21 thoughts on “Picture This”

  1. R.I.P.  Betty

    A sweet orpington who will be missed by her friends of feather Betsy and Buffy.

  2. brooks and shields last night on pbs newshour:

    • David Brooks:

      When I started covering Congress, I was always stunned by how much the members would touch me and just put their arms on my shoulders and talk to me.

      And it was uncomfortable for me, because I come from a different generation than a lot of them, not only Biden, but a lot of others. And, frankly, I come from a different social class. I don’t come from Scranton.

      And so there’s a lot of just more physicality in different classes. But, eventually, I came to see it as a sign of connection and respect. And I liked it when somebody would put their hands on my shoulders, because they were really trying to meet me as a person. And it wasn’t a sexual thing. It was a connection thing.

      And I have been around Joe Biden a lot. I think he’s a very, very admirable man. And does he conduct himself in ways where mores have changed? Maybe.

      But they’re trying to impute his character on this. They’re trying to insult the dignity and the intention which he goes about his life. And I think it’s completely unfair.

      He may touch where people in different classes and different mores don’t touch. And maybe you shouldn’t and be respectful to other. But as a sign that he’s a person of any less than perfect character seems to me completely wrong and completely unfair.

    • Mark Shields:

      I will add one thing to David, OK?

      Democrats have to make a choice, Judy. Are they going to nominate someone, A, who can beat Donald Trump in 2020 and be an effective, honorable and able president, restore confidence? Or are they going to get into an elimination contest about who is the most politically correct, the most sensitive and the most awoke?

      That is a choice that they’re going to be on the side of suicide pact.


  3. earlier in the discussion this was noted:

    Mark Shields:


    …47 years in Washington, Joe Biden has been the epitome of the admirable father and husband. There’s never been, to the best of my knowledge, a whisper of Joe Biden as a sexual predator, as a player, as somebody who was stepping out or chasing skirts or anything of the sort.

    Joe Biden is a politician from the era of press the flesh, of being in touch with people of both genders. And I think his opponents are using this, quite frankly — and Joe has, unfortunately, for his sake, played into their hand — as an indication or a metaphor that he’s out of touch, that he belongs to a different era.

    Disraeli once said the test of any leader is that a man — he always used the male — first know and understand the times in which he lives and, second, know and understand himself.

    Joe Biden, I think, knows himself very well. Unfortunately, he thinks it’s 1959.

    Donald Trump, we showed in 2016 he understood the times very well. Unfortunately, he thinks he’s Brad Pitt. The idea that Donald Trump could use somehow sexual predator-ing as an issue against Joe Biden shows the lack of an embarrassment gene and just a total shamelessness on the president’s part.


  4. Bill recaps the top stories of the week, including pushback on the Mueller report and Joe Biden’s touchy-feely transgressions.

  5. btw, full disclosure on chicken picture, that’s a stock image of an orpington. unfortunately, I haven’t a good one of the late ms. betty who succumbed yesterday after a month long mysterious illness. most mornings of her adult 4 years she would patiently wait for me to come lift her down from the roost and cluck-cluck a thank you as she left the coop to join her sisters. 

  6. the guardian: Mar-a-Lago’s bizarre breach: a mystery woman, malware and Trump’s ‘circus’


    The FBI ramped up a counterintelligence investigation into suspected Chinese espionage efforts at Mar-a-Lago. Democrats on Capitol Hill demanded an immediate inquiry into the security holes that allowed 32-year-old Yujing Zhang to gain access.

    “It seems like anybody can kind of mosey up and bring communications equipment,” said Elijah Cummings, chair of the House oversight committee.


    Not only did Zhang appear to deceive several secret service agents and Mar-a-Lago staff, she was granted a chauffeur-driven ride across the manicured grounds to the gilded doors of the 1920s palace before a receptionist finally became suspicious. Trump was not at home but was only a few miles away, playing golf.

    “This is amateur night at the Apollo Theatre, except Mar-a-Lago looks a little better than the Apollo,” said Jose Lambiet, a Palm Beach society writer who describes the scene at Trump’s weekend retreat as “a circus”, for the casual and easy access members and guests seem to enjoy to the world’s most powerful man.


    “There are so many wrong things that I don’t even know where to start.”


    The first clues to the identity of the mystery woman, who was carrying two Chinese passports, four mobile phones, a laptop, a computer hard drive and a USB drive containing “malicious malware”, came in court on Monday, as she faced charges of making false statements to a federal officer and entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds.


    Through an interpreter, Zhang said she was a freelance consultant for a private equity firm based in Shanghai, drove a BMW and owned a $1.3m (£1m) house in China. According to the Palm Beach Post, she said she was in the US looking to start an investment business.

    But federal prosecutor John McMillan, citing unspecified “security implications”, warned that Zhang posed an “extreme risk of flight” and persuaded magistrate judge William Matthewman to hold her without access to the internet or international calls until a further hearing on Monday.

    FBI agents’ first priority of FBI agents is to figure out why Zhang was at Mar-a-Lago and how she exploited its clearly porous security procedures. Specifically, they are examining any ties to Li “Cindy” Yang, a Chinese-American businesswoman, Republican fundraiser and massage parlour owner who is reportedly at the centre of their espionage investigation.


    Yang’s dubious activities in promoting Mar-a-Lago to Chinese businesses, revealed by the Miami Herald, and the associated promise of access to Trump or his inner circle, remain of more concern. During questioning following her arrest last Saturday, Zhang changed her story about wanting to use the pool, according to secret service special agent Samuel Ivanovich in the criminal complaint filed against her. She claimed instead she was there to attend a “friendship event” that night, organised by a Chinese business group and promoted by Yang on social media.


    As it turned out, that event was cancelled shortly after a selfie of Yang with Trump emerged. But the claim raised investigators’ eyebrows, as did the fact Zhang was now speaking “freely and without difficulty” in English after appearing confused and unable to understand even basic questions at the security tent.


    Intelligence experts say it would hardly be a surprise for a Chinese spy to try to infiltrate the Trump administration at Mar-a-Lago. The New York Times reported last year that the president displayed a “casual approach to electronic security” through his use of unsecured mobile phones, despite warnings his conversations were regularly eavesdropped by Russia and China. “Bad actors” attempting to access computer systems might find the job easier at Mar-a-Lago, where resort security and not the secret service has the ultimate say over who is and is not admitted.


  7. carl Hiaasen: ‘Just pig out at the Mar-a-Lago buffet table. They’ll never know you’re a spy’ | Opinion

    Urgent update to Foreign Spy Manual, post-Obama Edition: “Revised List of Tips for Infiltrating Presidential Vacation Retreats.” Please read, memorize and burn:

    Remember, there are two levels of security at Mar-a-Lago, the presidential vacation resort in Palm Beach, Florida. The first screening is done by the club’s staff, which — believe it or not — controls access to the property even when the president is there.

    Secondary security is provided by U.S. Secret Service agents, who aren’t usually as friendly or gullible. Make sure your initial contact is with a young, underpaid Mar-a-Lago employee.

    Because of recent events at the site, we are no longer advising operatives to begin their infiltration like this: “Yo! Which way to the pool?”

    Likewise: “Hello, I’m here for the [name a country, any country] Cross-Cultural Arts Symposium and Seafood Brunch.”


    Staff workers and the Secret Service are now being instructed to more closely scrutinize the list of Mar-a-Lago members, expected guests and presidential visitors. Your name will not be on that list, of course, though it’s still possible to talk your way past the checkpoints.

    Our intelligence analysts have collected anecdotal evidence that certain deep-cover lines remain effective for those seeking entry to the presidential property:

    For example: “Hello, I’m here to re-seed the croquet lawn.”

    Or: “Hi, I’m filling in today for Eric’s pedicurist. She had to go downtown to straighten out a visa problem.”

    Or: “Hey, there. I’m a friend of Stormy’s.”


    At some point you might be asked to show identification. Politely hand over the Costco Gold Star card that we’ve included in your spy kit.

    If that doesn’t work, try flashing any or all of the foreign passports you carry. We’ve had our best luck with those stamped as being from the People’s Republic of China. A well-worn Russian facsimile is always a solid bet, too.

    In the unlucky event that you encounter a competent and experienced screener at the entrance of Mar-a-Lago, be sure to have a fallback plan — and rehearse in advance.

    When told that you’re not on the approved guest list, respond at first with a wounded look of confusion, then annoyance and finally a loud, angry, incoherent outburst.

    Wishing to avoid a confrontation that would disrupt the dining of dues-paying club members, the Mar-a-Lago staff is likely to quickly back off and allow you to enter. Once inside, be cautious when mingling with others. As amusing as the social scene might be, don’t get distracted and let your guard down.


    Because of what occurred last week, we are recommending new procedures for concealing thumb drives loaded with malicious software. Do NOT carry these devices in your purse, beach bag, pants pocket or billfold.

    Alternative hiding places for thumb drives may include hollow shoe heels, fake Range Rover key fobs and empty Altoid tins. Some operatives report success at smuggling the thumb drives in vape pens, but there are conflicting accounts regarding the Mar-a-Lago club policy on cannabis paraphernalia.

    As you walk through the rooms and hallways of the estate searching for a computer to infect, you should appear to seem lost, or mildly intoxicated. If you get stopped by a staff member or Secret Service agent, ask directions to the nearest restroom.

    Tell them it’s an emergency — you have a spastic colon. Whatever.

    Currently we are recommending no changes to the established procedure if you see the commander-in-chief during your infiltration of Mar-a-Lago. Proven methods of attracting his attention include waving excitedly, giggling at a high pitch or simply shouting, “We love you, Mr. President! Thank you for making America great again!”

    Frequently he will respond by elbowing a visiting head of state out of the way, warmly beckoning you to his table and posing for photographs known as “selfies.” He will have no idea who you are or why you’re there, but he will put his arm around you and grin like you are a dear, beloved friend.

    Before posting the picture on your Presidential-Access-For-Sale website, you may use the filter application on your cell phone camera to tone down the unusual apricot hue of the president’s hair.

    Afterward, as you depart Mar-a-Lago, cruise by the buffet table and bag up a pile of stone crab claws. This act should remove any suspicion that you’re not a regular guest.

  8. Gale with a sleeping Boo above her.
    Nothing today. A day without news or disinformation.
    Of note is from yesterday where AG Barr is investigating discrimination at his DOJ.  LGBTQ people are of low morale.  Yes, I agree.  And, we are so throughout the federal government.

  9. And within DoD, again, BB. The fuehrer is reinstating his purge of the LGBTQ ranks once again. Through folks such as you, I’ve learned so much over the past years of enlightenment.

  10. There is a magnificent obituary for South Carolina’s Fritz Hollings beginning on page one of this morning’s WaPo. For those who might wonder how and why Kumcho and I considered and accepted SC as our new home, it was largely because of Gov Holling’s work.

  11. the guardian:


    The former president was speaking in Berlin, at an Obama Foundation event.


    “One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States,” he said, “maybe it’s true here as well, is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, ‘Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be’ and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a ‘circular firing squad’, where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues.


    “And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens.”


    In Germany, Obama also discussed the virtues and drawbacks of political compromise. He advised his audience of young Europeans to “take some time to think in your own mind and continually refine and reflect, ‘What are my core principles?’


    “Because the danger is if you don’t know what your principles are, that’s when you compromise your principles away.”


    He added: “You can’t set up a system in which you don’t compromise on anything, but you also can’t operate in a system where you compromise on everything.”


    Answering questions, Obama said progressives needed to think about remaining “true to our values and principles while recognising that in democracies … the only way we are going to be able to get things done is that we agree to a certain set of rules and part of those rules are that you never get 100% of what you want”.


    He cited the Paris climate agreement as an example of an imperfect deal achieved under his presidency with the aim of building on it later. Trump has withdrawn the US from the deal.

  12. All  the old white men supporting Biden are missing the point
    The false choice Mark Shields speaks of is just so much crap
    Retire old fogeys    let’s get on with a better society not defending mansplaining and out moded behavior

  13. Just to be perfectly clear David Brooks,  no one has said that he is a sexual harasser or a predator but he does feel perfectly free to touch anyone anywhere — and by the way it was NEVER ok.   Now women feel they can speak up on these issues
    I do not want anyone touching me without my permission regardless of their goodwill.  It isn’t right and should not be encouraged by saying –well he meant well.   You could say that about a lot of people .

  14. Biden should be grateful — this gives him a graceful way out rather than being a big giant loser once the primaries and caucuses start.  I hope union members are taking careful stock of who really is their friend.
    Biden forced out Sherrod Brown –a true friend to organized labor.     Labor should write in Brown in protest.  He would never sell out their position.   

    Most important of all He would be a terrible president.

  15. Still winter here raining, chilly and we are thinking we might need more firewood

  16. Ms KGC, I read and learn. But, o crap, I just learned to unstarch myself and hug. Okay then, back to the warm handshake. Except, with Reynaud’s Syndrome the handshake can be pretty cool.

  17. X-R
    You can still hug — just not any random person and without knowing if it going to make the person uncomfortable.    It’s not the hugging it’s doing it without permission.

  18. one thing politically young beto and mayor pete don’t have to worry about are decades of stuff one said, did or wrote back in the age of dinosaurs (socially speaking).  in February mother jones dredged up memories of a bygone time for Bernie which will probably become fodder for trump.  here is an excerpt from

    “Curious How Bernie Sanders Went From ’60s Radical to Democratic Front-Runner?”


    After a doomed but hard-fought challenge to Hillary Clinton in 2016, he never really stopped running. He put out books, stumped for candidates, and watched, not impassively, as his proposal for a single-payer health care system was adopted into the Democratic mainstream. Sanders is now a meme and a movement, and he enters the presidential race as something that seemed impossible four years ago—a front-runner for the nomination.


    There’s a lot to parse about Sanders and his place in national politics, but if you want to understand what drives him, you have to understand how he got his start. His path to political success, which I traced in a series of 2015 profiles, was riddled with false starts, experimentation, failure, and adaptation.


    Sanders has always been driven by righteousness (some would say self-righteousness) about his causes. After college and for a long time thereafter in Vermont, Sanders dabbled as a freelance writer, where he wrote a series of speculative essays on a range of issues, including the psychological causes of cancer, the destructive effect of public education, and rape fantasies. They are, to put it nicely, a little much. But they are also indispensably Bernie, and you can see kernels of the politician he’d become in the overwrought passages he scribbled back then. He was obsessed then, as now, with fomenting a peaceful political revolution, of defeating not just an opposition party but of fundamentally rebuilding the social and economic structures of society. This passage, from a 1969 essay, sticks with me:


    The Revolution is coming and it is a very beautiful revolution. It is beautiful because, in its deepest sense, it is quiet, gentle, and all pervasive. It KNOWS. What is most important in this revolution will require no guns, no commandants, no screaming “leaders,” and no vicious publications accusing everyone else of being counter-revolutionary. The revolution comes when two strangers smile at each other, when a father refuses to send his child to school because schools destroy children, when a commune is started and people begin to trust each other, when a young man refuses to go to war, and when a girl pushes aside all that her mother has ‘taught’ her and accepts her boyfriend’s love.

    The revolution comes when young people throughout the world take control of their own lives and when people everywhere begin to look each other in the eyes and say hello, without fear. This is the revolution, this is the strength, and with this behind us no politician or general will ever stop us. We shall win!


    One consequence of being one of the oldest people ever to seek a major party presidential nomination is that few candidates have left behind as rich a paper trail as Sanders. So take a moment to catch up on the Bernie Sanders back catalog. Read his manifesto on sexual freedom. Watch his TV show. (Yes, he had a TV show.) Study up on one of his political icons. But there’s no rush. If there’s one lesson we learned in 2016, it’s that he won’t be going away anytime soon.

  19. The head of the FBI says domestic terrorism especially white supremacists are a major threat to national security.
    SFB goes before some Republican Jewish group and calls the Democrats anti-Israel and antisemitic and yet he is the guy who said people chanting Jews will not replace us while waving tiki torches are mighty-fine people.
    So do not bother with any SFB supporters    they are clearly stupid

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