Tag Archives: Trump

You Comey at the King, You’d Best Not Miss

 

As a lifelong reporter, my father lived in notepads. All journalists do.

Dad, however, did some serious scribbling. You wouldn’t say he took copious notes because that would be a disservice to dad and the word. It doesn’t come close to dad’s style.

He must have had thousands of notebooks. He kept every one. He numbered every page. On the cover of every pad, he would create a table of contents: pages 4-12, notes on Cobo Hall redesign. Pages 74-96, an interview with Doug Fraser.

Most miraculously, his handwriting was legible. Almost female in its neatness. Former reporters told me when I joined the paper that dad was the paper’s unofficial librarian. If journalists needed to get background on, say, the Cobo redesign, they would go to him before the paper’s library. He was faster. They talked of him diving into a mountain of notebooks, emerging with the request.

Dad believed he never got to the New York Times because of the attention he paid to note taking, culminating in a confrontation with Sen. Ernest Hollings from South Carolina. Hollings made the mistake of wavering in an interview with dad about getting out of the Vietnam War, a view that got him skewered by his hawk supporters.

When Hollings called a hasty press conference to deny ever making the statement, dad showed up — with his notepad. He called Hollings a liar from the press pit. “Well I’ll be goddamned if I’ll have a reporter call me a liar at my own press conference,” Hollings snapped. “I’ll knock your block off.” Dad rushed the stage, was ushered out by security and made the wires, a story I still have.

Donald Trump had better pray James Comey doesn’t have nearly the transcription skills — or temper — of my father. Because president carrot top would get his ass kicked.

He still may. Comey’s testimony last week can’t be seen as good news for the administration. But what even counts for good news now? A mushroom-cloud-free day?

Still, it’s  astounding to watch the GOP try to tear down its former top cop. Most peculiar, perhaps, was the counterfeit surprise they expressed about Comey’s presumptions. Why in the world, they wondered, would he take Trump’s spoken desire to see the Russia investigation disappear as nefarious?

Has it come to this? Are we really parsing the language of Mafia wannabes? Nice country ya got here. Shame if something were to happen to it…

Perhaps dad had it right. Some note taking is worth rushing the stage.

Speaking of non-alternative facts:

  • Watermelons contain an ingredient called citrulline that can trigger production of a compound that helps relax the body’s blood vessels, just like Viagra.
  • Ancient Greeks wouldn’t eat beans as they thought that they contained the souls of the dead.
  • The Burj Khalifa is so tall that residents above the 80th floor have to wait 2 to 3 minutes longer to end Ramadan.
  • For those who jumped from the WTC on 9/11, the fall lasted 10 seconds. They struck the ground at just under 150 mph, enough to ensure instant death on impact.
  • Tigers can, and will, take revenge on those who have wronged them.
  • Sweden has their own national font, Sweden Sans, to “unambiguously represent Sweden in the world.”
  • You have to be a retired letter carrier to live in Nalcrest, Florida. Ironically, the town does not have mail delivery service.
  • In 2010, Syria had more tourists than Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to the Monkeyhouse

 

In honor of the four-month mark of our new administration, here’s a look at the president’s slightly smarter cousin, the chimpanzee:

  • Washoe, the chimpanzee, was the first non-human to learn American Sign Language. She also passed on her knowledge to other chimpanzees.
  • In 2008, a chimpanzee named Anjana adopted and raised two baby white tigers named Mitra and Shiva after a hurricane.
  • Elephants and chimpanzees can display behavior patterns similar to post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
  •  Humans have the same number of hair follicles as chimpanzees.
  • Chimpanzees can identify each other from pictures of their butts.
  • The United States and Gabon are the only two countries that allow experimentation on chimpanzees.
  • Congo the chimp was a famous abstract painter in the 1950s who sold paintings to Picasso, Dalí and others for up to $26,000. 
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All the President’s Minions

 

It’s difficult to gauge the performance of news media during a Trump administration.

On the one hand, you’d be hard pressed to find a president whose missteps and contradictions are so quickly and clearly pointed out. Americans know more about health care, tax reform and immigration policy than any American public before it. Quick: you know the name Betsy Devos, right? Now name another education secretary, of any administration, in American history.

So it’s hard to argue the press has not made us a more informed populous. The question is what do we do with all that information.

Certainly, television news does not know. This week, MSNBC aired a story on how new polls suggest that Donald Trump would have beaten  Hillary Clinton if the presidential election were held today.

When you get into hypothetical journalism to fill a 24-hour news cycle, you’re screwed. Why not a piece on who could milk a goat faster? And interesting that the network would tout another election poll, which proved about as accurate as Miss Cleo after a bender. I’m surprised the network didn’t hawk the story with a teaser that said: “Remember those inaccurate home-phone polls of last year? Well there’s a new study out…” 

Instead, and thankfully, late night TV has taken on the role as participatory journalist. And while Stephen Colbert may live to regret saying that  Trump’s mouth as a “cock holster for Vladimir Putin,” other outlets are scoring with  political coverage that is more observational than offensive.

Take The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, a show that has improved by leaps and bounds over last year’s rocky debut. Earlier in the year, as Sean Spicer brought a stack of files to a press conference to show all the work his boss was putting into the job, it a Daily Show clip demonstrated there was nary a label on a single file.

And this week, Noah scored with a smart look at the Congressional response to United Airlines forcibly removing an overbooked passenger. He played clip after clip of lawmakers complaining about the discomfort of air travel. One compared it to riding on a “civil rights bus.”

Noah rightfully lost his shit,  noting that over the same weekend, three black motorists were shot. But no Congressional hearing. So he an anchor Roy Wood Jr. introduced a genius idea to protect black pedestrians: A sandwich board shaped like a 747.

But it was Seth Meyers (the heir apparent to Jon Stewart) who got off the best shot: “The House of Representatives narrowly passed the repeal of Obamacare Thursday. Also narrowly passing: Grandma.”

Journalism isn’t dead. It’s just practicing its stand-up.

And now, that:

  • Iran has the highest rate of nose surgery in the world per capita, since the mandatory hijab tend to highlight the female face.
  • Cinco de Mayo is not that important in Mexico and is mainly celebrated only in the state of Puebla.
  • An anonymous serial killer was arrested in 2005 after sending a floppy disk with his name and church stored on it. He asked police if they could trace a floppy disk and they said “no.”
  • Wasp used to be “waps,” while bird used to be “brid” and horse used to be “hros.” Pronunciation errors made the English language what it is today.
  • The English language has 3,000 words for “drunk.”
  • 70% of people will live in cities by 2050.
  • There are 1,459 people in Peru named after Star Wars characters.

 

 

 

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