Fire in the Stairwell, Controlling the President
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 351
Death in New York: A 3-year-old boy playing with the stove in a first -floor apartment started the fire that raced through a five-story Bronx apartment building, killing 12 people. According to authorities, the boy’s mother grabbed him and a 2-year-old, leaving the door open on the flaming apartment.
The fire climbed the stair well, blocking that as an exit. Some people got to the fire escapes, others did not. On what was the coldest night of the year, it became New York’s deadliest fire in 27 years.
One of the dead was Emmanuel Mensah, a soldier fresh out of training who got four people out of the building, but died going back in for more.
The President of Mar-a-Lago: A day after President Trump gave an impromptu and revealing interview to the NY Times, The Washington Post reports that the President’s time at his Florida retreat is when they have the least control over him. No staff members were present at the interview and word of it drifted back to the staff.
The paper says Trump goes to Florida to relax, but, “To the chagrin of many aides, Mar-a-Lago is also the place where Trump is often his most unrestrained and unfettered, making it harder for his West Wing staff to control his daily media diet and personal contacts as they now try to do in Washington.”
The Post describes an atmosphere at Mar-a-Lago in which cronies, members, and people with an agenda are free to approach the President, unlike his tightly controlled calendar back in Washington.
Fact Check: The Washington Post also reports that during that 30-minute interview with The Times, Trump made 24 false or misleading statements, including that it’s been proven there was no campaign collusion with Russia and that he has a right to do whatever he wants with the Justice department.
Here’s a good one: “I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most.”
The Post says, “Lawmakers who dealt with Trump on taxes and especially health care privately told reporters they were shocked how little he knew about these issues.”
Virginia is for Lovers: When we last reported on a dangling race for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, the Democrat, Shelly Simonds, won in a recount by just one vote. That would have evenly balanced the House of Delegates, forcing Republicans and Democrats to work together.
Then another ballot surfaced on which the mark for the Democrat was crossed out and the dot for Republican David Yancey was filled in. A three-judge court ruled ballot valid and the race a tie.
Barring any further litigation, the outcome will be determined next Thursday by state law with a random drawing of one name out of the two.
Hard Knocks: The NFL announced that it will tighten its concussion protocol after a scary incident in Monday night’s game between the Houston Texans and the Steelers.
Texans quarterback Tom Savage was violently thrown to the ground in the second quarter, hitting his head on the ground. He could be seen looking dazed, with his arms reaching up and quivering. After three minutes in the examination tent, he was returned to the game.
The NFL says it will have experts in a central location looking at games and alerting officials on the field of problems. Anyone showing the kinds of symptoms Savage had, would be removed from the game.
The Obit Page: Sue Grafton, the mystery writer who nearly wrote her way through the alphabet starting with “A Is for Alibi,” has died at age 77. In August she had published “Y Is for Yesterday.”
Illness prevented her from writing the last in the series, which she had long planned to title “Z Is for Zero.”
Her series about a female detective began, “My name is Kinsey Millhone. I’m a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I’m thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind.”
Having once worked in television, Grafton would never let her books be turned into movies or television series. She told a newspaper, “I would never let those clowns get their hands on my work. They’d ruin it for everyone, me more than most.”