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Showing posts from April, 2017

Minority Report

It took a while for Nicky, I mean Hasan Minhaj to hit his stride but when he did he had some good jokes, mostly directed at the White House Correspondents Association itself.  Donald Trump was reduced to an elephant in the room as he decided to hold a rally in Pennsylvania, which David Gergen called a "deeply disturbing speech."  And so we mark 100 days.

Hasan prefaced his monologue by saying he was the only person who would do it.  Everyone else had backed out.  There was a time Alec Baldwin might stand in for the President, but it seems Alec is tiring of this impression as there is only so much you can do with a caricature.  Twenty-five minutes is a long time to stand in front of a cynical bunch of journalists and try to make them laugh.

There were few celebrities on hand.  There was absolutely no one from the White House administration, not even Sean Spicer, who fields the White House correspondents every day.  Panning the room, the only recognizable faces were news cel…

Are You Not Entertained?

We've reached the 100-day mark of the Trump administration and there really isn't much to say about it.  He hoped to hold the spending bill hostage over his wall but has backed down on that threat as he doesn't even have enough Republican backing.  No one really wants this wall, but Trump continues to insist it will get built.

That pretty much sums up his presidency to this point.  Sound and fury signifying nothing.  His attempt to get his first major bill through Congress similarly ended up getting yanked, as there wasn't enough support for it either.  However, Republican leaders seem to think they have come up with a compromise solution that essentially scales back the current Affordable Care Act.

Trump's signature travel ban remains in limbo.  Jefferson Beauregard Sessions seems more upset that a Hawaiian federal judge could block it than he does the legitimacy of such a bill.  Thank god this guy never ended up on a federal court!

The missile strikes and the Mo…

Stolen Valor

His Trumpness seems to have no idea what the Purple Heart stands for.  When a veteran offered him a medal on the campaign trail, Trump loudly proclaimed he always wanted one.  It is hard to say what was going through the mind of Lt. Col. Louis Dorfman when he gave his medal to Trump.  Maybe he thought it was an easy way to score a photo opportunity.

If Trump so badly wanted a Purple Heart, he could have easily picked one up on ebay, as there are over 1,5 million in circulation.  These so-called "medal peddlers" have been doing a brisk trade ever since the Supreme Court rejected a ban on the sale of military medals in 2012.  Veteran Zach Fike has been trying to get the "Stolen Valor" ban reinstated ever since.  In the meantime, he buys back medals and tries to track down their original owners or their families.

The medal has a long history dating back to the Revolutionary War.  Hence, the silhouette of George Washington.  It is awarded to those who were injured du…
I was trying to figure out in my head how many Vice Presidents there have been and came up with 48.  I knew FDR had at least 3 and Nixon 2 but beyond that I couldn't think of any other President with multiple VP's.  Not that they served concurrently.  FDR went with different VPs in three of his four election bids, hoping to consolidate the Democratic base.  When Spiro Agnew was forced to resign in October, 1973, Nixon picked Gerald Ford to be his right-hand man.  As it turns out, there were other Presidents who had multiple VPs and Presidents who didn't have VPs, but the number remained 48.

Thomas Jefferson got rid of Aaron Burr when he became a burden in 1804, opting for George Clinton in his second run for office.  Clinton would also serve under Madison, but when he died in 1812, Madison picked Elbridge Gerry to fill his place in the next election.  Clinton was first of seven VPs to die in office.

Andrew Jackson got rid of a toxic John C. Calhoun in 1828 and chose Marti…

Expanding to offer a new clothing line

Yeehaw!

His Trumpness has discovered the power of the military to deflect attention away from the scandals swirling around his White House.  If the Tomahawk chop on Syria wasn't enough, we now have the Mother of All Bombs, MOAB for short, to contemplate.   Our fearless commander-in-chief has also set up a High Noon situation with North Korea, vowing retaliation if the country's "boy king" goes through with his inter-continental ballistic missile test in honor of his grandfather Saturday.  All this anxiety has certainly served the purpose of attracting media attention far and wide.  Not all good, mind you, but that doesn't matter as long as the media is talking less about the allegations of his administration's Russian connections.

The icing on the cake is how the attack on Syria has served to alienate his administration from Russia, with several top Kremlin officials voicing their outrage.  If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say this is too good to be true and…

That's just bully!

Suffice it to say, there is never a dull moment at the White House.  No sooner does the Donald drop the bomb on Syria than a civil war break out between the evil Dr. Bannon and Diamond Jared Kushner.  Even odder is that Ivanka is apparently taking credit for the Tomahawk chop on Syria.  Meanwhile, Spicey tried to explain just how bad a guy Bashar al-Assad is to the media.  At some point you would think these guys would get their act together, but for now we are forced to witness what may be the most dysfunctional White House in history!

Trump seems to think he is still in the midst of a heated campaign and that the missile strike would give him a bounce in the polls.  Whatever favorably he managed to garner (surprisingly a lot) has already waned, with the Chinese media calling it "the act of a weakened politician who needed to flex his muscles."  Xinhau news agency went on to say that this was no more than a diversion from Trump's ongoing scandals.  No comment from Pres…

Willie Lincoln's Ghost

Over the years, this forum has gone from being a history book club to a political blog, so it is nice to return to the roots once in a while.  I picked up a copy of Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.  He's best known for his quasi-science fiction books like CivilWarLand and Pastoralia, where he looks at history through the lens of demented amusement parks.  In his most recent book, he digs into the depths of Lincoln's despair after losing his son Willie at the age of 11.

Willie goes through a bardo, a form of purgatory, in his crypt, which Lincoln visits.  Saunders blends historical pieces with what he imagines Willie was going through as his father had a very hard time letting go of him.  Saunders brings in a number of "speakers" from the cemetery, who work to move Willie onto the next stage.  Certainly a unique perspective on this tragedy, and I think a more satisfying one than Seth Grahame Smith's vampire novel.

Saunders' story is not without prece…

Trumpism

The Los Angeles Times posted the first in a string of editorials entitled Our Dishonest President.  I see Part II is now available.  I was a bit put off by the first installment because the editors implied they didn't see it coming.  They, like many others in the media, were expecting some sort of "pivot," or as the editors believed,

" ... the White House would act as a check on his worst instincts, or that he would be sobered and transformed by the awesome responsibilities of the office."

I suppose it was easy to give Trump the benefit of the doubt when he sat down with the President in the White House back in November and made a big show about how impressed he was with Obama.  However, there were plenty of indicators shortly after that meeting which showed Trump had no intention of honoring Obama's legacy.  It was a painful transition in which Trump put up many dubious picks for cabinet posts that gave a very clear indication he would be pushing an alt-ri…

It has become April Fools everyday

It seems the April Fools joke of the day was Trump walking out on his own signing party without signing his latest executive order.  He was distracted by questions surrounding his former national security adviser, "Iron Mike" Flynn.  Vice-President Pence tried to grab His Trumpness by the arm only to be brusquely brushed aside.

The signing party was nothing more than a distraction anyway.  An attempt to push the on-going investigation into Trump's Russian connections to the sideline.  It failed badly.  He had to know these were the first questions that would come from the pool of reporters yet chose to ignore them.  He didn't even use the opportunity to fly off into a rant on "fake news" like he did the announcement of his new Labor Secretary pick a few weeks back.  Rather, he chose to gather his thoughts in the back room and take to twitter to voice his indignation with the press.

It is hard to assess what Iron Mike's request for immunity means.  The…