OK, so what’s happened in the last…12 hours, say? The WashPost released transcripts of head-of-state calls our own made with his counterparts in Mexico and Australia. And, as we’ve come to expect, it was deeply embarrassing to all of us.
I’m more interested in the backstory here.
Leaks don’t just happen. Reporters cultivate sources and sources return calls and texts. Someone on the inside despises this man enough to leak classified documents to the outside world, documents that show just how deep is this trouble we’re in, where the POTUS behaves as though the presidents of two other countries are somehow obligated to do what he wants. Bullying.
Mortifying. Just another Thursday.
Then, late afternoon, word of the grand jury leaks. (That’s a USA Today link, sorry. Upside: No registration needed. Downside: Autoplaying video, sidebar explaining “what is a grand jury.”
As we’ve said nine million times already: It’s hard to keep up these days. It’s hard to keep up in one day. I was supposed to be off, being driver/cook/nurse to Alan, who had some oral surgery today and came through it like a champ. Which was good, because I worked more or less all day, including when I was sitting in the waiting room.
But now the weekend awaits. A little more reading for you:
How ignorant of basic economics is our business-genius president? This ignorant.
Then there’s this guy, aka the Human Comment Section (but not at this site), running for Sherrod Brown’s Senate seat in Ohio. Don’t disappoint me, fellow Buckeyes.
And just to take you to the end of the week with something other than politics, here’s a great essay on the anti-affirmative action movement forming around college admissions. It’s from last year, but relevant because of… see Wednesday’s entry.
Finally, an interesting piece on how a pair of 1967 grizzly attacks changed the way we interact not only with wildlife, but the greater natural world. Totally worth your time.
I’m outta here.
Jolene said on August 4, 2017 at 2:19 am
I have no evidence, but it seems likely that the leak of the transcripts is related to the recent dismissal of several NSC staffers. They were all Bannon acolytes and were dismissed by NSA H.R. McMaster, one of the generals who’s supposed to be holding the world together.
It may be that releasing the transcripts was an effort to embarrass him for failing to secure these reports rather than an attempt to embarrass Trump, as we already knew that Trump had behaved badly and is pretty much impossible to embarrass.
Just a theory. Of course, I have no idea who leaked the transcripts or why.
alex said on August 4, 2017 at 7:37 am
Josh Mandel, Abigail Fisher, Donald Trump. After reading about so much cold-blooded soullessness in a single morning, the bear maulings were actually kind of a palate cleanser.
Suzanne said on August 4, 2017 at 7:38 am
Jolene, that adds even more intrigue to the whole fracas. A shot across the bow from Bannon to let Donald Duck know that they won’t play nice if he lets these generals exert too much power. Poor Donnie T. He’s trying to use his old business bully tactics but there are too many moving pieces and too many other people involved that won’t or can’t cowtow to that.
My hope, other than the one that hopes we survive all this, is that the pee pee tapes will end up being like Monica Lewinsky’s semen stained dress, and be found to be real. That might finally get enough people to say “Enough!” Remember, Berlusconi in Italy finally lost support when it was discovered he had some fun with an underage Moroccan hooker.
coozledad said on August 4, 2017 at 7:57 am
I’m with team Grizzly. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to introduce a few thousand of them in West Mo Ginia. Also, a pride of mountain lions per hectare.
Former McCain strategist Steve Schmidt says the Night Rally shit has done jumped the shark.
Deborah said on August 4, 2017 at 8:44 am
What Steve Schmidt says in that link reminds me of me trying to watch the beginning of the Leni Reifenstahl movie, Triumph of the Will. Seeing all of those normal looking German people lining the streets, cheering and waving in ecstasy as their fuhrer passed by was sickening. Seeing videos of Trump rallies has the same effect, I can’t bear to watch. Which probably makes them enjoy it all the more, knowing people like me are horrified.
Jolene said on August 4, 2017 at 9:30 am
Apparently, it’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Not sure who decides these things, but am happy to celebrate.
Icarus said on August 4, 2017 at 9:31 am
Is Ed onto something?
“The dribble of damning information will never stop. Six months is enough to establish a decent understanding of the pattern, and it is (with respect to my old man, a career prosecutor) a very obvious Prosecutor Trick that Trump will never, ever stop falling for. First, present Fact A. Give Trump a week to lie about it in an attempt to explain it away. Reveal Fact B, proving that everything said in response to A was a lie. Give him another week to tie himself to a made-up story. Reveal Fact C. Repeat. ”
Suzanne said on August 4, 2017 at 9:53 am
NPR interviewed a couple last week from somewhere (upstate NY?) who are farmers and still rabidly support Trump. All this Russia stuff and leaks are just the media making things up, you know. They said they don’t even listen to FOX anymore because it’s gotten too liberal.
I can’t even wrap my head around how someone thinks like that. But then I think of the many conversations I’ve had over the years with decent, intelligent people who have absolutely no sense of history, no clue about the causes of wars and cult indoctrination and the like and no idea what goes on around them that doesn’t involve their work and their family. At least in my part of the country, what stands out more and more to me is the lack of curiosity a majority of people have about the world around them. They don’t know what they don’t know and don’t care to find out.
brian stouder said on August 4, 2017 at 10:06 am
On a brighter note – Happy Birthday Barack Obama! (he’s 5 months younger than me)
Judybusy said on August 4, 2017 at 10:35 am
Just got an email someone brought in chocolate chip cookies to our office. That, my friends, will be my one and only contribution to the discourse today because FML. (The political crap is why I make that statement. We’re hanging in there with the personal stuff.)
brian stouder said on August 4, 2017 at 10:42 am
So, when a cracker base needs to be reassured, waddayagonna do?
Fox News has this as a headline story, today:
the lead –
The Detroit News found three of the eight mayoral hopefuls have faced gun charges — two for assault with intent to commit murder — and a fourth candidate pleaded guilty to a non-gun charge years ago. While some of these cases date back to the 1970s, some are more recent.
Under Michigan state election law, convicted felons can vote and run for office, so long as they are not incarcerated or guilty of crimes breaching public trust. The nonpartisan primary will narrow the field down to two candidates who will face off in November.
I thought crackers loved guns, yes? I wonder why this reflex didn’t kick in……
BigHank53 said on August 4, 2017 at 10:55 am
Suzanne–I don’t know if you saw this series of tweets last year:
It’s a quick read. And I’m afraid I don’t see any way out for the section of the population who have decided that burning everything down is the only solution left open to them.
Sherri said on August 4, 2017 at 10:55 am
Still in Ashland, still hot, ready to be back home. I haven’t enjoyed this vacation as much as I usually enjoy our trips to Ashland, in part because it’s so stupid hot, and in part because I just didn’t feel like traveling. I like some traveling, but I like being home, too, and the balance has been off. Of course, when I planned this trip back last November, I didn’t know I’d be going to D.C. to see SCOTUS nor to San Francisco, both of which were wonderful trips!
The plays have been good, and I’ll write up the rest of them on my blog after I see Henry IV Parts I and II today. Then the long drive home.
brian stouder said on August 4, 2017 at 12:04 pm
here’s a good mix of Current Events and some hearty (if incredulous) laughter
spoiler: Ken Starr thinks Bob Mueller may be wandering off of his original mission(!!)
Mark P said on August 4, 2017 at 12:07 pm
I’m coming to think that the only thing that can save the US is for the US to lose a major war, something big enough to bring us to our senses. Not like Viet Nam or Iraq and Afghanistan, which were all lost because we wanted to have war and peace at the same time and kind of lost interest in what it would take to win (irrespective of whether we should have been in any of those wars in the first place), but something big. Maybe then the sane among us could push the idiots to the margins long enough for that degenerate part of the population to die off. Unfortunately, we would probably only end up like Germany after WWI.
Bitter Scribe said on August 4, 2017 at 12:38 pm
That Jezebel essay about affirmative action was great. This passage in particular struck me:
That resonated with me because it is exactly what Justice Clarence Thomas believed about himself after graduating from Yale Law. When law firms kept turning him down for a job, did it occur to him that he was the victim of discrimination? No, he blamed affirmative action for making the white people at those law firms believe that he had only gotten his degree because he was black.
If his story ended there, it would merely be a pathetic example of race-based self-loathing. Instead, he went into a career in government service, culminating at the Supreme Court, where he will be in a position to inflict his neuroses on the American people for decades to come.
Suzanne said on August 4, 2017 at 12:39 pm
BigHank, that Twitter thread was very informative and correct in saying the GOP relied so much on the likes of OxyRush, Glenn Beck, Fox, etc to deliver the votes, that they left no way back to sanity now. It’s also my firm belief that the people who brought us to where we are thought it was all a sort of game and that the OxyRush, Beck, Hannity listeners were in on the game. They were not. They believe the most outrageous, idiotic, crazy stories these guys tell as the gospel truth. Glenn Beck is becoming a wealthy man on the backs of people that are my neighbors & friends, who are by no means wealthy themselves but are stockpiling the gold and freeze dried meals that Beck hawks on his show & website because they are sure that he is the only one telling the truth.
Jakash said on August 4, 2017 at 12:55 pm
“That will be 75 of 212 days at a @realDonaldTrump resort at taxpayer expense … no one’s fleeced a flock like that since Jim & Tammy Faye.”
Fortunately, ole Rumpy never tweeted about Obama playing too much golf, or he’d be the most brazen hypocrite, too. Oh, wait…
Sherri said on August 4, 2017 at 1:57 pm
Why we really need government backed universal health insurance: the asymmetry of information in the market-based system is going to become impossible for consumers.
(Also, the author of this article, Cathy O’Neill, has written a very good book on algorithms and big data, Weapons of Math Destruction. Very accessible, even if you’re not a math person.)
LAMary said on August 4, 2017 at 3:14 pm
Seth Myers says Trump thinks a grand jury is like a regular jury but more fancy.
Peter said on August 4, 2017 at 3:32 pm
This just in – Pharma Bro has been found guilty on three counts and can get up to 20 years in the slammer.
Bitter, at the risk of sounding really racist: “No, he blamed affirmative action for making the white people at those law firms believe that he had only gotten his degree because he was black.” Well, they say the exception proves the rule, and in his case….
brian stouder said on August 4, 2017 at 3:33 pm
Well, my ‘hope and change’ hopes reside on the fact that this same country (more or less) elected President Obama….and if the after-effect of BHO is the Donald, then we should end up with President Sherrod Brown (for example) in 2020, as we deal with our national case of the DT’s (so to speak), yes?
Sherri said on August 4, 2017 at 3:45 pm
Not a chance of it happening, but Dems should listen to Charles Pierce: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a56823/democrats-fighting/
Starting with not letting someone who isn’t even a member of the party define who and what is the party.
Linda said on August 4, 2017 at 3:59 pm
Mandel proves what a steaming pile of crap term limits are. He is running for Senate because he is term limited in Treasury, and Kasich will run for the next Senate opening because he can’t be gov more than 2 terms. Politicians just play musical chairs in this state, as opposed to quitting to farm or make widgets, which is the fantasy of term limiters.
Julie Robinson said on August 4, 2017 at 4:22 pm
Well, there’s nothing for focusing you on what’s really important like saying goodbye to a 92 year old who lived a rich, full life and was only in poor health the last year or so. Wanted to be a nurse but father and grandfather didn’t think girls were worth educating. Married a WWII veteran with PTSD and helped him come through it all with love and gentleness.
Had four children and refused to listen to those who said their mentally challenged son should be institutionalized and forgotten. Started a school/workshop/care center for those like her son because there weren’t any around. For those of you who are local, that’s ARC/Easter Seals.
Taught Sunday School for over 50 years and won hugs from two generations. Looked after Down syndrome kid and taught him to read. In the choir for about 60 years. Made People Cookies every year for Christmas–one for each member of the family, decorated to look just like them.
Ardent IU basketball fan who hosted watching parties every game for those without cable access. We were part of those parties, and were able to partially repay her by picking her up on Sunday mornings after she gave up driving.
Funny, feisty, and a firecracker. My friend Phyllis.
brian stouder said on August 4, 2017 at 4:24 pm
Julie – superb post!
Oddly – it was just the sort of thing I needed this afternoon (not the sad part, but the happy part)
Deborah said on August 4, 2017 at 4:27 pm
President Sherrod Brown sounds heavenly. Would love to have his wife, the journalist (having a senior moment can’t think of her name) as first lady.
Mark P, I’m afraid if we have a war now, it will be one of those wag the dog events where Trump will try to look decisive and manly, it’s his wet dream. No more wars, please.
Some of you have said that as you get older you seek heat, I’m just the opposite. While I don’t like Chicago in February, I’m extremely uncomfortable when it gets in the 90s and even the 80s when there’s lots of humidity. You can always add more clothing when it’s cold but you can only take so much off, especially in public. I can sympathize with you, Sherri, vacationing in that kind of heat would not be fun for me.
Deborah said on August 4, 2017 at 4:38 pm
Tonight is opera night for us in Santa Fe, as I said before the opera is (Re)volution of Steve Jobs. https://www.santafeopera.org/operas-and-ticketing/the-revolution-of-steve-jobs Obviously a new opera. The opera venue here is pretty stunning, it’s outside, covered but open on the sides. The stage background is open to the sky beyond, at sunset it can be unbelievably spectacular. Only it’s supposed to thunderstorm tonight starting around 7, the opera starts at 8. We usually get cheap seats near the back (it’s quite expensive) and if the wind is just right you can get soaked. You can’t bring umbrellas because you block views for people behind you so you just have to grin and bear it. Some people bring transparent plastic tarps to pull over themselves. The opera season and the monsoon season are kind of simultaneous so it can be a problem. I think they sell a lot of expensive tickets to people who want to sit where they know they won’t get wet.
Linda said on August 4, 2017 at 4:42 pm
Deborah, the wife’s name is Connie Schultz, who won a Pulitzer for he column in the Plain Dealer. And therE is a funny, true story about how some right wing blogger caught he smoothing with Brown, not knowing they were married and threatened to “expose” her intimate relationship with a lib politician, instead of being neutral. Lol
Bitter Scribe said on August 4, 2017 at 8:22 pm
Peter @21: I don’t know if it’s true that Thomas really benefited from AA at Yale Law. Maybe in terms of getting in, but by all accounts he’s smart and a hard worker. Plus, my understanding is that no matter how you get into law school, once you’re there you’re on your own.
Now if we look at AA in connection with his getting nominated to the Supreme Court…
basset said on August 4, 2017 at 8:35 pm
Sherri@19, can you give us a synopsis or something similar of that book? Sounds like good information, but if it has “math” in the title I’m not gonna even attempt it.
coozledad said on August 4, 2017 at 9:14 pm
Republican dick pix are a thing. Eric Bolling.
Andesron Cooper will want a tasteful 19th century style watercolor of “The date rapist’s salamander” in his shoe closet.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 5, 2017 at 8:39 am
Asking for Detroit area counsel — I’m just south of Saginaw Bay, about to head to Ohio. Shorter route is through Port Huron and Detroit on I-94; I could also sidestep to 23 and south thru Ann Arbor. Is there much construction through Detroit? Thanks for any heads up anyone can offer!
Connie said on August 5, 2017 at 9:01 am
75 to 275 gets you to Toledo.
Connie said on August 5, 2017 at 9:01 am
Whoops major detour somewhere on 75 south.
Connie said on August 5, 2017 at 9:06 am
We are heading west across the state today, family lunch, old friends dinner. And our usual eastbound route home is closed for construction. So country route or city route? How much of Grand Rapids do I want to see?
coozledad said on August 5, 2017 at 9:58 am
We’ve forgotten a war while it’s in progress. George Bush is still devouring your young:
The Russians are supplying our enemies with ordnance, and they control the President. That treason threshold has been crossed, and the Republicans know it. They’re just terrified of owning it.
beb said on August 5, 2017 at 10:41 am
Jeff — I75 is closed at the Rouge River bridge in southwest Detroit. Take I-94 past the airport to I-275 to Toledo and from there you’re on your own.
Sherri said on August 5, 2017 at 11:22 am
Basset, when I get back I’ll try to give a synopsis, but really, math in the title just means that she’s talking about what math is being used to do, not that you need to understand math to understand her book.
coozledad said on August 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm
White House going full Nazi:
They’re the enemy.
coozledad said on August 5, 2017 at 3:38 pm
Deborah said on August 5, 2017 at 6:35 pm
If he’s guilty of money laundering or fraud etc, there’s nothing they can do but watch it fall apart. If he’s guilty of collusion they will probably only let a few heads roll and then move on. That’s my guess, but what do I know.
Deborah said on August 6, 2017 at 12:37 am
I read something hilarious online today, I can’t remember where, maybe one of you linked to it (?) that Stephen Miller was being considered to be the next communications director. Someone on Twitter said that he looks like a big toe, which had me howling with hysterical laughter because it’s sooooooo true. Don’t ask me why, but he does look exactly like a big toe. I read that hours ago and Lordy every time I think of it I crack up.
alex said on August 6, 2017 at 12:38 am
Rediscovered this song recently and it’s an ear worm I don’t mind at all. It had been covered by male performers over the years since the ’50s, always uptempo, but never terribly inspired. Then in 1972 the Divine Miss M turned it into a burlesque that’s as funny as it is listenable and it made the charts:
basset said on August 6, 2017 at 1:18 am
Sherri@39, thanks for that… still not going near that book, she may not be talking about math directly but I don’t see how she can tell that kind of story without at least relating it to some concepts, and that’s where I drown. Just takes one thing I don’t understand and I’m back in ninth grade, standing at the board in front of the class completely lost and the teacher asking what’s wrong with me, everyone else understands this stuff, it’s easy… tensing up right now just thinking about it.
basset said on August 6, 2017 at 1:26 am
Speaking of drowning, and deliberately changing the subject, we saw “Dunkirk” this week… I think it was a little too intense for Mrs. B snd almost was for me but I was impressed, I’m half British and my mom was a grade-school kid in London while it was happening so there’s that connection.
Not so sure we needed the full IMAX treatment, with the floor shaking and bullets going by, but it was interesting. We don’t see many movies, this was worth the drive across town.
coozledad said on August 6, 2017 at 8:03 am
When we lived closer to Durham, I used to park by East Campus at Duke, and take the bus over to West, to Perkins Library. West campus parking is virtually nonexistant while school’s in session.
Stephen Miller is singularly ugly enough that all these years later I remember seeing him haranguing a young woman sitting next to me about why Bill O’ Reilly was the greatest. If you think that motherfucker is ugly in a suit, you ought to see him his frat uniform of cargo shorts and a button down shirt. He’s an itch bomb, and he was definitely bombing with that young woman.
He looks like a line boss at a cotton mill in a sleepy town where children are mysteriously disappearing.
Jakash said on August 6, 2017 at 1:58 pm
“He looks like a line boss at a cotton mill in a sleepy town where children are mysteriously disappearing.” Indeed!
Some other observations gathered by a woman who states: “I’ve been collecting mean descriptions of Stephen Miller.”
https://twitter.com/i/moments/830893812729933824 (Warning: clicking on that results in looking at more photos of Miller than anybody would want to.)
“The face you make when the police cadaver dog lingers over your flower bed”
“Stephen Miller looks like a composite image of everyone who isn’t allowed within 1000 yards of a school.”
“Stephen Miller looks great in that person’s skin”
“He looks like the hitchhiker other hitchhikers stay away from.”
“Say what you will about Steven Miller, he does a thorough job of cleaning the shower at the Motel he lives in with his mother.”
Heather said on August 6, 2017 at 3:15 pm
Those are hilarious, Jakash. He really does have the dead-eyed stare of a sociopath.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 6, 2017 at 3:53 pm
Thanks beb, that’s exactly what I did. Worked out fine! Folks do drive fast in Detroit … and my wife was still stunned the second, third, and seventh times someone passed us on a long bobbing weave in and out of nonexistent gaps in traffic around and ahead of us, as if we were rolling forward at 7 mph rather than the 70+ mph we were going to stay in our current bloc o’ traffic.
brian stouder said on August 6, 2017 at 8:39 pm
Nancy’s grizzly bear link at the end of the post is excellent – and quite informative.
Somewhere in there the remark made is that people act as if the parks are a zoo – and you can approach the wild animals.
When we were out west a few summers ago, we were driving along in a national park, and lots of buffalo were massing near the road. Lots of folks had pulled over to look, as did we – but we had enough brains not to get out of the automobile. Soon enough, it seemed to me it was time to roll away from that area, which we did!
beb said on August 6, 2017 at 9:17 pm
Glad you made it home, Jeff. People in every town (I think) believe theirs are the worst drivers in America. Detroit drivers work hard to live up to their reputation.
LAMary said on August 6, 2017 at 11:06 pm
I had a teacher in high school who looked like a thumb. Very similar to the big toe person.