The Government You Paid For

Number 33

It seems like only last month I was discussing Scott Pruitt, the person picked by President Trump to be in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Actually, it was last month. That item highlighted that Mr. Pruitt has been  working to ensure we are getting the government we are paying for. Actually it has been more like ensuring we are paying for the government we are getting.

Scott Pruitt, now heading up the Environmental Protection Agency, celebrates the exuberance of government employment by accumulating a history of lavish travel. Last June travel expenses for him and his entourage recorded $90,000 in expenses, and that included first class travel from Washington to New York. Yesterday he was observed flying first class from Washington to Boston, apparently on the government nickel.

And that was the end of that. Only kidding. There’s more.

Here are a few facts. The government pays employees according to a published scale, exceptions being made for people whose work for the government is confidential. A scale that I have seen shows that the scale is tilted according to geography. Where living expenses are high, the tilt is up. For example, if you work in the Washington, D.C., area you are paid more if you live within the city of Washington, because rents are higher. More specific are these numbers:

Pay Grade:

ES-1
Yearly Pay:

$199,700

That’s the best I was able to do using minimal research to pin down EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s government compensation. Let’s assume he gets paid $199,700 per year, and he lives in  Washington, D.C. Actually, we don’t have  to  assume he lives in  Washington, D.C. We know that for a fact, because  his living arrangements have recently reached the headlines. ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, where I obtained these screen shots, provided a run down in Friday nights edition, and here is what brings us such joy. Pruitt, who has been prominently unbridled when it comes to  exploiting available government largess, notably pulls in the reins when it comes to  his personal expenses. See the image above.

That’s right.

In March 2018, it was reported that Pruitt had leased a bedroom in a Washington D.C. condo from a lobbyist couple at $50 per night, which amounted to $6,100 over a six-month period. The condo was owned by a health care lobbyist, and her husband was also a lobbyist, representing clients in industries regulated by the EPA. Other apartments in the building complex, which is in a prime location and less than a block away from the US Capitol – have rented for as much as $5,000-a-month. Pruitt’s daughter also stayed for months in the other bedroom in the condo while doing an internship in D.C., but was not charged anything for her stay. According to Airbnb, the average price for lodging per night in the same neighborhood is $142 per night (the average price is $113 per night in D.C.).

Up front let me concede, there is nothing wrong with working the best available deal in any business arrangement. If you can get a room that ordinarily runs $142 for $50, I say go for it. If the sweet deal is offered by a lobbyist who has business before your department, then don’t feign alarm when the stench of quid pro quo permeates the deal.

Lobbyist Steve Hart

In his previous life Scott Pruitt was never  known to be an enemy of American industry, and he was ever compared to a polluters’ handmaid.

After winning election in 2010, Pruitt dissolved the Environmental Protection Unit in the Attorney General’s office. He stated a desire to increase operational efficiency and shifted the attorneys responsible for environmental protection to the Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit and the Solicitor General’s Unit. Pruitt stated that “the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality – not the Office of Attorney General – has primary responsibility for implementing and enforcing environmental laws in Oklahoma.”

Pruitt instead created a “Federalism Unit” in the Attorney General’s office dedicated to fighting President Barack Obama’s regulatory agenda and suing the administration over its immigration policy, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Pruitt was successful in raising campaign contributions from the energy industry, helping him to become chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association. The oil and gas industry contributed over $300,000 to Pruitt’s campaigns over the years.

Call me cynical, but I fully appreciate these are the reasons President Donald Trump selected Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, and these are also the reasons a large block of Americans voted for candidate Trump in 2016. For polluters there could hardly have been a better choice, as EPA Administrator Pruitt continues to live up to promised expectations. Again from Wikipedia:

On March 9, 2017, in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Pruit stated that he “would not agree that” carbon dioxide is “a primary contributor to the global warming that we see” backing up his claim by stating that “measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact.” This was in direct contradiction with EPA’s public stance that was published on their official website which stated: “Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change”.[79] By April 28—the day before the climate change mass protests—EPA announced that the website “would be ‘undergoing changes’ to better represent the new direction the agency is taking” which included “the removal of several agency websites containing detailed climate data and scientific information” including the site that “had been cited to challenge Pruitt’s Squawk Box statements.” A March 9 analysis by fact-checking website Snopes.com found that “Pruitt’s statements to CNBC are misrepresentative of the scientific consensus on carbon dioxide’s role as a greenhouse gas — a consensus that has essentially existed for more than a century.” The Atlantic published an article on the same day, pointing out that in 2007, the United States Supreme Court had acknowledged the link between carbon dioxide and global warming—in 2013 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated the probability of carbon dioxide causing global warming was at least 95%.

Does this give the appearance that Scott Pruitt is enjoying his just rewards in the form of a $100 a day discount on a pricey apartment rental? Just ask the President of the United States. The ABC News story concludes by noting the President is becoming increasingly annoyed with his prime pick.

Washington (CNN) — Senior White House aides are exasperated with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, the already embattled Cabinet secretary who now finds himself at the center of an expanding controversy over his decision to rent a room in Washington, DC, from the family of an energy lobbyist.

Past experience has shown that when the President becomes annoyed, the solution is a tweet away.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!

Enough said about that. Later we may have an opportunity to ask Mr. Pruitt whether he thinks we’re getting the government we paid for.

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Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Why old men don’t get hired

Job1 Interview:

HR Officer: What is your greatest weakness?

Old Man: Honesty.

HR Officer: I don’t think that honesty is a weakness.

Old Man: I really don’t give a shit what you think.

Job2 Interview:

HR Officer: Why do you want to work here?

Old Man: I don’t. I just need the money.

Job3 Interview:

HR Officer: Why did you leave your last position?

Old Man: Because they asked too many stupid questions.

Job4 Interview: 

HR Officer: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Old Man: At home drawing a nice work-related injury pension.

This is your President speaking.

Number 82 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!

Golly but it’s great to be back in junior high again.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks (number 104).

In the meantime it’s business as usual.

(CNN) — A 17-year-old male student shot two other students at Great Mills High School in Maryland on Tuesday morning before a school resource officer engaged him and stopped the threat, authorities said.

The incident began in a school hallway at 7:55 a.m., just before classes started. Authorities say Austin Wyatt Rollins, armed with a handgun, shot a female and a male student. The shooter had a prior relationship with the female student, St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said.
School resource officer Blaine Gaskill responded to the scene in less than a minute, the sheriff said. Gaskill fired a round at the shooter, and the shooter fired a round simultaneously, Cameron
Rollins was later pronounced dead. Gaskill was unharmed. The 16-year-old female student is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, and the 14-year-old male student who was shot is in stable condition.

The 16-year-old girl has since died. Meanwhile, the NRA continues to disparage students who are speaking out. Some people appear to be beyond shame.

The Hartnett Delusion

Continuing a review of the Kathleen Hartnett White book

As mentioned previously, I was so taken by a video featuring Kathleen Hartnett White‘s confirmation hearing that I felt compelled to  purchase her book. White and also Andrew Wheeler appeared at the same senate hearing,. In White’s case, she had been submitted by President Donald Trump to head the Council on Environmental Quality. From Wikipedia:

The CEQ produces an annual report for the president on the state of the environment, oversees federal agency implementation of environmental impact assessments, and acts as a referee when agencies disagree over the adequacy of such assessments. NEPA tasks CEQ with ensuring that federal agencies meet their obligations under the Act, granting the body a significant role in environmental protection. Through inter-agency working groups and coordination with other EOP bodies, CEQ also works to advance the president’s agenda on the environment, natural resources, and energy.

One would hope the person filling that slot would have some background related to environment (nature) or possibly human physiology as the matter relates to air and water quality. White seems to  have none of that, her academic exposure being in the humanities and religion with an emphasis on religion, spotlighting some time spent in a comparative religion doctoral program at Princeton University. She also completed a year of law school at Texas Tech University. Her previous work experience included Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for a period of six years, acting as chairwoman for part of that  time. None of this seemed to have prepared White for the grilling she was destined to receive before the Senate panel, which panel eventually declined to approve her appointment.

The book is an item to itself. The title is Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy, and it is co-authored by Stephen Moore, about whom we will learn more in due time. The title is a dead giveaway to the tone of the book. This is going to be about fuel (fossil fuel) and an off-kilter war on energy, the term used here to mean the production and consumption of energy. The cover art is suggestive.

I covered the book’s introduction in the previous posting. This is going to be an ankle-deep look at chapter 1, Energy at a Crossroads, subtitled Doomslayers vs. Doomsayers. Summarizing, White extols the benefit fossil fuel has heaped on humanity since its rise to prominence 200+ years ago, beginning with coal and going forward to include petroleum and natural gas. And she makes a passel of good points. We would not be where we are today without the advent of these cheap and accessible sources of energy. She also decries extremists on “the left,” many of whom demolish their own case by foolishly mishandling the facts.

White seeks to use the first chapter to lay out the benefits of fossil fuels and to expose the unthinking attacks on the fossil fuel industry. And this she does, but in a clumsy manner that damages her case. I will post some excerpts and add some discussion of my own. Start with this:

Emissions of carbon dioxide resulting from human activity are here used as a surrogate for consumption of energy derived from fossil fuels.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 202-203). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

My interpretation: energy derived from fossil fuels equates to additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, to be sure, but a sinister implication is detected.

Throughout history, a small group of privileged persons, of course, could afford expensive energy.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 206-207). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

I want to say, “Really?” That is one strange perspective. Let’s look back at energy sources and usage in the centuries prior to the Industrial Revolution. Just prior to 1800 there were these sources of energy available:

  • Muscle (human)
  • Muscle (animal)
  • Water moving under the influence of gravity
  • Wind

And that was it. How did the elite benefit more than the common worker? A serf working on the estate of his master was essentially a slave, and his muscle power drew the water from the well and hoisted the bricks to build his master’s house. If there was a horse, it likely was the master’s horse, and the serf used the horse to plow the master’s fields. If there had been a gasoline-powered tractor, it would still have been the master’s tractor and the master’s fields. It is hard to imagine how available mechanical energy sources would have changed the serf’s position.

Except… Except if they wanted to go into to town the master rode his horse, and the serf likely walked. Most likely the serf did not get to ride in the master’s coach.

Anyhow, whichever point White is attempting to make will need to be supplied by the reader’s imagination.

White brings up Malthusian economics and the foolish statements of Paul Ehrlich. Thomas Robert Malthus is noted for an economic model that influenced Charles Darwin. In a given environment, living things will increase in population until resources necessary to sustain life are exhausted, and then the increase will halt. More so, and this is what caught Darwin’s attention, a living organism that has an advantage over others would continue to increase in population to the detriment of the others.

White wants us to know that a failure of Malthusian economic model is that people have the advantage of managing their environment and have therefore been able to increase their population far in excess of what would have been imaginable 200 years ago.

Paul Ehrlich is famous for his book The Population Bomb. Some predictions in the book turned out to be outrageously wrong, making him the punching bag for anti-environmentalists.

Throughout this chapter, White states the obviously true.

Never before has mankind been better nourished. As we shall show, you can thank fossil fuels for a global food supply that exceeds the demand of more than seven billion mouths.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 246-247). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

As Michael Kelly, a fellow of the Royal Society, reminds us, “A decarbonized global economy is going to have to outperform the achievement of fossil fuels.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 263-264). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

A number of statements appear to have either no basis or else no relevance:

Most green energy policies undermine human progress. They are regressive, disproportionately hurting low- and middle-income families by driving energy prices higher, thus eroding their standard of living.

As the Obama administration was drawing to a close, the lower end of middle-class income in the United States appeared to be sliding toward the poverty level. Numbers released by the Social Security Administration in the fall of 2015 revealed that 51 percent of all U.S. workers were making less than $ 30,000 a year— only twenty-five hundred a month after taxes. Income for middle-class families declined by 3 percent on Obama’s watch, and the average worker went ten years without a raise.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 289-294). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

She starts out stating that green energy policies are detrimental to low-income citizens, but then she attempts to lay this on President Obama’s environmental policies. No. Just no. A quick reading of history discloses the actual circumstances.

Statements are made in complete absence of corroboration.

For the Obama White House, it has been full speed ahead with this destructive agenda.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 296-297). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

To conclude that the Obama administration’s agenda was destructive you would have to accept that which White is attempting to demonstrate. Statements such as this do not stand alone.

Some of what is said requires unraveling.

Even before the Clean Power Plan took effect, many coal-fired power plants had closed and major coal companies had declared bankruptcy, at a cost of thousands of jobs. In response, President Obama, by executive action, froze coal production on federal lands, where 40 percent of total U.S. production is located.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 301-304). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

The statement seems to be that coal-fired plants were closing already due to unprofitability and were not affected by the Clean Power Plan. I have no formal training in economics, but it would appear that if the government restricts the available source for mining coal, competition would increase for those not affected. These places would more likely become profitable. It’s difficult to figure out where White is going with this.

In addition to killing Americans jobs and raising utility bills by hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars a year per family, shutting down the U.S. coal industry will actually harm the environment. Clean coal technologies have sharply reduced emissions of lead, sulphur, soot, and carbon monoxide. The air we breathe today is much cleaner than in previous decades. More importantly, U.S. coal is much cleaner than Chinese coal and that produced in other nations. The Clean Power Plan will reduce consumption of clean coal and increase the burning of dirty coal.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 309-313). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

If there is some rationale for the first part of this statement, it does not show prominently in the text or in the references. For the second part, we are left to  conclude that shutting down the American coal industry would boost the Chinese coal industry, which is multiply more polluting. No rationale is given for this conclusion.

Modern societies remain utterly dependent on fossil fuels. See Figure 1.2. The climate crusade is indeed a mad war on human welfare.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 315-316). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Again hyperbole has supplanted rational discourse. Climate management is not a crusade with people heading off to do battle. It is a reasoned approach to forestall a future calamity. Yes, modern society is dependent on fossil fuels. What White will not acknowledge is that this dependence is about to have consequences far in excess to any benefit. Throughout the chapter she reminds us that human ingenuity has been our ultimate salvation and that we should continue to apply it. The problem is, she puts her commitment to the fossil fuel industry ahead of any obligation to the truth, and the truth is that human ingenuity will be applied to  resolve our future energy needs while avoiding the destructive effects of fossil fuel consumption.

Here’s a statement that should convince readers of the nefarious intent of environmental regulation.

The Clean Power Plan is not merely another heavy-handed, expensive environmental regulation. It is nothing less than a federal take over of our nation’s entire electric sector.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 337-338). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

The problem is, this statement is made without substantiation. There is a link to a reference. It is reference number 18. Here is the refrence:

Laurence Tribe, “The Clean Power Plan Is Unconstitutional,” Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2015.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 4416-4417). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Yes, the justification for saying the Clean Power Plan is a federal take over of the nation’s electric sector is a commentary piece in The Wall Street Journal:

As a law professor, I taught the nation’s first environmental law class 45 years ago. As a lawyer, I have supported countless environmental causes. And as a father and grandfather, I want to leave the Earth in better shape than when I arrived.

Nonetheless, I recently filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency urging the agency to withdraw its Clean Power Plan, a regulatory proposal to reduce carbon emissions from the nation’s electric power plants. In my view, coping with climate change is a vital end, but it does not justify using unconstitutional means.

Although my comments opposing the EPA’s proposal were joined by a major coal producer, they reflect my professional conclusions as an independent legal scholar. I say only what I believe, whether I do so pro bono, or in this case having been retained by others. After studying the only legal basis offered for the EPA’s proposed rule, I concluded that the agency is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority.

That’s right. Not a court ruling or a finding of fact. Instead, an opinion piece published in a newspaper and supported by “a major coal producer” gives truth to the statement that the Clean  Power Plan “is nothing less than a federal take over of our nation’s entire electric sector.” We are beginning to see what was behind Kathleen Hartnett White’s faltering testimony at her Senate confirmation hearing.

Even the architects of these schemes admit that the green plans don’t work. According to the calculations of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the so-called national pledges at the heart of the Paris climate agreement of December 2015 don’t add up to enough reduction of carbon dioxide to control warming.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 340-343). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Yes. Yes! The best we can do right now is not good enough. I think I have mentioned this before. We have gone too far down the road, and we cannot avoid the coming consequences. We are screwed, and the best we can  do is to begin to extricate ourselves from the hole at the same time we make preparations for the consequences. White appears to believe we should increase our reliance on fossil fuels.

By now I’m coming to believe this is a book written for the enjoyment of believers needing to  confirm what they already know. And those believers may not include Kathleen Hartnett White and Stephen  Moore.

There are additional indications this is an incestuous work, not to be confused with an objective treatment of a serious subject. Here is an interesting excerpt from the chapter.

Even the architects of these schemes admit that the green plans don’t work. According to the calculations of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the so-called national pledges at the heart of the Paris climate agreement of December 2015 don’t add up to enough reduction of carbon dioxide to control warming.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 340-343). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

There is a reference cited to  bolster this claim, whether true or not. Here’s the reference:

Stephen Moore, Washington Times A Times, November 8, 2015.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 4411-4412). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Yes, to back up what he says in his book, Stephen Moore cites something he previously penned for The Washington Times.

Founded on May 17, 1982, by Sun Myung Moon, the Times was owned by News World Communications, an international media conglomerate associated with the Unification Church, until 2010, when Moon and a group of former executives purchased the paper. It is currently owned by diversified conglomerate Operations Holdings, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the church.

I’m going to have to move on to chapter 2, “How the Shale Revolution is Changing Everything.” That will be sometime late tomorrow. Keep reading.

This is your President speaking.

Number 81 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

“Special Council is told to find crimes, whether a crime exists or not. I was opposed to the selection of Mueller to be Special Council. I am still opposed to it. I think President Trump was right when he said there never should have been a Special Council appointed because…..

…there was no probable cause for believing that there was any crime, collusion or otherwise, or obstruction of justice!” So stated by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz.

Mr. President, you need to tell this to your lawyer. Forget about us. We’re enjoying the show.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

This is currently streaming on Hulu, and I have avoided it until now. I needed something for Wednesday, hence these screen shots. Details are from Wikipedia.

It’s Kate & Leopold by Miramax from 2001, featuring Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman in the title roles. It’s a comedy, a soapy romance, featuring time travel. That should have made for considerable interest, providing it were handled properly.

The plot opens in New York City in 1876 at a dedication ceremony at the Brooklyn Bridge, then under construction (1869-19883). In attendance is Leopold, Third Duke of Albany (Jackman), keenly interested in technological developments of the time and taking notes. He takes note of a man in the crowd who seems to be photographing the scene with a 21st century camera. His curiosity aroused, he gives chase, but the man escapes in the maze of Manhattan streets.

Later, that night, at a reception in his family’s Manhattan estate nearby, he arrives late. It’s an important gathering. The duke is expected to select from a bevy of American beauties a bride who can bring money to  the family’s faltering fortunes.

He ends up dancing with the least interesting woman on the American continent. He is then distracted on seeing the mysterious stranger mingling with the guests. He dumps the unfortunate prospect and pursues the stranger up to his quarters. The stranger turns out to be Stuart Besser (Liev Schreiber) from the 21st century, here to gather proof that he has gone back to the 19th century and has met up with his great-great grandfather.

Another pursuit ensues, ending high up on the bridge. Stuart dangles precariously as the duke holds on to his hand. But Stuart has a purpose, and he entreats the duke to release him. They both fall toward the East River and into the 21st century.

Morning finds Stuart and the Duke in his Manhattan apartment and being harangued by Stuart’s soon-to-be ex-girlfriend Kate McKay (Ryan). Stuart is fixed on his studies of time travel, leaving no time to keep Kate amused. She dumps him, but at the same time she is attracted to the interesting stranger in period costume and speaking with a British accent.

Somehow Leopold adapts quickly (within hours) to the 21st century, and a romance develops with Kate. She never accepts the story that he is from the 19th century, but she does find his charm and poise dead-on for a margarine ad her company is attempting to develop. The duke introduces 19th century gallantry to the Big Apple when, on the street, a purse snatcher grabs her bag and sprints across Central Park. Leopold commandeers a horse, and the two give chase. This is exciting, and Kate’s little woman heart is absolutely throbbing.

Not needing to detail the remainder of the plot, in the end Stuart convinces Leopold he must return to the 19th century, and then he realizes Kate must follow him. It’s back to the Brooklyn Bridge, and Kate takes the plunge to follow and find her true love.

We’re back at the reception again, and Leopold is casting among the assembled hopefuls. There, he spots Kate in the crowd and chooses her, much to the disappointment of many. It’s Cinderella regurgitated.

We are asked to believe a lot, even after getting past time travel. Stuart has figured a way to predict cracks in the space-time continuum, and he exploits this to travel in time. But the travel must be along a minimum four-space line, which means the person doing the traveling must be in free fall. Hence the drops off the bridge. So he and Leopold take the plunge, and they wind up dry in Stuart’s apartment come morning. Accept it.

Same when Kate goes back to find Leopold. Fortunately she is attending a formal company function (she is being made North American  vice president) when she realizes she must make a change in her life. Dropping off the 21st century bridge, she, none-the-less, arrives at the royal party dry and perky after hoofing the few blocks to the duke’s family mansion, which, by the way, happens to be the same place as her company’s formal reception.

Leopold is characterized as technologically advanced for his time, but even so his rapid acclimation to  the modern  world is hard to swallow.

A minor detail is the matter of Leopold’s apparel. At the reception (ball) in the beginning he is wearing riding boots. These are going to come in handy in 21st century New York, where he is going to need to ride a horse. However, I find it strange that a gentleman would be wearing boots to a swanky affair. He exits the 19th century so dressed, and he seems to wear the same clothing, with minor interludes, throughout the movie. Somewhere dry cleaning or a trip to the laundry should have been inserted.

Leopold arrives in the 21st century without a cent in his pockets (he was at a dance, remember). He survives New York for approximately a week without visiting a bank for some cash. We see him hosting Kate to a catered rooftop dinner, paid for with which funds remaining unclear. Obviously shortcuts have been made to streamline the flow.

Putting those snags aside, the theme and interest of the movie is the contraposing of (supposedly) 19th century culture and elegance against modern New York’s brashness and base values. A realistic look at European royalty of the period finds no such evidence of refinement and good breeding.

Wacko Right Wing Religious Fanatics Say The Darndest Things

Number 13 of a continuing series

Duck Dynasty streaming on Hulu

Yes, you got it right. Right wing religious fanatic Phil Robertson actually said this:

I’ll make a bet with ya. Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say,“Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?”

Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, “Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun! We’re sick in the head! Have a nice day.”

Wow! All I can say is wow! From what dark corner of a moldering human psyche did the Duck Dynasty star summon up this thought? Examine the language, and you are going to get a peek into one fabulous mind. Start with:

Two guys break into an atheist’s home.

Yes! The person has to  be an atheist, else this is not going to work. Keep in mind, an atheist. In other words, a human being. What next? Wow!

He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters.

Not only does this atheist have a wife (a human being, remember), but she is also atheist, a human being. And here’s what’s good. She’s little. No big, hulking haus frau of a woman, but a petite, delicate thing. Else this is not going to work. And two daughters. Also atheist. Also little. The theme is building.

And then this exemplar of advanced thinking lays out his case. The two bad dudes commit unspeakable (except that we are speaking them now) atrocities. They even cut off the dude’s dongle. That has got to hurt. Now the clincher. Since the victims are atheists, there are no repercussions, because, you know, atheists do not believe in the God of Abraham, and since the God of Abraham is the giver of all human morality and right thinking, then the unfortunate atheist family has no recourse but to accept their fate, believing all the while these two lowlifes are unbound by any social restraints.

Where does this come from? Where has Phil Robertson been these past 72 years? I’m guessing he has spent a lot of that time where the sun does not shine, figuratively speaking. Somehow the bright light of human intellect and reason failed to reach him at a critical point in his development, and a number of truths have escaped his attention. I will elaborate.

Viewed as an outsider looking in, what I see is a story of people living in the eastern Mediterranean region 2000-3000 years ago, and they set up a system of moral codes to keep social order. What they did was to take a bunch of stuff that made sense, much of which had been around for centuries, and they codified this into rules. But writing rules down does not do the complete job, because now people are going to say, “I can’t eat pork because you don’t like pork, and where do you get the authority to tell me I can’t eat pork?” And there is the guy who wrote the rules, and his eyes are shifting about for somebody or some thing to lay this authority off on, there being nothing in sight. So he points upward into the sky.

And the God of Abraham was invented, and nobody ever should dispute this guy or go against his authority or his whims, because, while he is a loving and caring spirit, he also has a mean streak, and he will smite you with holy thunder if you edge over the line.

So, in Duck Dynasty world there is an invisible hand that holds sway over morality and social responsibility, and without this mystical power there would be no consequences for doing bad stuff. Poor atheists.

All right, I have had my fun with Duck Dynasty world, and I have laid all manner of modern foolishness at their feet, and hopefully we had a good laugh. But we should consider that Duck Dynasty does not represent the body of religious-based morality. This could possibly be an outlier, a peñata atheists can knock about, a way of painting with a broad brush. By now I have run out of metaphors to mix, and I need to say you would be unwise to imagine that all religious (Christian?) moralists are as clueless as Phil Robertson. Of course, I have been wrong before.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – 98 in a series

Jesus welcomes you into his loving arms, for all eternity:

Pastor Gets 99 Years In Prison After Starving Child To Death During Exorcism

Should they all be so blessed.

Inner Santorum

Number 2 in a series

So, this morning I was playing catch up with the news streaming over my Internet feed, and this popped up. And I got to wondering why I never voted for Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in his multiple bids for the presidency? Then I slapped my forehead and thought, “Oh, yeah!”

The discussion on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning was about Saturday’s country-wide marches demanding action on gun violence. Senator Santorum is now a CNN commentator, and I heartedly agree his comments are worth experiencing. For example, yesterday morning he spoke out on the students participating in these marches. Here is what he had to say:

How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that.

Such a kernel of wisdom I do not often experience, and my mind attempted to expand on it. DPRK Dictator for Life Kim Jong-un is making threats to lon a hydrogen bomb on the United states, so instead of wasting their time urging the government to put the kibosh on Kim’s ambitions, citizens should practice using a shovel to bury the dead.

Yes, people, do not, I  repeat, do not work to prevent students from getting shot. Instead, take some personal responsibility and learn how to save the life of your best friend who has been shot through the head with a 5.56 mm round. That’s real leadership.

Speaking of leadership, this is not Rick Santorum’s first trip to the salad bar. He is known best for the “Santorum Amendment.” It was not really an amendment, but rather it was a proposal for an amendment to an education bill:

The Santorum Amendment was a failed proposed amendment to the 2001 education funding bill (which became known as the No Child Left Behind Act), proposed by Republican Rick Santorum (then a United States Senator for Pennsylvania), which promoted the teaching of intelligent design while questioning the academic standing of evolution in US public schools. In response, a coalition of 96 scientific and educational organizations wrote a letter to the conference committee, urging that the amendment be stricken from the final bill, arguing that evolution is, in the scientific fields, regarded as fact and that the amendment creates the misperception that evolution is not fully accepted in the scientific community, and thus weakens science curricula. The words of the amendment survive in modified form in the Bill’s Conference Report and do not carry the weight of law. As one of the Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns it became a cornerstone in the intelligent design movement’s “Teach the Controversy” campaign.

Yes, former Senator Rick Santorum is a creationist, and whatever he eventually makes of his life, he will always be known for his skewed views on science and the world in general. He is our very own, the inner Santorum.

Quiz Question

Number 145 of a continuing series

I may never run out of these, and I’m piling airline miles in the process. Here is another Mensa puzzle from American Way magazine. The word for today is NEOTROPICAL.

Rearrange the letters in NEOTROPICAL to form another English word. Mensa believes there is only one such word. It took me less than two minutes to find the word, using the method I described in a previous Quiz Question post. Don’t use an anagram finder to solve this one. Submit your answer as a comment below.

People Unclear

This is number 39 of a long series

Sunday morning, and I was catching a video on YouTube, and all I can say is, “Holy shit!” Somebody is totally unclear, and that person would be Kathleen Hartnett White:

Kathleen Hartnett White is a Republican American government official and environmental policy advisor. Currently serving as a senior fellow at the free-market think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation. She was nominated by President Donald Trump to lead the Council on Environmental Quality; the nomination was later withdrawn.

I watched the clip—you should, as well—and was astounded. I know it’s a favorite pastime of liberals to paint all Republicans as scientifically illiterate and environmentally backward, but I need to remind readers this is most unfair. There are many in the ranks who see what is for what it is and might deserve your vote. Others, whether real or not, may be pretending to be illiterate and backward. White appears to be neither of these. She scorches the Earth to establish an absence of clarity.

Another in the video, which depicts a Senate confirmation hearing, is Andrew Wheeler:

Andrew R. Wheeler is an American lawyer and lobbyist who specializes in energy and environmental policy. Since 2009, he has been a co-leader of the energy practice at the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels. Wheeler was previously an aide to U.S. Senator James Inhofe and a staffer on the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Wheeler is a critic of nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions and has supported the continued use of fossil fuels.

In October 2017, Wheeler was nominated by President Donald Trump to become Deputy Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). His nomination was returned to the White House on January 3, 2018 under Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6.

Passing over Wheeler for the moment, White’s performance before the Senate committee led me to purchase her book, Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy. I obtained the Kindle edition, deciding not to wait for a price drop, and took a few minutes to read through the introduction. The book is co-authored with Stephen Moore, a writer credited with a famous body of nonsense:

Stephen Moore (born February 16, 1960) is an American writer and economic policy analyst. He founded and served as president of the Club for Growth from 1999 to 2004. Moore is a former member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board. In 2014, The Heritage Foundation announced that Moore would become its chief economist. In 2015, Moore’s title at The Heritage Foundation changed from Chief Economist to his current title, Distinguished Visiting Fellow. Moore is known for advocating free-market policies and supply-side economics. In 2017, he left Fox News Channel to join CNN as an economics analyst.

His Wikipedia entry also notes a lack of candor, leading to The Kansas City Star to quit using stuff he writes.

Whether White or Moore wrote the book’s intro, I am going to lay it all on White. A few passages are worth some Skeptical Analysis and some comment. Start with this. She kicks off the intro with the tale of a liberal family beset by a black out, a loss of electrical power, for several days. For a while they enjoy the experience, knowing their carbon footprint has been reduced. The situation soon becomes tiresome as electric power in modern day life is not only a convenience but a necessity. She warns of dire consequences coming out of renewal energy.

But we are convinced that rolling brownouts are coming— especially in states like California, which are trying to rely on unreliable green energy sources— thanks to the radical environmentalists who have achieved a choke-hold on our politics.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 88-90). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

White is alluding to times when the sun does not shine, and the wind does not blow. It turns out (my analysis) that such outages will become vanishingly small with the scaling up of the renewable energy industry. Dark days in one region will be offset by sunny days elsewhere, and guess what, wind turbines work on as little as three mph wind, besides which, wind is a given and is constant all over.

White discusses the “war on coal.”

Technological progress is making this cheap and domestically abundant energy source cleaner all the time. Yet the global-warming alarmist James Hansen, a scientist at NASA, has compared the railroad cars carrying coal across our country to the “death trains” that transported Jews to Nazi concentration camps.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 92-94). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Actually, no. Coal is not becoming less clean. Early environmental pressures required (some) coal fired plants to reduce particulate emissions, and that progress has since bottomed out. No improvement is currently being experienced. What White does not let on is that burning coal, a fossil fuel, continues, unrelenting, to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Appearances are that the Environmental Protection Agency under President Trump will be relaxing emissions regulations for coal-fired plants. Whatever scientist James Hansen said about “death trains,” assuming he did say such, has no relevance to the argument against eliminating the use of coal.

White writes unknowingly about greenhouse emissions.

Natural gas is our second major source of electrical energy. The technological miracle of hydraulic fracturing—“ fracking”— has given us hundreds of years’ worth of this clean-burning fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 94-96). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

To be clear, natural gas is a fossil fuel, and burning natural gas puts extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. White seems to take the point that, when burned, natural  gas produces less carbon dioxide than does coal for the same amount of usable energy, and then she runs with it, much too far.

Watch the video. White concedes at her (non-) confirmation hearing that she is not a scientist. She reassures us of that fact in the following statement.

If global warming is a threat, we will be saved not by building windmills or riding our bicycles to work, but by applying advanced technology and electrical power to find ways to keep the planet cool.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 103-104). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Yes. Yes! Advanced technology and electrical power to keep the planet cool. Lady, the way to keep the planet cool is to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Please do not laugh. Here is this.

Almost all other inventions— the steam engine, the printing press, life-saving medicines, the microchip, the iPhone, you name it— are derivatives of electric power. Where electricity is in wide use, there is prosperity. Where electricity is lacking, poverty and deprivation are the norm.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 115-117). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Technically, no. In most cases, absolutely no.

  • The invention of the steam engine came many decades prior to the development of electric power.
  • The printing press was developed in the 15th century, perhaps 300 years prior to the advent of electric power.
  • Life-saving medicines, e.g., the small pox vaccine, were developed independently and often in advance of the advent of electric power.
  • The microchip and the iPhone typically run off 5-volt supplies, obtainable from chemical batteries, and not really part of the electric power grid. True, you will not have a cell phone grid without an electric power grid to support it.

White is correct on one point. I will not cite the source, but I will simply state that quality of life roughly tracks energy consumption. Energy consumption moves goods to market, performs the heavy work in factories, and keeps us warm and safe in our homes. The electrical power grid has turned out to be the best way to support most of this activity. We need electrical power, and the cheaper and the more reliable the better for all concerned.

White makes this point.

And the data recently gathered by economic historians surveyed in this book show that wind and water wheels never provided much power. It wasn’t until man harnessed fossil fuels— predominantly oil, gas, and coal— that industrialization achieved unprecedented productivity.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 119-121). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Duh, yes. She is talking about the pre-industrial days, and there was not much in the way of available power, wind, water, anything back then. The advent of the steam engine, burning wood or coal, made the industrial revolution. White wants to impute that we cannot go back to wind and water as a source of power. Actually, hydro-electric power is about maxed out in this country. We may have tapped all the available rivers for that purpose. However, the Dutch windmill has been replaced by giant wind turbines that produce mega watts.

Every now and then she gets something right.

Energy, in short, is the wellspring of mankind’s greatest advances.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 125-126). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

What she fails to acknowledge is that proponents of renewable energy are not against energy production. They are against energy production that produces damage to the environment. Coal, for instance.

Barely correct:

Today, hundreds of years after the Industrial Revolution began, most of the human population is dependent on fossil fuels for 80 to 90 percent of its energy supply.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 130-131). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

The industrial revolution started in England a little over two hundred years ago, so technically it is hundreds of years since the advent of the industrial revolution.

She appeals to the masses, supposedly her working-class base.

Throughout history, elites, of course, have enjoyed comfortable wealth. They were rich; they could afford expensive energy. They weren’t the ones who did without light or heat or transportation or enough food and leisure time. Someone else did the back-breaking and time-consuming work for them.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 133-135). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

So, it’s the elites who want renewable energy at whatever price. Actually, you might want to review Senator Cory Booker’s comments made in the video. He discusses the particulate pollution that plagues those in his state, New Jersey. They are poor and also working class constituents, who often have to endure the lower quality of life and the health damage wrought by industrial pollution. These people are definitely not “elites,” and they would appreciate having cleaner sources of energy.

As the close of the intro approaches, White prepares to escalate the rhetoric.

The inherent limitations of wind and solar are physically intractable.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 140-141). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

No. Simply no.

She closes with a flourish.

Green energy policies assume centralized control of the sources, production, and consumption of energy, and that means centralized control over all economic activity and consumer choice. Name a product that doesn’t depend on affordable and reliable energy. United Nations bureaucrats talk about “wisely planned [energy] austerity,” guided by apparently omniscient “planetary managers.” Not only is our material prosperity in peril; freedom itself is at stake.

Moore, Stephen; White, Kathleen Hartnett. Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Kindle Locations 145-148). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Actually, a following paragraph urges us to read the book to get the full story, but those are her closing remarks, laced with fabrication and hyperbole. She seems to agree that if you say it often enough and loudly enough, then it will become true.

No it does not, and I am hoping this sets the stage for the remainder of the book, because I will be reading it and applying some analysis.

It is difficult to reconcile the flamboyant and straight-forward language in the book with White’s performance before the Senate committee. Watch the video. Asked a straight question, she seems unable to find the answer, any answer. For example, when asked whether she believes scientists are lying about global warming, all she needed to do before the committee was to  repeat the language from the book. Yes, those scientists are a bunch of self-serving liars, and maybe they should be put in jail. At every point she pivots and equivocates, leading senators to wonder what they are doing wasting their time watching this spectacle. The only thing I found recently more painful to watch was Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos floundering through her (barely) confirmation hearing. From Wikipedia again:

At White’s Senate confirmation hearing in November 2017, she stated that her top three environmental concerns are air quality, the potential failure of waste water and drinking water systems, and climate change. During her hearing she said: “I am not a scientist, but in my personal capacity I have many questions that remain unanswered by current climate policy. We need to have a more precise explanation of the human role and the natural role.”

In February 2018, the White House confirmed their intention to withdraw their nomination of Hartnett White as a senior advisor on environmental policy.

Yes, we could stand more clarity from the people we hire to work at the highest levels in our government.

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

From Amazon Prime Video, of course. There is a warehouse of bad movies there, standing ready to waste an hour or more of your time. In this case about an hour and 28 minutes. It’s Assignment Redhead from 1956 and featuring Richard Denning and Carole Mathews. It’s a British spy-crime drama, not much mystery involved. Production companies are listed as Amalgamated Productions and Butcher’s Film Distributors.  Details are from Wikipedia.

You can tell this is going to be a grim plot. The opening scene shows the man in the black hat and black overcoat signaling with a light. Then the burly guy comes into view. Ugh. That’s a dead body he’s carrying. The pair attempt to hid the body under some rubble. This is perhaps post-war Germany, apparently still smoldering in 1953 when Lindsay Hardy wrote Requiem for a Redhead, the basis for the movie.

Anyhow, as we figure out later, the pair is disposing of this person so they can substitute another in his place and get him into England.

Then we see the plot being executed. A pretty redheaded woman (it’s a black and white movie) is preparing to board a military flight to England. She is Hedy Bergner (Matthews), and she’s going to work in England as a cabaret performer at a nightclub. Another passenger is American Captain Hank Godowski (Robert O’Neil), who has purchased himself a slick German camera. He snaps a photo of the comely Fraulein Bergner, thus signing his own death warrant. We do not find out until later that the deadly impostor is caught in the photo, and the ruffians are desperate to get that piece of film.

Ha! The bad dudes did not hide the dead body very well and a German cop finds it. British MI-5 is alerted, including American Major Gregory Keen (Denning), who is working with them. Keen and (likely Scotland Yard) Sergeant Tom Coutts (Hugh Moxey) wander by to pay a call on Fraulein Bergner. Only later will we be become sure she is in with the gang of cutthroats, and she has charmed the unfortunate Captain Godowski into giving her his London address. Keen is much attracted to the redheaded conspirator.

Subsequently, while Godowski and his British friend Captain Peter Ridgeway (Brian Worth) are throwing a few down back at the hotel, a pair of assassins step in and put a knife into Godowski’s back from across the room. When they hear Ridgeway in the bathroom, one of them goes in there and clubs him over the head. They set up to frame Ridgeway for the crime. They find the camera and take the film.

Along come Keen and Coutts, finding Ridgeway blacked out on the bed, a knife in his hand. They would like to charge him with the crime, but he makes his escape out the window. Subsequently Keen watches in horror as a speeding car appears intent on eliminating Bergner. She tells them the driver was Ridgeway, but the authorities get a lead on the car and the driver. The driver was one of the gang. Bergner is implicated. The Keen-Bergner romance begins to cool.

Finally. Finally! We get to what this is all about. A certain French art dealer going under the name Max Rubenstein (Alex Gallier) turns out to have in a previous life been a French traitor, and in the course of events during the war he purloined $12 million in counterfeit American currency. The gang leader, Dumetrius (Ronald Adam) has come over in the disguise of the murdered man, and now he wants the money from Rubenstein. He holds leverage, and Rubenstein signs on for the bargain. His life and another person killed in his place in exchange for half of the $12 million.

Of course Dumetrius never intended to honor the bargain, and it is Rubenstein in person who rides the death car over the cliff.

Of course, the good guys ultimately prevail, Dumetrius shoots Bergner as he attempts to make his getaway, and Keen and Dumetrius duke it out on top of the burning hideout. Dumetrius takes the fatal plunge, and Bergner dies in Keen’s arms.

The book by Hardy is available on Amazon but not in a Kindle edition. I would get a copy, but I am sure the movie managed to mangle the plot. The plot runs as a multi-part police procedural with romantic interludes and snatches of thuggery thrown in to liven things up, and the pieces are not well-connected. I have the feeling the Hardy book put together, and director Maclean Rogers attempted to stitch significant pieces into a continuum. The result is a theme plagued by disjunctures.

The American release was titled Million Dollar Manhunt, with no mention of any red hair.

This is your President speaking.

Number 79 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!

Everybody is not talking about collusion, everybody that is except for President Trump.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

A math professor named John is having trouble with his sink, so he calls in a plumber. The plumber comes over and makes the repairs in short order, and John is happy, except for the bill. He tells the plumber, “You worked for an hour and charged me what I make in a day.”

So the plumber tells John that he might want to become a plumber and make more money. He warns, however, “Tell them you only made it through the sixth grade. They don’t like educated people in the profession.”

So John takes training and becomes a plumber and is making loads of money working for a service company. Then there is an announcement. The company wants all its plumbers to obtain at least a seventh grade education, and they are going to need to go to night school.

So John, figuring this is going to be a cinch, begins classes with his co-workers, starting with seventh grade math. The first night the teacher calls on John. “What’s the formula for the area of a circle. Come to  the board and write it.”

John has a mental block and can’t recall  the formula. He has an inspiration. He will derive it. So he begins to struggle to derive the formula, and his scratchings extend across the board. Hearing whispering from the class, John turns and listens. Several of his classmates are staring hopefully at him. One of them whispers, “Switch the limits of the integral.”

This is your President speaking.

Number 78 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?

He speaks, we smile.

The Government You Paid For

Number 32 in a Series

Don’t you just hate it when you jump the gun, lead off with what you thought was the latest and the hottest, only to wake up five hours later and wish you had held off a while longer? All the time, right? Like yesterday.

Yeah, I ran that. It’s the story about APNSA R.H. McMaster slipping President Trump urgent and explicit instructions to not congratulate Vladimir Putin on  his re-election, followed immediately by the President congratulating Vladimir Putin on his re-election. I should have waited for the other shoe to drop. Actually, for the other domino to fall.

And that was so many minutes ago and so many comings and goings at the Trump White House.

We paid for it. We got it. What a prize it has turned out to be. And we just received the bill. $1.3 trillion. Worth every penny in entertainment value alone.