I don’t know what it is about me and Mondays. I had an action-packed day today, if you equate “writing things” with action. I got a lot accomplished, is what I’m saying. At the end of it, I walked the dog and thought about pouring myself a big glass of wine. Then remembered: Trying to minimize my drinking. So I made soup — curried butternut squash-apple. Cutting up the squash put me in a lousy mood, because what a fucking vegetable, amirite? You practically need a chain saw to get to the good stuff, which is just wrong. Vegetables shouldn’t play so hard to get, considering lots of people have to force them down the old gullet.
Got a bit of a snow day, I guess. No swimming, no boxing, slept clear until 6:30 and lolled abed until 7, at which point I got up and went directly to work, because I had to do some interviews with people far overseas, whose days were already well along. Drank coffee and watched the sky go from black to gray to lighter gray. Monday.
Somehow, this blow-by-blow doesn’t quite have the best-seller ring of “My Struggle,” does it?
So, a couple of announcements:
MichaelG! Your sbcglobal email address was hacked some time ago, and I’m getting almost daily spam messages from it. Check/change your password, eh?
I used Google Voice / Hangout for my interviews today, and cannot praise it enough. Better than Skype, better than your calling plan. The internet has disrupted and destroyed many businesses, but I’m old enough to remember doing a story on some young Fort Wayne brothers who were living in Jerusalem during one of the intifadas. Because of the time difference, we did the phoners from home, well before I went into the office. One call went for 30 minutes and one for 40 minutes, and the phone bill was $179. I called to see if I could get it adjusted. Why yes! I could. If I signed up for a $5/month international calling plan, they’d retroactively bill me for what I’d have paid to call Israel under the plan. The bill dropped from $179 to $18 and if that doesn’t tell you what shit does and doesn’t cost, I don’t know what does.
Today my calls to Cypress and London were a penny a minute. Literally.
It was sunny in Cypress. Gray bowl here. Mondays.
I’m sorry I have no links. Maybe tomorrow.
Sue said on December 13, 2016 at 10:24 am
Here’s a link. I am Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin.
Jolene said on December 13, 2016 at 10:47 am
The Exxon CEO appointment is so disturbing. How could Tillerson’s business interests not influence policy towards Russia? Russia just got a whole new lease on life. I suspect sanctions will be lifted, and Russia will be allowed to do whatever it wants for the next four years.
Pulling forward Judybusy’s just-posted comment on the previous thread to add: It’s hard to tell which of Trump’s appointments is more appalling. In addition to Tillerson, Trump just announced the appointment of Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy. That’s one of the departments Perry wanted to destroy when he had his “Oops!” moment during the 2012 primaries, though, at the time, he couldn’t remember its name.
Perry will be replacing Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist from MIT, who actually knows something about the science and economics of energy other than how the price of oil affects the economy in Texas.
It’s worth noting, by the way, that Tillerson is from Texas too. With Tillerson at State and Perry at Energy, I think we can predict that the next few years will be very good for the oil business.
brian stouder said on December 13, 2016 at 11:01 am
Wasn’t there a Russian saying – something about when they hang us, we’ll sell them the rope?
I think ol’ DT is deep into the rope business (and he don’t NEED no stinkin’ DAILY intelligence brief, dammit)… or else he’s a rope-a-dope dude
Jolene said on December 13, 2016 at 11:48 am
Trump had time to meet with Kanye West this morning, but is too busy for intel briefings or a press conference to discuss how he is going to handle his business affairs.
Suzanne said on December 13, 2016 at 11:53 am
Kanye West and DT? Didn’t Kanye just have the DTs?
When, dear God, will we awake from this horror?!
Jason T. said on December 13, 2016 at 11:59 am
What I find so frustrating/fascinating is that Trump could clearly find actual conservatives to staff these cabinet posts. I mean, George W. Bush found awful conservatives to fill cabinet posts, but at least they could put their shoes on the correct feet.
I mean, for crying out loud, Trump’s a real estate developer. If you want to appoint someone to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, why not appoint a real estate developer? There are plenty of conservative real estate developers. Surely there’s some guy out there, putting up apartment blocks and suburban McMansions, who would be just itchin’ to privatize most of HUD’s functions.
But Trump appoints … Ben Carson?!
Ditto for the Department of Energy — why not an ExxonMobil guy there, where it would be terrible, but at least make some sense?
I’m forced to conclude two things:
1. Trump’s ego is so fragile that he doesn’t want anyone in his cabinet who will be a threat to him, so he’s appointing mediocre people and setting them up to fail, and
2. Anyone who’s any good doesn’t want to work for him, anyway.
The only thing saving the U.S. from outright authoritarianism may be Trump’s legendary incompetence. Remember, this is a guy who lost money running a casino in Atlantic City.
So, sleep tight, America. In a month, we’ll have a sociopath with his finger on the nuclear button, but at least he’s a stupid one.
Peter said on December 13, 2016 at 1:18 pm
WHOA – when I saw the reference to My Struggle I thought you were referring to this book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mein_Kampf
Geez, it hasn’t gotten THAT bad – yet. Then again, it’s always good to research a subject.
Jason, I’ve also thought that it was weird he didn’t appoint one of his developer buddies to Housing, until you realize that he has no developer buddies. Think about it – did anybody in the real estate community give an endorsement?
As for the lack of briefings – I’d agree it’s daft, but to me it makes sense. Remember the Basic campaign manager who said he was approached by the Trump team to have Katich be the VP in charge of daily affairs and running the government? His response was then what would Donald do? Why, he would be Making America Great Again!
I think that’s what Pence is set up to do. He’s the one attending all the briefings because he’ll be the one responsible for the government. Donnie’s just going to sit back and get the publicity. Bigly. Yuge.
Peter said on December 13, 2016 at 1:20 pm
Sorry about the spell check – make that Kasich instead of Basic and Kasich instead of Katich.
Dexter said on December 13, 2016 at 1:43 pm
Like Phil Collins…minimizing drinking. Collins delved a bit into his past recently on CBS SM News, prompting commentary from some of my friends in recovery.He went into a familiar story (to me and my associates) of how alcohol had had him in a deathbed, with the obligatory doctor telling him he was dying and would die very shortly if he didn’t quit…so he did. And now, you know, well now that he’s feeling better, he “can have a glass of wine with dinner”. This kind of statement from a person in recovery, especially one who is on his/her first year in recovery, blows the minds of people who are constantly being told that total abstinence is the only way. But I have learned there are so many attitudes and ways to handle alcohol, why meddle and preach?
It was nearly 24 years ago when Tom, an elder gent in recovery, told this tale: A lady of advanced age , after her marriage early in life, always had a glass of wine with her husband when he promptly arrived each day home from work and had one whiskey highball before dinner. Never two, then dinner and so forth. After his death in his early retirement years, the ritual stopped, until the lady began thinking of how much joy she had taken from their little one-drink companionship pattern. She began having a glass of vin herself, then as that depressed her, she decided to have two glasses. Soon it was three and that’s all she began thinking about. Hardly cause for alarm , this…but a bell rang in her head and she contacted friends who told her where some meetings were, and she jumped into the rooms of recovery and stayed until her own death years later.
So you know who the coolest 76 year old guy is these days? President of ASCAP, Paul Williams. He’s rich, he runs two miles a day and he gives of him self incessantly, and man, does he ever know about recovery from booze addiction. https://twitter.com/search?q=%23IMPaulWilliams
Suzanne said on December 13, 2016 at 1:49 pm
Peter, I do think that’s the plan to have Pence really in charge. Which might work until Trump gets too much blowback from John Q Public, realizes he was meant to be a useful idiot all along and gets ticked off. Then, watch out.
Jason T. said on December 13, 2016 at 2:07 pm
Yeah, I’ve had that thought, too. I have to assume a lot of real estate professionals either have been burned by Trump, or know someone who’s been burned by Trump, or have followed his career closely enough to avoid him like the plague.
Our President-elect lost New York City and vicinity by massive numbers — Manhattan went 87 percent for Clinton and even his native Queens went 75 percent for Clinton — and I suspect it’s because everyone in the New York metro has a Trump horror story, or knows someone who has a Trump horror story.
Only Staten Island went for Trump, based on what I’m told by friends who live there, that’s entirely unremarkable. It’s the whitest, oldest and smallest of the five boroughs.
nancy said on December 13, 2016 at 2:08 pm
Is Pence being in charge even in question? Wasn’t that revealed back in the summer, when someone leaked about being recruited for the veep spot? The pitch was that the veep would be running the show while the president was “making American great again.”
Scout said on December 13, 2016 at 2:55 pm
And further on the same theme as outlined above, the reason Congress is slow rolling investigations into the Russia stuff, financial conflicts of interest, lack of protocol, etc is because they are gearing up to oust him as soon as possible after the inauguration and install Pence into the top spot to be the much more controllable useful idiot with the signing pen.
For 8 years Obama played rope-a-dope with these guys and managed to actually get some policy agenda done, grew the economy and kept us out of new wars all while simultaneously having to deal with a solid wall of no to everything. It feels odd that he is just fading into the background now, “peaceful transitioning”, and doing nothing to stop, not just the total unraveling of everything he put his back into, but the downright dangerously crazy path the 70 year old toddler is careening down at 120 mph. Maybe there isn’t anything a POTUS can do in the last month of his term but it feels like there should be. I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic by saying we the people are in great peril.
Jolene said on December 13, 2016 at 2:55 pm
Also, many of those white Staten Islanders are police officers and firefighters. They love Donald “Law and Order” Trump. All those tough guys have to stick together, you know, lest they be overtaken by the dual threats of politically correct liberals and dark-skinned criminals.
coozledad said on December 13, 2016 at 3:39 pm
These are the Republican’s allies. Their base was in favor of this, and the incoming administration will cave to the Russians at every opportunity.
Get ready for this country to look like the Balkan civil war, only worse. They were a relatively well educated, sophisticated people. Americans are a historically vicious, stupid people. We’re going to write a new chapter in brutality.
Sherri said on December 13, 2016 at 4:03 pm
I would call this the “what’s the matter with Thomas Frank” argument: http://www.vox.com/identities/2016/12/12/13894546/obama-race-black-white-house-cornell-belcher-racism
We need to stop pretending that people are voting against their interests when they vote Republican just because Republicans are going to make their economic situation worse.
Icarus said on December 13, 2016 at 4:39 pm
“Maybe there isn’t anything a POTUS can do in the last month of his term but it feels like there should be.”
they generally pardon anyone convicted of a federal crime that deem worthy of pardon. and in the final weeks, may exercise other constitutionally mandated options. (source: https://www.quora.com/What-do-presidents-usually-do-in-their-last-month-in-office)
I think Obama has something planned, as a thank you to all the obstruction (and racism) he had to deal with from Republican Congress. Stay tuned.
Sue said on December 13, 2016 at 4:56 pm
Icarus, if only he could find a way to get his Supreme Court nominee in. The theft of a Supreme Court pick is just unforgiveable. Losing the opportunity to get a hearing for the nominee, then having a man who actually lost the election by more than 2 million votes getting that pick, is nauseating.
Scout said on December 13, 2016 at 5:01 pm
To my earlier point.
It sucks so bad that Pres O worked so hard to push that boulder uphill for 8 years and the gottdamn R’s are going to give it a nudge and roll it down in the blink of an eye.
Icarus said on December 13, 2016 at 5:29 pm
Sue, I agree. I’ve seen some bits about a recess appointment but I’m sure even if he tried, the republicans would find a way to fight it.
Sherri said on December 13, 2016 at 6:04 pm
So, Rick Perry, the guy who couldn’t remember the Department of Energy as one of the ones he wanted to get rid of, is the nominee to head it. I don’t know why Republicans hate the DOE so much, other than it was created by Carter. I assume at least some of the Republicans calling to get rid of it actually know what it does. I’m guessing that the average citizen thinks that most of the budget is spent on tax breaks for solar companies, but in reality, the biggest budget itemof the DOE is nuclear weapons.
Rick Perry is to be put in charge of the safety and security of our nuclear arsenal.
Sherri said on December 13, 2016 at 6:09 pm
Fuck Bill Gates: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/13/after-talking-with-trump-bill-gates-likens-president-elect-to-jfk.html
Take note of all the suck ups,
MichaelG said on December 13, 2016 at 6:45 pm
I’m not sure what password to change where, Nance. Maybe someone can help me.
Lunch today with T was at Mulvaney’s. Wonderful. There are four seats on a sort of bar that faces the kitchen. The place was packed so we sat there since it was the only place left. During lunch we ended up bullshitting with the owner (Mulvaney). A great guy. We’re sitting at the bar from now on.
Sherri said on December 13, 2016 at 6:55 pm
Fuck Bernie Sanders, too: http://reason.com/blog/2016/12/13/bernie-sanders-donald-trump-won-because
Sherri said on December 13, 2016 at 7:12 pm
1. It’s not fair those other people are getting more than me.
2. I voted for change!
3. They can’t change my healthcare, can they?
Jolene said on December 13, 2016 at 7:28 pm
Bill Gates actually visited with Trump today. I wouldn’t write off the kind of contribution he could make. Trump doesn’t have a lick of sense about much of anything. His only technical expertise is in building and tax evasion. His policy ideas barely exist beyond the level of slogans. If Gates can convince him that he can make America great by continuing to fund the national labs and investing in education and biomedical research, more power to him.
Sherri said on December 13, 2016 at 7:58 pm
Meeting with Trump just legitimizes him and accomplishes nothing policy-wise. Once Gates is out of earshot, Trump is only going to remember that Gates kissed the ring. Trump will not be setting policy, anyway; that would require an attention span.
Remember the VP offer to Kasich was that he could run both foreign and domestic policy while Trump “made America great again.”
Don’t normalize. Don’t legitimize.
LAMary said on December 13, 2016 at 8:23 pm
Michael, my sbclobal address gets hacked from time to time. Go to the home page of sbcglobal or contact ATT and ask them to help you.
Sherri said on December 13, 2016 at 9:19 pm
What I have the hardest time understanding is how conservatives can resolve Randian principles and Christianity, but I guess if you want to believe in your own righteousness that much, it’s not so hard.
alex said on December 13, 2016 at 10:14 pm
Just watched the Ken Burns documentary on the Central Park Five and I’m feeling defeated all over again. It points out that counterfactual journalism was alive and well even back then, especially after the convictions were overturned. The fact that Trump is still one of the people beating on that dead horse should be proof enough that he’s unfit for office, let alone anything else.
I’ve been creeped out by a lot of shit in life but this election has been the absolute worst. People have taken complete leave of objective reality and I can’t go there with them. It’s just too fucking sick.
Lydia said on December 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm
Re butternut squash: cut into circles and then peel those. Make it a manageable width and maybe even a veg peeler will work.