Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

While I was browsing for interesting stories this morning, I watched Trump’s embarrassing speech at the opening of the 9/11 center at NATO headquarters. He began with a lecture on how the U.S. is paying so much for defense and other countries are failing to meet the 2% GDP requirement. How long is he going to keep beating this dead horse?

After that, he seemed to imply that NATO had spent too much money on the 9/11 memorial. He said that the U.S. would not abandon NATO, but he did not reaffirm article 5, which states that if one NATO country is attacked, all have been attacked.

Last night a reporter for The Guardian, Ben Jacobs, was assaulted by the GOP candidate for the House in Montana.

The Guardian: Republican candidate charged with assault after ‘body-slamming’ Guardian reporter.

The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he is alleged to have slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor on the eve of the state’s special election, breaking his glasses and shouting: “Get the hell out of here.”

Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire endorsed by Donald Trump, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.

Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs

“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “I think he whaled on me once or twice … He got on me and I think he hit me … This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey witnessed the incident at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Montana, according to an account published on the Fox News website. After Jacobs asked Gianforte his question, Acuna wrote: “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.

“Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’ … To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.”

At least 3 Montana newspapers have now unendorsed Gianforte, and the election is today.

This might explain Gianforte’s anger toward Jacobs and the Guardian. On April 28, Jacobs published this story on Gianforte, whom Trump endorsed in voice message: GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies.

A Republican congressional candidate has financial ties to a number of Russian companies that have been sanctioned by the US, the Guardian has learned.

Greg Gianforte, who is the GOP standard bearer in the upcoming special election in Montana, owns just under $250,000 in shares in two index funds that are invested in the Russian economy to match its overall performance.

According to a financial disclosure filed with the clerk of the House of Representatives, the Montana tech mogul owns almost $150,000 worth of shares in VanEck Vectors Russia ETF and $92,400 in the IShares MSCF Russia ETF fund. Both are indexed to the Russian equities market and have significant holdings in companies such as Gazprom and Rosneft that came under US sanctions in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of the Crimea.

The Moron-In-Chief is now in trouble with two countries and the U.S. Department of Defense for his blabbing of top secret intelligence. First it was Israel, now the U.K.

Politico: Israel changes intelligence sharing with US after Trump’s revelations to Russia.

Israel has changed the way it shares intelligence with the U.S., Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday. The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump divulged to Russia classified information reportedly obtained from Israel.

“We discussed the issue with our friends in America,” Liberman said in an interview with Army Radio. “We did our checks.” The defense chief didn’t specify what changes had been made, saying: “Not everything needs to be discussed in the media, some things need to be talked about in closed rooms.” ….

Israel has changed the way it shares intelligence with the U.S., Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday. The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump divulged to Russia classified information reportedly obtained from Israel.

Manchester police making arrests after bombing

The Guardian: UK police stop passing Manchester bombing information to US over leaks.

British police have stopped sharing evidence from the investigation into the terror network behind the Manchester bombing with the United States after a series of leaks left investigators and the government furious.

The ban is limited to the Manchester investigation only. British police believe the leaks are unprecedented in their scope, frequency and potential damage.

Downing Street was not behind the decision by Greater Manchester police to stop sharing information with US intelligence, a No 10 source said, stressing that it was important police were allowed to take independent decisions.

Relations between the US and UK security services, normally extremely close, have been put under strain by the scale of the leaks from US officials to the American media.

After chairing a meeting of the emergency Cobra meeting Theresa May said: “I will make clear to President Trump that intelligence shared between our security agencies must remain secure.” She is due to meet the US president at a Nato summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Not Good.

As for the Defense Department’s reaction to Trump leaks, have you read the transcript of Trump’s call to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte? It’s beyond shocking. Not only did the Moron-in-Chief praise Duterte for his extra-legal murders of suspected drug dealers and addicts, but also he revealed the location of two U.S. nuclear submarines!

Trump’s good buddy Rodrico Duterte

Reuters: Trump praises Duterte for anti-drug campaign in call transcript.

Trump commended Duterte’s actions in the same call in which the U.S. president invited him to Washington, according to a transcript of their conversation published by the Washington Post and the investigative news site The Intercept. The document included a “confidential” cover sheet from the Americas division of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

Almost 9,000 people, many small-time drug users and dealers, have been killed in the Philippines since Duterte took office on June 30. Police say about one-third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defense during legitimate operations. Human rights groups say official accounts are implausible.

“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” Trump told Duterte, according to the transcript.

“Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

Duterte thanked Trump and said “this is the scourge of my nation now and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation.”

“I think we had a previous president who did not understand that,” Trump replied.

And then there was this:

The attack submarine USS San Francisco (SSN 711) is escorted by two harbour tugs in this file picture. – Wikimedia Commons

Buzzfeed: The Pentagon Can’t Believe Trump Told Another President About Nuclear Subs Near North Korea.

Pentagon officials are in shock after the release of a transcript of a call between President Donald Trump and his Philippines counterpart revealed that the US military had moved two nuclear submarines towards North Korea.

“We never talk about subs!” three officials told BuzzFeed News, referring to the military’s belief that keeping submarines’ movements secret is key to their mission.

While the US military will frequently announce the deployment of aircraft carriers, it is far more careful when discussing the movement of nuclear submarines. Carriers are hard to miss, and that, in part, is a reason the US military deploys them. They are a physical show of force. Submarines are, at times, a furtive complement to the carriers, a hard-to-detect means of strategic deterrence.

According to the transcript, released Wednesday, Trump called Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte April 29, in part to discuss the rising threat from North Korea. During that call, while discussing ways to mitigate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s nuclear ambitions, Trump said: “We have two submarines — the best in the world. We have two nuclear submarines — not that we want to use them at all. I’ve never seen anything like they are but we don’t have to use this, but [Kim] could be crazy, so we will see what happens.”

It takes a madman to recognize another madman, I guess. In reading the transcript, I got the feeling that Trump would like nothing more than to use those nukes. But now, all our enemies know where they can fine our nuclear subs.

By announcing the presence of nuclear submarines, the president, some Pentagon officials privately explained, gives away the element of surprise — an irony given his repeated declarations during the campaign that the US announces far too many of its military plans when it comes to combatting ISIS.

Moreover, some countries in the region, particularly China, seek to develop their anti-sub capability. Knowing that two US submarines are in the region could allow them to test this.

Finally, it is unclear why Duterte would need to know the specific number of subs in the region. The Philippines is not a part of US military efforts to deter North Korea, so why would Duterte need to know such details?

There is so much Trump Russia news that I’ll have to give you the rest as links only.

Three big stories broke last night, and I posted them on JJ’s thread.

NYT: Top Russian Officials Discussed How to Influence Trump Aides Last Summer.

WaPo: How a dubious Russian document influenced the FBI’s handling of the Clinton probe.

CNN: AG Sessions did not disclose Russia meetings in security clearance form, DOJ says.

More Trump Russia stories:

Politico: Manafort advised Trump team on Russia scandal.

Daily Beast: Reince Priebus Sweating Secret Comey Memos, White House Sources Say.

The Atlantic: The Known Unknowns of the Russia Investigation.

Politico: White House tries to avoid ‘paralysis’ amid investigation.

Other News:

NBC News: Trump Failing to Track Foreign Cash at His Hotels.

Axios: Trump’s “street fighters.”

NBC News: Ben Carson Says ‘Poverty Is a State of Mind.’

The Atlantic: Pope Francis, Trump Whisperer?

Bloomberg: Obama Feted in Berlin as He Praises Merkel Before Trump Summits.

What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread below, and I hope you enjoy your day.


Wednesday Reads: Mental Case.

Good Afternoon.

How many of you are feeling like this poor women in this old 1940’s mug shot…who’s only crime is simply described as:

“MENTAL CASE.”

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She looks so tired. Those bags under her eyes…with permanent wrinkles on her forehead. Her hair is surely neat and well-kept for someone who has been arrested for being a mental case, don’t you think? She is dressed up, I mean…she isn’t disheveled at all.

I wished I had the wherewithal to at least put myself together as well as she has when I head out to the local Walmart or Food Shitty. (Pardon, Food City.)

I’m actually going into this post blind because of internet issues that have made it difficult for me to read any news accounts online. Lack of cell service is also a problem, so I cannot even go on my phone to check up on the world outside Banjoville.

I guess the big news today is the election of a new Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Theresa May: unpredictable, moralistic, and heading to No 10 | Politics | The Guardian

For a woman on the verge of running the country, Theresa May has seemed almost preternaturally calm over the past few days.

“She’s basically the same as ever; quite relaxed and cheerful. There’s no sense of the prison shades falling,” says a longstanding friend who has observed her closely during the campaign. But then, unlike Andrea Leadsom, seemingly badly shaken by a single weekend of hostile media coverage, May knew better than anyone what to expect.

Over the past six years, May has weathered riots, sat in on a decision to go to war, and chaired an emergency Cobra meeting in the prime minister’s absence following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.

She has been diligently doing her homework for years and, while even she did not foresee David Cameron resigning in these circumstances (let alone the collapse of all other contenders), she is as ready as she will ever be. The question is whether that is anywhere near ready enough for the turbulent times ahead.

Tory grandee Ken Clarke’s unguarded remarks about her being a “bloody difficult woman”probably did May nothing but good with female voters – and she turned them to her own advantage at the last parliamentary hustings, promising that European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker would soon find out how “bloody difficult” she could be.

But even her friends concede Clarke has a point. “She can be a bugger,” says one otherwise admiring colleague succinctly. “Not easy to work with.” May fights her corner tigerishly and, unusually for a politician, she does not seem bothered about being liked.

It is typical of her take-me-or-leave-me approach that she managed to win the support of almost two-thirds of her parliamentary colleagues despite refusing to bribe waverers with job offers. “You can’t go in and say, ‘Make me under-secretary of state for sproggets and badges and you’ve got my support’,” says Eric Pickles, the ex-cabinet minister and longstanding ally. “That’s not how she operates. You’ve got to take her unconditionally.”

Theresa May must raise game on human rights, charities warn | UK Politics | News | The Independent

theresa-may.jpg

Theresa May’s position as Home Secretary often put her at odds with campaigners over human rights GETTY

Theresa May must improve her and Britain’s record on human rights now that she is becoming Prime Minister, campaigners have warned.

Amnesty UK and Reprieve are amongst charities calling for the former Home Secretary to commit to a fresh start on issues like UK complicity in torture, and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ms May has previously said she would consider pulling out of said Convention, but made clear during her leadership campaign that that policy was now off the table.

She has also been criticised for masterminding a policy of sending vans around Britain telling undocumented migrants to “go home or face arrest”. Heavily anti-immigration themes in her speech at Conservative party conference 2015 were also rubbished by campaigners.

Donald Campbell, head of communications at, Reprieve told the Independent that as Home Secretary Ms May had presided over “worrying” secrecy but expressed hope that things might change.

“At times, Theresa May’s Home Office has been worryingly secretive on human rights issues,” he said.

“For example, they have frequently refused to disclose information on funding and training for overseas police forces which could lead to people being tortured and executed.

“We hope that the new prime minister will place greater emphasis on transparency and accountability, and ensure Britain no longer provides assistance which could end up supporting torture and the death penalty around the world.

“At home, she must deliver an independent, judge led inquiry into uk involvement in the CIA torture programme- a promise made, but then abandoned, by her predecessor.”

We might have Theresa May as PM but, make no mistake, we’re still heading for a ‘hard Brexit’ | Voices | The Independent

The Leavers have had a tough two weeks. First Johnson, then Gove, and finally Leadsom, all vanquished – no wonder David Cameron was whistling. The next occupant of Number 10 will be from the same side of the Conservative Party as him. George Osborne will either stay as Chancellor or be replaced by another advocate of Remain. The grim faces of Leadsom’s supporters on Monday morning told the story: they were outdone.

But there is more to come from Leave. The facts of political life under Brexit still favour them. For a start, Prime Minister Theresa May will rely on Leavers for a parliamentary majority. Then, as Government business resumes under a new ministerial team inevitably featuring many Leavers, the day-to-day reality of still being bound by EU law will create controversy.

It might be the proposal for state aid to stop a factory from closing, a new judgement from a European Court, the burdens on business of a new directive, or something entirely bananas – all the ways in which Leavers have styled outrage in the past over Europe are still available to them now.

The new PM will say, of course, that it’s only a matter of time until we’re on our way out. Yet if she wants to keep open the option of joining the European Economic Area then European laws will not be shed so easily. We won’t be free with one bound, the Leavers will discover, and then the question is whether they will stay quiet out of loyalty or speak to voters about this perceived treachery.

Theresa May becomes prime minister and appoints Boris Johnson foreign secretary – politics live | Politics | The Guardian

Let me repeat that:

Boris Johnson foreign secretary 

Oh wow, that is a shame.

From the Guardian’s live feed:

Be sure to click here to see the latest updates.

Theresa May is Queen Elizabeth’s 13th British prime minister. She probably won’t be her last. – The Washington Post

Queen Elizabeth II has seen it all before — 12 times before, to be precise.

On Wednesday, she said goodbye to David Cameron, her 12th prime minister, and hello to Theresa May, her 13th.

While a political earthquake has shook Westminster to its core and triggered the resignations of a number of politicians, the queen has managed to do what she always does: reign above the fray.

One thing I find interesting, from a personal perspective:

New UK Prime Minister Brings Spotlight to Type 1 Diabetes

Today Theresa May becomes the second woman to serve as prime minister of the United Kingdom, but she’ll be the first major world leader living with type 1 diabetes.

Mrs May, 59, replaces David Cameron and will face what is likely to be an intense, drawn-out process negotiating the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (aka “Brexit”) as the country voted to do on June 23 (or work out some alternative, although she has vowed to proceed, stressing that “Brexit means Brexit”). And all the while she’ll also have to manage her type 1 diabetes, which she was diagnosed with just 4 years ago while she was the United Kingdom’s home secretary.

In July 2013, a few months after her diagnosis, she spoke publicly about the challenge and how she was meeting it. She told the UK Daily Mail : “It was a real shock and, yes, it took me a while to come to terms with it,” but “the diabetes doesn’t affect how I do the job or what I do. It’s just part of life…so it’s a case of head down and getting on with it.”

She was 56 years old at the time and had been losing weight, feeling tired, and drinking a lot of fluids but attributed those to job stress and a fitness program she had recently begun. She was initially misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes — a common occurrence in those who develop autoimmune diabetes in adulthood — and finally diagnosed with type 1 in November 2012.

Following her diagnosis, Mrs May attended several events sponsored by the JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) in the United Kingdom, including a ball in 2015 that raised £620,000 to support the organization, according to the group’s website.

Theresa May [Source: Matt Dunham/AP]

Whether she’ll continue that advocacy as prime minister and how she’ll manage her own condition going forward remain to be seen.

Obviously the main point now is how she will handle the mess she is inheriting from Cameron…but I do think it is important for those people with the T1D (Type 1 Diabetes) to have a fellow sufferer of this disease… someone with her position and standing in the world, to look to as an example that T1D is not life debilitating. As long as you take care of yourself.

There are plenty of other links regarding Ms May at the Guardian and Independent sites above.

 

One more link before I go…my internet is giving me problems.

Scientists find new two-fingered dinosaur — and a curse

Maybe this dinosaur really, really didn’t want to be found.

Scientists digging for fossils in rural Argentina found themselves beset by misfortune, ranging from bureaucratic interference to a serious truck accident. Now the researchers have given an appropriate name to the strange new species they finally discovered: Gaulicho, the local word for a curse.

If bad luck befalls anyone in the region where the fossil was uncovered, “people say that somebody made a gualicho on you,” says paleontologist Sebastián Apesteguía of the Azara Foundation in Buenos Aires, co-author of a study in this week’s PLOS ONE about the new animal. Of all the dinosaurs he’s worked on recently, “this was the most difficult by far.”

Gualicho was found on the second-to-last day of the scientists’ research at the site. Study co-author Peter Makovicky recalls he jokingly ordered one of his workers “to go find something.” Minutes later, “she did.”

What she found was a meat-eating dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous that stood upright on two slender legs, making it “reasonably speedy,” says Makovicky of TheField Museum in Chicago. It weighed as much as a big Clydesdale and would’ve towered over a six-foot-tall human.

But Gualicho could’ve used a little upper-body work. Its short arms — roughly as long as a child’s — were shriveled and apparently not very useful. Instead, the animal probably relied on powerful jaws to grab and grip its quarry, scientists say.

Gualicho is in good company. Both T. rex and its fellow tyrannosaurs had stumpy arms, as did a separate clan of upright carnivorous dinosaurs. But Gualicho is on a different branch on the dinosaur family tree from the others, meaning it must have evolved puny arms independently.

If you want a look at what this dinosaur look like, go to the link…

Gualicho is not only a separate example but also a weird one. Some of its body parts, such as its hind limbs, look like they belong to more primitive animals, while its two-fingered “hands” look like those of the formidable T. rex. Gualicho is a pastiche of a dinosaur, making it difficult for researchers to understand exactly how it relates to others.

Have a good afternoon and evening…

This is an open thread.

 


Thursday Reads: Trump is a Complete Idiot, Plus Brexit Chaos

Grace Kelly with kitten

Grace Kelly with kitten

Good Afternoon!!

Where I live it already feels like the long weekend has begun. Even yesterday, there was very little traffic in my town. I welcome the peace and quiet. I had a very lazy day yesterday, and today is feeling pretty lazy too. I started another mystery and I’m thinking about doing some TV binge watching over the weekend. I hope there won’t be a whole lot of horrible news for the next four-and-a-half days.

Today, I’m seeing tons of negative stories about Donald Trump. I can’t figure out if the man is just plain stupid or cognitively impaired. It’s obvious he’s a malignant narcissist, as Dakinikat has repeatedly pointed out. But we’ve also discussed the possibility that Trump could be suffering from some kind of dementia–after all, his father had Alzheimer’s disease. Anyway here are a few interesting links on Trump’s latest fiascos.

MSNBC: After Saying He Forgave Loans to Campaign, Trump Won’t Release Proof.

When Donald Trump said last Thursday he was forgiving over $45 million in personal loans he made to his campaign, the announcement drew plenty of coverage. Many even reported Trump’s statement as if the deal was done.

But it’s not.

A week later, NBC News has learned the FEC has posted no record of Trump converting his loans to donations. The Trump Campaign has also declined requests to share the legal paperwork required to execute the transaction, though they suggest it has been submitted.

Last week, campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks said Trump was submitting formal paperwork forgiving the loan on Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Reached by NBC this week, she said the paperwork “will be filed with the next regularly scheduled FEC report,” and declined to provide any documentation.

The delay could matter, because until Trump formally forgives the loans, he maintains the legal option to use new donations to reimburse himself. (He can do so until August, under federal law.)

Henri Matisse working in bed, with cat

Henri Matisse working in bed, with cat

Trump is either a real cheapskate or he can’t spare that money. This is reminiscent of the time he lied about having given $1 million to veterans groups and only coughed up the money when the Washington Post called him out.

From Buzzfeed: Sources: Donald Trump Listened In On Phone Lines At Mar-A-Lago.

At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate, according to six former workers. Several of them said he used that console to eavesdrop on calls involving staff.

Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks responded to written questions with one sentence: “This is totally and completely untrue.”

The managing director of Mar-a-Lago, Bernd Lembcke, did not respond to emails. Reached by phone, he said he referred the email query to Trump’s headquarters and said, “I have no knowledge of what you wrote.” ….

BuzzFeed News spoke with six former employees familiar with the phone system at the estate.

Four of them — speaking on condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements — said that Trump listened in on phone calls at the club during the mid-2000s. They did not know if he eavesdropped more recently.

They said he listened in on calls between club employees or, in some cases, between staff and guests. None of them knew of Trump eavesdropping on guests or members talking on private calls with people who were not employees of Mar-a-Lago. They also said that Trump could eavesdrop only on calls made on the club’s landlines and not on calls made from guests’ cell phones.

Each of these four sources said they personally saw the telephone console, which some referred to as a switchboard, in Trump’s bedroom.

More at the link. Maybe Trump could have spent his time more fruitfully by reading a book or two.

Steve Martin with cat

Steve Martin with cat

Chris Cillizza has done a public service by reprinting an interview with Donald Trump on the Bill O’Reilly Show: Donald Trump’s Bill O’Reilly interview is an instant classic. I hope you’ll read the whole thing, because it clearly demonstrates that Trump is a complete idiot. This is my favorite part (emphasis added):

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am determined to say look, you may not vote for me, Trump supporters, I get that because you really are upset about immigration or you are upset about trade or you are upset about, you know, the feeling that the jobs that you had that gave you a good living are gone. So, I’m very sympathetic to that. I am not sympathetic to the xenophobia, the misogyny, the homophobia, the Islamophobia and all of the other.

(APPLAUSE)

Sort of dog whistles that Trump uses to create that fervor among a lot of his supporters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O’REILLY: Okay. That was about 45 seconds to be fair. We will give Mr. Trump the same amount of time to reply. Go.

TRUMP: All of the phobias that nobody even knows what she is talking about to be honest with you. Why doesn’t she say it like it is? I mean, it’s just ridiculous. And frankly, you know, she knows exactly what’s happening. She sees what’s happening. People are tired. They are losing their jobs. Their jobs are being taken away. Companies are moving to Mexico. I mean, just moving. They just pick up and move. You look at what went on with carrier. You look at Ford. You look at so many different. They are a mile long and we are losing our jobs.

We are losing everything in this country. We are losing our spirit. I was in Ohio. I was in Pennsylvania. Yesterday I was in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. And I want to tell you, the lines of people that we have, they are so sick and tired of hearing things like what she is just saying. Nobody even knows what she is talking about. And you tell me, that’s presidential? She is presidential? Sitting there. I don’t think so.

Poor Donald. He just doesn’t understand all those multi-syllable words, and he assumes no one else does either.

David Bowie with cat

 Billy Idol with cat

The New York Times commissioned a short story about the Trumps by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche: The Arrangements: A Work of Fiction. Here are the first few paragraphs:

Melania decided she would order the flowers herself. Donald was too busy now anyway to call Alessandra’s as usual and ask for “something amazing.” Once, in the early years, before she fully understood him, she had asked what his favorite flowers were.

“I use the best florists in the city, they’re terrific,” he replied, and she realized that taste, for him, was something to be determined by somebody else, and then flaunted.

At first, she wished he would not keep asking their guests, “How do you like these great flowers?” and that he would not be so nakedly in need of their praise, but now she felt a small tug of annoyance if a guest did not gush as Donald expected. The florists were indeed good, their peonies delicate as tissue, even if a little boring, and the interior decorators Donald had brought in — all the top guys used them, he said — were good, too, even if all that gold yellowness bordered on staleness, and so she did not disagree because Donald disliked dissent, and he only wanted the best for them, and she had what she really needed, this luxurious peace. But today, she would order herself. It was her dinner party to celebrate her parents’ anniversary. Unusual orchids, maybe. Her mother loved uncommon things.

Her Pilates instructor, Janelle, would arrive in half an hour. She had just enough time to order the flowers and complete her morning skin routine. She would use a different florist, she decided, where Donald did not have an account, and pay by herself. Donald might like that; he always liked the small efforts she made. Do the little things, don’t ask for big things and he will give them to you, her mother advised her, after she first met Donald. She gently patted three different serums on her face and then, with her fingertips, applied an eye cream and ­sunscreen.

Truman Capote with cat

Truman Capote with cat

What a bright morning. Summer sunlight raised her spirits. And Tiffany was leaving today. It felt good. The girl had been staying for the past week, and came and went, mostly staying out of her way. Still, it felt good. Yesterday she had taken Tiffany to lunch, so that she could tell Donald that she had taken Tiffany to lunch.

“She adores all my kids, it’s amazing,” Donald once told a reporter — he was happily blind to the strangeness in the air whenever she was with his children.

Read the rest at the link. The Times plans to publish another short story about the 2016 campaign by a different author. I supposed that one will be a very vicious piece about the Clinton family. Maybe they can get Maureen Dowd to write it.

At The Atlantic, TA Frank asks if anyone will be willing to be Trump’s running mate: Assessing the Trump V.P. Career-Suicide Pact: There are very few real contenders, the risks are considerable, and the rewards potentially terrifying. So who will be the lucky, er, winner?

Frank discusses the pros and cons for the following possible choices: Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, Bob Corker, Mary Fallon, John Kasich.

Chaos continues in Great Britain

From Reuters: Ex-London mayor halts bid to be UK prime minister, upends race

Former London mayor Boris Johnson, favorite to become Britain’s prime minister, abruptly pulled out of the race on Thursday, upending the contest less than a week after leading the campaign to take the country out of the EU.

Johnson’s announcement, to audible gasps from a roomful of journalists and supporters, was the biggest political surprise since Prime Minister David Cameron quit on Friday, the morning after losing the referendum on British membership in the bloc.

Drew Barrymore with cat

Drew Barrymore with cat

It makes Theresa May, the interior minister who backed remaining in the European Union, the new favorite to succeed Cameron.

May, a party stalwart seen as a steady hand, announced her own candidacy earlier on Thursday, promising to deliver the withdrawal from the EU voters had demanded, despite having campaigned for the other side.

“Brexit means Brexit,” she told a news conference.

“The campaign was fought, the vote was held, turnout was high and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door and no second referendum.”

The decision to quit the EU has cost Britain its top credit rating, pushed the pound to its lowest level since the mid-1980s and wiped a record $3 trillion off global shares. EU leaders are scrambling to prevent further unraveling of a bloc that helped guarantee peace in post-war Europe.

More on the Tory situation:

BBC News: Michael Gove and Theresa May head five-way Conservative race.

The Washington Post: Meet Michael Gove, the man who just turned British politics into an episode of ‘House of Cards.’

The Independent: Boris Johnson has left the Tory leadership race – but he’ll become Prime Minister anyway.