Saturday, April 4, 2020

More Aggravation from Washington D.C.

Who is tired?  I'm tired, despite the fact that I'm spending far too much time in the house sitting in my chair.  My theory is that my level of anger and despair over the nincompoops currently running the government is sapping my life force.

I read an interesting piece yesterday morning.  It was opinion, but the writer's position was that people are really not hoarding toilet paper.  With the shelter in place orders, people are staying home.  Before the virus, these people went to work or went to school and used the restrooms at work or school.  Now they are home, using 40% more toilet paper than they used to.  I'm not sure where the 40% figure came from, but it sounds reasonable.  This was sort of a depressing piece, two days ago I read an opinion that said that soon there would be pallets of toilet paper in the store aisles that no one would want because their garages are full.  I liked that scenario much better.

I started this post yesterday, and was going to make it a complaint and Covid-19 free zone, however, I have stuff I want to remember.  But first, here are some pictures that are nice.

A sunset.

This is the bougainvillea in the front of the house.  He's deformed from the years of the agave growing in to his personal space.  It'll take awhile for him to become a uniformly shaped plant.

A prickly pear down the street.  It has a lot of buds, so the bloom should go for a long time.

On today's hike, I finally got a good ocotillo picture.

All righty then!  On to today's aggravation.

Jared Kushner.  Jared and his buds, none of who are medically trained have taken over the seventh floor of the HHS building and are doing who knows what.  What they are doing is issuing stupid commands, gumming up the works and interrupting the adults.  Jared is responsible for the president's disastrous speech from the oval office awhile ago.  But this, this is just crazy.

Please.  What, precisely is the federal government supposed to do with a medical equipment stockpile other than give it to the states that need the equipment?  Will the administration be opening their own hospitals?  Newsweek did a fairly scathing article on the whole thing.

Next up from Task and Purpose, an article about the firing of Captain Crozier.

Officially, the reason Navy Capt. Brett E. Crozier was fired on April 2 because he sent too many people a memo outlining the dire conditions aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. That excuse is all the more laughable considering nothing in Crozier’s memo was classified.
Events moved quickly after the San Francisco Chronicle published a leaked copy of Crozier’s memo on March 31. The following day, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly promised reporters that Crozier would not be made a sacrificial lamb.
“The fact that he wrote the letter to his chain of command to express his concerns would absolutely not result in any type of retaliation,” Modly said during a Pentagon news briefing. “This is what we want our commanding officers to be able to do.”
That didn’t last long. Roughly 24 hours later, Modly accused Crozier of being reckless by sending his memo to up to 30 people.
Today, in his daily televised rally, the president said that the Captain was wrong to have sent the memo, that he thought it looked terrible that he wrote the letter. "This is not a class on literature...He shouldn't be talking that way in a letter. He could call & ask & suggest."  One wonders how he should have communicated to the higher ups that they should evacuate the sick crewmen from the boat if not via a memo.  Also recall that Secretary of Defense Esper issued guidance some weeks ago that no military personnel should say anything that might embarrass the president.  I guess that includes trying to save the lives of one's shipmates.  Task and Purpose has another article up about how the president ordered the immediate firing of Captain Crozier.  I keep waiting to witness the president's "love" of the war fighters.

Task and Purpose is a worth while site.  It's listed on my side bar.  They have a piece about the time Jackie Robinson was court martialed.   I didn't know about that. 

WAPO has written a master class article about the failure of the administration in their response to Covid-19.  There is a clear and concise time line about what wasn't done and by whom.
This article, which retraces the failures over the first 70 days of the coronavirus crisis, is based on 47 interviews with administration officials, public health experts, intelligence officers and others involved in fighting the pandemic. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information and decisions.
I'm hoping it's not behind the paywall as are many of their Covid-19 articles.  It's a long article, and would take days to synopsize. It really shows where and when the wheels came off the administration.

The president fired Michael Atkinson last night, apparently in the middle of the night.  Mr. Atkinson is the Inspector General who advanced the whistle blower's complaint to Adam Schiff's committee.  The office of the IG was created to do oversight.  IGs belong in various organizations, but they are to stand outside of the reporting structure, so that they can work independently to root out corruption and malfeasance.  This structure is being undermined by the current administration.  There are many open seats, and IGs that are in place are being told that they have no right to request disclosure from their organizations.  The president has already made it clear in his signing statement attached to the recent bail out package that he will not accept oversight on how the $500 billion dollar slush fund is distributed.  Of course, there is a WAPO article on this, too.

Say what you will about FEMA, and sometimes we say bad things that are justified, such as their response to Katrina.  However, they're what we've got.  At the moment we have Covid-19, what we will be having is the beginning of forest fire season and a predicted very active hurricane season.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the office leading the federal government’s coronavirus response nationwide, is running short of employees who are trained in some of its most important front-line jobs, according to interviews with current and former officials.  At the same time, the agency has been forced to halt a major hiring initiative, and has closed training facilities to avoid spreading the infection.
The number of available personnel who are qualified to lead field operations has fallen to 19 from 44 in less than six weeks, and staff members have been pulled from responding to other disasters, but training centers in Maryland and Alabama have been shuttered until mid-May. In addition, an effort to recruit new employees called “Harness” is on hold, according to a senior administration official with direct knowledge of FEMA’s operations.
There is more on the NYT, which can be found here.

And finally, from today's presser we have this reportage from Yamiche Alcindor (NPR).

Wait until he finds out one of the side effects is hair loss.


  1. Okay you made me laugh for the first time today. So grateful to feast my eyebulbs on your spectacular flowers.

  2. I have never seen an ocotillo that beautiful. The cactus flowers just make my day.

  3. Beautiful flowers. The desert is always a surprise. I don't listen to the political news now, it just upsets me and I can't do anything about it --- yet.

  4. There is so much distressing news these days and I'm not talking about the pandemic. Don't even get me started on Kushner. However, your last line made me laugh out loud. Oh how I would love to see that happen.

  5. Love the cactus flowers. I just can't engage with news of oTrump and Kushner on this nightmare, though. I hope people focus in November when it's time to choose a leader and oust these bozos.

  6. Sadly, with so much time on our hands and so much reading material, we are simply buried in the likes of Jared and all the off shoots of the president. Even my faithful old mews synopsis leaves me dangling.
    Your bougainvillea is no more deformed than the rest of us, with an agave president infringing on our personal good sense.

  7. pretty cactus.

    between the two of us maybe we are exposing it all but doubtful. as I noted in my post I think Jared is confiscating everything he can to sell to distributors who will then sell it to hospitals all at inflated prices because the Trumps are only about making money and this shutdown is squeezing them financially. and of course Trump ordered Crozier fired. anyone who makes Trump look bad is out.

    1. The governor of Illinois was on NPR and he, too, said supplies got to FEMA, and then to resellers. It's just a stupid process.