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      So, May has a Brexit deal. It’s a terrible deal, which makes the UK subject to many EU laws, and which doesn’t allow Britain to withdraw from the deal if the EU doesn’t want it to. This has caused ministerial resignations, and Corbyn has come out against it. But the interesting part is what the […]
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Trump opens mouth, inserts gardening tool

Trump visited Northern California, probably against the advice of everyone who lives there. Here’s his take on the situation:

With 76 people dead and nearly 1,300 unaccounted for and feared dead in California wildfires, President Donald Trump had a word of advice about stopping future blazes: “Raking.”

“You’ve got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important,“ Trump noted Saturday surrounded by the devastation of the burned town of Paradise in northern California.

“I was with the president of Finland and he said, ‘We have a much different —we’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation, and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem. And when they do, it’s a very small problem.”

Critics were stumped by the raking solution.

It didn’t take long for the Finns to seize the opportunity to make a global impact. They took to Twitter with their rakish humor:

Yes, it *is* hilarious, except to maybe the family of four sleeping in their SUV in a Walmart parking lot after they lost absolutely everything but the clothes on their backs.

This is one of the greatest natural disasters this country has ever faced. There are over 1000 people unaccounted for and 76 confirmed deaths.

Think about that. Over 1000 people missing, many likely burned alive and beyond recognition except through dental records and DNA. We are probably going to hear horror stories in the weeks to come about mothers with children, trapped in their cul de sacs, overcome by flames and smoke, or people drowning in their pools or who knows what else. The imagination can get too distressing to bear. Just read this account of paramedics huddling in a garage for safety after the ambulance they were in broke down during their escape. They and their patients thought they were going to die, fire raining down all around them.

And this is our leader. Musing about rakes. He’s probably never used one in his life.

Californians deserve better than this. It’s a wonder it hasn’t seceded by now.

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Off topic: has anyone seen Niles or Blizz lately? Like since before the election? I wonder what they’re really thinking about the rake advice.

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Pelosi, FWIW

This is my second post on Pelosi in the last two days. Oh, you didn’t read the first one? Maybe that’s because WordPress helpfully updated the app on my iPhone while I was posting it and, poof! It disappeared into the dark ether, and even now is being pushed around by the cyber wind, skittering along the intertoobs, lost forever, lost… lost.

Enough of that.

I’m lukewarm in my support of Pelosi. Nevertheless, ruling the House Democrats and keeping order is going to be tough for anyone. As I wrote to a friend yesterday:

Democrats are like cats. Difficult to herd. And they have a lot of good ideas at the same time. Like hypomanic bipolar people. And they tend to run around with scissors. Like kids with ADHD. You know why we like the nanny state? It’s because Democrats need nannies.

Here’s my issues with Pelosi:

She got the House to pass the Affordable Care Act. But the act itself was so flawed, didn’t address cost controls and was sabotaged by the stupidest subsidy system ever imagined. That lead to the Democrats losing the House in 2010.

She’s an excellent fundraiser. But there’s more to leadership than just raising money.

She’s a very powerful female politician and a role model. But she hasn’t groomed her successor and her bench is sparse.

All that being said, this is not the time to be arguing over replacing her. Right now, the Democrats have a lot of new members and they need firm, experienced leadership from someone who can keep them focused and in line.

I don’t blame new and current Democrats for being dissatisfied and chomping at the bit for change. So what can they do?

They can issue demands before they vote. List conditions that must be met. For example, there needs to be a pipeline of future speakers that Pelosi will work with closely. Model it after the Queen of England taking on Prince William as her aide.

Set up a backlog of issues and bills and prioritize them strategically. Make Pelosi commit to them.

Then give her two more years. Just dance with the one what brung ya.

And for gawd’s sakes, do a better job of message control. None of us should even be thinking about who the next speaker of the house is going to be this week when there are still over 600 people missing in the fires in California from last week.

THAT is a national tragedy with human dimensions and deserves our attention.

Snow

Stuff Jon Favreau says 🙄

I was listening to Pod Save America, something I do when I run out of everything else, when Jon Favreau busted through the fourth wall of his smugness to say something meaningful about House investigations.

The argument goes like this: no one would do it just to harass the president. That would be a really good way to waste political capital and the media would be all hand wringy about whether the Democrats were abusing their mandate. No, the best reason to investigate is because there’s plenty of evidence that something really pernicious has happened and Trump and his droogs are involved. Don’t do it over low level offenses, do it where the facts point to a constitutional offense. It is the responsibility of the committees with oversight to do this. Investigations may lead to impeachment. But impeachment is a political act and we’re not there yet. This is just a matter of serving the public’s interest by discovering whether Donald Trump is abusing his power to line his pockets. Or whatever.

You can go listen yourself. I’m not providing a link. The podcast irritates me on so many levels. But this one segment was notable.

I’d go further.

Pelosi should state that there are many committees in Congress and not all of them will be involved in subpoenas. The punditry should calm its tits already.

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Walk to work music:

Good Morning.

Congratulations to Kyrsten Sinema and Haley Rouda who declared victory yesterday. Keep the blue wave rolling in. In between fighting wildfires, California is still counting votes for several house districts.

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Overnight Oats. Best thing to happen to breakfast, amirite? If you haven’t tried them, here’s what I whipped up last night and ate voraciously this morning. (Probably are too much, tbh.)

Overnight Oats

1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp honey

1 tsp shaved semi sweet chocolate

1/2 banana

1 tbsp slivered almonds

Directions:

To a glass jar with lid, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds. Stir until well mixed. Top with honey, banana, chocolate and almonds. Screw top on jar. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.

Substitute any fruit or nut mixture you prefer. This recipe makes a thick oatmeal mixture. Increasing the amount of milk should make this less pasty. I like it this way but you may like something a little more liquidy. Many recipes use almond milk instead of dairy milk. Whatever floats your boat. I like almonds as much as the next person. But every almond tree in California is very thirsty. So, maybe we should ease up on the almond milk.

Busy day. Keep me in the loop.

Here’s some morning music with scenery. Enjoy.

Veterans Day – Remembrance Day

Tolkien in the Lancashire Fusilliers

Today is the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day marking the end of WWI. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

Flanders Field is the poem that we all learned in school but I prefer this one:

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known

As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,

To the end, to the end, they remain.

JRR Tolkien enlisted and fought in WWI along with several of his best friends. Of that experience he wrote:

One has personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.

The war made me poignantly aware of the beauty of the world.

Bagman and, er, other thing starts

It’s hard for me to believe that there are still people out there who think that Bob Mueller hasn’t got anything on Trump or his lackies, that this is all a huge waste of money and that the partisan justice department has it out for Trump.

That last part is hillarious for a couple of reasons. The first is that with the exception of Peter Stzrok, who was probably just voicing what everyone there was thinking, the justice department and the FBI is run by Republicans. Actually, I can’t remember when the FBI was NOT run by a Republican. So there’s that.

Then there’s the fact that Trump is copying the Spiro T. Agnew playbook To. The. Letter. Just copy from the best and see how long you can get away with it I guess.

Anyway, Rachel Maddow (the Republican lurkers just cringed) has a podcast called Bagman that reviews the Agnew Strategy. Anyone who listens to Maddow regularly knows what a gifted storyteller she is. This podcast is no exception. She pulls from the NBC archives, speeches by Agnew, recollections from the defense lawyers and federal prosecutors, and lays it all out. You will be able to put the Trump moves in perspective and can probably guess what’s going to happen next.

One big difference between then and now is that the Nixon era justice department was leaky and the Rosenstein-Mueller-Wray axis of evil is leakproof. We’ll see if that changes now that Whitaker is in charge – for now.

Bagman is on its third episode. It will take about two hours to catch up.

****************************

Hey, since the election of so many women on Tuesday night, have you felt your libido making a rebound? Feeling your mojo yet?

Well, here’s a thread that caught my eye this morning. It’s all about bad sex stories. Need some humor today? Check it out.

Morning Music:

Oooooo, yeah, Darius Rucker…

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Tweet du jour, MITH again. (Just subscribe to him):