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Current Events

Impeachment Bon Mots

I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is ‘yes.’

Ambassador Gordon Sondland, November 21, 2019
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Current Events

Impeachment Bon Mots

Because this is America. This is the country I’ve served and defended, that all of my brothers have served, and here, right matters.

Lt. Col. Vindman testimony, November 19, 2019
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Current Events

Real time harassment

In this surreal moment, at the same moment when they were talking about Trump on twitter, Trump tweeted and may have earned himself another article of impeachment for threatening a witness. Did he walk into a trap? Surreal.

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Current Events

Impeachment Bon Mots

David Holmes had a front row seat to a follow up phone call between Ambassador Sondland and the President. Here is a selection from his testimony,

The four of us went to a nearby restaurant and sat on an outdoor terrace. I sat directly across from Ambassador Sondland and the two staffers sat off to our sides. At first, the lunch was largely social. Ambassador Sondland selected a bottle of wine that he shared among the four of us, and we discussed topics such as marketing strategies for his hotel business.

During the lunch, Ambassador Sondland said that he was going to call President Trump to give him an update. Ambassador Sondland placed a call on his mobile phone, and I heard him announce himself several times, along the lines of “Gordon Sondland holding for the President.” It appeared that he was being transferred through several layers of switchboards and assistants. I then noticed Ambassador Sondland’s demeanor change, and understood that he had been connected to President Trump. While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the President’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The President’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume.

I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the President and explain that he was calling from Kyiv. I heard President Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelenskyy “loves your ass.” I then heard President Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Ambassador Sondland replied that “he’s gonna do it,” adding that President Zelenskyy will do “anything you ask him to.” Even though I did not take notes of these statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made. I believe that my colleagues who were sitting at the table also knew that Ambassador Sondland was speaking with the President.

David Holmes testimony, November 15, 2019

Trump was speaking so loudly, Sondland had to hold the earpiece of his phone away from his face, that is why David Holmes could overhear Trump say, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?”

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TWTW

The week that was (11-15-19)

The plan was to fly a private plane slow and low and dump 350 gallons of appropriately colored water to reveal the gender of their future baby. Unfortunately the aircraft, suddenly 350 gallons lighter, “aerodynamically stalled, impacted terrain, and came to rest inverted.”

NASA unveiled its first all-electric aircraft. This prototype will most definitely not be used for gender reveals.

Teenagers are pranking high schools with a new and unexploited vector – Google Maps photos. For some reason, Alf is showing up everywhere.

Burners are going mainstream. There are museum openings and there will soon be a musical. Burning Man the Musical follows Sparkle Pony, a recent college grad, and her journey of finding herself at Burning Man. The video promo is a must see.

In what most certainly will be one of their best-selling editions, Railway Modeller magazine ran an exclusive cover story on Rod Stewart’s “magnificent” layout.

Feral hogs raiding an Italian drug dealer’s cocaine stash was too good a headline to resist so everyone wrote about it.

The Baby Trump protest balloon was brutally murdered outside a University of Alabama football game when someone sliced it with a razor blade. There are now competing fundraising efforts, one for the Baby and one for the protestor.

In the Bay Area, a man was handcuffed and cited for eating a sandwich on a train platform. Outrage at the heavy-handed police action sparked sandwich-eating protests and “eat-ins.” BART later apologized.

66-year-old Tay Boon Keh was not happy with his working conditions as a baggage handler so he decided to extract revenge by swapping luggage tags on 286 bags, a real-life version of chaos engineering.

Aeroflot has stripped Mikhail Galin of his frequent flier miles for sneaking his cat into the cabin of an airplane. Viktor, his 17 lbs. cat, was clearly over the weight limit of in-cabin pets and his switcheroo scheme fell apart when he posted photos on Facebook.

Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy announced he’s going back into treatment for pancreatic cancer and one of the contestants showed his support and touched a chord.

For the second time in three years coastal Florida modified its building codes to account for rising sea levels caused by climate change. The Veneto regional council in Venice, Italy was not as wise.

All wildlife, including a herd of wild horses, were feared lost months ago when a storm surge swept their island home clean. All except for three cows who managed a 4-mile swim to the island where they were found this week adding new meaning to the phrase, “when the cows come home.”

A dad took a photo of his daughter every week, for 20 years

Photo credit: from r/AccidentalRenaissance

Categories
Current Events

Impeachment Bon Mots

Ambassador Taylor had to reach for his water before dropping this one.

Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about “the investigations.” Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.

Ambassador William B. Taylor, Opening Statement – 11-13-19

Imagine how loud the President must have been talking into his phone for someone sitting nearby to be able to overhear and recognize not only his voice but the words.

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Current Events

Finding Balance

Jeff Sessions visited Northwestern University to give a talk. There were protests. In one, students forced their way into the room and broke some things. Northwestern Daily, the school paper, reported on the event and interviewed some of the protestors and the reporters shared some of their photos.

Some people got mad. Said their privacy was violated. Said they could be kicked out of school now that they’ve been identified.

The editor apologized for publishing names and photographs of the protesting students. “Going forward, we are working on setting guidelines for source outreach, social media and covering marginalized groups.” Said they would try harder to adhere to the SPJ Code of Ethics (a very concise and well-written guide btw.)

Other people got mad. Said that there was no need to apologize for doing what any journalist should do, journalism.

Into this fracas Charles Whitaker, the Dean of the School of Journalism, published a statement which starts out formally but wraps up with this wonderfully folksy appeal that strikes just the right balance, inviting participation amongst the students and telling the adults to respectfully let the kids work things out for themselves.

So to our student activists, I say let’s have a dialogue about what journalism is and what you might expect when you hold a protest in a public setting. Feel free to critique the coverage. That’s what The Daily’s opinion pages are for. Better yet, join the staff. The Daily is not and should not be the lone provenance of Medill students. I assure you, your input would be welcomed. But waging war on our students on social media—threatening them both physically and emotionally—is beyond the pale. Our community deserves a more civil level of discourse.

And to the swarm of alums and journalists who are outraged about The Daily editorial and have been equally rancorous in their condemnation of our students on social media, I say, give the young people a break. I know you feel that you were made of sterner stuff and would have the fortitude and courage of your conviction to fend off the campus critics. But you are not living with them through this firestorm, facing the brutal onslaught of venom and hostility that has been directed their way on weaponized social media. Don’t make judgments about them or their mettle until you’ve walked in their shoes. What they need at this moment is our support and the encouragement to stay the course.

Charles Whitaker, Dean, Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism

We are living in different times. The sooner we can let the kids work things out, the sooner they can teach us how things have changed.

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Current Events

A lifetime in two minutes

It’s been awhile since I’ve used the advertising tag to highlight ads that cross over that line to something more than just marketing. This two-minute commercial from Renault qualifies.

“Many things have changed in those thirty years,” added Dave Monk, Executive Creative Director at Publicis-Poke, who produced the ad. “While technology, design, attitudes and culture will always shift and change, one thing will always stay the same as long as humans have hearts. The love story. This is a simple and universal tale of two souls on their own enduring journey of life, love and passion.”

Out
Categories
Current Events

A night at the museum

Stopped by the Oakland Museum of California on the way home from work yesterday to check out the Burning Man block party. All the Burner Royalty were there with folks dressed to the nines. Lots of families but also many older folks that dusted off their old playa gear (furry coats, top hats, scarves, lights, and goggles) to show up for a celebration of their culture.

The Fire Dancers from The Crucible were there,

There was a temple,

Bliss was there as well, under a full moon,

Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane

There was this crazy gamelan band that sounded like Thai monks on speed. They were doing this funny dance/performance with these Tibetan cymbals that sounded like nothing I’ve ever heard before.

Gamelan X

Finally there was a funky brass band that sounded like a you feel when you’re running really fast on the top of a ridge, just barely in control.

Mission Delirium

Definitely had a good time – always worth it taking the long way home!

Categories
TWTW

The week that was (11-8-19)

So Oliva Newton-John’s iconic leather jacket and skintight pants she wore in the movie Grease ended up going for over $400,000. Next up are Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk socks that Footwear News optimistically expects to fetch over $1 million.

Russia decided to crack down on hip-hop music because of it’s rebellious and anti-authoritarian message, which made it even more popular.

The makers of the game Grand Theft Auto have not paid corporate tax for the past 10 years.

Stepping up their service animal game, one person brought a small horse on the BART train.

The Marines are getting soft. Umbrellas are now allowed, “at their option during inclement weather.”

UC San Diego is experimenting with roads made from recycled plastic.

Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry stepped down after being accused of gifting his constituents over-priced melons.

A Virginia woman who was fired from her job at a federal contractor after flipping off President Trump’s motorcade in 2017 turned her political frustrations into action, and won a local election on Tuesday.

Krispy Kreme realized they had a PR disaster on their hands when the news got out that they were cease-and-desisting one student entrepreneur’s grey market importing operation. They backed off and will pay for his college tuition as well.

We learned that Google serves pizza topped, upon special request, with mealworms.

Enjoy your lunch!

Photo credit: Senator Mitch McConnell gets photo-bombed