Late Night Open Thread: COMPLICIT

Of course the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver don’t care — he’s out the door already — but let’s keep reminding those “low info voters” that EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN would just as soon see them dead, as long as it didn’t interfere with the GOP crime spree going so well right now…


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Open Thread: The Waffle House Weather Index

Srsly. Per the Washington Post:

Yes, that’s right: One of the South’s most popular breakfast chains plays an important role in hurricane forecasting. Waffle Houses are known for staying open through anything, so when the company actually decides to close one of its locations due to bad weather, it means the storm is an unusually bad threat. It’s called the Waffle House Index, and FEMA monitors it. Seriously.

Former FEMA administrator W. Craig Fugate came up with the Waffle House Index as a way to determine how an overall community was faring during a disaster.

“The Waffle House test doesn’t just tell us how quickly a business might rebound — it also tells us how the larger community is faring,” Dan Stoneking wrote on the FEMA Blog in 2011. “The sooner restaurants, grocery and corner stores, or banks can reopen, the sooner local economies will start generating revenue again — signaling a stronger recovery for that community.”

The Waffle House Index — which is, again, a real thing that our government uses — is color-coded. If Waffle Houses are open and offering a full menu, the index is green. If they’re offering a limited menu, it’s yellow. If locations in the affected area are forced to close, the index is red — and because Waffle Houses are very prepared, this is the rarest scenario…

Ah, capitalism. Putting workers’ lives at risk to be sure customers know your brand is reliable.



Wednesday Morning Open Thread

The Washington Post, company paper in a town where the monopoly industry is politics, certainly thinks so:

Republicans have grown increasingly worried about losing control of the Senate, as President Trump’s approval rating tumbles and Democrats gain steam in key battleground races.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday sounded some of the most doubtful notes of Trump’s presidency that Republicans will keep the upper chamber of Congress, telling reporters, “I hope when the smoke clears, we’ll still have a majority.”

His comments came as Republican strategists and officials fretted over a fresh round of private polling on the Senate races, while public polls registered further erosion in Americans’ approval of Trump. “Shipwreck” was how one leading strategist described the situation, adding an expletive to underscore the severity of the party’s problems…

At the start of Trump’s tenure, some Republicans envisioned enough wins to secure a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats, confident they could oust many of the 10 Democrats running in states Trump won in 2016. Even a few weeks ago, Republicans were talking more assuredly about flipping seats.

But less than two months till the Nov. 6 election, Republicans barely mention Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — states Trump won — as opportunities to knock out a Democrat, while McConnell reiterated that nine seats, plus Texas, were at stake.

“Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia and Florida. All of them too close to call, and every one of them like a knife fight in an alley; I mean, just a brawl in every one of those places,” McConnell told reporters in Louisville…

The dire warnings also could serve as a wake-up call to GOP donors for the final eight weeks of the campaign….

Sure, some of McConnell’s bluster is an old-school threat to those donors: Nice grift ya got goin’ here. Shame if some goo-goo Dems were to get voted in and take it away from ya. But more and more, it’s looking like a last desperate smash&grab, as the Repub looters stuff their pockets before the authorities show up.

It won’t be easy, rebuilding our institutions after the GOP arsonists are turfed out. But the ‘easy’ options — giving in to despair, or haring after third-party grifters — would only make things worse.



Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Remember, Remember…

That was my feeling, too. As soon as I could be sure my friends who actually worked in the towers were okay — at least physically. At least for the moment…



Open Thread: Woodward & All the President’s Minions

Bob Woodward’s massive volumes are not meant to be read from start to finish, any more than one would read the motel Yellow Pages alphabetically in search of an open diner. They are expensive objects meant to establish the buyer’s political savvy, or to search the index for anecdotes about one’s frenemies. Most of them roll out for the media tour under the hidden subtext that Everything Is Working Out for the Best; the newest — note the snappy title! — falls into the small & lethal category of This Subject Has Become A Problem And Will Be Dealt With Accordingly.

Yet despite Woodward’s sterling history among the highly credentialed, reviewers no longer seem completely convinced he can repeat his 1974 marketing coup. Isaac Chotiner, at Slate, says “Bob Woodward’s new book presents Trump staffers as our last line of defense. We’re doomed.”

Woodward’s book—which arrived at around the same time as the already infamous, still-currently anonymous New York Times op-ed about the men and women in the executive branch supposedly working to protect America from Donald Trump—is as much a portrait of the craven, ineffective, and counterproductive group of “adults” surrounding Trump as it is a more predictable look into the president’s shortcomings. It’s not entirely clear how aware Woodward is of what he has revealed about the people he’s quoting at length. (Sources tend to come off well in his books.) But intentionally or not, Fear will make plain to the last optimist that, just as Republicans in Congress are unlikely to save us, neither are the relative grown-ups in the Trump administration.

Is Woodward the last optimist? He obviously believes that Trump is unfit to be president, but a reader can’t quite shake the sense that he somehow thinks maybe, just maybe, things could be different with the right coaching or incentives. Fear is a book full of stories about Trump being contained; his instincts being thwarted; his worst qualities being slightly minimized by people who claim to be afraid of what would happen if they weren’t there. “It’s not what we did for the country,” former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn says early on. “It’s what we saved him from doing.” Quotes like this aim to settle the ethical debate—which has been going on from the start of the Trump presidency—over whether anyone should be working for a bigoted and corrupt president with no respect for democracy, even if they are planning to, in that most tiresome phrase, contain his worst impulses. But that conversation has obscured the more pressing question of what those supposedly well-intentioned individuals can actually accomplish from the inside. Even allowing for the self-serving nature of the accounts that Woodward offers here, the answer appears to be: not much.
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