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      I’ve been spending most of my time lately either praying to the porcelain God or wishing I felt other than I do. Nauseau being bad for writing (at least for my writing, perhaps you write great while sick to your stomach), please use this thread to talk among yourselves. I devoutely hope to return to […]
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Why watch Maddow

It’s because she is a good story teller. In fact, she’s mesmerizing. And in this news environment, story telling is very important.

When I say the word “story”, I don’t mean something that is fiction. A story in this sense is an explanation of a situation with characters, plots, rising actions. When you listen to the news as a story, the complexities are simplified. They get tied to one another. The personalities are interesting. This is the reason why she is overtaking Sean Hannity in her time slot.

It’s less news than a brilliant written history — in real time.

I listened to part of her interview with Comey last night. The precision of her questions and her unflappability made it uncomfortable to listen to. But not only was this interview planned, Comey’s memos were released to the public just minutes before airtime by the justice department. I can’t think of anyone in journalism who is more adept at turning on a dime to cover breaking news without missing a beat and clarifying what could have been chaotic and confusing. And she did it with an ease that was formidable. You would not want Maddow as your special prosecutor.

I would recommend everyone, including Trumpers, to watch Maddow. This is especially true for Trumpers because the story aspect of the Mueller investigation makes it easier to understand, even if they still support Trump. While other news outlets like Fox, and even CNN to some extent, behave like the person speaking the loudest wins, Maddow especially makes everyone think through every sentence until it is mutually intelligible, while everyone uses their indoor voices.

You may not like what you hear. You may even disagree with the interpretation of facts. But if we are all taking about the same story, we can argue with each other about the common contents of that story. A Maddow listener is less likely to be thrown by new characters and plot lines. She seemlessly weaves them into the narrative.

She is truly a gem. There’s no one in news who comes close. She’s an unusual journalist with prodigious gifts of narrative and steady assurance.

And if you missed Maddow’s interview with Comey where she was able to put him on the hot seat and extract information from him that no other interviewer has gotten from him in the last week, you can listen to her podcast from last night and catch every second.

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What We need right now…

Warmth, sunshine, low humidity. Just a few days. That’s all we ask.

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Tweet du Jour:

The Science of Leadership

Today’s Stay Tuned with Preet features Adam Grant, professor of organizational psychology at Wharton’s School of Business. I have an interest in this area due to some recent training. Grant says while it’s clear what makes bad leaders, good leaders are harder to characterize. Adaptability is important.

One thing we DID NOT LEARN as voters is that charisma is highly overrated. If you have to pick between two candidates, go with the more humble one. Charisma is useful when you want to inspire people for a common purpose. Charisma in the service of inspiring people to personal loyalty is dangerous.

Good episode. I’m inspired to look up his research.

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As Trump gaslights the public about the Mueller investigation, House Republicans prepare to impeach Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and Mitch McConnell displays poor leadership by telling everyone in the Senate that he’s the boss and it’s more important to name some post offices after Reagan than protect the special counsel, the Senate Judiciary committee is moving forward with a bill to do it anyway.

The thing that Trumpers seem to be overlooking is that even though Jim Comey admits in his recent book that there was no THERE there with Hillary’s emails and everyone knew it from the get go, she cooperated fully with the investigation, gave up everything that was asked and seemed less perturbed about it than her supporters were.

In other words, she displayed none of the tantrums, emotionality, defensiveness or weakness that Trump has. She had balls. All he’s got in his pants is his wallet.

Sad.

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It’s another rainy, chilly day in Pittsburgh. There’s a chance of snow this morning. Spring just can’t get her act together. The WPXI weatherman tweeted last night:

Like I said Scott, we didn’t say it was your fault, we said we’re going to blame you. Totally different.

Grab your latte and get your blood pumping this morning:

I’m in the mood

For a melody…

Mansplaining: The Kudlow Variation

Trump sets up intra-administration tension by delegating his economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, the task of undermining the credibility of his UN Ambassador and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley:

A striking intra-administration quarrel played out in public when Kudlow told reporters during a briefing in Florida that Haley “got ahead of the curve” when she said the U.S. would be slapping new sanctions on Russia on Monday in retaliation for the country’s support for Syria’s Assad government after its latest suspected chemical attack.

Kudlow said additional sanctions are under consideration but have yet to be implemented. Of Haley, he said, “There might have been some momentary confusion about that.”

Haley had said Sunday during an appearance on “Face the Nation” that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would be announcing new sanctions directed at companies associated with Syria’s chemical weapons program on Monday, “if he hasn’t already.”

But Monday came and went without an announcement.

On Tuesday, following Kudlow’s remark that she must have been confused, Haley said in a statement to Fox News: “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”

That went well. Nikki knows now that they think she of little brain doesn’t know what she’s doing. But wait! It gets better:

The dispute between Haley’s team and the White House had been playing out largely behind the scenes since Haley’s initial comments. The White House has been struggling to explain Haley’s remarks amid reports that President Donald Trump put the brakes on the new sanctions. Several administration officials have disputed that characterization, saying Haley was out of the loop.

Let’s recap: the White House is saying that the representative of the most powerful nation on earth to the UN Security Council is not included in decisions that affect the way she does her job and makes her look foolish and that’s ok.

Stop digging, dude. More like this and the world will start to realize that we haven’t got a Secretary of State, our CIA Head is meeting with Korean dictators on the sly, and we’ve got a clueless toddler in the Oval Office who has some kind of weird “folie á deux” relationship with Vladomir Putin.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the pilot of that Southwest plane that lost an engine yesterday did a Sully and landed safely. One passenger said it was like a normal landing.

So let’s recognize the competence, level-headedness, professionalism and skill of Tammie Jo Shults. Shults was formerly a US Navy fighter pilot.

Passenger Alfred Tumlinson, of Corpus Christi, Texas, lauded Shults and her crew for their professionalism.

“She has nerves of steel. That lady, I applaud her. I’m going to send her a Christmas card — I’m going to tell you that — with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground. She was awesome,” Tumlinson said “The lady, the crew, everything, everybody was immaculate. They were so professional in what they did to get us on the ground.”

Shults’ brother-in-law, Gary Shults, said her husband also is a Southwest pilot and told him she had made the emergency landing.

“She’s a formidable woman, as sharp as a tack,” said Gary Shults, a dentist in San Antonio. “My brother says she’s the best pilot he knows. She’s a very caring, giving person who takes care of lots of people.”

Some of the best female pilots we have are named Tammie. Like Senator Tammy Duckworth who landed her helicopter after her legs were blown off in Iraq.

Take that, Cadet Bone Spurs.

Let’s make a deal

We can’t live with Donald Trump, his supporters can’t live without him. They don’t want the Donald to be impeached, even if he is the most corrupt president in history. It’s something about not wanting to take away their vote or something. I would argue that we lost Al Gore who was legitimately elected president in 2000. You can look it up.

Oh, but that’s *different*, they say, while failing to point out why it’s different.

Whatever.

He’s got to go. If impeachment is off the table, let’s make him an offer he can’t refuse. Here it is:

We the people of the United States of America cut him a check for $10,000,000,000 and no/100 dollars. It’s a nice round number with very significant digits. In return, he has to resign as presidents and take his family with him. That’s the deal, no questions asked. The investigation comes to an end, Pence pardons everyone and everyone goes on their merry way.

I’m waiting for the Trumpers to tell me how crazy it is to give Trump $10,000,000,000 and no/100 dollars. But hear me out.

Whatever it is you thought he was going to do for you will never happen. He is going to cause a lot of instability and completely change the pieces of government that YOU liked to the point that it will cost most of us more in consumer goods, more for healthcare and less in retirement benefits. He is going to leave a path of destruction behind him, possibly make inflation a grim reality and in general ruin our quality of life. This is not an exaggeration. This is what happens to countries when they elect people like Donald Trump.

Deep down inside, you kinda know it’s true. You just don’t want the liberals to win. That’s shortsited because we outnumber you and there’s always a possibility that we’ll take the house and the senate this fall in such numbers that we’ll impeach both Trump AND Pence. You know what happens next?

That’s right. President Pelosi.

It could happen.

Think of what you have to lose. He’s going to wipe us out anyway. Just cut him a check before he does it and we’ll let bygones be bygones. He can go back to Celebrity Apprentice and we’ll only have to live with theocracy for a couple of years before everyone is thoroughly sick of it.

Cambridge Analytica and Three Bags of Comey

Lots going on this morning.

First up: Cambridge Analytica is testifying before committee in the UK about how it influenced Brexit. Catch it on twitter here.

Next, the podcast reviews are coming in on the Comey interview last Sunday. Here are two not to miss:

FiveThirtyEight weighs in on the back of the envelope calculation that Comey made that Hillary would win and explain why he miscalculated. If I’m not mistaken, it was Nate Silver who said back in 2016 that there was a lot of variability in the model and events that shouldn’t have made much of a difference were having bigger impact. If I can find that episode, I’ll link it. When that letter dropped, I was very concerned that all the indecisive middle aged women I canvassed were going to stay home because almost all of them told me they were waiting for Something to happen with Hillary’s email problem just before the election. So, Comey just reinforced this expectation.

Pod Save America actually breaks down Comey’s logic behind the letter in a “truth table” fashion to show how flawed it was and explain why it was that the media in DC was so hard on Hillary. This, I think, almost explains their antipathy. I think there’s a strong personal element too but this may account for a lot of the inexplicably bad coverage.

Jim Carrey expands his portrait gallery of the Trump Administration and friends with Sean “Manatee” Hannity:

See the others here including a spot on portrait of Trump that Carrey is planning to submit to the Smithsonian.

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