Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Reading

The Real Backstory — John Cassidy in The New Yorker.

The Trump-Iran story continues to develop in alarming ways. On Thursday, reports that Western governments believe Iranian military forces mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing a hundred and seventy-six passengers and crew members, produced a predictably divided reaction. “Innocent civilians are now dead because they were caught in the middle of an unnecessary and unwanted military tit for tat,” Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic Presidential candidate, said, on Twitter, immediately drawing cries of outrage from Trump supporters who insisted that Iran was entirely responsible. Iran’s government dismissed the reports as disinformation. But, if it does turn out that the Iranian military made a terrible blunder amid the frightening escalation in long-running tensions between Tehran and the Trump Administration, it will be ever more imperative to get a full account, not only of that blunder but also of the escalation.

On that subject, more disturbing details are emerging by the day. The picture we are getting is of the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Vice-President Mike Pence both egging on an impetuous President to launch the January 2nd drone attack that killed the Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani at Baghdad International Airport. None of Trump’s other senior political or military advisers, meanwhile, appear to have urged restraint, despite the near-certainty that the move would inflame the entire Middle East and provoke reprisals. Any deliberative policymaking process appears to have been replaced by a combination of belligerence, toadyism, and saluting the Commander-in-Chief.

In the aftermath of Suleimani’s death, members of the Trump Administration claimed that Suleimani, who held great sway over Iran’s regular and irregular forces, was plotting an imminent attack that could have killed hundreds of American service members. Pompeo said, “We had deep intelligence indicating there was active plotting to put American lives at risk.” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday, “We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy.”

The Administration didn’t present any evidence to back up these assertions. On Wednesday, when it finally briefed Republican legislators about the rationale for the Suleimani killing, two senators—Mike Lee, of Utah, and Rand Paul, of Kentucky—walked out of the meeting and publicly trashed the material that had been presented. “I didn’t learn anything in the hearing that I hadn’t seen in a newspaper already,” Paul told reporters. “None of it was overwhelming that X was going to happen.” Lee was even more scathing. Outraged by suggestions from the briefers that Republican senators would be “emboldening Iran” if they even debated the wisdom of further U.S. military actions, Lee called the session “probably the worst briefing I have seen, at least on a military issue, in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Senate.”

Meanwhile, Pence fell back on an old evasive tactic: claiming that the Administration did have real and convincing intelligence to justify the missile strike, but saying that it was too sensitive to be revealed, even in a private briefing on Capitol Hill. “We’re simply not able to share with every member of the House and Senate the intelligence that supported the President’s decision to take out Qassem Suleimani,” Pence told Fox News. “I can assure your viewers that there was—there was a threat of an imminent attack.”

Detailed reports from a number of different media outlets, as well as statements by Iraqi officials, tell a very different story. Just two days after the strike, the Times’ Rukmini Callimachi, in a Twitter thread, cited sources, “including two US officials who had intelligence briefings after the strike on Suleimani,” who said the evidence of an imminent attack was “razor thin.” In the Times itself, a tick-tock account of the decision to kill Suleimani quoted a U.S. official who described the Iranian’s visit to Damascus and Baghdad over the New Year as “business as usual.” Last weekend, Adel Abdul Mahdi, the Prime Minister of Iraq, told the parliament in Baghdad that Suleimani was scheduled to meet him on the day he was assassinated, adding that the general was bringing a response to efforts to mediate the showdown between Riyadh and Tehran. “He came to deliver me a message from Iran responding to the message we delivered from Saudi Arabia to Iran,” Mahdi said.

Pompeo subsequently mocked this claim, saying, “We’ve heard these same lies before.” The fact that Suleimani was met at the Baghdad airport by the head of the pro-Iranian militias inside Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was also killed by the missile attack, suggests that he may have had other reasons for his visit. But, eight days later, it remains true that the Trump Administration hasn’t provided any evidence that a large-scale attack was imminent. By the time Suleimani arrived in the Iraqi capital, the violent protests outside the American Embassy had ended, and Iraqi forces had re-secured the heavily fortified Green Zone, within which the Embassy is located.

Also, more details are emerging about the roles played by Pompeo and Pence in the decision to assassinate Suleimani. Pompeo and Pence “were two of the most hawkish voices arguing for a response to Iranian aggression, according to administration officials,” the Times reported, a couple of days after Suleimani’s death. “Mr. Pence’s office helped run herd on meetings and conference calls held by officials in the run-up to the strike.”

On Sunday, the Washington Post, citing a senior U.S official, reported that “Pompeo first spoke with Trump about killing Suleimani months ago … but neither the president nor Pentagon officials were willing to countenance such an operation.” On Thursday, CNN’s Nicole Gaouette and Jamie Gangel reported that “Pompeo was a driving force behind President Donald Trump’s decision to kill” the Iranian general. The CNN story said that Pompeo, who was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Trump before he moved to the State Department, viewed Suleimani as the mastermind of myriad operations targeting Americans and U.S interests. It also quoted an unnamed source close to Pompeo, who recalled the Secretary of State telling friends, “I will not retire from public service until Suleimani is off the battlefield.”

We are also learning more about the roles that other senior members of the Administration played in the process that led to the drone attack on Suleimani, including Gina Haspel, the current director of the C.I.A. “In the days before General Suleimani’s death, Ms. Haspel had advised Mr. Trump that the threat the Iranian general presented was greater than the threat of Iran’s response if he was killed,” the Times reported on Wednesday. “Indeed, Ms. Haspel had predicted the most likely response would be a missile strike from Iran to bases where American troops were deployed, the very situation that appeared to be playing out on Tuesday afternoon.”

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal, in yet another lengthy account of the Administration’s decision-making, reported that all of Trump’s top advisers, including “new Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and new national security adviser Robert O’Brien … backed the president’s decision to kill the top Iranian military commander and moved swiftly to carry it out. The new team was cohesive and less inclined than its predecessors to push back against the president’s wishes, according to administration officials and others consulted by the White House.”

Not that Trump needed much encouragement, it seems. “In the five days prior to launching a strike that killed Iran’s most important military leader, Donald Trump roamed the halls of Mar-a-Lago, his private resort in Florida, and started dropping hints to close associates and club-goers that something huge was coming,” the Daily Beast reported, quoting unnamed people who had been at Trump’s resort over the New Year. “He kept saying, ‘You’ll see,’ one of the sources recalled, describing a conversation with Trump days before Thursday’s strike.” We did see, of course, and the reverberations are far from over.

Tucker Carlson Is Still A Jerk — Frank Bruni in the New York Times.

Suddenly you’re digging him. At least a little bit. I know, I’ve seen the tweets, read the commentary, heard the chatter, detected the barely suppressed cheer: Hurrah for Tucker Carlson. If only we had more brave, principled Republicans like him.

Right out of the gate, he protested President Trump’s decision to kill Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian military commander, noting that it didn’t square with the president’s determination not to get bogged down in the Middle East and warning of the possibility and horror of full-blown war. Your pulse quickened. You perked up.

He sounded that same alarm on his next show and the show after that. Every night at 8 p.m., he worried about the bellicose itch of our leaders. When all around him on Fox News were playing their usual roles (indeed, his usual role) as masseurs for the president’s tender ego, he administered slaps, hard ones, the kind that leave angry red handprints. Ouch — and don’t stop.

You rejoiced. It’s one thing when Democrats challenge what looks like a rush to war by a Republican president. It’s another when typically fawning members of his own party do.

And while Carlson was hardly alone in his rebellion — three House Republicans voted with Democrats to check the president’s war-waging authority and, over in the Senate, Mike Lee and Rand Paul raised a dissident ruckus — no one else had his ardor, his articulateness, his megaphone.

Carlson to the rescue!

Oh, please.

The fascination with him is itself fascinating, for many reasons. Can you recall a modern president before Trump whose moods and movements could be reflected and predicted simply by watching one news organization and, for that matter, just a few of its offerings? In lieu of a normally functioning White House communications department or a press secretary who holds actual press briefings (what a thought!), we have “Fox & Friends” in the morning and Carlson’s and Sean Hannity’s shows in the evening.

They don’t chronicle this presidency. They shape it, not just in terms of the volume of their applause for Trump, who craves the loudest possible clapping, but in terms of actual interactions. Carlson — like Hannity and another Fox fixture, Lou Dobbs — has in fact advised him behind the scenes.

Hence the rapt reaction to Carlson’s antiwar jeremiads. They may well matter.

Also, those of us who regard Trump as a menace can be so eager — too eager — to welcome newcomers to our shores that we overlook the polluted seas they sailed to get there. In a recent moment on the ABC talk show “The View” that was awkward at best, Joy Behar announced excitedly that the prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer had just disavowed Trump because of Iran.

Carlson, mind you, has not disavowed Trump. In fact he performed semantic acrobatics to denounce America’s military maneuvers against Iran without precisely blaming Trump. Those slaps I mentioned landed more forcefully on the administration in general than on the man-child at its apex, who is, in Carlson’s tortured rendition, a gullible marionette, his strings pulled by inveterate, habitual warmongers. If these profiteering elites would just let Trump be Trump and train his wrath on Mexicans instead of Iranians, a great presidency would get its groove back.

During his Tuesday show, Carlson performed political jujitsu and held two of the president’s principal Democratic adversaries responsible for exacerbated tensions with Iran. Referring to the Washington establishment and singling out Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, he said, “These are people who have been basically advocating for a kind of war against Iran for an awfully long time.”

“It’s infuriating,” he added. “It’s because of Schumer and Pelosi and people like them that we got into Iraq in the first place.”

Come again? A Republican president, George W. Bush, urged and oversaw the invasion of Iraq, and while Schumer authorized it, Pelosi voted against it, as did many more Democrats than Republicans.

And Carlson’s portrait of Trump as puppet contradicts reporting from The Times and other news organizations that some Pentagon officials were stunned when the president ordered the strike against Suleimani, a measure more extreme than other options presented to him.

Carlson remains true to Carlson: selective with facts, slanted with truths and — this is the most important part — committed to his vision of America as a land imperiled by nefarious Democrats and the dark-skinned invaders they would open the gates to if not for sentries like him and Trump.

As Matt Gertz of Media Matters perceptively noted, Carlson’s antiwar stance “is not a break from his past support for Trump or his channeling of white nationalist tropes, but a direct a result of both.” Gertz explained that in the mind-set of Carlson and many of his fans on the far right, energy spent on missions in another hemisphere is energy not spent on our southern border. It’s no accident that, in regard to the Middle East, he and Spencer are on the same page.

Following Suleimani’s death, Carlson asked his audience, “Why are we continuing to ignore the decline of our own country in favor of jumping into another quagmire?”

Carlson is defined not by a bold willingness to check Trump’s excesses or ugliest impulses but by his indulgence — no, his fervent encouragement — of those impulses as they pertain to racism and immigration. On those fronts, Carlson himself grows ever uglier, as my colleague Farhad Manjoo and others have noted. It’s why many sponsors have defected from Carlson’s show.

Carlson repeatedly uses variations of the word “invasion” to characterize migrants from Central America. He insists that “white supremacy” is a fiction, a hoax. He has used language that buys into and promotes “replacement theory” — a far-right fixation on the idea that declining birthrates among whites will cause a nonwhite takeover — and recently castigated immigrants for litter along the Potomac River.

Just last month he gave precious time on his show to an obscure Republican congressional candidate in North Carolina, Pete D’Abrosca, who has warned white Americans that they’re “being replaced by third world peasants.” D’Abrosca has also bragged of his support from the “groyper army,” a far-right group with more than a whiff of anti-Semitism.

Is Carlson himself abetting hatred of Jews? In a rare point of agreement, some Jews and white nationalists believe so, pointing to an on-air rant last month in which he bashed a Jewish billionaire, Paul Singer, by comparing him unfavorably with Henry Ford, who owned a newspaper that ran a lengthy series alleging a Jewish plot to dominate the world.

“The Fox News host goes full anti-Semite,” wrote Tablet, a Jewish publication, while Mike Enoch, who rallied with the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., said on his podcast, “If you didn’t catch the German shepherd whistles where he praised Henry Ford and then went into a diatribe of a Jewish financier, you know, I don’t know what universe you’re existing in.”

So that’s some of what Carlson was up to just before he turned his attention to Iran.

How warm and fuzzy are you feeling toward him now?

In other words, he’s Pat Buchanan without the charm.

Doonesbury — Having the vapors.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Friday, January 10, 2020

Nothing Of Consequence

Phfftt.

Via the Washington Post:

A Justice Department inquiry launched more than two years ago to mollify conservatives clamoring for more investigations of Hillary Clinton has effectively ended with no tangible results, and current and former law enforcement officials said they never expected the effort to produce much of anything.

John Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah, was tapped in November 2017 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into concerns raised by President Trump and his allies in Congress that the FBI had not fully pursued cases of possible corruption at the Clinton Foundation and during Clinton’s time as secretary of state, when the U.S. government decided not to block the sale of a company called Uranium One.

[…]

The effective conclusion of his investigation, with no criminal charges or other known impacts, is likely to roil some in the GOP who had hoped the prosecutor would vindicate their long-held suspicions about a political rival. Trump, though, has largely shifted his focus to a different federal prosecutor tapped to do a separate, special investigation: U.S. attorney in Connecticut John Durham, who Attorney General William P. Barr assigned last year to explore the origins of the FBI’s 2016 probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

They Need Each Other

Here’s where we are with Iran: Trump ordered the killing of one of their generals.  That sets off Iran and they threaten apocalyptic revenge.  Trump threatens to flatten their cultural sites; they come back with more threats of apocalypse.  Then they fire a bunch of missiles into the dirt in Iraq, purposely avoiding hitting anything.  Trump blames Obama, says Iran is backing down, and he’s heading for the golf course.

It’s all for show: Trump bloviates to his base to reassure them that he’s butch (and in desperate need to find a distraction from impeachment), and Iran’s religious nuts-in-charge need to unite their people after some rather unsettling pro-democracy demonstrations.  And other than a couple of dead generals and the collateral deaths in a stampede, this pecker contest with each other’s sworn enemy was about domestic politics and base appeasement.  I’ve seen the same kind of act between two horny peacocks in my backyard.

The difference, however, between Trump and the ayatollahs and the stupid fucking birds is that the guys without the fancy tail feathers have means at their disposal to really kill a lot of people, mainly civilians.  Add to that the fact that Trump is acting, as he always does, via his lizard brain; no strategy, just reflex.  And then when he does react, he recoils and retreats behind bluster and bullshit and lies and obfuscation.  The Iranians know this, and it’s not hard to imagine that they knew that Trump would back down or at least get talked out of nuking Persepolis, so they can carry on with their “Death to America” chants.

This is how dictators and fanatics handle foreign policy.  They need someone else, some common enemy, to blame for all their troubles, most of them self-inflicted.  Trump has done that all his life, as has every other megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur fueled by rampant paranoia and the harsh reality that they will never measure up to the expectations of some mythic father figure; seething with hatred for those who naturally achieve greatness.  (Trump’s call for “peace with all who seek it” is his rather gauche attempt to claim yet another legacy of Obama for himself: the Nobel Peace Prize.)  But at some point, someone always goes too far and the next thing you know, it’s not just preening; it’s a real war.  With real targets, real armies, and millions dead.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Getting To The Point

Via Hunter at Random, this is why I like Pete Buttigieg.

Jake Tapper: Let me just ask you, some of your Democratic opponents including senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who I’ll be talking to shortly, called the strike a “assassination.” They say it’s an assassination. Do you believe it was an assassination?

Pete Buttigieg: I am not interested in the terminology. I’m interested in the consequences and I’m interested in the process. Did the president have legal authority to do this? Why wasn’t Congress consulted? It seems like more people at Mar-a-Lago heard about this than people in the United States Congress who are a coequal branch of government with a responsibility to consult. Which of our allies were consulted? The real-world effects of this are going to go far beyond the things that we’re debating today and we need answers quickly.

Meanwhile, pundits and idiots (often a redundancy) are getting all twitterpated because Elizabeth Warren used the word “assassination.”  That is entirely beside the point but it’s a perfect example of how the nutsery can create a meaningless distraction so as to avoid the real issue: Trump is starting a war because he’s been impeached.  People will die because of it.  And he’s committing more impeachable offenses to do it.

That’s the point.

It’s Finished

On January 1, 1995, I went to my office in Harbor Springs, Michigan, where I was working at the time, and booted up my Apple IIc to start writing a novel about a character who had popped into my head when I was on vacation the month before on the island of Montserrat. The name of the character was Bobby Cramer, and the plot was simple: tell his story. Yesterday, January 7, 2020, at 3:00 p.m., I finished it, all 886 pages.

I have no plans to pursue publication; I never meant to. The satisfaction has come from telling his tale and watching him grow and make his way through life; through good times and bad, celebration and loss, growth and turmoil, and show that having hope as his greatest weakness is not a bad thing at all. That’s why I write.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Another Straw

So John Bolton says he will testify before the Senate if he’s subpoenaed.

About a year ago a lot of people were hoping that the super-secret work of Robert Mueller would, when released, finally bring Trump and his gang to justice.  Yeah, well, it didn’t, and even the report itself didn’t really go far enough to give reasonable people something to pin their hopes on.

Now we’re looking at another possible moment that could, at last, bring about the demise before the election, which wouldn’t really help the situation because even if Trump is convicted in the Senate (which will happen at the same time I collect my Pulitzer), we’d be left with Mike Pence, and he’s just as bad, if not more, because he’s straight from Jesus.

First, I don’t think it’s going to happen.  The Senate under Mitch McConnell will not allow the Democrats to issue the subpoena, and I doubt that Mr. Bolton will show up uninvited and on his own.  If he really cared about righting the wrongs of this administration, he wouldn’t qualify his appearance.  In the words of my generation, he’s just a teaser.

Sorry to be so cynical, but I don’t think this is the straw that will break the camel’s back.  At this point, it’s just another straw to grasp at.

Drunk Driver On An Icy Road

Read this twitter thread from Reza Marashi, an American foreign affairs expert based in Washington, D.C. about the Iran/Iraq situation.

This one jumped out at me: “All Trump cares about is shitting on Obama’s legacy, sucking up to donors, and distracting from impeachment.  None of this is about American interests or security.  He’s surrounded by ideological lunatic sycophants like Pence and Pompeo.  But they’re far from the only ones.”

This will not end well.

Monday, January 6, 2020

An Inclined Plane Wrapped Around A Cylinder

I go away for a couple of weeks and wow….

So give me a little time to get my desk cleared off after all my travels and basically ignoring — or at least not sharing much — of what I’m seeing.  But the gist of what is in the papers and what I understand to be respectable insight from people who should know, is that Trump has made the Middle East, already the most trigger-happy and volatile place on the planet and that already hated the West and specifically us, into an even more dangerous place.  It’s like he loaded up a tanker plane with ten thousand gallons of jet fuel and dropped it on the Australian outback.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 or the shooting down of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto during the height of World War II don’t apply here in terms of actual comparison, but the reason they come to mind is that in the first instance, no one had any idea that the murder of an Austro-Hungarian royal would lead to two world wars, and in the second, the war crime of hunting down and killing a military leader can be justified as one way to demoralize the enemy.  Add to that the simple fact that Trump cannot see beyond the end of his election campaign and has yet to come up with an idea of how to formulate a strategy to bring stability and calm to a region that has been in turmoil since the Romans decided to pay a visit to the pyramids.

Oh, and Australia is turning into a cinder.

What it comes down to is the answer to the question posed by Dr. Leonard Hofsteder: What would you be if you were an inclined plane wrapped around a cylinder?  Screwed.

Nice to be back.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday Reading

Hornet’s Nest — Charles P. Pierce.

I confess that all I know about Soleimani I learned from this long 2013 profile by Dexter Filkins in The New Yorker. As nearly as I can tell from Friday morning’s reactions, that’s the source material for a great deal of them. Soleimani is reckoned to have been a combination of Machiavelli, General Giap, Suleiman the Magnificent, and Lex Luthor. Which raises the question, so far unanswered, as to why a man with so many enemies other than the United States, operating with impunity in a volatile part of the world, survived as long as he did. The only logical answer is that these people carefully took the risk-reward calculations to heart and decided that killing Soleimani wasn’t worth what would ensue in the aftermath. If these calculations were made by the current U.S. administration*, they are not yet obvious.

Instead, the president* tweeted out the image of an American flag. An official Pentagon briefing pointedly said that the action had been taken at the order of the president*. The State Department warned Americans to get the hell out of Iraq, but not to come to the massive American embassy. Americans are urged to leave by airplane if possible but, if necessary, to escape by land, although where the hell they’re supposed to go—Syria?—was left unexplained. But the Americans should get out of Iraq, a place that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN on Friday morning is safer now that Soleimani is dead.

(Pompeo also told CNN that the strike was undertaken to preempt an “imminent threat” to U.S. assets, a threat that Pompeo declined to identify, and, yes, we’ve all seen this movie before.)

So no, I have no confidence that anyone there can play this game. The president* is an ignoramus with little or no credibility on any issue, let alone war and peace. His Secretary of State doesn’t seem to have any plan beyond sycophancy. We are hearing the echoes of 2002 and 2003 rising again, except this time on the part of an inferior breed of con artist.

(I suspect that the action taken by the administration* may well finally be the thing that splits the more militaristic of the Never Trumpers from their newfound Democratic allies.)

The stated policy of this administration* is the utter disruption of the Iranian government as a prelude to regime change. We tried this in the 1950s and Iran got 20 years of a police state. Does anyone seriously believe that an Iranian regime that rises from American policy will have the faintest credibility with most Iranians? We tried that in Iraq, which is why Qasem Soleiman found such a target-rich environment there. And any split in the current Iranian regime over the now-abandoned nuclear deal likely has been smoothed over. And god only knows what will happen in Iraq as a result of this. This policy is kick-over-the-hornet’s-nest at its worst. Maybe it’s all just to keep John Bolton from testifying to the Senate. That’s as good an explanation as any.

Hi, Tech! — Lucas Gardner in The New Yorker leaves a note for the person who’s fixing his laptop.

Hello and welcome! Thank you in advance for fixing my computer. I expect that you’re probably going to be tempted to snoop around my laptop to see if I have anything embarrassing on there. I have no way to stop you from doing this, so I’ve decided to get out ahead of it and write you this comprehensive guide.

I keep all my pornography in the folder “C: > Program Files (x86) > Internet Explorer > en-Us > files > real folder”—but I’ve gone ahead and moved it all to the desktop for you, for ease of access. Normally, I don’t really organize it, but I took the liberty of separating it into different folders, labelled by category, for you. I also have some old-fashioned print pornography that I have gone ahead and enclosed in the laptop case.

In my Documents folder, you will find some of my writing. Much of it is bad and sure to give you and the gang over there a good laugh. I would recommend checking out “A Mirthless Summer at the Château Beverly,” an unfinished novel I tried to write about a forbidden romance between a wealthy socialite and—I don’t even remember, a gardener or some shit. I went ahead and bolded all the worst parts, so you can just skim it for the greatest hits. But, if you have time to read the whole thing, it’s all bad.

Other than the writing, you’ll find spreadsheets of my finances and some old tax documents. Nothing interesting there, unless you actually dive in and crunch the numbers, in which case you’ll uncover an absolutely earth-shattering case of unemployment fraud. Please do not tell!!!

I’ll save you some time and let you know that there’s nothing embarrassing in the Pictures folder. No nudes or anything like that. I have some of those on a separate hard drive though, so I’ll swing by and drop that off tomorrow after my doctor’s appointment, which is regarding sex problems.

You’ll find that I cleared my Google search history before bringing the laptop in. Sorry about that, it was an accident. Here are some searches that you would have found:

•“How to make friends as an adult”

•“Pro-bono fraud defense attorney New York”

•“Could Alf really happen”

•“Donnie Darko ending explained”

I’ll let you know if I remember other ones.

I didn’t log out of any of my social-media accounts, so I guess you’re free to dive in. You’ll see that I’ve sent some messages that are pretty humiliating. For the record, I would just like to state that when I wrote them I was a hundred-per-cent, stone-cold sober. Also, don’t forget to check the time stamps, which will show that they were written in broad daylight.

You probably wouldn’t even think to check my calendar for anything shameful. Do not make this mistake! There’s some stuff on there that really sucks for me—I don’t even want to spoil it for you. Feel free to call me afterward and let me know what you think.

Doonesbury — What’s in a name?

Saturday, January 4, 2020