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Justine

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January 20th, 2017

Malia Obama's adventure

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Yesterday's NYTimes had a fascinating note confirming that the President's elder dsughter traveled secretly in Bolivia for almost three months, as part of her year off before starting next fall at Harvard. (The Germans traditionally take a year off before college, calling it a "Wanderjshr" -- a year to wander, often abroad.)

Anyhow, the Times found out from the Bolivian press that she'd stayed with a family there in an 83-day program of a Colorado compsny that arranges educational travel.

And everyone concerned successfully kept the visit a secret intil she returned to Washington. (Her safety was evidently protected by Secret Service: Bolivian locals thought a blond eoman with Malia was "the important one" guarded by private security.)

Is that not the coolest thing you ever heard?

January 14th, 2017

Trumpsky! WTF?

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"WALTER SHAUB’S DESPERATE ATTEMPTS TO MAKE TRUMP ADHERE TO GOVERNMENT ETHICS"

This is a scary piece from New Yorker's Web site about Shaub, head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), and his ongoing efforts to vet the new Cabinet -- and Trumpsky his own self. Good news: all the new officials have worked with OGE to divest themsrlves of questionable holdings. But the BAD news is that DJT has stiff-armed Shaub and OGE, REFUSING any cooperation whatsoever.

Shaub also confirmed this week that Trumpsky's vaunted plan to avoid his well-known conflicts in NO way satisfies the ethics requirements -- which have now been met by his OWN nominees and all recent presidents.
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/walter-shaubs-desperate-attempts-to-make-trump-adhere-to-government-ethics?mbid=nl_January%2014th%202017%20(1)%20remainder&CNDID=27496278&spMailingID=10230933&spUserID=MTMzMTgyODQ2NDk2S0&spJobID=1081169591&spReportId=MTA4MTE2OTU5MQS2

January 4th, 2017

Just a quick note to say Joanne and I've reached California -- our ship reaching San Diego this morning. (Stops in Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico were made -- all quite pleasant,)

We disembarked with a minimum of fuss, picked up our rental car, and made our way northeaat to my brother's home, not far from Palm Springs. And, predictably, celebrating ensued.

I've now made it to bed, and will hopefully be able to fill in the (no doubt lurid) details in the morning.

December 20th, 2016

I have written before about not much enjoying cruising. Joanne adores it, though, so I found myself capitulating fairly gracefully and we booked another one -- leaving tomorrow. Both Christmas and New Year's afloat...

First, we sail southwest (via the Panama Canal), then northwest along Central America, then the Mexican coast (including La Paz, at the tip of Baja -- someplace I've never been), and ending up in San Diego.

Then it's off via rental car to see what remains of the relatives, notably several in declining health (one of my brothers as well as several of Joanne's kinfolk).

The land portion is pretty routine -- been doing it for nearly thirty years, every year or two... I'm not real enthusiastic, I'm araid -- it is the classic "been there, done that!"

December 19th, 2016

I'd like to welcome a new friend here, Ella Ford (http://ellaford.livejournal.com/), whom I just got to know over on Tumblr. There, she's "ellafordbooks.tumblr.com" -- she is a prolific erotic novelist, of the lesbian persuasion.

I coaxed her to try LJ, since on Tumblr I find myself frustrated by the rigid format, which permits no editing of one's posts. (Offsetting that Tumblr drawback, one gets to access gazillions* of sexy photos. It IS an egregious competitive advantage!)

Welcome, sweetie!




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* Longtime readers will recall that I used to post lots of photos from Flickr -- until they high-handedly terminated the function. Readers new and old can see examples of my work by clicking the "tags" I put on many posts here. (LJ used to let us tag for free, but decided to charge for that -- but THEN failed to close out my hundreds of existing tags. It became a "game" for me: putting up a few tags for a new post, as a kind of accidental comment on that post.)

BTW -- Not paying for my blogging isn't because I'm a cheapskate. Rather, my SigOther, Joanne, keeps a close watch on our finances -- and a single unexplained charge on the monthly bill could draw her attention to what I do on-line.

December 18th, 2016

(no subject)

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An Aussie doctor, Lisa Pryor, wrote an op-ed in today's NYTimes, very sad for what Trumpsky has been up to:

"...befriending President Putin, disregarding climate change and refusing daily intelligence briefings --because he’s 'a smart person.' None of this, we fear, will end well for any of us.

"And here we Australians are on the edge of Asia, a small and loyal ally...

"We feel worried, lucky -- and alone.

[Recently] Australia’s Department of Defense [ADOD] outlined the long-term outlook for our defense and security, emphasizing that the relationship between the United States and China.
When [ADOD's] Lowy Institute for International Policy surveyed Australians two years ago about whether the US or China was the more important partner, the US led by 11 percentage points. This year there was a tie. The drift was more marked among Australians under 45, most [sic!] of whom named China.

"...This distancing is already being discussed. While Australia’s right-wing politicians have taken the most disheartening lesson from the election -- Mr. Trump won, so be like Mr. Trump -- former prime minister Paul Keating, questioned Australia’s deference to the United States: 'This society of ours is a better society than the US,' he said. 'It’s more even, it’s more fair. We’ve had a 50-percent increase in real incomes in the last 20 years...' [The US lags!]

"Whatever happens, it will not dull my affection for the American people and the best of American culture. I was not raised in America, but I was raised in the American century. I am not yet ready to say goodbye."

Lisa Pryor, a medical doctor, is the author, most recently, of “A Small Book About Drugs.”

(no subject)

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I've NO idea what "daily romee" might be.

December 13th, 2016

Both Joanne AND I are a bit down, discovering that the bad vibes of the past month in Washington are turning into bad vibes here in Vero Beach. That is, our escape to Vero lacks some magic this year. And today was equally bad, with Trumpsky confirming the unlikely rumor that he would name the Russians' favorite American oilman to become our next Secretary of State.

Just to rub it in, he bopped downstairs in the TT to grimace at the news cameras with rapper Kanye West. As the press immediately reported, somehow he found time to goof around JUST after deferring a long-overdue press conference. At that conference, he had promised, he'd address his intolerable conflicts of interest (including the supposed "blind trust" he feigns not to understand).

Anyhow, J and I resolved today that we would try harder to ignore the manic coverage of the Trumpsky follies in coming weeks. Oh, we will resist when we can do helpful stuff. We'll continue to sign well-meaning petitions (like the one demanding the Senate address the Supreme Court vacancy as it convenes in early January). Moreover, we will demand our Senators and Congressmen do their damned jobs, grilling Tillerson and other unqualified Cabinet nominees.

Hell, we'll EVEN cross our fingers in the slight hope that the Electoral College will properly DELIBERATE the choice of the next president -- not just unthinkingly rubber-stamp the "Manchurian Candidate."

Trumpsky will probably be inaugurated -- but I predict he will be impeached within the first year in office.

Meanwhile, we resolve not to let the Trumpsky disaster dominate our lives.

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* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegitimi_non_carborundum
With more politicians focused on the Electoral College (EC), there may still be a slim chance that election of the incompetent, conflict-driven Donald Trumpsky can be successfully challenged.

Perhaps forcing the challenge is his bizarre questioning -- this past weekend -- of the American intelligence community's conclusion that Russia had actively intervened in our election. The increasingly erratic Trumpsky seems to be the 21st-century "Manchurian Candidate"... though how that can be proven to the public's satisfaction remains a vital question. (And, per tonight's TV news, Comey's FBI seems to be arguing against the CIA and the rest of the intel establishment... just to add to the conspiracy theories now emerging.)

Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show tonight saw further indications that Trumpsky cannot cope with the huge conflicts of his business interests. According to a Newsweek article to be published on Tuesday, there is a Turkish political issue coming to the fore that illustrates the impossibility of Trumpsky being an impartial and effective president -- even IF he possessed the skills and experience needed for the White House, which he simply does NOT.

There is only one week until the deliberations of the EC. It is going to be difficult, to say the least. The Bush-Gore dispute back in 2000 will likely seem small when this is all over...

December 12th, 2016

A Democratic Congressman from CT called on the Electoral College (EC) to deny Trumpsky the Presisency, acvording to the NY Post:

"The EC -- if you read the Federalist Papers and understand why it is there --is a group of people. It is not an algorithm. It is not a set of ballots. It is a group of people that our Founding Fathers, you know, to whom supposedly we all sort of defer.[They pledged that, if someone gets elected that is manifestly ill-equipped to be president, that the EC can step in."
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