“This Shit Is Hard!”

Politico has an in-depth article about what has really been going on these first 100 Days: people are learning that this shit is hard. While there are faint glimmers of hope in the article, they are faint indeed, and fragile, as it is duly pointed out that even a somewhat educated Trump is still Trump.

Interviews with White House officials, friends of Trump, veterans of his campaign and lawmakers paint a picture of a White House that has been slow to adapt to the demands of the most powerful office on earth.

“Everyone is concerned that things are not running that well,” said one senior official. “There should be more structure in place so we know who is working on what and who is responsible for what, instead of everyone freelancing on everything.”

But they’re learning. One key development: White House aides have figured out that it’s best not to present Trump with too many competing options when it comes to matters of policy or strategy. Instead, the way to win Trump over, they say, is to present him a single preferred course of action and then walk him through what the outcome could be – and especially how it will play in the press.

“You don’t walk in with a traditional presentation, like a binder or a PowerPoint. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t consume information that way,” said one senior administration official. “You go in and tell him the pros and cons, and what the media coverage is going to be like.”

Downplaying the downside risk of a decision can win out in the short term. But the risk is a presidential dressing-down—delivered in a yell. “You don’t want to be the person who sold him on something that turned out to be a bad idea,” the person said.

Advisers have tried to curtail Trump’s idle hours, hoping to prevent him from watching cable news or calling old friends and then tweeting about it. That only works during the workday, though—Trump’s evenings and weekends have remained largely his own.

[…]

“He has always been a guy who loves the idea of being a royal surrounded by a court,” said Michael D’Antonio, one of Trump’s biographers.

[…]

Several senior administration aides said Trump loves nothing more than talking to reporters – no matter what he says about the “failing” New York Times or CNN – and he often seems personally stung by negative coverage, cursing and yelling at the TV. Kushner, too, sometimes calls TV personalities and executives, in particular MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, according to people close to the Trump son-in-law. (It didn’t go unnoticed in the West Wing that, at the height of the Kushner-Bannon war, the Drudge Report and Scarborough’s Morning Joe had an anti-Bannon flair to their coverage.)

If the goal of most administrations has been to set the media agenda for the day, it’s often the reverse in Trump’s White House, where what the president hears on the cable morning gabfests on Fox News, MSNBC and CNN can redirect his attention, schedule and agenda. The three TVs in the chief-of-staff’s office sometimes dictate the 8 a.m. meeting – and are always turned on to cable news, West Wing officials say.

[…]

Since taking office, Trump has 16 times tagged Fox and Friends, the network’s morning show, in his tweets, and countless other times weighed in on whatever they were talking about on air. After Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings went on Morning Joe and asked the president to call him, Trump did. After Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher defended Trump in an early Saturday morning Fox News hit, Trump called him moments later, inviting him to an Oval Office meeting. And after news segments, Trump will sometimes call his own advisers to discuss what he saw.

[…]

Trump may be learning and adjusting. But he is still Trump. On Saturday, he’ll celebrate his 100th day in office by boycotting the traditional White House Correspondents’ Dinner in favor of a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The rallies, which remind of the campaign trail, often improve his mood, several people close to him say. “I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania,” he tweeted by way of announcement. “Look forward to it!”

Full story at Politico.

Awww, Josh Is Unhappy.

Tea Party Tribune.

Oh my. I don’t know much about Josh Bernstein, but he is very upset. Those gosh darn republicans won’t do what he wants, and he’s so upset, why, he flipped them the bird. Ooooh, naughty.

Bernstein said that Republicans in Congress represent “the biggest threat to America” because of their failure to secure funding for Trump’s wall, especially that “scumbag” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who has a fence around his own house but won’t finance the construction of the border wall.

“You’re damn right I’m pissed,” Bernstein fumed. “I’m really pissed!”

Bernstein said that while he remains “on the Trump train,” he is now “sitting in the back, looking at the exit sign.”

“I’m not happy about this,” he said. “Fund the damn wall!”

“This is unacceptable,” he continued. “This is my red line and I can’t be any clearer than that. The border wall must be built now. It cannot wait—and for anybody who thinks it can wait, you’re stupid!”

I don’t consider myself stupid, and I don’t think there’s a need for a wall at all. The idea of the wall is fucking stupid. It won’t do a damn thing except suck everyone’s pockets dry, kill wildlife, and steal land from people. Oh, a big ol’ wall might test peoples’ ingenuity and creativity for a short while, but we’re inventive types. I doubt it would be any sort of an impediment to anyone. I’m also not at all okay with the idea of being trapped behind the gold curtain.

Bernstein said that Republicans are giving “a giant this to America and Trump supporters” as he flipped off the camera, declaring that “I’m done. I’m pissed. I’m livid.”

Watch out now, you’re going to give yourself a stroke. You should be planning for what you’ll do when you inch over that personal red line.

Via RWW.

Trump: Fingers On Phone Disease.

Both The Daily Beast and Think Progress have articles up about the Tiny Tyrant’s latest Tweet Tantrum, which happens to be directed at the wrong court. Jay Michaelson at The Daily Beast says Trump has to be the ultimate nightmare for his lawyers. They say one thing, he says another. They say shhhh, he’s flapping it all about. One thing he is doing is happily documenting every ill, every wrong, and every cock up by morphing into Mr. Tweet with clock-like, predictable regularity.

President Donald Trump is the worst client in the world.

Yet again, this time in a case involving his threat to withhold funding from so-called “sanctuary cities,” Trump’s careless out-of-court statements have come to bite him in the behind, just as they did in the travel ban cases.  You can almost hear his lawyers sigh with exasperation.

And yet, following the judge’s injunction against the sanctuary cities order, finding it overbroad and likely unconstitutional, Trump issued yet more outrageous statements, more lies, and more of a record for what would be the president’s ultimate court case: his impeachment trial.

[…]

But it was Trump’s unforced errors that really swung the decision.  The government’s lawyers said the funds affected were small, but Trump said they were huge.  The lawyers said it was just a mild allocation of funding, but Trump said it was punishment.  The lawyers said that the order was narrowly focused on the sharing of information, but Trump said it was a broad weapon against cities not complying with the law.

In other words, Trump’s tweets sunk his case.

And yet, he went right back at it.  As if to reassure those of us worried that Trump’s incompetence might not protect us from his malevolence, the ruling was greeted by another tweetstorm filled with usefully outrageous claims.

At 6:20 a.m. today, he went off:

First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!

This is false: the ruling was from a district court, not the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Indeed, the Ninth Circuit, which Trump just insulted, will be the next court to hear the appeal of the order. Trump just pilloried the judges he’s going to be standing in front of next week.

There’s much, much more at The Daily Beast.

Think Progress also has this story.

Aauugh, Some People…

As I noted earlier, back into my stash of vintage thread (deliciously fat, fluffy threads, with such luster!), selected two DMC Mouliné Special, and a Star Six Strand, and look what someone did, decades ago! Oy. Treat your thread well, and don’t wrap wire around it, twisted all about in the strands. Auuugh. Oh gods, they put on cello tape too! Double Auuugh.

Oh, all that ill treatment was to secure this to the skein:

© C. Ford.

Healthcare: A Congressional Exemption.

© nicolasjoseschirado, fotalia.

Rethuglicans are still hard at work, trying to figure out how to repeal the ACA, without working overly hard on the whole ‘replacement’ aspect. The more egregious parts of the repeal ‘n’ replace have kept some conservatives from getting on board, but Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) has come up with a cunning plan: we’ll exempt members of congress and their families! Now we can screw over all those peons and stay safe, yay! Disgusting asshole.

A new amendment to the Republican ObamaCare replacement bill exempts members of Congress and their staff from its effects.

The new changes to the bill would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal key ObamaCare provisions, such as the protection against people with pre-existing conditions being charged more and the requirement that insurers cover a range of health services, like prescription drugs and mental health.

The GOP amendment exempts members of Congress and their staffs to ensure that they will still be protected by those ObamaCare provisions.

The exemption was flagged by health law professor Tim Jost.

Democrats quickly jumped on the development, arguing that Republicans are willing to take away protections for the general public, but not themselves.

“The best evidence yet that the new GOP repeal plan is a disaster for people’s health care is that the GOP exempted Members of Congress from living under it,” said Leslie Dach, director of the Protect Our Care Campaign, one of the main groups fighting repeal.

The amendment is helping to woo some conservatives, who argue that the ObamaCare regulations are driving up premium costs, and note that high-risk pools would be able to fill the gap.

Via The Hill.

“And now there’s a lot of words, I won’t bother reading everything,”

Time for a Pants On Fire Reality Check! The white house has released “President Trump’s 100 Days of Historic Accomplishments.” Historic. Right. I suppose “President Trump’s 100 Days of Abysmal Failure” didn’t go over well. As usual, the press release is “alternative fact” based, and has little to do with reality in any way, shape or form.

The release sorts Trump’s accomplishments into three categories. Front and center is a section entitled “TAKING EXECUTIVE ACTION” that touts the 30 executive orders Trump has signed in hist first 100 days — a total the White House says is higher “than any other President since Franklin Roosevelt.”

There are two big problems with that claim, however.

First, it’s false. As historian Peter A. Shulman explained, the White House is overlooking executive orders not included in the American Presidency Project, the non-comprehensive source the Trump administration appears to have used to tally the number of executive orders signed by previous presidents.

When executive orders not included in the American Presidency Project are included, FDR’s total actually dwarfs Trump.

FDR signed 99 of them. That’s considerably more than 30, but this isn’t a bloody contest, in spite of the Tiny Tyrant’s trying to make this all about ratings too. Fucking idiot.

…Besides those inaccuracies, it’s odd that Trump would tout EOs as an accomplishment, since he repeatedly criticized President Obama for signing them. In December 2015, candidate Trump blasted Obama’s EOs and characterized them as the last resort of presidents who can’t work with Congress.

“I don’t think he even tries anymore. I think he just signs executive actions,” Trump said of Obama. “That’s the way the system is supposed to work. And then all of a sudden, I hear he tried, he can’t do it, and then, boom, and then another one, boom.”

Trump also blasted Obama’s executive orders in 2012, tweeting that they represent “major power grabs of authority.”

[…]

There’s also the question of how much credit Trump should take for signing executive orders that in some cases he seems to be barely familiar with. For instance, during a signing ceremony for an executive order on agriculture on Tuesday, Trump, reading off a sheet of paper, said, “So this is promoting agriculture and rural prosperity in America. And now there’s a lot of words, I won’t bother reading everything, but agriculture and rural prosperity in America — that’s what we want.”

And that alone rather neatly sums up the Idiot Unpresident. “I don’t have the slightest idea of what I’m doing, and I’m not going to *gasp* read, but it must be good, because I’m going to sign it, and someone said…”

Oh gods. Just not enough facepalm in the universe. Not enough. Think Progress has the full reality check.

The Art of Whipped Cream.

Selected character studies, oil on board, dimesions variable. All images courtesy the artist and Paul Kassman Gallery. (Click for full size!)

In a performance at the Metropolitan Opera and a parallel gallery exhibit, artist Mark Ryden imbibes his sugary design aesthetic through costume and fashion prints. In his latest venture, the Portland-based artist creates classic, painterly pastel works with a childlike fantasy.

The art show, The Art of Whipped Cream, opening in May at Paul Kasmin Gallery in NYC, features the final realizations of each costume from the opera, Whipped Cream, a graceful choreographed feat by Alexei Ratmanksy. His illustrations encompass the bedtime dreams of prima ballerinas, pink, and lots of candy and pastries. Ryden’s merry band of misfits includes a smiling half-dragon, half-muppet creature, and tiny humans masquerading as multilayered cakes. The two-dimensional drawings at Paul Kasmin are rendered in oil on board and graphite on paper.

[…]

Mark Ryden’s solo art exhibit, The Art of Whipped Cream, shows  at Paul Kassman, May 20–July 21, 2017. Find more information about the show, here.  Purchase tickets for the ballet, Whipped Cream, taking place at the Metropolitan Opera House, here.

You can read and see much more at The Creators Project.

The Whipped Cream Curtain Call:

Word Wednesday.

Recondite

Adjective.

1. Hidden from sight: concealed.

2. Difficult or impossible for one of ordinary understanding or knowledge to comprehend: deep.

3: of, relating to, or dealing with something little known or obscure.

– reconditely, adverb.

– reconditeness, noun.

[Origin: Latin reconditus, past participle of recondere to conceal, from re– + condere to store up, from com– + –dere to put.]

(1649)

The Anarchist Cookbook, with its dangerously flawed bomb formulae, hasn’t maimed half so many hands as HPL’s mythos. His writings look more like fiction than allegorically-described recipes to most people, which is a good thing; but every so often a reader of his more recondite works becomes unhealthily obsessed with the idea of the starry wisdom behind it, starts thinking of it as something real, and then tries to reverse-engineer the design of the pipe bomb he’s describing, not realizing that Quality Control was not his strong point. – Equoid, Charles Stross.