Notes from around the Human Experience…
IF TRUMP IS INEVITABLE…: You must give President Donald Trump credit: he refuses to be anything but himself. In Texas to make the obligatory presidential visit to a natural disaster site – or as close to the disaster as it was practical to get him – Trump declined to take advantage of opportunities to look and sound presidential or even to look or sound human. This, of course, is completely in step with how he has conducted himself in the past.
Donald Being Donald: Despite the fact Trump won the November election, he treated this like another campaign rally, just like he did his stop in Arizona earlier this week. Like he has since he first declared for the GOP nomination two years ago, Trump talked big and offered nothing of substance.
We are going to get you back and operating immediately.
Good gravy, this isn’t even decent presidential rhetoric. It is, however, pure Trump. Despite the fact the Son of Man would have trouble getting Houston up and running immediately, much less the bureaucracy that is the federal government, there Trump was talking big when he should have had a better grip on the magnitude of the disaster and the enormous scope of what will be required to actually get Houston back and operating.
Let’s Go To Fred With The Weather: Hurricane Harvey has accounted for more rainfall than any other storm in continental United States history, breaking the record of 48 inches established, also in Texas, by Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978. It is still raining, of course, so Harvey’s final total is not known.
Back On Message: Faced with an opportunity to show some compassion and empathy Trump took a flier. Instead he, remarked at the size of the turnout while waving a Texas flag and wearing his usual tacky ballcap.
We want to do it better than ever before. We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now as, ‘This is the way to do it.’
Well, this is certainly better than saying he planned to emulate the government’s humiliating response to Hurricane Katrina. And maybe the government will do it better than ever before. Maybe the government learned its lessons from the Katrina debacle. Perhaps they will do some good fairly efficiently. Perhaps not.
Notice Me: If Trump was devoid of empathy for those suffering, perhaps it’s because he lacks empathy for himself. As he has shown time and time again, his only real talent – and only real concern – is drawing attention to Donald Trump. If he cares about anything other than that, he does a good job of keeping it to himself.
The Bottom Line: America tends to get the government they deserve and no one should be surprised at what we have now. Trump the president is no different than Trump the candidate or even Trump the private citizen. He has never offered anything other than blather and barring a conversion on par with St Paul that is all he will ever have for his country. We elected it and we have it for three-and-a-half more years.
IS THIS THE PARTY TO WHOM I AM SPEAKING?: The hotline between the Washington, DC and Moscow goes operational on this date in 1963. Almost interesting is the fact the hotline never consisted of telephone, much less a red one.
Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, a teletype was used, then a fax system was established and now it utilizes email, though it’s the second decade of the 21st century and why they can’t just Facetime is a mystery.
Dry, Technical Matter: Messages to Washington actually go to the Pentagon, where they are translated and sent to the White House Situation Room. The system is tested hourly, by the US during even hours and the Russians during odd hours. It has not been used for tactical communications since the Reagan/Gorbachev era.
FunFact: The US also has a similar hotline with Beijing, China. It was established in April, 2008.
Welcome Aboard: Thurgood Marshall is confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court on this date in 1967. He was the 96th associate justice and the first black to hold the position.
Before his nomination to the court, Marshall had been the Solicitor General of the United States, which is the person who represents the United States before the Supreme Court. Before working for the government Marshall was chief counsel for the NAACP and won numerous civil rights cases before the Supreme Court, including the landmark 1954 case Brown vs. Board of Education.
Marshall served on the Supreme Court for 24 years, earning a reputation as a judge who favored individual rights, particularly those accused of crimes, as well as abortion rights while opposing the death penalty. Marshall retired from the court in 1991 and died in 1993.
Quotebook: Men are a thousand times more intent on becoming rich than on acquiring culture, though it is quite certain that what a man is contributes more to his happiness than what he has. – Schopenhauer
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Billy Preston is the only musician to receive label credit on a Beatles record, for his contributions on the 1969 single Get Back. The performance was credited to The Beatles with Billy Preston.
Today’s Stumper: Who was the first justice to hold the supreme court seat occupied by Thurgood Marshall? – Answer next time!