Friday Reads: Ain’t Dere No More

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I moved to New Orleans sight unseen in 1995 to discover that there were many people and traditions worth getting to know. I met the Chicken Man, Ruthie the Duck Girl, Tuba Fats, an original Rockette, and Mr Merrill of ‘that’ family who tooled around in his electric wheel chair with a seer sucker jacket, straw hat, and white shoes and pants in all kinds of seasons. He was usually in the company of a very young Hispanic man which I understand was why his family suggested he leave Manhattan and gave him the wherewithal to do so. I remember meeting two svelte and gorgeous elderly women on the steps of the hotel next to the cornstalk fence. One of them had been a mistress to Humphrey Bogart. A lot of the most colorful Queens that hung out at the original seedy version of The Golden Lantern were big Broadway stars in their day.

Ruthie

One of the fixtures of the city that passed by my home here daily has passed on. I’ve missed his fresh fruit and veggies, his brightly colored truck, and his song amplified by a bull horn listing the contents of available goods recently as he’s been doing poorly. Mister Okra was one of the last of the street venders here and he passed yesterday. He’s one of those folks that I discovered here that could be from no place else.

So, any way, enjoy the pictures and lets get to the reads.

Trump and his appointments are completely a basket of deplorables. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is a deplorable snowflake killing our natural resources. But, please don’t tell him that or it will cost us first class flight upgrades. Both Pruitt and DeVoss at Education can’t take heat.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt began flying first class in May when his security team determined that it would help him avoid confrontations, Henry Barnet, the director of the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, told Politico on Thursday.

Barnet said that Pruitt “was approached in the airport numerous times, to the point of profanities being yelled at him and so forth.” He did not say what incident in May prompted the switch in protocol, but he offered an example from October.

Someone approached Pruitt and said, “‘Scott Pruitt, you’re f—ing up the environment,’ those sort of terms,” Barnet told Politico.

Barnet said that Pruitt’s team leader determined that flying first class would help Pruitt avoid any confrontations.

“The team leader felt that he was being placed in a situation where he was unsafe on the flight,” Barnet told Politico. “We felt that based on the recommendation from the team leader, the special agent in charge, that it would be better suited to have him in business or first class, away from close proximity from those individuals who were approaching him and being extremely rude, using profanities and potential for altercations and so forth.”

Pruitt has faced an uptick in threats from previous EPA administrators, but none of those threats were related to air travel, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General told Politico.

Tuba Fats

And we have another one: “VA secretary David Shulkin’s chief of staff retiring amid travel report findings.”

Shulkin confirmed the move to USA TODAY and said he intends to continue in his post and remains commited to fulfilling President Trump’s agenda in overhauling the VA.

He apologized earlier this week for mistakes he and his staff made in planning and taking the trip last July. He reimbursed the government for his wife’s airfare and is seeking to reimburse a British veterans’ advocate for Wimbledon tickets he and his wife accepted improperly.

“I am committed to continuing the work that I came here to do, which is to support the president’s agenda to reform the VA and fix the VA the way that veterans deserve, the care and services they’ve earned,” he said. “And I am going to remain focused on that task and I am not going to get distracted from what we have to do.”

The Chicken Man

Ronan Farrow has interviewed one of Trump’s dalliances for The New Yorker. It evidently takes a village to cover his tracks. I now know more than I want about an arrangement called “catch-and-kill.”

As the pool party at the Playboy Mansion came to an end, Trump asked for McDougal’s telephone number. For McDougal, who grew up in a small town in Michigan and worked as a preschool teacher before beginning her modelling career, such advances were not unusual. John Crawford, McDougal’s friend, who also helped broker her deal with A.M.I., said that Trump was “another powerful guy hitting on her, a gal who’s paid to be at work.” Trump and McDougal began talking frequently on the phone, and soon had what McDougal described as their first date: dinner in a private bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. McDougal wrote that Trump impressed her. “I was so nervous! I was into his intelligence + charm. Such a polite man,” she wrote. “We talked for a couple hours – then, it was “ON”! We got naked + had sex.” As McDougal was getting dressed to leave, Trump did something that surprised her. “He offered me money,” she wrote. “I looked at him (+ felt sad) + said, ‘No thanks – I’m not ‘that girl.’ I slept w/you because I like you – NOT for money’ – He told me ‘you are special.’ ”

George Dureau

Well, Romney isn’t taking up knitting any time soon.

Former 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Friday that he’s running for Senate in Utah, saying that “I am ready to fight for this great state and advocate for solutions that improve the lives of Utahns.”

Romney was widely expected to enter the race after Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said in January that he wouldn’t run for reelection.

“I am running for United States Senate because in these trying times there is no better moment to bring Utah’s values to Washington. Utah’s economic and political success is a model for our nation,” Romney said.

Tennessee Williams behind a friend

I hope their words connect with the right hearts.

I also wish Lady Lindsey best of luck with this: “White House, Lindsey Graham go to war over immigration.”

“Who the hell wrote this?”

That’s how Sen. Lindsey Graham described his furious reaction to a Department of Homeland Security statement condemning a Senate immigration plan carefully crafted by Republicans and Democrats.

Graham has been working for months on writing a proposal that could win Senate approval. He’d spoken to President Donald Trump just days earlier, warning him, “I want to work with (you), but I’m not going to tolerate … some of the things coming out of this White House.”

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