Trump Threatens War, Nate Makes Landfall

The Golf War: Golfing in New Jersey yesterday, President Trump once again threatened war with North Korea. “Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid,” Trump tweeted yesterday. “Hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!”

The White House declined to clarify what that one thing is.

The Weather Report: Hurricane Nate made landfall east of New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi river last night as a Category 1 with wins up to 95 mph. Nate is expected to bring a damaging coastal storm surge. It’s now downgraded to a tropical storm, tracking to cut through Mississippi then lean northeast through the Ohio Valley toward New England.

Disaster by Numbers: The Federal Emergency Management Agency mysteriously removed from its website — then restored — its statistical report on progress toward restoration of electricity, water, and basic services in Puerto Rico. Speculation is that the numbers looked bad in light of President Trump’s glowing “A plus” review of his own work, but taking the numbers down looked even worse.

As of this morning:

  • 44 percent of islanders are without water service
  • 77 percent of grocery stores are open
  • 78 percent of gas stations are open

FEMA does not  give one of the most important figures, which is the percentage of the island without power. It’s about 95 percent, a figure that makes them look bad, so they don’t post it.

Among the many side effects — excuse us — of the Puerto Rico disaster is that it has all but shut down the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries that have concentrated manufacturing on  the island, posing the possibility of shortages.

The island’s factories make 13 of the world’s top-selling brand-name drugs, including Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis treatment, and Xarelto, the anti-stroke blood thinner that the late golfer Arnold Palmer used to hawk in commercials. The medical plants also account for about 100,000 jobs on the island.

The Shooter: In Las Vegas, the FBI and local police are stymied in their hunt for Stephen Paddock’s motive in last Sunday’s concert massacre that took 58 lives. The bureau plans to buy billboard space with the message, “If you know something, say something.”

“We still do not have a clear motive or reason why,” a frustrated Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said Friday. “We have looked at literally everything.”

Paddock’s bother Eric said, “We need to find out what happened to him. Something happened to my brother.”

The search for a motive always follows mass shootings. With the exception of politically-motivated events, and sometimes even then, the most obvious reason of “crazy” doesn’t ever seem to satisfy investigators. They look for a rational cause, as if there could be one for amassing an arsenal of guns and ammunition then hosing down a crowd with bullets.   Investigators have examined Stephen Paddock’s politics, finances, social behavior and even the possibility that a white former accountant with a big-money gambling habit could have been radicalized. “Crazy” could explain everything, but we may never know.

Casting Couch: The legal team of movie producer Harvey Weinstein appears to be collapsing. Lawyer Lisa Bloom, who called Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment and propositions “gross,” has resigned. She is better known for representing women against such public figure pervs as Bill O’Reilly and Bill Cosby. Also gone is Lanny Davis, who once worked as special counsel to President Bill Clinton.

Birthday Boy: Protesters turned out in 80 Russian cities yesterday to protest President Vladimir Putin on his 65th birthday. They called upon Putin to resign and free dissident Alexei Navalny from prison. Navalny says he’s going to run against Putin in the March elections. Many of the protesters brought cake.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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