33 thoughts on “Picture This”

  1. dana milbank in wapo:  

    Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset

    Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset.


    This doesn’t mean he’s a spy, but neither is it a flip accusation. Russia attacked our country in 2016. It is attacking us today. Its attacks will intensify in 2020. Yet each time we try to raise our defenses to repel the attack, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, blocks us from defending ourselves.


    Let’s call this what it is: unpatriotic. The Kentucky Republican is, arguably more than any other American, doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding.


    No amount of alarms sounded by U.S. authorities — even Republicans, even Trump appointees — moves McConnell.


    On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray — Trump’s FBI director — told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Russians “haven’t been deterred enough” and are “absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections.”


    This year, National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats — Trump’s intelligence director — told the Senate Intelligence Committee that “foreign actors will view the 2020 U.S. elections as an opportunity to advance their interests. We expect them to refine their capabilities and add new tactics.”


    And on Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan report finding that “Russian activities demand renewed attention to vulnerabilities in U.S. voting infrastructure.”

    The committee concluded that “urgent steps” are needed “to replace outdated and vulnerable voting systems.” (The $380 million offered since 2016 is a pittance compared with the need.) “Despite the expense, cybersecurity needs to become a higher priority for election-related infrastructure,” the report concluded.


    But one man blocks it all — while offering no alternative of his own.


    Presumably he thinks whatever influence Russia exerts over U.S. elections will benefit him (he’s up for reelection in 2020) and his party.


    “Shame on him,” Schumer said on the Senate floor this week.


    But McConnell has no shame. He is aiding and abetting Putin’s dismantling of Americans’ self-governance. A leader who won’t protect our country from attack is no patriot.

  2. XR, please never underestimate my capacity for stupidity. Many people have walked away from encounters with me scratching their heads and smiling saying stuff like, “Well that was easy. What an idiot.”
    The TDF hoi poloi have decided to shorten stage 20 because of a bad weather forecast. It will be 59 km starting in Albertville and finishing on Val Thorens. Coverage begins at 8:00 EDT on NBC. The shortened day could benefit any of the top 3 who won’t be tired by the mountains cut from the route, but it should benefit Alaphilippe the least.  Still no piece of cake, but it’s now a 24 km flat warmup for a 35 km HC climb. 

  3. the hill:  McConnell under fire for burying election bills in ‘legislative graveyard’


    Democrats are hitting McConnell, who is up for reelection next year, from all angles: showdowns on the floor, press conferences and an endless barrage of tweets. Their ultimate goal, they say, is to try to force McConnell to move legislation, or at least go on the record blocking bills heading into 2020.

    McConnell fired back in a series of tweets Friday night while seeking to raise money for his campaign, saying “Democrats’ Russian conspiracy theories against President Trump hit a dead end during the Mueller hearing” and “now, like a failed doomsday cult that predicted the end of the world, the liberal grifters need a fresh target: Mitch.”

    One of the bills pushed by Senate Democrats would require the use of paper ballots and boost election funding; the other would mandate that candidates, campaign officials and family members notify the FBI of assistance offers from foreign governments.

    The House has sent the Senate two major election security bills since Democrats regained the majority earlier this year, but both have been sidelined by McConnell.


    But there’s no sign that the pressure tactics from Democrats or the recent warnings from Mueller and Wray are influencing McConnell when it comes to legislation.

    After Schumer tried to get consent to pass election security legislation, McConnell dinged Democrats for trying to slide “partisan” bills through the Senate on unanimous consent, meaning they would pass without a vote.

    McConnell added that it’s “very important that we maintain the integrity and the security of our elections in this country,” but that federal involvement has to be bipartisan and done with “extreme care.”

    “[This is] just a highly partisan bill from the same folks who spent two years hyping up a conspiracy theory about President Trump and Russia and who continue to ignore this administration’s process at correcting the Obama administration’s failures on this subject,” McConnell said.

    The Kentucky Republican has made it clear that he believes elections should be controlled primarily by state and local governments. Democrats blame him, and former White House counsel Don McGahn, for tanking a bipartisan election security bill last year. 

    Meanwhile, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) has ruled out votes in the Rules Committee on election bills, saying he doesn’t think they would be called up for a floor vote.

    McConnell is backed up by members of his caucus, who have repeatedly brushed off the need to pass additional legislation, or provide new funding, ahead of the 2020 elections.


    Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters he believes there is “some bipartisan space” on the topic, but wouldn’t commit to taking further concrete steps in this area.

    “Maybe this is where you want to go into the old chamber and see if we can regain that sense of the Senate that’s been lost and find a way forward,” Graham said.

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) has been negotiating with the White House and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, on changes to the Secure Elections Act, which would incentivize the use of backup paper ballots. But he’s turned his focus to 2022, arguing states don’t have time to put in place new systems by Election Day next year.

    “They’re not going to add new stuff unless it’s already currently in the pipeline. It’s really 2022 at this point,” Lankford told reporters this week.


  4. here’s al on his intro to the discussion with the former energy sec:

    Moniz, who was the chairman of MIT’s physics department, negotiated the technical nuclear parts of the Iran Deal with his Iranian counterpart. Because Trump has repeatedly called the US negotiators of the Iran Nuclear Deal “very stupid people,” I try to determine throughout just how stupid Moniz is. Not very, it turns out. And I open with a monologue about a high school commencement in Willmar, Minnesota, explaining that Trump has no understanding of what America is. The valedictorian was a girl born in Ecuador, the class-speaker, a Somali-American girl, and the class president, a boy of Minnesota Norwegian/German stock. They’re all Americans.

  5. Pat……to bend the wood you can 1. steam it until it’s bendable, then clamp it to a form, or 2. put it together with thin pieces then cap it with iron-on wood veneer pre-glued tape, or 3. you can call your door makers in Arkansas, send them the specs and wait for delivery.   I opted for option #3.

  6. Or you can buy bendable plywood.
    or cut grooves across it about 1/2” apart and a little over halfway thru the wood which will allow it to bend.  Lots of ways to skin a cat

  7. Less than 10k to go. Alaphilippe and Martin look cooked. Could very well be a Bergal, Thomas, Kriujswijk podium. 

  8. Now at 3 k to go. Nibali is impressive today. Hope he takes the stage but the yellow jersey group is gaining on him. – gap down to 30” with 1.7 km left.

  9. this is a little cram course for those of us who don’t know what the hell pogo, travis and bbronc are talking about in re TDF:

    An animated history and explanation of all you need to know about the Tour de France. One of the greatest sporting spectacles in the world. 

  10. Nibali’s gonna do it!  Good on him. I can’t recall a mountain stage where none of the GC contenders made a break to try and move up in the standings. 
    Absent some crazy problems tomorrow the podium will be Bernal (first for a Columbian and he’s the youngest rider in the Tour), Thomas, Kruijswijk. Good tour- but I hate that the last 2 real stages were shortened. But hey, whatcha gonna do about the weather?

  11. Sturg….  beautiful work!

    xrep….  interesting article at the end of the last thread concerning Rand Paul and Jim Webb.

  12. Whaddaya know? Ineos (formerly Sky) is still the strongest team in le Tour. It’s the lynch pin race of their annual team goals and they know how to race it. A rider from this team has won 7 of the last 8. And it’s been 4 different guys – Bradley Wiggins (1), Chris Froome (4), Geraint Thomas (1), and now 22 year old Egan Bernal (1). 
    Chapeau to Vincenzo Nibali on a hard fought stage win. And chapeau to Julian Alaphillipe. 
    On a shortened course, there was no way for anyone else to build anything to challenge Ineos. The field needed the additional climbs from yesterday and today that were taken out due to weather and mudslides. So all Ineos had to do was ride a hard tempo and defend. We’ll never know if the weather helped Ineos take control and hang on, or allowed others to hang in against the inevitable and keep it close. 
    I’ve been watching le Tour de France for 25 years. This was one of the more exciting and wide open races in a long time. Even so, the team that trains specifically to win in France is the team that wins again. 

  13. patd – good video.  The part about cracking and losing is what happened today to the former yellow jersey wearer Alaphillipe.  Due to the storm yesterday he lost his chance at keeping the yellow.  Today he was attempting to get it back, but  he cracked near the end  and ended up out of contention.  No matter what else happens this Tour is already going to be one of those that are talked about for decades.

  14. Patd – That’s a great video. Love the animation. And it really covers the basics of what you need to know. In short, it’s a lovely spectacle with a lot more in the way of strategy than “pedal faster”. 🙂
    One thing – for improved rider safety, the teams for the 3 week Grand Tours (France, Italy, and Spain) were cut from 9 men to 8 last year. Since there are 22 teams involved, the number of riders on the road went from 198 to 176. Not enough data sample yet to determine whether race safety has improved, but early results say yes. Riders are still going to crash because of the speed and the out-and-out abandon with which these guys throw themselves down the road. But I do think it’s already clear that strategically, the race is evolving with one less rider per team.
    And now we put it away for another year. Next up for my attention is the Little League World Series, followed by the home stretch in MLB (go Dodgers!) and the start of the NFL season (go Raiders!).
    And Premier League play begins on 9 August. Come on you Spurs!

  15. A different jim webb ?!? Well, damn ! It’s almost criminal for them to not say that. IMO. Grrrrrrr

  16. It was a nice little thing.  The lady had this odd little space where her tv went and first had it on a rectangular table which would gouge people going by.  She could find nothing store-bought as all the corner tables she could find were equilateral triangles which just wouldn’t work, so I made her a more or less 30-60-90. She wanted the stacked shelves for wine which didn’t exactly work, but what the hell, eh? 
    The drawer opens almost full 180 degrees. Almost, because I added a piece inside the frame on the right of the opening, just far enough out to catch the back of the left side of the drawer front when open, and the back of the right side of the front when closing but still clearing the drawer itself.
    The lady was happy with her design being turned into wood.

  17. Patd, that’s a terrific primer for le Tour. I didn’t realize that ‘75 is when the Champs E’lysses / L’arc de Triomphe finish was begun. That’s a year or 2 after I started following the Tour. I began working in a bicycle shop in ‘73 and began following the tour. I bought a Botecchia Giro D’Talia, outfitted with Campagnola Record ant Tipo components, which were the poor boy’s version of the Campi Super Record components the pros were using then. The difference between the sho’ nuff pro bikes and high level “racing” bikes then was a lot less than it is now. My bike then was built from the same tubing and frame union shells the top builders used for pro frames. I still have the bike but only the hubs remain from the original Campu gruppo. My current road bike is 4 pounds lighter, has much better and lighter components and is an aluminum bike as opposed to a triple butted chrome-moly steel frame. In an hour ride I probably gained a minute or two advantage over what I can do with the old bike. But for some reason I just can’t get rid of the now 46 year old ride. And it feels wonderful when I ride it. 

  18. Craig
    Sorry I’m slow with Sundays post, just put it together, if I’m too late save it for next week.

  19. Now the wuss-in-chief is unhappy with the American air conditioning, and is blaming blameless Obama. The pampered brat doesn’t like anything about America, not even our industries and engineers.

    If he can’t stand the heat, he should get out of the White House.

Comments are closed.