Friday, July 28, 2017

The Political Page, T+189 -- July 28, 2017


Later, 4:36 p.m. Central Time: President Trump fires Priebus; promotes General (ret) John Kelly from Department of Homeland Security (bor-ring --- his mission is accomplished -- moving on).

For all he said during the campaign, something tells me President Trump likes US military generals.

Note: first major announcement from the White House regarding staff that wasn't leaked -- the news, Priebus fired? Hmmm.....connecting the dots.....
Lost in all this, America's top Mideast official was also fired ... by the National Security Advisor, HR McMaster ...

Original Post
Geico Rock Award nominee: and the newest nominee for the 2017 Geico Rock Award: Nathan Crooks over at Bloomberg for writing an article with this headline: is Venezuela becoming a Cuba-style dictatorship? I'm not even going to read the article. Embarrassing. Nominees for the 2017 award are tracked here.

ObamaCare: on so many levels, not passing the "skinny" bill was the right thing to do.
  • everyone needs time to step back and really, really think this through
  • health care insurers will do just fine -- as long as changes don't whipsaw them back and forth
  • ObamaCare apparently holds back national GDP 0.1% 
  • it appears healthcare in the US is not imploding; the US Senate -- made up of the smartest politicians in the universe -- don't seem much worried about healthcare; if they're not worried, why should anyone else worry
ObamaCare: is now off the table for any future elections. McCain is the scapegoat, but if it had not been him, it would have been someone else. "Everyone" knows how to count. Someone would have stepped up. McCain took the bullet; six months from now ... but "everyone knows" ...

Everybody Knows, Leonard Cohen

Transgender in the military: a really, really, really bad announcement by the president (I can't separate "decision" from "announcement" on this one)
  • I blame him less than the generals who gave him advice on this issue
  • if he made the decision/announcement without input from his generals, then it was a really, really, really, really bad decision/announcement 
  • this issue was not on the top 10 list of any US poll of issues facing Americans; I'm not sure it was even on any top 20 list
  • not one argument banning transgender Americans from the military holds up
  • he was very, very clear during his campaign: he loved the LGBT voting bloc
  • I'm waiting to see Camille Paglia and Peggy Noonan address this issue
Wisconsin: a gut check: needs to act fast to seal deal
  • needs to approve $3 billion in tax breaks
  • wanna bet it's not a slam dunk
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: I need to re-read this book

What happened? I debated at length (about 20 minutes) whether to post "what happened" the other day?  Wow, talk about superb timing. Today, Ted Van Dyke, active for more than 40 years in Democratic administrations and campaigns, talks at length about "what happened." He must have read the blog. LOL. If blocked by a paywall, google the democrats biggest problem is cultural wsj ted van dyk. That's what I love about this country. The activists in the 60s, one could argue, were much like the colonists in 1776. It just took a little longer and there was no Treaty of Paris (1783).
  • Ted was VP Hubert H Humphrey's assistant
  • Ted was policy and platform director for George McGovern’s campaign

Blame game: no links; I read the story the other day; a reader sent it to me. The New York Times says it will be President Trump's fault for what happens next in Venezuela. I cannot make this up. Google it.

Scaramucci: certainly ruined his "good-boy" charm. About as naive as they come.

Daily WH press briefing: streams. How good it works, I don't know. First time I've tried it.

Just give them the money: from USA Today -- $70 million in government "financial institution" to manage a program with $34 million in assets -- and Congress complains about US banks ... where is Pocahontas?
The Trump Administration said Friday it’s shutting down an Obama-era program aimed at encouraging low- and moderate-income households to save for retirement because the scant participation didn’t justify the cost.
About 30,000 Americans have contributed a total $34 million to the program, called myRA, which launched in late 2014 as an option for households that didn’t have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401k, the Treasury Department said.  About 20,000 accounts have a median balance of $500 and the owners of another 10,000 accounts made no contributions.
Meanwhile, it has cost $70 million to manage the program – including server costs and promotion -- and was expected to cost an additional $10 million annually going forward, Treasury said.
The Literature Page

Trump Derangement Syndrome: continues for The New Yorker, July 31, 2017, issue. But there is some good news: this issue does have a great review of a novel of Clytemnestra and her children. I need to re-read these myths over and over to remember them. Google queen mother a novel of Clytemnestra and her children the new yorker. This issue also devotes twelve pages to the new Muslim mayor of London.

Love In War: also in the current issue of The New Yorker, July 31, 2017, page 73, "Briefly Noted," this:
The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Alexievich, translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. During the Second World War, a million women served in the Soviet Army. This remarkable collection of testimonies, translated into English for the first time, is the earliest, and the most earnest, of the Nobel laureate's chronicles of Soviet and post-Soviet lives.
Sitting at kitchen tables, Alexievich coaxes out of the women stores that describe a reality vastly different from the officially sanctioned version, with its glorifying tidiness.
She asks them, "Was there love during the war?," and what was it like, when death was so near? They speak guardedly but vividly of fleeting encounters, deep relationships, unexpressed feelings. To the women, love was "the only personal event in wartime. All the rest is common -- even death." 
Body by Darwin
How Evolution Shapes Our Health and Transforms Medicine
Jeremy Taylor
c. 2015
DDS: 576.8 TAY 

This is a really, really weird book: not the subject, not the content, but rather the way the author writes. There's a good reason why there is no index. Unfortunately Amazon does not provide a "look inside" so that would-be readers can see the style of writing.

Five chapters:
  • Absent Friends: how the hygiene hypothesis explains allergies and autoimmune disorders.
  • A Fine Romance: how evolutionary theory explains infertility and diseases of pregnancy
  • The Downside of Upright: the relationship between bipedalism and orthopedic illnesses
  • DIY Eye: how developmental biology cures blindness and rebuts creationism
  • Hopeful Monsters: why cancer is almost impossible to cure
  • A Problem With Plumbing: why the evolution of coronary arteries makes us prone to heart attacks
  • Three Score Years -- And Then? how evolution is breathing new life into moribund dementia research
I read the first chapter first to get an idea of the writer's thesis and way of writing. I was familiar with most of what he wrote.

I am now reading the chapter on heart disease; it looks promising.

I will read the article on dementia after the coronary artery chapter. 

And then the chapter on cancer.

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