JANUARY 2018

1.25 Frank Bruni in the Times, on the bro vibe among Trump, Tom Brady, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick: “These titans stick together in the way that many titans do, not because they share some special affection or particular philosophy but because each sees in the others’ stature an affirmation of his own. They’re a cluster strut.”
1.25 Wall Street Journal: “The New Dating No-No: Asking for a Last Name — Now that smartphone apps are the primary way people meet, some things have become too awkward to ask” Why it matters: “Asking for a last name ‘is definitely a modern social cue’ that trust is building in a relationship.”
1.24 George Will in the Washington Post: It cannot be a sign of social health that the number of tweets per day worldwide exploded from 5,000 in 2007 to 500 million six years later. And this might be related, by a few degrees of separation, to the fact that whereas in the 1992 presidential election more than one-third of America’s 3,113 counties or their equivalents had a single-digit margin of victory, in the 2016 presidential election, fewer than 10 percent did. And to the fact that in 2016, 1,196 counties — about 2.5 times the average over the preceding 20 years — were decided by margins larger than 50 percent. All of which are perhaps related to rising skepticism, without scientific warrant, about the safety of vaccinations and genetically modified foods. And to the fact that newspaper subscriptions have declined about 38 percent in the past 20 years. And that between 1974 and 2016, the percentage of Americans who said they spent significant time with a neighbor declined from 30 percent to 19 percent.”
1.24 Washington Post: There’s growing cohesion among executives — cutting across industry and even geography — that Trump‘s tax plan is going to deliver massive new investment in the United States, which should, in turn, boost growth and employment.”
1.24 The Big Apple Circus clown Grandma stepped down after being accused of coercing a teen acrobat into taking sexual photos
1.24 NBC: Researchers say remains of a wooden ship found embedded in mud in a river delta in the southern US may be the Clotilda, the last-known vessel to bring slaves to the US nearly 160 years ago.
1.24 Disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar gets 175 years in prison for sex assaults. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina: “I’ve just signed your death warrant,”
1.23 Washington Post:“ Google for the first time spent more than any other company in 2017 to influence Washington, highlighting both the sprawling reach of the country’s thriving tech industry and the rising concern by regulators and lawmakers of its ascendance.”
1.22 Simona Mangiante, fiancee of George Papadopoulos: “I believe history will remember him like John Dean.”
1.21 Stormy Daniels: “It’s crazy how one moment can overshadow 15 years of work.”
1.21 Sen. Tammy Duckworth: “I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger. And I have a message for ‘Cadet Bone Spurs.’ If you cared about our military, you’d stop baiting Kim Jong Un into a war that could put 85,000 American troops, and millions of innocent civilians, in danger.”
1.21 Pats overtake Jags, Eagles clobber Vikings
1.20 Ginny, Molly and Cara go to the Women’s March in NYC
1.20 Government shut down
1.19 Paul Waldman in the Post: “For every American who really loves Donald Trump, there are about two Americans who really hate him.”
1.19 Elizabeth Bruenig in the Washington Post: “When it’s time for dessert, Trump gets two scoops of ice cream and everyone else gets one, and if, after all that and a sack of McDonald’s, he still decides he has the height and weight of an athlete, then he does. There’s the greed, the hoarding of wealth and gold objects, with vanishingly little given to charity, even just to add a touch of decorum. Decorum doesn’t exist in isolation; it’s something you undertake with regard to other people, and Trump does not regard other people. Unseemliness is a kind of liberty, and Trump has perfected that, too.”
1.19 Albany
1.18 Albany; Melissa: “insanely condescending”
1.18 2017 was Earth’s second-hottest year since 1880.

HAMILTON

Unbelievably, Cara won two front row tickets to Hamilton, which for years has been the toughest ticket on Broadway. Turns out there is a lottery for tickets to most Broadway shows; the odds against winning Hamilton tox were quoted as 10000 to one. It took Cara two weeks before she won (my friend Belinda Luscombe told me she had been playing for two years.) And if she was lucky, it was my great good fortune that she invited me to go along. What an offer! What a daughter! What a show! Very enjoyable! The whole thing is a a monument to the incredible imagination and insight of Lin Manuel Miranda, who possessed first the vision and then the immense talent to reimagine the American creation story in 21st century urban vernacular. It was particularly moving to see the show a week after Trump‘s `shithole’ countries remark. The relevance of the show was all the clearer.

JANUARY 2018: “SHIT HOLE COUNTRIES”


1.14 In a thriller, the Vikings upset the Saints with a desperate pass for a touchdown on the last play of the game.
1.13 Dinner at Pete’s Tavern with Ginny, Greg, Susan and Margaret, followed by The Post. A very good film. I particularly liked how Meryl Streep‘s Katherine Graham found her way to her position of principle by feeling personally betrayed by Robert McNamara.

1.13 A fake text warns Hawaii of imminent nuclear destruction.
1.11 Trump: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
1.10 Shepard Smith on Fox News: “All of that about libel laws, that was just a word salad of nothingness, because none of that means anything, except ‘look over here.’” He couldn’t change the libel laws if he wanted to change the libel laws, he couldn’t change them if he got the Congress in there. These are state laws, and that was nothing. He’s not a dictator. He’s not a king, He can’t change the libel laws. That’s preposterous.”
1.10 NJ.com: Christie “leaves office in a week as the state’s most unpopular governor in modern times, a once-rising star whose presidential ambitions were dashed by the Bridgegate scandal and the rise of Donald Trump.”
1.9 Bannon out at Breitbart
1.9 The reliably entertaining Major Crimes ends a much-appreciated run.
1.8 Bill Gates in Time: “In 1990, more than a third of the global population lived in extreme poverty; today only about a tenth do. A century ago, it was legal to be gay in about 20 countries; today it’s legal in over 100 countries. Women are gaining political power and now make up more than a fifth of members of national parliaments—and the world is finally starting to listen when women speak up about sexual assault. More than 90% of all children in the world attend primary school. In the U.S., you are far less likely to die on the job or in a car than your grandparents were. And so on.”
1.8 An 18 year old freshman quarterback named Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench at halftime with his team trailing 13-0, and led Alabama to an overtime victory that gave the school its fifth national championship under head coach Nick Saban.

1.8 Cornell Belcher, a Democratic strategist and former Obama pollster: “Running for president is . . . an ugly, nasty, grueling slog through all of these multiple states. It’s going to unglamorous places and showing up at fish fries. To successfully run, you need several things: money, infrastructure and a niche. That said, I think in this current environment — and I cannot believe I am saying this — but if Oprah would throw her hat in the ring, she would be the front-runner.”
1.7 Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes: “I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me too” again.”
1.6 On a frigid night, a heart-warming show. With Ginny, Cara, Molly and Shawn. Preceded by dinner at Joe Allen’s.
1.5 Steve Schmidt on MSNBC: “When you look at their comportment, they couldn’t be more vile than if they were a group of monkeys throwing their excrement at each other in a cage.”

1.4 “Bomb cyclone” hits east coast.from Floida to New England/ Polar vortex to follow
1.3 Trump “When (Steve Bannon) was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
1.3 Charlie Sykes: “I can’t help thinking of Bannon as the Robespierre of this Trumpian revolution, ultimately devoured by the forces he helped release. He helped create a pro-Trump media ecosystem that demanded loyalty, not ideological consistency. Now that he is perceived as disloyal (and perhaps dangerous), he is going to get the same treatment he used to give the globalist, establishment types.”
1.3 Bannon: “The three senior guys in the campaign … thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the twenty-fifth floor — with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
1.3 Steve Bannon: “They’re going to crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV. They’re sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five.”


1.3 Albany today for the State of the State. The New York Times: “With a re-election campaign and potentially treacherous political terrain ahead, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo laid out his 2018 agenda on Wednesday, painting a portrait of a state battling the effects of terrorism, sexual harassment and opioid addiction, and under siege from the Trump administration. In his 90-minute State of the State speech, Mr. Cuomo said the state would challenge the new Republican-led federal tax plan in court — earning a standing ovation from the crowd — and asked the Legislature to restructure the state’s tax code by adding a statewide payroll tax and to counter the effects of the so-called carried interest loophole. . . .with New York facing billions of dollars in budget gaps, and swaths of suburban voters possibly looking at tax increases as a result of the new cap on income and property tax deductibility, the initial reaction in Albany suggested the idea had a puncher’s chance, including among some State Senate Republicans representing moderate districts.”
1.2 Trump tweet: “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
1.2 Albany
1.1 New Year’s Day brunch with Greg and Susan and Cathy and Tim

JANUARY 3, 2018: STATE OF THE STATE

An overall less grueling experience than last year ended with a near marathon in Albany (six days between December 26th and January 3rd.) But all’s well that ends well.) The speech was good, but the Governor’s delivery was even better–he showed a new dimension. Reaction was tempered–approving in goals, but possibly too ambitious. Time will tell.