State of Play

Far be it from us to stand in the way of the vitriol being heaped on Trumpcare. The vote was finally held, the measure passed, and now everyone who was in a rush to have beers with the President will have to live with the consequences of their action.

You might call that a pre-existing condition for the 2018 election.

But quickly after the vote, both the Washington Examiner and the Times came out with stories about the next steps for the bill: Across the Capitol, and into the trash.

We’ll cite the Examiner, since we saw their story first:

“A Senate proposal is now being developed by a 12-member working group. It will attempt to incorporate elements of the House bill, senators said, but will not take up the House bill as a starting point and change it through the amendment process.”

Timeline: Weeks.

That’s regarded as fast in legislative terms, but not fast enough to keep opponents from developing a full of head of steam, and being very loud about it. It’s certainly not fast enough to prevent the Congressional Budget Office from adding more ammunition when its analysis of the final House bill is released in the next week or two. And it provides plenty of time for everyone to actually read the bloody bill, a courtesy the House leadership denied after demanding for years that any bill be posted online for three days before a vote.

The House bill may be dead in the Senate, but its ghost will haunt the Capitol for a long time.

So, about that working group: Thirteen members now, not twelve. All Republicans. All men. Mitch McConnell is at the top, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee (who?) have seats, as do a couple of less-extremists.

(Oh, and Colorado’s Cory Gardner, who’s too chickenshit to talk to his constituents in person. Hello from Denver, Cory!)

Nobody knows what they’ll come up with, but they only have a couple votes to spare, and as Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy said Friday, any result will need to pass the “Jimmy Kimmel test” — meaning that a baby born with a heart condition cannot face an uninsurable life because of a pre-existing condition.

And no, Cassidy’s not a member of the working group.

So the working group will need to sell its work to the rest of Senate Republicans, not all of whom hail from deep-red states whose residents harbor deathwishes. And then, if you remember your Schoolhouse Rock, any Senate bill returns to the House, which may or may not be less excited to step in that same shit again.

Oh, and speaking of ghosts and shit, Donald Trump made more than a few promises about how his healthcare plan would provide ponies for everyone. The longer any bill is on the table, the more time everyone has to lovingly dwell on how the pitch compares to the product.

Our civic institutions being what they are these days, we can’t casually dismiss the possibility that this will come to a heinous end. But the House has voted to repeal Obamacare dozens of times before, and the Republican Senate has never bothered until now to follow through. It wasn’t worth the heat when any bill faced certain veto, and the temperature is much higher for a bill that faces certain enactment.



Okay – no spoilers


Season 1: pretty damn good

Holiday Episode: WOW

Season 2: One moment of purity. Might skip Season 3. Call it The LOST Effect. Life’s too short for bullshit.

@JNOV: Still trawling season 2. No issues, really. Nothing memorable, either.

@nojo: Exactly. Just meh. Teared up at one scene. The badass are still badass. The End.

One of the things I love about the show is that they film on location(s). Now it’s just an X-men knock off.

@JNOV: I think that’s it: The first season had a drive to it. Second season just lingers. It’s not Lost-like filler (never liked Lost), but the story-expanding details just drip out instead of build.

OK, this is the best article I’ve read all week:

Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong is not having a very good day.

Earlier on Saturday, Strong tweeted that the U.S. House of Representatives’ freshly-passed American Healthcare Act (AHCA) — also known as “Trumpcare” — has been examined and graded by the Congressional Budget Office.

“While we’re setting the record straight: AHCA was posted online a month ago, went through 4 committees, & has been scored by CBO — twice,” Strong tweeted.

The only trouble is that the bill has been amended since it was originally scored by the CBO in March and no one is exactly sure, now, how much the bill will cost or even everything that’s in it.

Even “Star Trek: The Next Generation” actress Marina Sirtis — who played Counselor Deanna Troi — piled on:

“You, young lady, are a lying sack of s**t.”

@¡Andrew!: I’m astonished to still find myself capable of “brazen” these days, but her performance (and others today), leads me to it.

Of course, that’s Trump’s trick: Fuck spin, just lie. I see everyone else is taking lessons.

@nojo: When Counselor Troi is cussing you out, it’s time to rethink your life choices.

@nojo: You know how sometimes you watch something because it confuses the hell out of you, and you want to understand it? That was Lost. Then I skipped a season or so (kinda like I’ve been about The Walking Dead since they left Terminus), and then I heard Lost got better, but it didn’t.

Now I’m stuck on Rectify, and I’m beginning to wonder just how many things could possibly go wrong in such a small town? The Snopes, man.

@JNOV: Walking Dead faces a problem of its own making: Once you’ve established and elaborated the premise, then what? Once you’ve visited two or three Crazytowns and learned that people are shitheads when left on their own, what next?

You can time that monent to the story arc of your choice: Terminus, Naive Village, whatever. But after awhile, you’ve seen one ruthless authoritarian leader, you’ve seen ’em all.

Twitler just axed Comey.

Comey is a scumbag, and we can largely thank him for Twitler’s rise to power. Hopefully Comey is feeling vengeful and will return fire on the way out.

@¡Andrew!: And release the Golden Shower tapes.

@nojo: But after awhile, you’ve seen one ruthless authoritarian leader, you’ve seen ’em all.

I did agree with you. Now I’m not so sure.

@JNOV: This one’s comical, if you’re into dark comedy. Firing Comey sealed Trump’s fate. I can’t say it’ll play out quickly, but the rest plays out.

@nojo: I like causing drama, not being punk’d. Crazy bastard. Man. I’m going to be one of those 16th Amendment yahoos and not send another fucking dime to this administration.

@JNOV & @nojo:
Comey was just bragging recently that we were stuck with him for the next few years til the end of his term, so he must be gobsmacked by this.

If a hard drive packed with damning evidence against President Rapist mysteriously appeared at The Washington Post, I wouldn’t pout.

@¡Andrew!: There was chatter yesterday that Comey was set up by the (rogue) NY office, about the count of emails actually sent to Huma/Weiner.

And it’s already out that Trump was fishing for a firing excuse last week, and put Sessions on it.

And, of course, chatter was that one or both grand juries were meeting this week.

Given the stated firing excuse, the NY part of the story is plausible, if not yet confirmed. Comey botched the Hillary investigation! Off with his head!

But really, has Trump learned nothing from his Russian masters? Your opponents need to disappear under mysterious circumstances, not with your knife in their back.

CNN: White House didn’t expect political fallout because Dems hated Comey too.

As TPM Josh likes to point out, the stupidest explanation for Trump usually wins.


@nojo: Yeah. That made me laugh.

The Saturday Night Massacre has been taking a few months.

@¡Andrew!: Dude has to buy his own plane ticket home. And wait in the plebs’ TSA line.

@JNOV: Ooops! Wow, I hope that’s humiliating enough to create a homicidal grudge.

@nojo: I’m getting tired of Toobin saying STOOjez

@JNOV: Well, that was the initial question: Why wasn’t this done Friday night or Saturday? That’s when you bury the bodies.

Answer: Trump thought this would be a distraction from the Yates testimony and other recent news. Dems want Comey gone too! Everybody wins!

Thank god he’s an idiot.

OMG – CNN is about to bring on Kelly Anne. Here comes the crazy.

@nojo: Right? I mean, who all has he fired that might be involved in an investigation and who all has had to recuse themselves:

That US Atty in NY
Well, all US Attys got fired, right?
Um…Sally Yates

Who else is gone?

Naw – Clapper was part of the regular new administration turnover.

“Two short weeks ago.” Okay

“Eleven short years ago.” O_o

Keep the blurbs coming, yo!

Aw, that’s kind. They’re letting him on the plane home.

Secret Service Dude Slaps Comey on the shoulder, like, “Yeah. Harsh.”

@JNOV: Pithier, longer-lasting. Should hold the fort until the weekend.

He was at a fucking recruiting event. OMG Just wow.

CORRECTION – NOT a recruiting event.

Yeah, good luck with getting anyone with a molecule of professional integrity to serve in the Twitler regime. No one with two brain cells to rub together is gonna chow down on that steaming shit sandwich.

So, who’s dedicated their entire life to destroying the FBI? Alex Jones?

@¡Andrew!: McCarthy!

We need a March for Intelligence.

@¡Andrew!: One of my Navy instructors from MizzOrAh:

“You don’t have two brain cells to rub together to make a spark.”

He didn’t say it to me, of course.

Hey – do you guys think the WH is really surprised people are going nuts over this? How could they not know? I mean, I do not want to believe the administration is this stupid. I imagine they play stupid like my step-mom so they can get free stuff.

@JNOV: The only explanation that makes sense is that they’re fucking idiots.

@JNOV: As a major fan of Occam’s razor, unfortunately I must confirm that they are both EEVILLE and STOOPID.

@JNOV: Remember as well that we’re dealing with the third-string GOP bench and ideological hacks here, since Establishment Republicans either went into hiding or were blackballed.

These are the people we used to mock for stupidity in state elections. Of course they’re capable of not seeing this coming.

Cats would do a better job. Maybe I’ll write a comic about it. I need an excuse to buy a Wacom tablet anyway. There’s another comic that’s been knocking around in my noggin’.

Okay – this is getting boring.

Oh, and how long before nuclear waste leaches into the Columbia?

@JNOV: Before?


Er, sorry.

I’m not aware of any offsite issues, but Hanford is certainly a toxic stew.

@nojo: I find comfort in knowing that Rick Perry has our best interests at heart.

I’m not sure where I heard this, I think it was in law school, but if someone ever says “Clearly….”, they’re lying.

Just wait til some flunky informs President Turkey Neck that Comerag is a RepubliKKKan.

RawStory is calling the regime “Game of Thrones for morons.”

N’PEECH! (Sounds like a 90s girl band).

Hey. So if someone “serves at the pleasure of the President”, can the President simply say, “I’m not pleased”, and leave it at that? I just called my Rep to see where he falls on the “meh” to “special prosecutor” spectrum. I was like, “Um, yeah. The timing is off”, and the guy who answered the phone laughed and was like, “Um…yeah…”

@JNOV: That’s an elegant phrase that means “fire at will”.

Of course, usually you offer the victim the opportunity to fall on his sword so he can spend more time with his family. There are so many delicious details to this, but one that really stands out is that Trump was so desperate to git ’er dun that he didn’t tell anyone.

@nojo: I think Trump is crazy, but I think he knew what he was doing and knew its execution was cruel. That was his intent, but it’s not going to be the shot across the bow he thinks. Doubling down in full effect.

In other news, Trump told The Economist that he coined the phrase “prime the pump.” How do you not get a fit of the giggles, literally belly aching giggles, those giggles where once you compose yourself and look at your friend, up come the giggles again, after hearing that crazyass claim? The fucking crying giggles. The giggles that revisit you out of the blue in quiet times or in a crowded elevator. The giggles where you wave concerned people off and assure them that you are okay but they get annoyed when you say, “It’s nothing. Really.”

And who gives a shit about a certified letter? Trump wants a return receipt?

@JNOV: I had what I called the Crazy Lady beat at the college rag, interviewing all the new-age crackpots who passed through town. The name was in honor of my first subject, but the genders were evenly mixed.

How do you keep a poker face? You just do. You’re fed bullshit all the time, especially by politicians. You roll with it, save your eyerolls for back at the newsroom. It’s not like you’re a TV personality, after all.

@JNOV: The thing about the certified letter is that Trump seems convinced it means something — or, I think more likely here, he seems convinced he can put it across as meaning something. (Trump’s stupid as shit, but he does have lawyers.)

If you don’t pay attention, doesn’t certified letter have a whiff of deposition under oath? They’re both sound important.

“Better hope they’re no tapes”? Shit’s getting real.

@JNOV: “Tapes” in quotes, because apparently Trump thinks quotes indicate emphasis.

But yes: It’s fun to watch him squirm, even as we all go to hell in the process.

Working in President Balls-On-His-Chin’s White Trash House has got to be a living hell.


@nojo: I mean, when I hear “tapes” and “president”, I think of Nixon, then Johnson cussing and being a dick, then I think about Johnson sleeping with Doris Kearns Goodwin, then I think of Gen. Petraus sleeping with whomever, detour to “hearts and minds,” then I get to Weiner and Rahm. <– bipolar disorder looks like this but much faster.

@JNOV: That’s exactly how my mind works: Unrelenting association.

In my case, I usually go straight to Nixon, since we weren’t aware of LBJ tapes at the time. The exception, of course, is the trouser bunghole phone call.

Comey declines invite to talk to Senste committee.

In closed session. Where he can totally spill.

Unless he’s holding out for an open hearing, I have no choice to anoint him the clueless idiot who enabled this whole mess. This is not to say he turned the election, but his behavior at minimum softened the ground.

@nojo: Yup! So your family and a few friends might be able to speak your language. The tape example isn’t great, but let’s say I start talking to my kid about Trump Tapes, and then I ask him if he knows the name of the person Petraeus slept with; he’ll see the jump from A to E. Otherwise I look really stupid/weird.

@JNOV: Embrace the Leap. I actually try to tune my associations to the audience, which makes for a creative challenge, especially as the audience distances me in demographics. Some things you just have to leave in storage.

The one person who really does pick up my language — and throws it back at me — is my brother. This might seem obvious, but he’s ten years younger, enough to make us both Only Children for much of our childhoods. We don’t have the filial bond as such, yet his humor is as dry and dark and sharp as mine. Nobody else comes close.

@nojo: I’m lucky my boss speaks freak.

Okay – Signal or WhatsApp?

I’m trying to lock this shit down because I see my job’s shit security as the biggest threat. I mean, the Chinese have my fingerprints, so that’s cool. I can’t remember how long the OPM was hacked before someone was like, hey!

@JNOV: Since I’m not worried about rampant security breaches, I’m happy with iMessage.

I know Signal is popular among the resistance cells inside the Trump administration, and I think WhatsApp is the one with a pretty solid reputation among geeks. But all I know of either is what I occasionally read about them.

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