Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Remember — A Marathon, Not A Sprint


Technology has sped up many processes in the years since Watergate, but it still takes just as long to incubate a homegrown tomato or a healthy baby. Trump’s unlikely to be the only person disappointed when Mueller doesn’t “wrap things up” in time for the New Year’s Eve champagne, but he may well be the most surprised. Per the Washington Post:

White House lawyers are expected to meet with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s office late this week seeking good news: that his sprawling investigation’s focus on President Trump will soon end and their client will be cleared.

But people familiar with the probe say that such assurances are unlikely and that the meeting could trigger a new, more contentious phase between the special counsel and a frustrated president, according to administration officials and advisers close to Trump…

White House lawyers have told the president he could be exonerated as early as the beginning of the year, after previously reassuring him that he would be cleared by Thanksgiving and Christmas, as The Washington Post previously reported. They have stated publicly that all White House interviews are over and that Mueller’s team is no longer seeking White House documents.

In the meeting this week, they plan to ask Mueller’s investigators if they need more information before reaching a conclusion that the probe as related to Trump is complete, according to a person familiar with the Trump team’s plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.

The question that White House lawyers will pose to the special counsel’s office, according to the person: “You’ve had all these witnesses, all these records. Is there anything else you need from the White House?”…

“I think it’s possible Mueller’s team could give them an idea of how much longer they anticipate their investigation will last,” said Peter Zeidenberg, the former deputy special counsel who helped investigate the leak of Valerie Plame’s covert role as a CIA operative. “I would be shocked if they have a timeline anything similar to what we’ve heard coming from the White House.”

“As far as a clean bill of health, I can’t imagine they are going to be prepared to make a decision like that at this point,” he said of the special counsel’s team. “They are not going to be in a position to make that call until they finish this case and finish discussing all the evidence they have.”

Mark Corallo, a former spokesman for Trump’s legal team, said he thinks it is unlikely that the probe wraps up by the end of the year, but he said he believes it could conclude in the spring. He said that Mueller is aware of the political implications surrounding his investigation.

“Bob understands you can’t have a president who is living under this cloud of uncertainty,” Corallo said, adding that he believes it is possible that the special counsel will at some point call Trump’s lawyers and say, “We are done with the president. There is nothing there.”…

The attacks on Mueller’s investigation grew this weekend after an attorney for the presidential transition told congressional investigators Saturday that thousands of pages of the organization’s communications were provided to Mueller by the federal General Services Administration.

Trump’s lawyers learned Mueller had the emails this month when witnesses were quizzed on the material. Some of the documents contained sensitive information that wasn’t related to the Russia investigation, according to a person familiar with the material.

A GSA spokeswoman declined to comment. Mueller’s team said it obtained all documents legally.


When President Gillibrand enters office in 2020 with 60 Democratic Senate seats and 250 House seats, we are all going to look back and say we’re proud we didn’t give up in 2017.

Update. Epic first comment.

Remember The Maine (Senator)!

Following up on Betty’s post below…

Pursuing the Maine chance, Susan Collins is all over a small part of the map on the Senate tax-theft/heath-care-wrecking/federal-overreach/America-gutting  bill.

She voted in favor of the motion to proceed, but she’s now signaling that she isn’t yet a solid “yes” on final passage:

Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins said on Thursday she was not committed to voting for the Senate tax bill, citing concerns over healthcare and a deduction for state and local taxes.

Collins told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast it would be “very difficult for me to support the bill if I do not prevail on those two issues” but she was encouraged by her discussions with leadership.

Hedge, dodge, waver and waffle:  the net is that she’s still susceptible to pressure.  I think she’s beginning to feel the heat on at least two talking points:  that the bill raises taxes on many, probably most of her constituents, which is a bad place for a New England Republican to be; and that the health care measures she’s been pursuing are fig leaves that will gut her loudly proclaimed commitment to preserving access for all those who have it now.

I called her DC office and left a message and then spoke to a weary staffer in one of her state offices.  I encourage you all to do the same — especially when you can leave a recording that doesn’t necessarily mark you as a non-Mainer.

Contact info for all her offices here.

Image: Alexander Coosemans, Still life with fruit and lobster before 1689.

Washington Man: Getting Freaky On the Highway Edition!

ELBE, Wash. (KOMO) – A naked man and woman were having sex in their car, while driving on State Route 7 with their baby in the back seat, when they crashed Wednesday night near La Grande, according to the State Patrol.

The crash happened around 6 p.m. in the 48400 block of Mountain Highway.

Troopers said the man was driving when he missed a curve, went off the road and crashed into a tree.

Witnesses told troopers both the man and woman were naked when they got out of the car. Troopers said they were also both impaired.

You’d expect this type of behavior to take place in Florida, and, historically, you’d be correct:

A couple seen having sex while driving on Interstate 95 followed a couple in another car who was watching them, eventually pulling a gun during a confrontation at a business, according to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said Louis Carr was in a car with his girlfriend and 3-year-old son driving north on I-95 at the Airport Road exit about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. They had left the Jaguars game early, and that’s when they say they saw Suzanne Welker giving Ernest Gonzales oral sex while Gonzales was driving a SUV.

“I pointed to my old lady. She looked across me about that time, she jumped up in the seat bare butt, mooned us through the window,” Carr said of the suspect.

While the couple was watching the suspects, they said Welker was trying to climb Gonzales’ lap, and she was naked and could be seen clearly by everyone in the area, deputies said.

Also, Wisconsin, wait, what?

A Wisconsin couple wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of their good time. Not even the beam of a police flashlight.

The man and woman were arrested Monday after being caught having sex in their car — and then refusing to stop.

According to the police report, Officer A. Westpfahl was called to Adams St. to investigate a report of someone suspiciously looking into cars. He didn’t find anyone, and began walking up to the home of the person who’d called 911 to talk to her.

As he approached her home, he said suddenly heard “what sounded like someone moaning.” Suddenly, the 911 caller called out from an open window on the second floor and said there were two people in front of her home having sex in a car.

At least the couple in Wisconsin were in a parked, though obviously not completely stationary, car.

Anyone else? Chicago, IL come on down! So to speak.

This whole thing gives new meaning to the term double airbags, 5th gear, and cruise control!

Alabama Ass Whuppin’

Let’s win this thing in Alabama.

We already met our goal for Doug Jones. And even better we met the overall goal I set for 2017 — a total of 50K raised here for several candidates. I don’t think we’ve ever raised over a few thousand in an odd year before. So thanks a lot to everybody! If you want to give more to Doug Jones, you can do so here.

Goal Thermometer

Young Voters entering middle age


I’m 37. I’m not quite a Generation X’er and I am definately not a Millenial. I bought my first cell phone my junior year of college and I am profoundly aware of the sound of a 1200 BAUD modem connecting to the UMass Lowell Unix servers as well as having many memories of yelling at my sister who wanted to talk on the phone as I was reading soc.history.what-if.

My first presidential vote was for Al Gore. By 2006, I was a super-voter. Since 2004 I have missed one election (Pennsylvania 2017 primary) as I had moved to North Carolina by then and was in the process of switching my registration. I am weird. For my cohort, I had a much higher probability of voting than my matched control peers.

My peers and I have always leaned Democratic as a cohort. We are now entering into prime voting participation ages. The cohorts behind me still don’t vote their numbers yet but they lean even more heavily Democratic than my cohort. Some of it is a function of race/ethnicity confounding age but there is still a dramatic implication that their political formation was Bush-Obama-Trump.

It won’t matter too much in 2018 or 2020 but there is a massive python lump of voters coming through who lean Dem but will begin turning out at higher rates just as Republican base voters decrease in numbers due to differential age related mortality.

Six Cassidy-Graham State Funds Flow Analyses

The post below is an inventory of six separate analysis of the flow of funds between states under Cassidy-Graham-Heller-Johnson in 2026 compared to current law as projected by the Congressional Budget Office. I am collecting and collating the information.

Center for Budget Policy and Priorities is a liberal think tank. They use the 2016 budget baseline and attempt to approximate eligibility through the Current Population Survey. They analyse state funding swings in millions of dollars.
The New York Times uses Census, Kaiser Family Foundation, CBPP and CMS data to estimate per capita changes in expenditure by state in 2026.
Manatt is a program design and evaluation consulting firm. They are using 2017 as their cost baseline year with 2015 Medicare spending variations to simulate state level risk adjustment.  I am using Table 1-A. They are evaluating just the change of federal flows to the state due to the block grants and not Medicaid. CBPP looks at both so it is an apples to kiwi fruit comparison.

Avalere is another consulting and analysis firm with their own estimates.  They are looking at total cumulative swing with billions of dollars as their unit of account.  Data is extracted from figure 1.  I will just show direction as I can not merge that data consistently.  If there is a figure of under $1 billion dollars, I am using $500 million as a placeholder.

Kaiser Family Foundation released their analysis on September 21. I am looking only at Table 1, which measures the change in ACA coverage elements (Medicaid Expansion and Exchange subsidies) for the time period 2020-2026.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Office of the Actuary released their numbers on Thursday night. I am just looking at the calendar year 2026 one year net swings in millions of dollars.

My data is here. I show direction and size for CBPP, Manat, Avalere, Kaiser and CMS and direction only for the New York Times .

More analysis below the fold:

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