The Ledes

Sunday, January 20, 2019.

Hill: "A fire Sunday morning in Northeast Washington, D.C., damaged studios for Fox News, C-SPAN and MSNBC, and forced 'Fox News Sunday' to relocate its broadcast to a local affiliate's studio. Washington, D.C., Fire and EMS tweeted that an electrical fire broke out in the 8th floor television studio, but that nobody was injured. Steve Scully, the political editor for C-SPAN, tweeted shortly after 7 a.m. that  the Fox News and C-SPAN studios sustained 'extensive damage,' and MSNBC's studio took on 'extensive smoke and water damage.'"

New York Times: "Heavy snowfall, high winds and a dangerous mix of rain and sleet were expected to hit swaths of the Northeast on Sunday, prompting officials to warn of icy roadways and power outages from a vast winter storm that had been pummeling the Great Plains and the Great Lakes. The storm, which complicated travel on Saturday and busted plans for the three-day weekend across much of the country, had already caused problems from Kansas, where the governor declared an emergency, to Chicago, where a United Airlines plane slid off a concrete surface. Flights have been canceled by the thousands, and rapidly dropping temperatures on Sunday in parts of the Northeast would freeze anything wet, creating 'extremely dangerous' conditions on the roadways."

USA Today: "John Coughlin, a two-time U.S. pairs champion who was suspended Thursday evening by the U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating, died Friday, according to a Facebook post from his sister.... Kansas City police confirmed Coughlin's suicide.... Coughlin, 33, was a fixture at skating competitions and rinks around the country as a coach, TV commentator and a rising star within both USFS and the International Skating Union, the sport’s worldwide federation.”

The Wires
The Ledes

Saturday, January 19, 2019.

AP: " Forensic experts attempted to separate and count charred heaps of corpses in central Mexico on Saturday after a massive fireball erupted at an illegal pipeline tap, killing at least 66 people. More than 85 other people on Saturday were listed as missing as relatives of the deceased and onlookers gathered around the scene of carnage. Just a few feet from where the pipeline passed through an alfalfa field, the dead seem to have fallen in heaps, perhaps as they stumbled over each other or tried to help one another in the moments after a geyser of gasoline shot into the air Friday. The leak was caused by an illegal pipeline tap in the small town of Tlahuelilpan, about 62 miles (100 kilometers) north of Mexico City, according to state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex."

Public Service Announcement

November 26: Washington Post: "Federal health officials said Monday that only romaine lettuce from certain parts of California is unsafe to eat and that romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled to give consumers information about when and where it was harvested. If consumers, retailers and food service facilities cannot determine whether the romaine was grown outside California, they should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one got sick, according to a lengthy statement from Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. FDA officials said the most likely source of contamination is from the Central Coast growing regions in northern and central California. Romaine lettuce harvested outside those regions 'does not appear to be related to the current outbreak,' the FDA said. Hydroponically grown and greenhouse-grown romaine also does not appear to be affected in the outbreak. Romaine from those sources is safe to eat, the FDA said."

... November 20: New York Times: "In a sweeping alert, federal health officials warned people not to eat romaine lettuce anywhere in the country, after 32 people in 11 states fell sick with a virulent form of E. coli, a bacteria blamed for a number of food-borne outbreaks in recent years. The notice, issued Tuesday afternoon by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said consumers should not buy or eat any kind of romaine, whether chopped or whole, and restaurants should stop serving it. Anyone who has romaine, the health agency said, should throw it out." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Okay then, guess I'll throw out that romaine. Already ate one head, and I ain't dead yet.

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: If you're a shut-out Trump Shutdown victim tooling around the Internets with nothing to do today, let's assume that some day some time, Trump will de-furlough you and you can get back to work enthusiastically serving the American people in your appointed capacity. In case Trump has rendered you a bit rusty in the area of job skills, Conan here provides some useful tools that may help you get to work on time, even on casual Friday:

ABC News: "Breathtaking drone video of a pod of friendly, playful dolphins joining a surfer as he took to the waves near the coast of Ventura, California, is making the rounds on social media and bringing smiles -- and wow's -- to viewers. ABC station KABC-TV's meteorologist Kimi Evans met the drone's owner Craig Badger, who shared the footage, and spoke to surfer Alden Blair.... The video has been seen more than 3 million times on social media." ...

NBC Suits Are Such Geniuses. New York Times: "After a drawn-out negotiation period, NBC and Megyn Kelly have formally agreed to part ways. The network and the onetime cable news star reached a final agreement on Friday, nearly three months after she wondered aloud on-air why it was inappropriate for white people to dress up in blackface for Halloween. NBC and a representative for Ms. Kelly declined to reveal the details of the exit package. But according to two people familiar with the negotiations, Ms. Kelly was paid the outstanding balance on her contract, a figure that amounts to roughly $30 million. At the time of the separation, Ms. Kelly was in the middle of a three-year, $69 million contract with the network."

New York Times: "The Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the novelist MacKenzie Bezos announced on Twitter Wednesday that they are getting divorced after 25 years of marriage. In a statement posted on Mr. Bezos’s Twitter account, the couple said they had been separated for a long period of time, but planned to remain involved as 'parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects.' According to a 1999 profile in Wired, the two met when they both worked at D.E. Shaw, a New York-based hedge fund, before moving in 1994 to Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered. They have four children.... As is the case in any celebrity split, the financial details of the divorce are sure to be complicated despite the couple’s vow to “remain cherished friends.” According to Forbes, which publishes an annual list of billionaires, his net worth is estimated at $137 billion and he is the richest man in the world. While much of his wealth is tied up in Amazon stock, Mr. Bezos, 54, the company’s chief executive, is also the owner of several companies, including The Washington Post and Blue Origin, a space travel company."

Here's a list of the Golden Globe winners, via Market Watch. CNN has posted highlights on a liveblog & currently has a whole buncha links to related stories on CNN Entertainment. And if you're in it for the red carpet, there's this:

New York Times : "Archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved, 4,400-year-old tomb of a royal priest and his family in Egypt, in a 'one of a kind' find, the Egyptian authorities announced on Saturday. The tomb was unearthed in Saqqara, a city south of Cairo and a vast necropolis from ancient Egypt. The discovery dates from the rule of Neferirkare Kakai, the third king of the fifth dynasty of ancient Egypt, according to Khaled al-Anani, Egypt’s minister of antiquities. The fifth dynasty governed for less than two centuries, from 2,500 B.C. to about 2,350 B.C., according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tomb had remained untouched, said Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt’s supreme council of antiquities, according to Reuters."

"The Christmas Comet Returneth." New York Times: "Look into the night sky on Sunday [December 16] and you just might see a bright, fuzzy ball with a greenish-gray tint. That’s because a comet that orbits between Jupiter and the sun will make its closest approach to Earth in centuries, right on the heels of this year’s most stunning meteor shower. 'The fuzziness is just because it’s a ball of gas basically,' Tony Farnham, a research scientist in the astronomy department at the University of Maryland, said on Saturday morning.... 'You’ve got a one-kilometer solid nucleus in the middle, and gas is going out hundreds of thousands of miles.' The comet glows green because the gases emit light in green wavelengths. The ball of gas and dust, sometimes referred to as the 'Christmas comet,' was named 46P/Wirtanen, after the astronomer Carl Wirtanen, who discovered it in 1948. It orbits the sun once every 5.4 years, passing by Earth approximately every 11 years, but its distance varies and it is rarely this close. As the comet passes by, it will be 30 times farther from Earth than the moon, NASA said.”

By George O'Keefe or somebody.Maybe the Best Gift Would Be a Spell-Check App. Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Way back in November (so Slate has had plenty of time to make corrections), someone named Angela Serratore (hope I spelled that right), wrote a post for Slate, which is featured on its main page now, suggesting gifts from small museum shops. That's a nice thought, but it would have been even nicer if the story had not misspelled Georgia O'Keeffe three times: twice as "Georgia O'Keefe" & once as "George O'Keefe." But never "Georgia O'Keeffe."

Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi leaving the White House Wednesday, Dec. 12, after making mincemeat of Donald Trump.Everybody Loved Nancy's Coat! It's turns out it's from a 2013 Max Mara collection. According to Ana Colón of Glamour, "the Italian fashion house sent out a press release that not only confirmed the origins of Pelosi's coat but also announced that Max Mara would be reinstating the Glamis into its outerwear collection in 2019. 'In a variety of colorways,' no less! A spokesperson for the brand confirmed to Glamour that the decision to bring it back was inspired by Pelosi."

Tuesday
Sep042018

The Commentariat -- September 5, 2018

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

Tony Romm & Craig Timberg of the Washington Post: "Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter's Jack Dorsey told lawmakers on Wednesday that they are better prepared to combat foreign interference on their platforms, even as Democrats and Republicans alike expressed doubts that the social media giants had fully cleaned them up ahead of the midterm elections. Sandberg ... and Dorsey ... conveyed their message in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, almost a year after their companies told the same panel of lawmakers that Russia used inauthentic accounts to spread divisive political messages around the 2016 election. This time, though, lawmakers on the committee came equipped with a roster of fresh complaints -- from the proliferation of fake video online to the heightened need to protect privacy and combat hacking. As they testified, though, some of their most public adversaries sat behind them, including conservative media personalities like Alex Jones, the founder of the conspiracy-minded InfoWars. The presence of Jones, who had been banned from both platforms for violating rules against harassment, seemed all the more striking given a Wednesday afternoon hearing in the House, featuring Dorsey, focused on allegations that tech is biased against right-leaning users." Mrs. McC: The House interrogation will surely bring us some of that chamber's patented thuggery.

Donnie Has a BFF. John Wagner of the Washington Post: "Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who once called President Trump 'unfit for office,' emerged as one of his staunchest defenders in Congress in the 24 hours after the first reports about Trump's harrowing portrayal in Bob Woodward's new book. In a string of tweets and on television, Graham sought to minimize the impact of the book and lavished praise on Trump for a string of achievements, including his Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh.... 'President @realDonaldTrumps fate will be determined by the results he achieves for the American people, not by a book about the process,' Graham said in Wednesday morning tweets. 'By any reasonable measure we have one of the strongest economies in modern history, President Trump has rebuilt a broken military, and we are pushing back hard against America's enemies.'... The senator's defense of Trump came as other Southern lawmakers -- from both parties -- were voicing concerns about reporting in Woodward's book that the president had called Attorney General Jeff Sessions a 'dumb Southerner' and mocked his accent. Trump denied Woodward's account in a tweet Tuesday night." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Poor Lindsey! All of his amigos have gone -- McCain died, Lieberman quit his job, & Kelly Ayotte, briefly an amiga, got fired. All he has left is Donnie, whom he once called "the world's biggest jackass," a "kook," and "crazy." Trump, of course, took it in stride: he called "Graham an 'idiot' who is 'probably . . . not as bright, honestly, as Rick Perry' and [read] off Graham's cell phone number at one of his televised rallies."

New York Times reporters are liveblogging today's Kavanaugh hearing. ...

... Felicia Sonmez of the Washington Post: "On Tuesday, [President Trump] took his attacks o free speech one step further, suggesting in an interview with a conservative news site that the act of protesting should be illegal. Trump made the remarks in an Oval Office interview with the Daily Caller hours after his Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh, was greeted by protests on the first day of his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill. 'I don't know why they don't take care of a situation like that,' Trump said. 'I think it's embarrassing for the country to allow protesters. You don't even know what side the protesters are on.' He added: 'In the old days, we used to throw them out. Today, I guess they just keep screaming.' More than 70 people were arrested after they repeatedly heckled Kavanaugh and senators at Tuesday's hearing. Trump has bristled at dissent in the past, including several instances in which he has suggested demonstrators should lose their jobs or be met with violence for speaking out."

State of De Nile. Mrs. McCrabbie: The Trumpentweeter is consumed this morning with the Woodward book. (Ole Bob must be right pleased.) You can check out Trump's feed here. AND there's this one: "Almost everyone agrees that my Administration has done more in less than two years than any other Administration in the history of our Country. I'm tough as hell on people & if I weren't, nothing would get done. Also, I question everybody & everything-which is why I got elected!" Just pathetic.

Even When Trump Is Right, It's for a Corrupt Reason. Philip Bump of the Washington Post: "When Nike announced this week that it would center an advertising campaign around Colin Kaepernick, the football player responsible for starting the protests, it seemed ... the president [could not] resist offering criticism.... Trump demurred.... In an interview with the Daily Caller on Tuesday, Trump ... [said,] 'I think it's a terrible message.... Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay a lot of rent.'... Is that business relationship the reason Trump has decided not to attack Nike directly over the company's embrace of Kaepernick?... That he linked his response as president to his relationship with Nike as a businessman necessarily draws new scrutiny to where a wall has been erected between those two roles.... Something kept Trump from attacking Nike and scoring points with his base (a base which, we'll note, was so incensed at Nike that people were burning their shoes).... Update: Shortly after this article was published, Trump weighed in on Nike's decision on Twitter. Instead of criticizing the company, he emphasized the purported fallout of their decision. 'Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts...,' [Trump tweeted.]

Alexander Burns of the New York Times: "Former President Barack Obama is poised to plunge into the fray of the midterm campaign, returning to electoral politics with a frontal attack on Republican power in two states that are prime Democratic targets this fall: California and Ohio.... Mr. Obama's first public event of the midterm election will take place in Orange County, a traditionally conservative-leaning part of California where Republicans are at risk of losing several House seats. And Mr. Obama is expected to be joined by Democratic candidates from all seven of California's Republican-held districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. Mr. Obama intends to campaign next Thursday in Cleveland for Richard Cordray, a former bank regulator in his administration who is the Democratic nominee for Ohio governor. Republicans have held total control of the state government since the 2010 election, and Mr. Obama helped encourage Mr. Cordray, also a former state attorney general, to seek the governorship."

If you're wondering if NYT columnist Bret Stephens is a jerk, check with Steve M.

*****

Massachusetts Primary Results. The New York Times is updating results. Republican Geoff Diehl will challenge Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D). Democrat Jay Gonzales will face Gov. Charlie Baker (R). NBC News is reporting that Ayanna Pressley (D) has upset 10-term Rep. Michael Capuano (D). Here's a NYT profile of Pressley (pub. Sept. 1). ...

... Katharine Seelye of the New York Times: "Ayanna Pressley upended the Massachusetts political order on Tuesday, scoring a stunning upset of 10-term Representative Michael Capuano and positioning herself to become the first African-American woman to represent the state in Congress. Ms. Pressley's triumph was in sync with a restless political climate that has fueled victories for underdogs, women and minorities elsewhere this election season, and it delivered another stark message to the Democratic establishment that newcomers on the insurgent left were unwilling to wait their turn. Ms. Pressley propelled her candidacy with urgency, arguing that in the age of Trump, 'change can't wait.'"

*****

Seung Min Kim, et al., of the Washington Post: "The confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh launched Tuesday as a bitter political brawl, with loud objections from Democratic senators, the arrests of dozens of protesters and questions even from some Republicans about how Kavanaugh would separate himself from President Trump, the man who chose him. But GOP senators mostly calmly defended Kavanaugh from what Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) called the Shakespearean nature of the hearing -- 'sound and fury, signifying nothing' -- confident that there were no defections from the solid Republican support Kavanaugh needs to become the court's 114th justice." ...

... Here's the New York Times' main story on the hearing, by Sheryl Stolberg & Adam Liptak. ...

... New York Times reporters liveblogged Tuesday's Kavanaugh hearings. "Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday began with a bang, as Democrats moved angrily to adjourn to consider newly released documents and protesters screamed in support. Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, called it 'mob rule.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) Also, you will want to read Akhilleus's rundown, at the end of yesterday thread, of Cory Booker's & Kamala Harris's remarks during the hearing. Something about a race for dogcatcher on the Kamchatka Peninsula. ...

... Lisa Ryan of New York has some highlights. ...

Ninety-six percent of his record is missing. -- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), on Kavanaugh's hidden papers ...

... Lois Beckett of the Guardian: "When the father of a school shooting victim held out his hand to Donald Trump's nominee for the supreme court on Tuesday, Judge Brett Kavanaugh looked at him, then turned without saying a word and walked out. 'I put out my hand and I said: "My name is Fred Guttenberg, father of Jaime Guttenberg, who was murdered in Parkland," and he walked away,' Guttenberg said in an interview with the Guardian. The moment was captured in dramatic photographs, as well as on video from several different angles. In a statement after the incident, a White House spokesman [Raj Shah] said that 'an unidentified individual' had approached Kavanaugh as he was preparing to leave for the confirmation hearing's lunch break and that 'before the Judge was able to shake his hand, security had intervened' 'If you watch the video, you see that's not the case,' Guttenberg said. 'What the White House said was not true.'" Includes video from several viewpoints. A man who appears to be a security person intervenes, but not until after Kavanaugh frowns at Guttenberg & turns away. ...

... Chris Geidner of BuzzFeed News: "After two days of questions about how it was decided that more than 100,000 pages of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's White House work would be withheld from the Senate Judiciary Committee's review, the Justice Department took responsibility for the decision on Monday night.... The news that the documents were being kept from the public and the committee was reported on Friday night.... Lawyers for [George W.] Bush, led by William Burck of Quinn Emanuel, reviewed the documents requested and then provided the presidential records they found to the Justice Department for review.... Both career lawyers and political appointees in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel and Office of Legal Policy reviewed those documents, electronically tagging the documents that they believed should not be turned over as 'withhold for executive privilege.' Ultimately, that decision was reached with 27,110 documents, amounting to 101,921 pages." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Michael Kranish of the Washington Post has more. "The controversy over the files has been growing for weeks, as Republicans try to seat him in time for the Supreme Court term that begins in October, and Democrats seek to push the process beyond the midterm elections when they hope to regain majorities in Congress.... Many of the documents that have been shielded from disclosure come from Kavanaugh's three years as associate White House counsel. Democrats have been particularly interested in whether documents would reveal more about whether Kavanaugh played a role in developing [George W.] Bush's policy on torture."

Trump Lit

Ashley Parker & Josh Dawsey of the Washington Post: "Hours after The Washington Post first reported several key incidents from Woodward's book, 'Fear,' the administration mounted a vigorous string of public denials, with statements from top advisers -- White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders -- as well as from Trump's former personal attorney John Dowd. Mattis called the book 'fiction,' and Sanders denounced the tome in a statement as 'nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees' without disputing any of the specifics that have been reported in excerpts. Trump tweeted the statements Tuesday evening and then, without providing evidence, suggested the book's release was timed to affect the midterm elections in November.... Despite rumors for weeks that Woodward's latest project would likely paint a damning portrait of Trump and his team, the White House found itself caught ill prepared Tuesday as scenes from the book emerged. The official pushback initially was slow ... and felt pro forma.... As of Tuesday afternoon, the White House was still scrambling to procure a copy of Woodward's book.... By early Tuesday evening, Trump was furious...." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Tuesday afternoon, Trump was already on a Twitter tear over Bob Woodward's book: "The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General (Secretary of Defense) James Mattis and General (Chief of Staff) John Kelly. Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public. Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing?" He follows with statements by Mattis, Kelly & Sarah Sanders. They're here. (Scroll down the page.) ...

... He Has the Tapes. Jonathan Swan & Mike Allen of Axios: "President Trump is livid at the betrayal and stunning allegations in Bob Woodwards forthcoming 'Fear,' but limited in his ability to fight back because most of the interviews were caught on hundreds of hours of tape, officials tell Axios.... After the Washington Post posted excerpts yesterday, administration officials did little to deny specific revelations in the book, and instead spent the day speculating about Woodward's likely sources. One reason that few passages are being disputed: Woodward based the book on hundreds of hours of tapes of his interviews with current and former West Wing aides and other top administration officials." ...

Don't testify. It's either that or an orange jumpsuit. -- Attorney John Dowd, to Donald Trump, after Trump colossally flunked a mock Mueller interview ...

... The Lunatic in the White House: A (Mostly) Nonfiction Book. Philip Rucker & Robert Costa of the Washington Post: In his new book, Bob "Woodward depicts Trump's anger and paranoia about the Russia inquiry as unrelenting, at times paralyzing the West Wing for entire days.... The 448-page book was obtained by The Washington Post.... A central theme of the book is the stealthy machinations used by those in Trump's inner sanctum to try to control his impulses and prevent disasters, both for the president personally and for the nation he was elected to lead.... The ... forthcoming book ... paints a harrowing portrait of the Trump presidency, based on in-depth interviews with administration officials and other principals. Woodward writes that his book is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses that were conducted on 'deep background,' meaning the information could be used but he would not reveal who provided it. His account is also drawn from meeting notes, personal diaries and government documents." Read on. (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: provides an annotated transcript of the phone call. "Bob Woodward, an associate editor at The Washington Post, sought an interview with President Trump as he was writing 'Fear,' a book about Trump's presidency. Trump called Woodward in early August, after the manuscript had been completed, to say he wanted to participate. Over the course of 11-plus minutes, Trump repeatedly claimed his White House staff hadn't informed him of Woodward's interview request -- despite also admitting Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had told him Woodward wanted to talk. He also started the phone call by saying Woodward had 'always been fair' to him, but by the end he said the book would be 'inaccurate.'" ...

... Unfit for Office. Mark Landler & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "President Trump so alarmed his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, during a discussion last January of the nuclear standoff with North Korea that an exasperated Mr. Mattis told colleagues that 'the president acted like -- and had the understanding -- of a "fifth or sixth grader."' At another moment, Mr. Trump's aides became so worried about his judgment that Gary D. Cohn, the chief economic adviser, took a letter from the president's desk authorizing the withdrawal of the United States from a trade agreement with South Korea. Mr. Cohn told an associate that Mr. Trump never realized it was missing. These anecdotes are in a sprawling, highly anticipated new book by Bob Woodward, which depicts the Trump White House as a byzantine, treacherous, often out-of-control operation -- 'crazytown,' in the words of the chief of staff, John F. Kelly -- hostage to the whims of an impulsive, ill-informed and undisciplined president." ...

... Gabriel Pogrund of the Washington Post: "Southern Republican senators defended Jeff Sessions after an explosive new book by Bob Woodward recounted how President Trump called his attorney general a 'dumb Southerner' and mocked his accent.... Woodward writes that the president privately called Sessions a 'traitor,' saying: 'This guy is mentally retarded. He's this dumb Southerner ... He couldn't even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.' The remarks are said to have come during a conversation between Trump and his former staff secretary, Rob Porter, about Sessions's decision to recuse himself from the Russian investigation.... 'The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions "mentally retarded" and "a dumb southerner." I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a GREAT thing. He made this up to divide!' the president said [in a tweet Tuesday]." Pogrund cites a number of Southern senators. Their defenses of Sessions & of Southern intelligence are pretty halfhearted. ...

... Kaitlan Collins of CNN: "... Donald Trump has become increasingly exasperated in recent weeks that he wasn't interviewed by Bob Woodward ahead of the publication of his upcoming book, three sources with knowledge of the President's concern tell CNN. Trump's irritation reflects a heightened sense of unease in the West Wing about next week's release of the veteran reporter's book 'Fear: Trump in the White House,' which details life in the Trump administration. Woodward made several attempts to interview Trump, CNN is told.... But the interview never panned out.... Multiple people close to Trump have speculated that part of the reason an interview never happened was because of a policy instituted by chief of staff John Kelly after the January publication of [Michael] Wolff's 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,' which portrayed Trump as an ill-equipped leader who refused to read even one-page briefing papers." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... David Graham of the Atlantic: "Woodward delivers a raft of jaw-dropping anecdotes about the administration[.]... If there's an overarching theme that emerges from the new revelations, it is the depth of the mutual disgust and disrespect between the president and his top aides, which is even more extensive than was already known.... The dysfunction at the heart of Woodward's account demonstrates the paradox at the heart of the Trump White House: Everything is irreparably and disastrously broken, and yet what comes next could be even worse." ...

... Martin Longman in the Washington Monthly: "Woodward's book is further confirmation that the president is not fit to serve and that everyone who is a close witness already knows this. The Senate knows it, too, which is why I don't think they're going to be some partisan bulwark in the end. In fact, they're the most important audience for this book. They'll actually read it and discuss it, which is more than most voters will do.... If there's one bit of good news for the president in Bob Woodward's book, it's that the early publicity includes excerpts so disturbing that it will take a lot of urgently needed focus off of the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh.... [Here's a partial excerpt:] '... When [Gary] Cohn met with Trump to deliver his resignation letter after Charlottesville, the president told him, "This is treason," and persuaded his economic adviser to stay on. [John] Kelly then confided to Cohn that he shared Cohn's horror at Trump's handling of the tragedy -- and shared Cohn's fury with Trump. 'I would have taken that resignation letter and shoved it up his ass six different times,' Kelly told Cohn, according to Woodward. Kelly himself has threatened to quit several times, but has not done so." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: I would expect Mueller's team to grab a copy of Woodward's book & check the veracity of some of these alarming stories. In the aggregate, they suggest that Donald Trump is completely unfit for office. The Mueller report should reflect that true thing. And I don't know why Mattis & Kelly, et al., haven't sat down with mike pence to have a serious talk about invoking the 25th Amendment. Maybe they have. ...

... Jeet Heer: "The willingness of Trump’s staff to subvert their commander in chief is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's obviously useful to stop Trump most dangerous impulses from being carried out. On the other hand, not obeying the lawful order of a legitimately elected official is also a subversion of democracy. Woodward refers to it as 'an administrative coup d'etat.' If Woodward's book is accurate, the United States doesn't have a functional presidency right now." ...

... "Everyone in the White House Considers Trump an Idiot." Jonathan Chait: "... even by the high standard set by the many previous insider accounts, [Woodward's] portrait of Trump's delusional state appears to be especially harrowing.... Trump's lawyer John Dowd has likewise called his client an idiot. Somewhat more audaciously, he has argued that Trump should not have to testify to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, because the transcript would leak, and foreign leaders would see that Trump is an idiot.... Another Trump lawyer, Jay Sekulow, tried to argue to Robert Mueller that Trump could not be asked to give an interview because he is a compulsive liar. They literally explained to Mueller how they conducted a mock interview with Trump, and he was so unable to tell the truth that they considered him mentally disqualified from testifying[.]... However dumb and crazy you might think Trump is, the reality always turns out to be even worse." ...

... Tina Nguyen of Vanity Fair: "Early leaked excerpts from Bob Woodward's new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, are overflowing with the sort of new details that ought to trigger the 25th Amendment." ...


Maggie Haberman & Michael Schmidt
of the New York Times: "The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, will accept written answers from President Trump on questions about whether his campaign conspired with Russia's election interference, Mr. Mueller's office told Mr. Trump's lawyers in a letter, two people briefed on it said on Tuesday. But on another significant aspect of the investigation -- whether the president tried to obstruct the inquiry itself -- Mr. Mueller and his investigators understood that issues of executive privilege could complicate their pursuit of a presidential interview and did not ask for written responses on that matter, according to the letter, which was sent on Friday. Mr. Mueller did not say that he was giving up on an interview altogether, including on questions of obstruction of justice. But the tone of the letter and the fact that the special counsel did not ask for written responses on obstruction prompted some Trump allies to conclude that if an interview takes place, its scope will be more limited than Mr. Trump's legal team initially believed...."

William Saletan of Slate: "Donald Trump has a habit of incriminating himself. No one understands this better than the people who work for him. In Bob Woodward's new book..., Trump's aides reportedly describe how they've scrambled again and again to stop him from exposing the extent of his paranoia and dishonesty. But the president has thwarted them.... The author who's going to bring down Trump isn't Woodward. It's Trump.... To make [the] case [for obstruction of justice], Mueller has to show that Trump acted with 'corrupt intent.'... To prove corrupt intent definitively, you'd have to catch the president attacking the justice process specifically because it threatened him or his political allies. On Monday, Mueller received that evidence... on Twitter.... The president lambasted Sessions for allowing the Justice Department to indict two pro-Trump congressmen.... He has no plausibly innocent grounds on which to attack the indictments.... [The tweet] shows a pattern of corrupt intent that goes beyond the Russia investigation.... Legally, the tweet sheds light on a specific question: Trump's attitude toward the administration of justice. It shows that his motivation in attacking investigations is corrupt." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Trump's corruption was inevitable. When an irrepressible narcissist gains any degree of power, he will necessarily abuse that power. Every action under his control is made in furtherance of his self-interest. Given the great powers a POTUS has, it would have been impossible for Trump not to act corruptly. As Woodward & many others have documented, Donald Trump is not-corrupt only to the extent that others -- the courts, his staff, the Congress, the voters -- have some power over him. But he cannot emotionally accept that control, & he gets around it in every way he can. ...

... Renato Mariotti, in a New York Times op-ed: "On Monday, President Trump publicly condemned Attorney General Jeff Sessions (via Twitter, of course) for failing to quash criminal investigations of two of his political allies, both Republican representatives who are under indictment for committing serious crimes. Oddly, what is surprising is not that the president made this statement but that absolutely no one is surprised that he made it.... Mr. Trump has increasingly obstructed the special counsel's investigation in plain view, in the process politicizing both the Justice Department and F.B.I.... The stakes could not be higher. A president with the power to initiate investigations of his opponents and quash investigations of his friends could destroy the rule of law and the ability of our criminal justice system to check corruption forever. For the sake of our nation, let us hope that congressional Republicans check the president while they still can." ...

... New York Times Editors: "It long ago became clear that Mr. Trump regards federal law enforcement -- as he sees all of government -- as a political tool to advance the interests of himself and of his party (assuming those interests align, of course; if not, the party is on its own). Yet even by that debased standard, Mr. Trump's latest Twitter tantrum against Mr. Sessions, on Monday, set a new low.... 'Two long-running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,' he wrote. 'Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff.'... Mr. Trump's beef is not with Jeff Sessions or the Justice Department. He has a problem with the law -- or at least with the idea that it should apply to him and those who do his bidding. Republicans, especially Republican lawmakers, are by their silence complicit in this perversion of justice." ...

... Jonathan Chait: "Here is a threat to a specific governing norm whose value is beyond dispute. Trump objects to the indictments of two House Republicans who have been caught in blatant illegality.... A Wall Street Journal editorial earlier this year sneered, 'we're pleased to report that there hasn't been a fascist coup in Washington.' It hasn't been for lack of trying, or for lack of support from institutional Republican organs like the Journal. Indeed, despite a handful of criticisms, Republicans in Congress have largely refused to criticize Trump's demands to control the DOJ." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Actually, there has been a fascist takeover, & it emerged from the back rooms, fully-formed, on the day Antonin Scalia died. It's been playing on the teevee this week, even if only one of the leaders of the coup -- Chuck Grassley -- is performing for the cameras. As Chait points out, fascists like Putin (and I'd add McConnell) don't rush in with guns blazing to take command of the government; they pretend to be following those "norms" Chait touts, even as they undermine & eventually eliminate the norms. Don't kid yourself; getting rid of Donald Trump will not obliterate this threat to democracy. It requires a full & permanent victory over the GOP front. We are living in a fascist state right now, with all three branches of government actively participating.

... Brad Reed of the Raw Story: "The hosts of 'Fox & Friends' on Tuesday appeared visibly deflated after legal analyst Andrew Napolitano told them that ... Donald Trump's latest tweets attacking Attorney General Jeff Sessions would provide 'fodder' for special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. In particular, Napolitano turned a critical eye to Trump's tweet attacking Sessions for letting the Department of Justice file charges against Reps. Chris Collins (R-NY) and Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who were respectively indicted on charges related to inside trading and campaign finance fraud.... '... there can't be two standards: One for members of Congress -- Republican members of Congress -- and one for others. It is the duty of the Justice Department to prosecute crimes when they find them and to bring indictments when a grand jury has decided there's enough evidence there,' [Napolitano said]." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Carol Lee, et al., of NBC News: "In recent conversations with confidants..., Donald Trump has added FBI Director Christopher Wray to his list of key members of his administration whom he complains about, three people familiar with the discussions tell NBC News. Trump has criticized Wray as another figure in the Justice Department who is not protecting his interests -- and is possibly out to undermine his presidency, these people said. Trump is 'in the worst mood of his presidency and calling friends and allies to vent about his selection of (Attorney General Jeff) Sessions and Wray," said one person familiar with the president's thinking. This person said the president was particularly focused on both men over the Labor Day weekend.... ow he's increasingly grouping Wray with Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the special counsel's Russia investigation, all subjects of relentless criticism from the president."

Nancy Scola & Ashley Gold of Politico: "Twitter said Tuesday that not even ... Donald Trump is immune from being kicked off the platform if his tweets cross a line with abusive behavior. The social media company's rules against vitriolic tweets offer leeway for world leaders whose statements are newsworthy, but that 'is not a blanket exception for the president or anyone else,' Twitter legal and policy chief Vijaya Gadde told Politico in an interview alongside CEO Jack Dorsey. Trump regularly uses Twitter to ... at times raise the specter of violence, such as when he tweeted last year that if North Korean leaders continued with their rhetoric at the time, 'they won't be around much longer!'"

Gone But Not Forgotten. Stephanie Ebbs of ABC News: "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not justify increased spending on former Administrator Scott Pruitt's 24-hour security detail, which grew by almost $2 million in less than a year, the EPA's watchdog said. 'Failure to properly justify the level of protective services provided to the Administrator has allowed costs to increase from $1.6 million to $3.5 million in just 11 months,' the agency's inspector general said in a long-awaited report on Pruitt's 24-hour protective detail released Tuesday." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Yvonne Sanchez & Maria Polletta of the Arizona Republic: "Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday publicly chose Jon Kyl, once one of the most powerful Republicans in the U.S. Senate, to succeed the late Sen. John McCain.... Kyl could be sworn in as early as Tuesday night, though Wednesday is more likely, according to a governor's aide. He has agreed to serve at least through the end of the year.... If Kyl opts to step down after the end of the session, the governor would be required to appoint another replacement." Mrs. McC: It goes without saying that Kyl will vote to confirm Kavanaugh. I think that's his main job.

Congressional Races. Brian Murphy of the Raleigh News & Observer: "North Carolina's 13 congressional districts will remain in place and so will the Nov. 6, 2018 election, a federal three-judge panel ruled Tuesday. The panel ruled last week that the districts are unconstitutional due to 'partisan gerrymandering' designed to produce 10 Republican seats. But, with the election only two months away, the plaintiffs in the case -- the North Carolina chapters of Common Cause and The League of Women Voters -- argued that it was too late to change the maps despite their victory. On Tuesday, the court agreed."

Senate Race. Texas. Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News: "Sen. Ted Cruz's latest effort to inflame conservatives -- a video in which Rep. Beto O'Rourke appears to express enthusiasm for flag burning -- hinges on heavy splicing and a creative interpretation of a long-winded comment. O'Rourke did not say he's 'grateful' for flag burning. Nor did he say that flag burning is 'inherently American.' But that's how the Cruz campaign portrays O'Rourke's remarks from an El Paso town hall on Friday, in a 25-second video posted on the senator's campaign page and shared through social media. The challenger's camp called it a sign that Cruz is so worried about his re-election prospects, he is willing to twist facts. The Cruz side disputes that. This was one of several attacks launched against O'Rourke on Tuesday, as Cruz backers rush to his rescue."

Gubertorial Race. Kansas. Hunter Woodall of the Kansas City Star: "Republicans in Kansas further splintered Tuesday as the last moderate member of the party to hold the governor's office in Kansas endorsed a Democrat for governor over Kris Kobach, the GOP nominee. In a statement, former Kansas governor Bill Graves said he planned to support [state] Sen. Laura Kelly in the November election. Kelly is running against Kobach and independent Greg Orman. 'Laura Kelly is the only Democrat I have ever endorsed for public office,' Graves said in the statement." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Beyond the Beltway

Bill Ruthhart of the Chicago Tribune: Chicago "Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday morning that he will no longer seek a third term in office, signaling the end to what has been a tumultuous -- and at times transformative -- eight years in office. With First Lady Amy Rule by his side, an emotional Emanuel said the time simply had come to write a new chapter in their lives together.... Emanuel's decision marks a dramatic political reversal, as for the better part of the last year he had said he would run for a third term. The mayor, long a prolific fundraiser, had already reeled in more than $10 million toward a bid for a third term.... Emanuel weighed the decision as the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is scheduled to begin this week, a high-profile case that is sure to bring about fresh scrutiny of his handling of the Laquan McDonald police shooting, in which Van Dyke shot the teen 16 times in October 2014 as he walked down a Southwest Side street holding a small folding knife."

CBS-TV Miami: "Two Chicago-area [Roman Catholic] priests were charged Monday with Lewd and Lascivious behavior and Indecent Exposure after being caught performing a sexual act inside a car parked on a Miami Beach street. According to Miami Beach Police, 39-year-old Diego Berrio and 30-year-old Edwin GiraldoCortez were in the front seat of a car performing oral sex.... When officers arrived, the police report states, the two were performing sex acts on each other 'in full view of the public passing by on Ocean Drive and the sidewalk.' It was 3:20 in the afternoon." The Chicago Archdiocese removed the priests from their pastoral positions. Mrs. McC: Not sure why these guys couldn't have sex in a hotel room, but the real crime here is that they resorted to car sex because their church doesn't allow them to have sex at home.

Way Beyond

Vikram Dodd of the Guardian: "Two Russian nationals have been named and charged over the novichok poisoning of Sergei and Julia Skripal in March in Salisbury, Wiltshire. British police and prosecutors made the announcement on Wednesday. Police said they were travelling on authentic Russian passports under the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov and arrived in the UK on an Aeroflot flight days before the attack. The Crown Prosecution Service said there was enough evidence to charge them.... The two Russian suspects ... have not been charged with the later poisoning that killed Dawn Sturgess and left Charlie Rowley seriously ill, after they became unwell on 30 June at a home in Amesbury, Wiltshire." The suspects apparently have returned to Russia, which does not extradite its own nationals.

Reader Comments (20)

Day Two of the Kavanaugh Farce: Think of Shad Roe

In today’s episode, we learn that that nice Brett Kavanaugh who thinks of presidential semen while driving the kids to school, has never even heard of Roe. “Isn’t that a kind of fish food? Like caviar? Of course I’ve never had caviar either. Oh, and my wife has a good Republican cloth coat. Can I keep my little dog Checkers if Jesus lets me go the Supreme Court, where I promise to think real hard—see how I squinch up my face? I’m thinking real, real hard—about every case and won’t ever say ‘Not Guilty’ about a president. Not ever!?”

Then My Little Pony will fly into the room and Brett will zoom off to Never Never Land, where he’ll laugh and play with the Lost Boys, Clarence, Sam, Neil, and Little Johnny!

Even educated fleas do it!

What fun!

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@AK: Yesterday I replied to your post re: the loud claps for Kamala, who I thought was outstanding plus I mentioned that all of the Democrats did their very best to put a dent in the clown car crash and burn. Today I wanted to zero in on Sheldon Whitehouse. His portrayal of what he calls "The Robert's Five" was chilling. He cites the high percentage of cases settled for "the big Republican interests"–––he called it the "Corporate Capture of the Court."

"When is pattern proof of bias?"


Here is a Huff-Po piece about this very issue––an issue you have, in your "Johnny and his dwarfs" bits, never tired telling us about.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/brett-kavanaugh-confirmation-hearing-sheldon-whitehouse_us_5b8efa15e4b0162f4727e447

Ah, the book––finally out and "Fear" is the perfect title. All those dried egg pusses now being exposed. Mon dieu! says Kelly whose Irish is being thoroughly Frenched. One of the snippet's I found amusing was Reince Preibus calling Donald's early morning Foxy T.V. watching from his lair (bedroom) "The Devil's Workshop."

So what we have here is what we knew we had here: A crazy person as head of state being protected by his ( some a little crazy themselves) staff but in essence actually protecting the state from this head of state. The fact that we now are in the process of a confirmation hearing for a lifetime appointment on the S.C. appointed by this "idiot"–-this person who has the chops of a sixth grader–-should be postponed until after Mueller releases his findings. This, of course, won't happen and the Merrick Garland "in your face" slap sits there like an ugly thing that should shame, but won't.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

PD,

McConnell, Grassley, Ryan, none of these guys feel shame. Shame is for other people. The human kind.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

There is simply no understanding how so many people are either guilty of crimes against the state or of being complicit in covering it all up. And Brett is fully part of the cabal, whether sworn in or not. AND he appears to be a religious nut on top of it. Gaacchhh. I am not working today, so MSNBC is on but shortly to be switched to ANYTHING else. Can't wait to hear Grampy Grassley offering a 30-minute softball speech. (I have long hated him, from living on the edge of Iowa, but in Illinois.) Sail on, conmen. Justice awaits...and awaits...and awaits...

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

There is an ad for Transition eye glasses that has a background musical piece that I just love and after doing a little investigating discovered it was by Parov Stelar, birth name, Marcus Füreder, an Austrian musician whose genres appear to be electro swing and something called downtempo. The song in the ad was “The Sun” sung by Graham Candy, who has an amazing androgynous voice. I asked the son whose musical acumen knows no bounds whether he knew of this group; of course and then sent me something similar from a band called "Cigarettes after Sex" which I didn't like and remarked what a strange name for a band to which he came back with "Strange names are de rigueur." So––today when I read about the two priests having a go at it in a parked car IN daylight no less, on a Beach Street where other's feet are prancing by, I thought, a nifty name for a Catholic band whose pieces are strictly about forbidden love should be called:

"Fellatio in Fancy Fords"~~~~~~~~~

This kind of thing eases my mind before I start watching DAY TWO of the courtly proceedings.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Hummm. Bob Woodward, the most awarded, respected journalist in America. Of course to Trump that counts for nothing. But in today's world we have those little recording devises. Hopefully the end of Trump is near.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

PD,

Make that “Forbidden Fellatio”. I suppose it’s an improvement. At least there were no children involved. Now if they could just be convinced to get a room it would be better still.

If we’re tossing around band names with questionable connections to Catholicism, I’d offer “Smegma and the Nunz” a hardcore punk band from the early 80s. But my all-time favorite band name is still “Hornets Attack Victor Mature”, a name which was, apparently, not attached to a real band until R.E.M. started using it for test gigs.

Maybe we could form an updated version: “Hornets Attack Brett Kavanaugh”.

I’d go see that band.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

What to think of Mattis, Kelly and co. about them denying their attributed insults to Diaper Donny? Protecting their butts to save a nation, emboldening the Liar in Chief to reinforce his "Everything's fake" narrative? What a conundrum that solid 80%+ of pitiful, deporable conservative voters keep us in. Their loyalty to the Donald keeps us all in his thrall.

And I'm thrilled to read Ivanka knows "way more" about the Trump Org worst practices than Don Jr. He's already got his orange jumpsuit running him down in his dreams. I hope Ivanka's signatures will be all over the corrupt practices learned by Daddy Damnedest. She'll never see a day behind bars but sullying her reputation as another corporate grifter would please me as well. Then she'll reLly really fit in in Washington

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Chait writes: “However dumb and crazy you might think Trump is, the reality always turns out to be even worse." ...

David Graham of the Atlantic: “The Trump White House: Everything is irreparably and disastrously broken, and yet what comes next could be even worse." ...

We’ve gone from Dumb & Dumber, to Crazy & Crazier. Looks like Worse & Worser are just around the bend.

Indeed, Marvin, in today's world we do have those little recording devises. Bob Woodward knows recordings brought Nixon down and he can release excerpts of Kelly, Mattis and Dowd calling out tRump. Hopefully the end of tRump IS near.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCaptRuss

On Bret Stephens:

He's firmly enmeshed in the Repugnant web, at times showing weak signs of struggling to escape, but apparently comfortable with his fate.

Simply put, that fate requires that he lie. Like all those he represents, he has nothing else to offer. Truth and fact are anathema.

I'll grant him a decent brain, but intelligence alone has never been enough.

It is character that counts, a trait today's Repugnants have no wish to embrace.

Rather, they flee from it. Character scares the hell out of them. It's their personal Frankenstein Monster that pursues them even into their dreams.

Poor Bret, he's allied himself with the likes of another smartie with no character whatsoever.

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/405087-cruz-releases-heavily-edited-ad-depicting-orourkes-comments-on-flag

Disgusting people, all.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Anyone hear about the young dark-haired woman seated behind Brett yesterday deliberately holding her left hand in a white-power sign? My daughter showed me a video this morning-- we had already decided that it WAS a wp sign and not a real way anyone would find her hand in a state of rest, but the video shows her receiving a text (probably to tell her which hand was on camera--) and then slowly and deliberately curling her finger and thumb to make the sign.

What a world. Who is the little crap weasel and why is she there, and apparently in a place of honor??!!

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

@Jeanne: According to Heavy, "The woman sitting behind Judge Brett Kavanaugh has emerged as a Twitter star as she has been accused of smirking when Democrats are speaking and looking 'smug' during the hearing. The woman has been identified as Zina Bash, 36.... She has worked in D.C. since 2007, for Kavanaugh as well as Senator John Cornyn. In addition, Bash was a director on Ted Cruz’s ill-fated presidential campaign in 2016."

She denies making a white power sign. Maybe it's kind of an automatic thing, like Dr. Strangelove's uncontrollable Nazi salute.

September 5, 2018 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Just Do It

Nike's surprising decision to bring Colin Kaepernick on board a major advertising campaign is an indication, very likely, that they've come to the same conclusion as Confederates: white people will very soon be a minority in the United States.

Unlike Trump, who only plays a real businessman on TV, Nike execs are not fly by the seat of the pants guys who make decisions dependent on bowel movements, or based on what Vinnie Boombah whispered at their last payoff meeting, or what some Russian oligarch suggested while co-signing a loan at the Bank of Crooks and Criminals for trumpa non grata. I'm gonna go way out on a limb and suggest that a company with a market capitalization of over $90 billion doesn't make decisions of this magnitude without doing some serious research.

They may have decided, being connected to American sports franchises, with a majority of black athletes (the NHL being an exception), that taking sides in a public protest against police brutality and racial profiling might be a good way to lock in brand loyalty for not just players, but their fans, most of whom are now younger and more amenable to and accepting of a racially diverse culture.

Republicans have come to a similar conclusion (the white majority will be gone soon) which is why they are trying so hard to make sure Brett Kavanaugh can slither onto the court before voters can tell them they're not in charge in anymore. Kavanaugh, like the other wingers on the court, represents the key piece in Confederates' plan to maintain power, no matter what, even in the face of rising numbers of non-whites. That plan is make sure they can't vote.

It remains to be seen whether Nike's plan will pay off (they are in business, after all, to make money). We already know that Confederate plans are paying off. I read this morning that crooks in NC are getting their way with their unconstitutional and illegally gerrymandered voting districts for the midterm elections, another essential aspect of stealing and holding on to power.

The answer for the rest of us is, as Nike ads always tell us, Just Do It.

Vote.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

"Maybe it's kind of an automatic thing, like Dr. Strangelove's uncontrollable Nazi salute."

Hahahahaha. Okay. I needed a laugh. What I'd rather see is the other uncontrolled muscle reaction of Strangelove's hand, the urge to strangle himself.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Zina Bash was doing a little sign language for the deaf. That's
the sign for 'asshole' so I'm told. Wonder who she was referring to.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

Newsweek says it started as a "hoax" but is now used by alt-right groups. I don't know who this woman is, but no one would have that resting gesture as a natural thing. If you look at the video, you can watch her do it deliberately. Sheesh-- this time I believe the Tweeters! (A rare thing--) If it is in response as "asshole," that is only a bit less snarky. I thought she was a VIP since she was sitting by McGahn. I could think of a few other signs to flash while smarmy friend-of-all good Catholic father/coach/husband defends himself. Is there a "barf" sign?

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

My sister in Georgia says she thinks the reason so many racist
trumpbots are burning their Nikes is that they've run out of
crosses. She should know. She's lived in the South most of her life.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

Gee It's Good to Be Back Home; Honey, Disconnect the Phone...

Marie's reference to "Dr. Strangelove" got me thinking about how art can influence life. Sometimes. After the film's release, certain denizens of the Pentagon began working on ways to keep random whack jobs in the military chain of command from "going mad as a bloody march hare" and sending the wing off to play Global Thermonuclear War.

The Kennedy administration was stunned to discover that a secret order put in place (apparently reluctantly) by Eisenhower would let even low level officers order a nuclear strike on their own (at least in Strangelove, it's a general doing the deed--not that that's a much more reliable option, still...), and--even worse--there were no checks on NATO allies who had American nukes strapped to their planes. Any Herr Shit die Rag Mann could pump down a few yards of ale and fly off to incinerate Moscow.

Eventually a system was put in place to reduce the chance of an "Oops, we started a nuclear war" moment, with some idiot at the controls.

Which brings us around to the Idiot in Chief. The revelations of the soon to be published Woodward book make me wonder if there isn't some way to institute a kind of fail-safe with an "unhinged fifth grader" in the White House. Of course, the military, once new measures were proposed back in the 70's, dragged their feet, saying that they already had a plan in place, and that was good officers and men. Sure. Sounds great. But then a thing happened.

"The Department of Defense’s Personnel Reliability Program is supposed to keep people with serious emotional or psychological issues away from nuclear weapons—and yet two of the nation’s top nuclear commanders were recently removed from their posts. Neither appears to be the sort of calm, stable person you want with a finger on the button. In fact, their misbehavior seems straight out of 'Strangelove.'

Vice Admiral Tim Giardina, the second-highest-ranking officer at the U.S. Strategic Command—the organization responsible for all of America’s nuclear forces—-was investigated last summer for allegedly using counterfeit gambling chips at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa. According to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, 'a significant monetary amount' of counterfeit chips was involved. Giardina was relieved of his command on October 3, 2013. A few days later, Major General Michael Carey, the Air Force commander in charge of America’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, was fired for conduct 'unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.' According to a report by the Inspector General of the Air Force, Carey had consumed too much alcohol during an official trip to Russia, behaved rudely toward Russian officers, spent time with 'suspect' young foreign women in Moscow, loudly discussed sensitive information in a public hotel lounge there, and drunkenly pleaded to get onstage and sing with a Beatles cover band at La Cantina, a Mexican restaurant near Red Square."

Gee, remind you of anyone? In the general's favor, he at least was hammered. Trump doles out top secret information to foreign nationals while completely sober.

You may also recall the scandal involving launch officers(!) at an Air Force base in North Dakota. Nineteen officers were decertified. There were morale problems to beat the band, oh, and lots of drug use. Just what you want in the guys guarding the nukes, disaffected natures and drugs.

Which brings us back to the Blight House.

One would think that having good people around to keep things in line might be the way to go, but the problem doesn't stop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

We've also got an entire party full of disaffected, addled jamokes with the most addled of the bunch at the top.

Not sure what controls could be put in place to stop such an occurrence again. I'm sure the Founders thought they had that problem licked. Fool in the White House? No problem. Responsible congress on the job. Congress a bunch of hacks? Okay, Judicial Branch can help with that.

But what if the entire thing is full of hacks and creeps and rude douchebags hanging around with strange Russian women and trying to climb up on stage to sing Beatles songs?

Nothing to do now but let them sing.

"Back in the USSR" seems appropriate.

Hey, is that Bob Mueller I see in the crowd?

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

The nike thing with Kaepernik has to do -soley-with money. According to the son of a friend of mine, who works at nike, Kaepernik is a total hero to the 14 to 25 demographic. It's an educated guess about what will bring in bucks.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

This thing is a total sham.

Blowjob Kavanaugh is relying on a litany of non-answers and insulting bullshit. "I don't understand the question", "That case is pending, I can't possibly answer", "I don't comment on hypotheticals", "Oh, sorry, my shoe came untied", "What's that behind you!?", "I love the Constitution, senator". These guys are so well coached to answer nothing. Kavanaugh is not as smug as Gorsuch, but he's a close second. Confederates don't have any questions for him except things like "Mr. Honorable, Very Excellent, Judge Kavanaugh, how is it that you are such a wonderful judge?"

Cruz, when it was his turn to lick Kavanaugh's balls, started out with a big thank you to the Capitol Police for dragging out protesters who might upset people listening at home and make them realize what a fucking carny show the whole thing is.

It's over. Once Grassely, et al, slithered past the very real and important arguments that we should not even be having these hearings at this point because of obstruction by Confederates the thing was over.

Now we're playing by their rules. And their rules say "We win, no matter what."

We're screwed.

He's on the court. This is all just hippity-hop-at-the-barber-shop.

September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.