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This Is What A Thin-Skinned White House Looks Like–Even Richard Nixon Fared Better

March 29, 2017

The White House announced this week that Donald Trump will not throw out the first pitch of the season for the Nationals’ opening day. Over the years the track record of those who sit in the Oval Office throwing the first pitch have varied.  But with Trump looking for anyway to show a positive side it seems more than off to dismiss this opportunity.

But on the flip side since Trump has an approval rating well under 40% it was decided with his portly shape and highly controversial problems surrounding the White House he would not throw the pitch.  After all he did not want to be soundly booed–and he would have been heckled like crazy had he dared take the mound.

I took a moment to look back at presidents who were not overly loved and found that we need to go back to 1969 to find one who was tarnished but who still had the sporting fever.  The last president to throw out a first pitch in Washington in his first post-election spring was Richard Nixon — in 1969. That was 48 years ago!

President Richard Nixon throwing out the first pitch at a Washington Senators game

The lack of courage from this White House is amusing.  Even laughable.

Today I heard WH staff will not attend the annual Correspondents’ Dinner.  That is ridiculous! Donald Trump had previously announced that he would be skipping the event, making him the first sitting president to do so since Ronald Reagan missed the dinner–but at least he had a good reason.  He was recovering from an assassination attempt.  Now Trump staffers are even scared to attend.  Good grief!

Even Nixon at the height of Watergate attended in 1973 and was able to laugh with others.

It is a privilege to be here at the White House correspondents dinner. I suppose I should say it is an executive privilege. [Laughter]

But I have followed, as you have, the press briefings by Mr. Ziegler. His job is difficult because he must serve two masters: He must serve the President of the United States, and he must serve the press. He must serve each with equal loyalty and devotion, and I believe that Ron Ziegler, with great poise, with great patience, with great courtesy has met that dual responsibility. He has been loyal to the President and loyal to the press, and I am glad to pay that tribute to him tonight.

I must say you have really worked him over, however. This morning he came into the office a little early, and I said, “What time is it, Ron?”

He said, “Could I put that on background?” [Laughter]

It is most regrettable that Trump and his inner team are acting so wimpy about a proud annual Washington tradition.

The Next Big Election Only Weeks Away

March 29, 2017

The special election to fill the GOP-leaning Georgia congressional seat vacated by now-Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price is heating up. Boy is it heating up!

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff is leading the 18-person field with 40 percent support, according to a FOX 5/Opinion Savvy poll. He and whatever Republican comes out ahead will face off in a runoff election that is rather tight according to the poll.   There are a number of good solid reporting on this race.

It most likely will go to a June 20 runoff if no one gets more than 50% of the vote on April 18.  Ossoff’s ads have directly targeted Trump. “Donald Trump doesn’t represent our values,” Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) says to the camera in one of these ads. “That’s why I’m supporting Jon Ossoff.” In another ad, Ossoff says, “When President Trump embarrasses our country or acts recklessly, I’ll hold him accountable.” Republicans first targeted Ossoff by resurfacing video of him drinking and acting out as Han Solo during his college days.

Well Dems have a video of Trump saying he likes to grab (you know what.)

Nate Cohn: “Start with the money. Mr. Ossoff, a 30-year-old first-time candidate, has benefited from timing. He was basically the only Democrat seeking federal office at a moment when Democratic energy was surging and when progressives were looking to ‘do something.’”

“Mr. Ossoff probably would not have raised nearly as much money if he’d been competing for attention with 434 other races. His fund-raising tally is better than that of 96 percent of the congressional challengers who raised more than $100,000 in 2016, and there’s still time for him to move up the list.”

“Instead, it’s the Republicans who are struggling to coalesce. They have 11 candidates on the ballot, with none emerging as the obvious favorite, although former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, the businessman Bob Gray and state senator Judson Hill are considered among the strongest contenders. Whoever advances to a runoff (assuming anyone does) will have only two months to coalesce support and raise funds with the benefit of party unity.”

First Read: “It most likely will go to a June 20 runoff if no one gets more than 50% of the vote on April 18, but there is a chance that Ossoff… could get close to that percentage.”

Reince Priebus Is Butt-End Of Donald Trump Jokes

March 29, 2017

Associated Press has an interesting read about White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.  One has to wonder, especially with the calamity of the health care bill which Priebus championed as a matter first out of the gate, how long he will last in his job.

The president likes to make good-natured digs at Priebus in public remarks, joking about his ‘crazy name’ and telling a meeting of auto industry executives that his chief of staff might end up running a car company someday.

For laughs, Trump will sometimes recount a tense exchange with Priebus at one of the campaign’s lowest moments: the release of a video in which Trump is heard making predatory comments about women. During an emergency campaign meeting, Priebus told Trump he should either drop out of the race or risk dragging down Republican candidates across the country.

Priebus is said to be sensitive to the criticism that has sprouted up about him, particularly when it’s focused on his competency and management of the West Wing. That’s created a mild sense of paranoia among his allies, according to another White House official, leading them to respond in outsized ways, both privately and publicly.

Donald Trump Hopes To Cash In Even More From White House Job

March 29, 2017

This news is not stunning for those who know what it happening.   That many Republicans do not care should further underscore the national concern.

Donald Trump’s company is actively seeking to open a second Washington hotel as part of a planned nationwide expansion, potentially creating another venue where he stands to benefit financially from customers doing business in the nation’s capital. Representatives of the Trump Organization, now run by the Trump’s adult sons, have inquired in recent months about converting one of several boutique, medium-sized hotels in upscale neighborhoods in and near downtown and reopening it under the company’s new Scion brand. Unlike the luxurious Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, which Trump and his family own, the more affordable Scion hotels would be owned by other developers who would pay the Trumps’ company for licensing rights and management. … While some of the inquiries predate the election, the company has continued to look for a Washington partner.

David Blaska Correct With Views On Madison Alder Marsha Rummel

March 28, 2017

How can one alder be so consistently wrong and seemingly more interested in going out of her way to be a running joke than a competent member of local government?  Whatever the reasons for her behavior Marsha Rummel has done it again.  David Blaska, one of Dane County’s prominent conservatives and a pithy blogger, called her out on last night’s vote against common sense. 

As if to give the people our money’s worth, Ald. Marsha Rummel — the lone nay vote — performed a comedy routine that would have gotten her gonged by the late Chuck Barris.

It is a good read.  Not only taxpayers should read this, but concerned citizens who care about the way things can get out of control without reasonable brakes applied, should also pay attention.   How we got to this crazy place in this city I love is troubling.  Blaska nails it.

Madison Alder Marsha Rummel Still Trying To Build Her Street Cred

March 27, 2017

It was exactly what I knew would happen, so there was no surprise when Madison Alder Marsha Rummel, thy best example of what shameless politics looks like on the local level, cast another vote that undermines the Madison Police Department.  Tonight she voted at the Board of Estimates and Finance Committee to not allow for Chief Mike Koval to be paid $22,000 for legal bills that were incurred while dealing with a matter that proved not to rise to the level his detractors had hoped.

Following the discharge of the matter there was a very hefty legal bill which needed to be dealt with.  Since the matter in question took place during the time Koval was on-duty for the city, and that he prevailed in the challenge against him, meant the issue of the city paying is not difficult to understand.   At least for the mature ones in the city.

The vote at the committee level was 3-1 with alders Barbara McKinney, Zach Wood, and Maurice Cheeks acting as rational members.  The Chair was Mike Verveer who in his capacity for this meeting did not cast a vote.  But we have his vote come the next council meeting.  Only Rummel, with her eyes glazed no doubt from reading her beloved Guardian newspaper, cast the dissenting vote.

Lets be honest, Madison.  This is a city that prides itself on free speech and that matter resonates very near and dear to me.  So one can argue, given what was happening the night Kovel told a citizen she was a “raging lunatic”, that it can be argued two different ways.  First, Koval was being honest as he saw the situation.  Second, he was being more circumspect than what many in that same situation would have been.  It was a long day and the council meeting was just rude.

Koval did later apologize for the matter.  But to defend himself legally before the Police and Fire Commission the bills climbed to $22,000.  City policy calls for those bills to be paid if one prevails–and Rummel knows at least that much, one would hope.   To not pay these bills now would only allow for those whose mission is to undermine Koval to continue this dog-and-pony show again and again.  There would be no end to the chaos.

And with someone like  Rummel, who continually demonstrates her lack of reasoning on matters like this, and encourages such behavior as with this vote, there is only one way for the council to act at their next meeting.   The legal bills for Koval must be paid.  End of story.

And then maybe Rummel can apologize to her constituents for always embarrassing us.  It would be nice if every now and then she would throw a lonely vote of maturity and soundness our way.

Paul Ryan Did Not Heed The Voices From America

March 27, 2017

Nate Silver writes a very strong summation of where House Speaker Paul Ryan left the road and took to the ditch when it came to the political pit falls with health care legislation.

Republicans have been running on repealing and replacing Obamacare for seven years, and they’ve won a lot of elections in that period. You can argue that they have a mandate on the issue, even if they don’t have one overall. But Ryan and Trump pretty much ignored where public opinion stands on health care. Medicaid, which the AHCA would have rolled back, is extremely popular, for instance. About two-thirds of voters support government funding for Planned Parenthood; the AHCA would have cut it. But the bill didn’t do much to address the problems voters were actually concerned about, such as rising premiums.

Furthermore, Ryan and Trump advanced this bill despite receiving a warning shot from the public: Obamacare had almost immediately become more popular after Trump won the election. I don’t recall a lot of other times when public opinion shifted so quickly on a bill in response to an election result. It was as though voters were throwing up a big yield sign to congressional Republicans — we didn’t expect Trump to win the election; instead, we elected you to serve as a check on Hillary Clinton, so proceed with caution. Ryan barreled right on through it.

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