From New York Magazine:
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson has come under fire for purchasing a $31,000 dining set for his office, and misleading the public about his involvement in the decision. But, according to Jonathan Swan, chief of staff John Kelly today defended the purchase to reporters as a wise long-term investment:
Kelly said $31,000 sounds like a lot of money, but to put it in context he asked a reporter how much they think the chair they’re sitting on costs. Kelly said it’s probably worth hundreds of dollars but it will last a long time. He rationalized Carson’s $31,000 outlay by saying the table could last for 80 or 100 years.
Trump’s administration isn’t always big on long-term planning when it comes to things like climate change, where the 100-year picture is not exactly foremost on anybody’s mind. But at least they’re thinking long term about the executive dining needs of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Our grandchildren may lose some coastal cities we currently enjoy, but they can rest assured they will never need to fund another dining set for the HUD secretary.
Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert today on CNN:
He said the Trump administration was mindful of predictions of future floods, and doesn’t want federal dollars used to rebuild structures that will come under increasing threat from rising sea levels.
“We continue to take seriously climate change — not the cause of it, but the things that we observe,” Bossert said.
In other words, we recognize it’s happening, but we refuse to recognize why.
This is like the cigarette companies acknowledging people got lung cancer after years of smoking but it couldn’t possibly have been because of their product.
From New York Magazine, by Jonathan Chait:
In his speech announcing his plans to withdraw from the international climate agreement, President Trump highlighted the city in which the pact was made as a central argument against it. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he said. “It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — along with many, many other locations within our great country — before Paris, France.” The administration deems this rhetorical sally against France so successful it is following up with a “Pittsburgh, not Paris” rally.
Whipping up nationalist anger against France is not a strategy Trump invented. The Republican party used it to some effect in the run-up to the Iraq war, which France opposed (and was vindicated). The conservative media was filled with anti-French diatribes, including a book portraying France as America’s “oldest enemy,” while the GOP-controlled House renamed “french fries” as “freedom fries.” Since the strategy worked before — until the war it was being used to sell turned into a catastrophe — the plan is to try it again.
In fact, France is not the “enemy” here, or even the major protagonist of the agreement Trump is denouncing. The Paris climate agreement is not designed for Parisians any more than the Yalta Treaty was designed to help Yalta or the surrender at Appomattox was constructed for the citizens of a small town in Virginia.
But perhaps the most hilarious aspect of the Trump rally is its location: Lafayette Square. Lafayette is named for the Marquis de Lafayette, a French general who played a crucial role in helping the American revolution. Lafayette is a symbol of French sympathy for the United States and its ideals. There is literally no stupider location in the entire world to stage an anti-French American rally.
Juliette Kayyem @juliettekayyem
The only upside of today is that no legitimate reporter will write another story to tell us women how Ivanka will save our kids.
Trump met with Pope Francis this morning, and per Reuters, this happened:
Francis also gave Trump a signed copy of his 2017 peace message whose title is “Nonviolence — A Style of Politics for Peace,” and a copy of his 2015 encyclical letter on the need to protect the environment from the effects of climate change.
“Well, I’ll be reading them,” Trump said.
“This doesn’t have my name in it.”
From The Daily Kos (written by Bill from Portland, Maine):
An Open Letter from Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, I’m proud to submit my long-term plan for dealing with one of the most pressing issues of our time: what to do about the environment. As a leader in the modern-day conservative movement, I realize the precious responsibility I have to take bold, decisive action. To that end, I have developed a solution that brings me great joy and satisfaction.
It’s called Clap and Trade, and it’s a simple two-part policy.
Step 1: Clap Everybody who is concerned about the environment should take five minutes a week to clap. Clap loudly. Clap forcefully. Clap until you feel the palms of your hands sting. You can clap in public or in private. You can clap alone or with others. Just clap your heart out once a week and all the so-called global warming will disappear, I’m told.
Step 2: Trade Here’s how it works. We trade wind turbines for fracking stations. We trade solar arrays for drilling rigs in national parks and along the coasts. We trade emissions standards for no emissions standards. We trade vegetables for cows. We trade the EPA headquarters for a popsicle stand. (Popsicles are cold, so that should be comforting to you worrywarts.) We trade electric cars for good old-fashioned gas guzzlers. And we trade train tracks for above-ground pipelines. The list is longer, but that’s the gist. We’ll also trade lots of things for coal.
As you can see, Clap and Trade is a simple, straightforward, effective solution that will put America back on the path to the kind of environment we deserve. Namely, the kind humanity can suck the life out of for money and leave the cleanup to the kids.
Happy snowball tossing and God Bless,
P.S. Don’t forget that clapping thing. Seriously. They tell me it works.
From The New Yorker magazine: Silent Night
All is dark, there’s no light.
Cyclone clouds have blocked out the sky,
We’re almost out of our dry-meat supply.
Sleep in uneasy peace.
(We may have to eat Aunt Bernice.) ♦