric drills and saws, and even professional bug-sweeping services to find hidden microphones in cars. But this thirtysomething entrepreneur's main business -- the one that has led to him being the center of a cross-border investigation into organized crime -- is selling privacy-focused mobile phones...A Daily Beast investigation shows the widespread use of these devices by serious criminals, connections between crooks and some of the people that sell the phones, and the intense rivalry playing out across the industry." --safari (Also linked yesterday.)

News Ledes

Washington Post: "The massive, fast-moving California wildfires that have killed at least 15 people came with hardly any warning, spreading into neighborhoods when residents had gone to bed, unaware that they would have to flee for safety. Many of them ... have nothing left to come back to." ...

... Los Angeles Times: "The death toll from the Northern California fires continued to rise Tuesday, reaching a confirmed total of 15 as multiple fires scorched upward of 100,000 acres. Sonoma County alone has received about 200 reports of missing people since Sunday night, and sheriff's officials have located 45 of those people, said county spokeswoman Maggie Fleming. The majority of the fatalities are from Sonoma County, where huge swaths of the city of Santa Rosa were leveled by the Tubbs fire. Nine people have died in Sonoma County as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, Fleming said. Two people have died in Napa County, three in Mendocino County and one in Yuba County, Cal Fire officials said."

Reader Comments (20)

Jon Stewart's attempt to defend Trump to Colbert fails––(and oh, how I miss Stewart–-what a shame he retired when there is such a treasure trove of tommyrot).

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe


"If the "dirty money" of Harvey Weinstein has corrupted Democratic politics, the same can be said for the dirty money of the Mercers."

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Can he get anymore idiotic?

Trump proposes ‘IQ tests’ face-off with Tillerson after secretary of state calls him a ‘moron’

“I think it's fake news,” Trump said, “but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win,.”

( )

Interesting observation made: Tillerson reminded one reader of Sam the Eagle of Muppets fame!

Another wag: "What's hilarious is that after reading these comments about the IQ test challenge, my first thought is: "what a f#?! moron!"

Isn't he thoug!h

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

@ Ak, I'm negligent by not thanking you last week for adding another layer of alliteration to my description of drumpf when Bea was at a loss for words.

I got thinking, though, that it might get a bit tedious always having to type "...the pestilential pustulating piece of puerile prepuce shocked the world again by..."

So, I've decided to either refer to him as presidunce p^5 (can't use the <sup> tag here) or, shorter yet, p^6. That's fewer keystrokes than typing moron, much less fucking moron.

Now I got it. How about fp^6?

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed


Hahahaha. Okay. fp^6 it is.

And you're right. It would be unnecessarily laborious to have type "pestilential pustulating piece of puerile prepuce" with every mention of the Orange Headed Baboon. I'm thinking maybe using Hotkeys to create a shortcut.

Then again, if you used fp^6, Confederates (and Trumpy) would have no idea what you were saying.

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

An IQ test? Someone should inform the little king that room temperature IQ's do not win any contests. But I'm sure he has all the best IQ's.

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Golfing--and lying--while Rome Burns

The piece about Nero, er Trump, fiddling, er, golfing, while something burned....oh, you get the idea...was in my head when I ran across one of the more obsequious and tawdry tweets I've seen of late.

It was Lindsey Graham who was apparently playing with Nero. And after the match, he tweeted that President* Golf Pro kicked his ass. Playing at Trump National, Graham reported that Trump beat him like a drum, shooting a 73 (a damn good score for those uninterested in golf).

Now, Trump plays a lot. I mean a LOT. Remember how he used to scream about Obama playing too much golf? Trump plays far more than Obama ever did. So I'm sure he's pretty good. For a duffer.

But several recent articles on Trump's golfing, shall we say, approach, suggest that it is not what you see among the golfing pros on the PGA circuit he often claims he could beat handily. And cheating, a Trump specialty, is somewhat frowned up in the pro ranks. But never mind. It's Trump.

In any event, a writer in NY Magazine compared the score Graham reported (how he could tweet that message while licking Trump's feet, I have no idea! That's talent) with scores of a recent Senior PGA tournament played at the same course.

If true, Trump's 73 would have beaten or tied some of the greats on the PGA from the last 30 years including guys like former Masters Tournament winner Larry Mize, Colin Montgomerie, and John Daly, among others, and tied many more. All exceptional golfers. This is not unlike saying that a decent softball pitcher could go head to head with Barry Bonds and strike him out. And leave us not forget to mention that the little king did not dispute Graham's obsequious message.

Someone else tweeted that he wished Graham had just come out and reported Trump's true score: 18.

More signs of a weak mind, terribly insecure spirit, and stunningly unethical character. Are you tired of winning yet?

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Ak: Trump's joke score (not a true one) would be an 'amazing' 18...that's a hole-in-one on every hole! If a true score had been accurately counted (cheating & gimmees aside), probably more like 97 or 102.

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG


Thanks for the Colbert/Stewart tag team. But they're wrong about one thing.

Donald Trump IS a cannibal.

I'm pretty sure. In fact, if he were still alive, Trump would probably have put Jeffrey Dahmer in charge of Health and Human Services. Hey, look at it this way. He'd have been cheaper than Tom Price. And just think of the special "dishes" he could come up with for state affairs at Marred a Lago.

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Something I was thinking about last night: A deranged man with a large cache of guns kills 58 people and injures hundreds. Those that want to strip away many of the AFC health care benefits might very well be responsible for as many deaths and hundreds of injurious health problems. And those very same people do nothing about the regulation of guns. Something to ponder.

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe


And that 18 would put the little king ahead of the Dear Leader (Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un's daddy) who was once said to have registered five holes in one. On his first crack at playing golf, no less. Woof. Trump shouldn't be threatening to nuke NK, he should become a bosom buddy of the Kims. They could trade lies all day and well into the night and have plenty left for the next day.

"I once built my own ICBM!"

"Oh, that's nothing. I built my own ICBM and rode it on its first flight."

"Oh, I forgot to mention that I did the same thing. Except I rode mine to moon. Ever see those big craters up there? Who do you think made those?"

"How did you get back?"

"Held my breath, rebuilt the missile using minerals I sucked out of the ground, picked it up, got a running start, and launched myself back to earth..."

"Oh...that's time..."

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Yes, Mrs McCrabbie. Late to the party maybe--tho' I choose to discount the false modesty--but absolutely right.

The Right's objection to the ACA has from the beginning not so much been the benefits it provides but to whom it provides them and how it manages to do so. It transfers resources (read: wealth) from those who have to those who don't, and in so doing its initials might just as well have stood for the American Christian Act*, which when you get down to it would summarize a human impulse which the Right, despite its public appeals to personal virtue and family values (meaning, my family, not yours) wants no part of.

On top of that, as you say, there is the race thing. For instance, a doctor in a local low-income family practice clinic has told me how many more of his Hispanic patients (many of them farm workers) now have insurance, resulting in better healthcare.

He is very worried all that will be taken away. Republicans are not. Fine Christian folks that they are, they're disappointed they haven't succeeded in doing so.

*Maybe we ought to re-name it...

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Andy Borowitz has an update: Trump Knocked Out in First Round of White House I.Q. Test : “It had been a while since he had taken an I.Q. test,” the source said. “He had forgotten there was a spelling section."

”( )

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

From silly (Borowitz above) to the absolutely appalling. The New Yorker has Ronan Farrow's article on Harvey Weinstein.

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Chris Cillizza has come out with a list of at over 20 instances--in just the last couple of years--in which Trump brags about his IQ or dares someone else to take an IQ test so they'll know how stupid they are in comparison to Big Brain Donald.

"Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure,it's not your fault"

So, not only does he boast about something he'd never dare try to prove (and, by the way, we don't know it. So prove it! Go on national TV and take an IQ test. We'll watch. Then laugh. He'll claim his mediocre score was hacked by Obama.), he feels absolutely compelled to attack those whom he feels are on to him about being a lot stupider than he claims.

I know a lot of smart people and I've met many other extremely smart people over the years. I cannot imagine a single one of them boasting about their IQ scores or throwing down with some stranger to see who is smarter. They'd be horrified.

Insecure people, who suspect that others recognize that they really aren't as smart as they claim, do things like this, not smart people, not people who are secure in what they know and their intellectual capacity.

The guy is SO insecure, he challenges everyone to contests. Hand size, dick size, IQ, knowledge of history...all sorts of things. Braggarts are never as good as they think they are. Never. And those who never stop bragging (Trump) are typically far less competent than their boasts. If he really wanted to back up his boasts of a big brain, he'd release his college transcripts and his SAT scores and take a live IQ test.

That'll never happen. It would just prove his mediocrity. Low energy, low IQ, small hands, small...everything.

Just a sad, hateful, fat little man.

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus


We'll see the Pretender's IQ score long after we see his taxes and/or a legitimate assessment of his physical health.

He's the very definition of an empty head on an empty suit.

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Maybe Jeff Foxworthy can offer fp^6 a special guest appearance on "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?"

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

This may be of interest:

From my daughter-in-law, sent to interested parties of the sane sort.

"US Dept of Health and Human Services has just changed its mission statement to say

'HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.'

This is a draft mission statement. There's a comment section and a survey. Please do both as a first step at fighting back.

Here's what I said on the survey when they asked if I found what I was looking for:

"Proof that the Dept of HHS has taken a pro-life, anti-abortion, anti-choice stand against women's reproductive rights. And I found it. Right there in your mission statement - now you're protecting all Americans beginning at conception. This is an outrage. Women have a right to govern their own bodies. Families have a right to choose not to proceed with a pregnancy when the fetus has fatal anomalies. This is a despicable abuse of power. Why don't you actually work on helping people stay healthy - like make sure the government provides health insurance for ALL AMERICANS. I am a physician and I am appalled at the Dept of HHS."

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

With regard to Ken's DIL, I liked her letter with one correction: HHS, this entire administration and the GOP are definitely NOT "pro-life." They do nothing to help people already born. They ARE anti-abortion and anti-choice, but that is all they are. They are pro-death penalty and pro-privately funded health care ONLY. Oh, and pro-white male rights, pro-power for the aforementioned, and anti-family, anti-women, anti-children. What a pack of animals, although that is not fair to animals.

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

The moron takes up so much oxygen that no one has even had the time to mention Melania's startling hypocrisy: The wife of a serial cyber bully, embarking on a self-declared mission to snuff out online bullying, and then sending coded bullying messages to her adversary (Ivana Trump).

Too bad she can't steal that message from Michelle Obama: "When they go low, we go high." Nope, Melania's learned from the cesspool, and goes straight for the kneecaps.

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersafari
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