Read anything good lately?

Book, magazine article, court decision, footnote, billboard, back of cereal box or appendices of some redacted report?



22 thoughts on “Read anything good lately?”

  1. example:

    “Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from ‘countless members of the FBI’ was a ‘slip of the tongue.’ She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made ‘in the heat of the moment’ that was not founded on anything”


    forked tongues slip?

  2. as for me, am in the midst of a delightful (by this I mean really laughing out loud delightful) book by dave barry.

    craig, I remember your praise of his work. this must be dave’s most profound and philosophical on top of being his usual funny. “Lessons from Lucy” not only makes me laugh, but tear up too.

    pogo, you’ll love lesson #2 chapter when he recounts his times with the Rock Bottom Remainders band made up of musically challenged authors of fame.

  3. Pat, I saw Dave on tv a few days ago and determined to get his book for my vacation read this year. When I was in law school there were 2 bands composed of lawyers in one and a law professor and law students in the other. I guess the best way to put it is there were a couple of decent musicians in each and they sounded like that. I was once given a left handed compliment by a contractor friend who told me that I wasn’t a bad carpenter for a lawyer. I’d say the same could be said for my guitar noodling. I’ll read Ch. 2 with great care. 

  4. pogo, here’s an old vid of them

    May 25, 1992 at the Cowboy Boogie in Anaheim, California, Stephen King, Dave Barry, Matt Groening, Amy Tan, Greil Marcus, Ridley Pearson, Dave Marsh and a bunch of other writers playing a charity concert of rock classics, including “Louie, Louie”

  5. wapo:

    The special counsel investigation was often cast as a clash between President Trump and Robert S. Mueller III. But there was always a third player, for whom victory seemed assured no matter the outcome.


    Russian President Vladi­mir Putin set this sequence of events in motion with a Kremlin campaign to destabilize American democracy. That operation and its aftermath inflamed partisan tensions in the United States, eroded public confidence in core institutions and triggered a two-year investigation that consumed the nation’s attention and much of the Trump presidency.


    The investigation may be finished now that the bulk of the report has been released, but the political battle it has generated in the United States — and the advantage Putin sees for Russia in that infighting — appears far from over.

    In a sign of the Russian leader’s confidence on that front, Putin could not resist preemptive gloating in the days leading up to Thursday’s release. The entire Russia inquiry, Putin said with a smirk last week, was like “a mountain that brought forth a mouse.”


    Speaking at an event in St. Petersburg, not far from where Russian trolls unleashed torrents of disinformation on American voters, Putin dismissed the U.S. effort to understand what had happened as “complete nonsense intended only for the domestic audience and used for interior political combat.”


    It is a self-serving assessment that fails to acknowledge significant costs to Moscow, but U.S. officials and experts find it hard to argue with the view of the United States as a nation beset by internal dysfunction and strife.


    The smug display in St. Petersburg was “vintage Putin,” said William J. Burns, who served as U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008. Putin “likes to be snarky when he sees an event breaking his way. The backdrop is his sense that [Russia’s interference in 2016] worked,” that he saw vulnerability in the fraying American political landscape and “was able to sow even further chaos.”


  6. also from wapo on late night comedy reaction to report:


    On Thursday, late-night comics armed with information from a report described by The Washington Post’s Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky as “a thick catalogue of misconduct and mendacity that, if not criminal, is deeply unflattering,” unleashed on Trump and Barr.


    While the lengthy report contained accounts of Trump repeatedly ordering his staff to hinder investigations and lie to the public, a handful of sentences on Page 290 caught Colbert’s attention. The page described Trump’s reaction to news that Mueller had been appointed to investigate him.

    “Oh my God, this is terrible,” Trump said in May 2017, according to the report. “This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

    After reading the quote aloud, Colbert paused, appearing to mull over Trump’s words.


    “I’m guessing that’s not how an innocent person reacts,” he said, before launching into a fictional conversation. “’Honey, it’s late, where have you been?’ ‘Oh my God, this is terrible. This is the end of our marriage. I’m f—–.’”

    Trump’s quote also didn’t go unnoticed by the official Twitter account of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and Jimmy Kimmel. (Noah is on hiatus this week.)

    “When a witch hunt starts and you a witch,” “The Daily Show” tweeted.

    “Of course, he was wrong,” Kimmel said about Trump on ABC. “It wasn’t the end of his presidency and it’s us that are f-ed.”



    Colbert was even harsher on Barr, slamming him as a “feckless stooge,” and accusing him of having “skipped a few pages when he was summarizing.”


    “If you’ve got nothing to hide, why do you have to set up the report first?” Colbert said. “Officer, before I open the trunk of this car, I’d like to first give a short speech about what you’re about to smell.”

    Meanwhile, Fallon was fixated on another person at the news conference: Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who appeared to become catatonic as he stood behind Barr.

    “I don’t even think he blinked,” Fallon said, unable to contain his laughter and disbelief as a camera zoomed in on Rosenstein. “I think someone redacted his eyelids. He looks like Woody in ‘Toy Story’ when the humans are around.”

  7. I watched MSNBC from 2pm on (except for Rachel… had to watch Orville) until 11pm.  I may eventually read the report…  but right now, I’m content to let the pundits break it down for me.  What a conundrum Pelosi has…   do you do impeachment proceedings and let that become trump’s re-election battle cry.  Or do you forgo that choice and let “I told you it was a witch hunt” be trump’s battle cry.  Either way…   his moronic supporters are going to make excuses.

    Yeah ok Confucius…   we do live in interesting times…     now what… 

  8. On the dining table is Preet Bharara Doing Justice, ready to be read.
    Working hard today, deep into software requirements for a new project.  Stereo going for background music.  The Who Meaty Beaty Big and Juicy is playing, a great album.

  9. by George, he’s at it again in wapo:

    So it turns out that, indeed, President Trump was not exonerated at all, and certainly not “totally” or “completely,” as he claimed. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III didn’t reach a conclusion about whether Trump committed crimes of obstruction of justice — in part because, while a sitting president, Trump can’t be prosecuted under long-standing Justice Department directives, and in part because of “difficult issues” raised by “the President’s actions and intent.” Those difficult issues involve, among other things, the potentially tricky interplay between the criminal obstruction laws and the president’s constitutional authority, and the difficulty in proving criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt.


    Still, the special counsel’s report is damning. Mueller couldn’t say, with any “confidence,” that the president of the United States is not a criminal. He said, stunningly, that “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” Mueller did not so state.


    That’s especially damning because the ultimate issue shouldn’t be — and isn’t — whether the president committed a criminal act. As I wrote not long ago, Americans should expect far more than merely that their president not be provably a criminal. In fact, the Constitution demands it.

    The Constitution commands the president to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” It requires him to affirm that he will “faithfully execute the Office of President” and to promise to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.” And as a result, by taking the presidential oath of office, a president assumes the duty not simply to obey the laws, civil and criminal, that all citizens must obey, but also to be subjected to higher duties — what some excellent recent legal scholarship has termed the “fiduciary obligations of the president.”


    Fiduciaries are people who hold legal obligations of trust, like a trustee of a trust. A trustee must act in the beneficiary’s best interests and not his own. If the trustee fails to do that, the trustee can be removed, even if what the trustee has done is not a crime.

    So too with a president. The Constitution provides for impeachment and removal from office for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” But the history and context of the phrase “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” makes clear that not every statutory crime is impeachable, and not every impeachable offense need be criminal. As Charles L. Black Jr. put it in a seminal pamphlet on impeachment in 1974, “assaults on the integrity of the processes of government” count as impeachable, even if they are not criminal.



    And presidential attempts to abuse power by putting personal interests above the nation’s can surely be impeachable. The president may have the raw constitutional power to, say, squelch an investigation or to pardon a close associate. But if he does so not to serve the public interest, but to serve his own, he surely could be removed from office, even if he has not committed a criminal act.


    The investigation that Trump tried to interfere with here, to protect his own personal interests, was in significant part an investigation of how a hostile foreign power interfered with our democracy. If that’s not putting personal interests above a presidential duty to the nation, nothing is.


    White House counsel John Dean famously told Nixon that there was a cancer within the presidency and that it was growing. What the Mueller report disturbingly shows, with crystal clarity, is that today there is a cancer in the presidency: President Donald J. Trump.


    Congress now bears the solemn constitutional duty to excise that cancer without delay.

  10. oops, forgot to include headline for above op ed

    George Conway: Trump is a cancer on the presidency. Congress should remove him.

  11. the guardian:

    The outgoing French ambassador to the US has compared the Trump administration to the court of King Louis XIV, filled with courtiers trying to interpret the caprices of a “whimsical, unpredictable, uninformed” leader.


    Gérard Araud, who retires on Friday after a 37-year career that included some of the top jobs in French diplomacy, said Donald Trump’s unpredictability and his single-minded transactional interpretation of US interests was leaving the administration isolated on the world stage.


    “When they say ‘America first’, it’s America alone,” Araud said in an interview with the Guardian. “Basically, this president and this administration don’t have allies, don’t have friends. It’s really [about] bilateral relationships on the basis of the balance of power and the defence of narrow American interest.”


    “It’s like [trying] to analyse the court of Louis XIV,” Araud said. “You have an old king, a bit whimsical, unpredictable, uninformed, but he wants to be the one deciding.”


    Like the Sun King who dominated France in the 17th and 18th centuries, Trump “doesn’t want to appear under any influence and he wants to show it”, Araud said


  12. trump is more like a mix of  sun king Louis XIV and mad king George III and a dumbed down version of king kong

  13. I’m in the middle of a re-read of HOW TO TALK DIRTY AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, by Lenny Bruce.

  14. From WaPo today:

    The 10 areas where Muellerinvestigated Trump for obstruction

    By Kevin SchaulKevin Uhrmacher and Aaron Blake April 18, 2019

    Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election details areas of potential obstruction of justice by President Trump that prosecutors examined. Mueller did so even as he
    declined to make a judgment about whether Trump committed a crime.

    Trump has repeatedly said the report clears him of wrongdoing. But the document lays out abundant evidence against the president, focusing on 10 episodes of potential obstruction, though Mueller ultimately concluded it was not his role to determine whether Trump broke the law.


    Every time the report mentioned these key phrases

    “The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment,” the report stated. “At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

    [Mueller report lays out obstruction evidence against the president]

    Trump submitted written answers to the special counsel, but notably declined to address questions related to obstruction. What follows is a breakdown of the 10 episodes Mueller’s team examined:

    “Conduct involving FBI Director Comey and Michael Flynn”
    “The President’s reaction to the continuing Russia investigation”
    “The President’s termination of Comey”
    “The appointment of a Special Counsel and efforts to remove him”
    “Efforts to curtail the Special Counsel’s investigation”
    “Efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence”
    “Further efforts to have the Attorney General take control of the investigation”
    “Efforts to have McGahn deny that the President had ordered him to have the Special Counsel removed”
    “Conduct toward Flynn, [Paul] Manafort, [REDACTED]”
    “Conduct involving Michael Cohen”


    Worth a look.

  15. began:

    my theory is that’s not Rod but one of those life-sized cardboard stands

    tweets re rod Rosenstein at presser:

    Jonathon Capehart: Is it me or does Rod Rosenstein look like he’s being held hostage?

    Jan Psaki: Blink twice if you are ok Rod Rosenstein

    Alexandra petri: Rod Rosenstein looks like he was added later in photoshop

  16. Today I read that the last surviving Doolittle Raider passed on 9 April. Lt Col Richard Cole (7 Sept 1915 – 9 April 2019) was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot of plane #40-2344, the first B-25 to launch from the deck of USS Hornet on 18 April 1942 and go to Tokyo.
    Lt Col Cole’s funeral is today. He will rest at Arlington.
    It is the nature of time that they leave us. Now this moment has moved out of living memory. And all the goblets are turned down.

  17. Jen shoots, Jen scores.

    In the coming days and weeks, reporters and legal analysts will comprehensively analyze Robert S. Mueller III’s report laying out in excruciating detail Russia’s attempt to interfere with our election, President Trump’s team’s willingness to benefit from such interference and even obtain Hillary Clinton’s purloined emails, and Trump’s systematic, continual efforts to thwart the investigation. For now, let’s look at five topics that will require further clarification from Attorney General William P. Barr, Mueller and some of the figures involved.
    First, the degree to which Barr and other members of the Trump administration, including press secretary Sarah Sanders, actively and thoroughly misled or even outright lied to the public is jaw-dropping. In spinning the report, Barr has shown himself not only to be acting as defense counsel to Trump but also to be in violation of his professional ethics as a lawyer….
    Second, the idea that Mueller found there was “no collusion” has been debunked. Collusion, as we have pointed out numerous times, is not a legal term, and Mueller reiterated that very point, declining to render a judgment on collusion….
    Third, there is replete evidence of obstruction of justice. Mueller makes clear that he was not going to render a decision on criminality because Justice Department guidelines prevented him from doing so….
    Fourth, the mainstream media’s report on the incidents that Mueller examined with regard to obstruction were, in virtually all cases, completely correct….
    Finally, there is much more to come. Mueller’s investigation referred14 investigations to outside prosecution, 12 of which were redacted in the report….

    I don’t sense that there’s a fat lady singing yet.

  18. b.a.r.r. stands for ‘benedict arnold re-run’
    r.a.t.s. stands for ‘russia attacked, trump surrendered’
    t.r.u.m.p. stands for ‘traitor republican under mr putin’
    r.o.t. stands for ‘russia owns trump’

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