Just say “recognizable”

Dec 4th, 2020 4:59 pm | By

Ok so I was reading a story about COVID measures in California and there’s a photo of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco seen between two rows of buildings, with the caption:

California Street, usually filled with iconic cable cars, is seen mostly empty in San Francisco, California on March 17, 2020.

And I was annoyed. Cable cars are not iconic! Neither are movie stars, or shoes, or apartment buildings, or the Space Needle, or the Grand Canyon. “Iconic” is not another word for famous or recognizable or familiar. That’s not what it means.

I know, I know, that is what it means now, because usage is what counts, but it isn’t, and I hate it.

I saw one yesterday that also set me off: it was on an ad for a flashy new apartment building in Seattle, of which some 5 million have been built over the last few years.

As the tallest residential building in Seattle, this iconic tower is home to a collection of ultra luxury apartment residences.

What’s iconic about it?! They don’t say. Here it doesn’t even mean “familiar”; it’s just a fancy word for expensive.

So I was ranting about it and a friend handed me this to keep me quiet for a few minutes:

Can we please give the word “iconic” a rest? These days, you can’t pick up a newspaper, click on some website, turn on a f*%$@* TV without reading about something or someone that is iconic. Once upon a time, the now infernal word (hey, let’s use “infernal” more) was relegated to the lexicon of overzealous art history professors who used words like “musculature” while they groped a Greek sculpture on display at the university art museum. Those were the days.

This is what I’m saying. It was an art history word. It had a particular, narrow meaning, and it didn’t come up more than a couple of times a year. People weren’t running around talking about their iconic new espresso machine or puffa jacket.

Type the word “iconic” into your favorite search engine and voila, nearly 200,000 articles about an “iconic gadget,” “iconic comedian,” “iconic art,” “Jamie Foxx’s iconic thriller,” “iconic summer,” “Madonna’s iconic pose,” “Miami’s iconic hotels,” “England’s iconic chimney stacks.”

How about England’s iconic toilet flusher pulls? Now those are iconic.

Chain pull toilets | Etsy

I’m kidding; they’re not.

Webster’s Dictionary defines iconic:

1. Relating to, resembling, or having the character of an icon or (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) (of memorial sculptures, esp those depicting athletes of ancient Greece) having a fixed conventional style

2. A conventional religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and used in the devotions of Eastern Christians

To do with an actual, literal icon, in short.

I’m not alone in my revulsion toward “iconic,” either. Even the venerable British tabloid The Telegraph selected “iconic” among their list of “words that should be banned because they have lost their meaning and have become useless.” But that was nearly five years ago, and instead of retiring the word to the rafters, millions of unworthy icons or iconic people have appeared… like locusts. Just watch Inside Edition any day of the week and “follow Miss USA as she fulfills her life-long dream of recreating an iconic scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” followed quickly by Deborah Norville speaking with iconic film producer Harvey Weinstein.”

They don’t call Harvey Weinstein iconic any more, but that’s not because they’ve found out what the word means.

Traders and children first

Dec 4th, 2020 4:12 pm | By

You were worrying that bankers wouldn’t be among the first to get the vaccine, weren’t you. Well worry no more!

Wall Street could get a shot in the arm in the coming months, while much of Main Street waits months for their COVID inoculations.

Lenders, bank tellers and traders could jump ahead of most Americans for vaccines, after such remedies receive emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, potentially putting financial industry workers ahead of those aged above 65, adults with medical issues and the rest of the U.S. population.

Bankers are important! How do we know? All that money they have. Stands to reason.

Essential workers are in the second group, after front-line health care workers and residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Bankers are essential!

[T]he DHS defines essential workers as those who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continue critical infrastructure operations, and normally have included firefighters, teachers and grocery workers.

And not so much bankers, which is a shocking and unreasonable oversight.

0 for 5

Dec 4th, 2020 3:56 pm | By

Trump lost 5 cases in 2 hours today.

Update: oops make that 6.


Dec 4th, 2020 3:43 pm | By

This is surprising.

A T.D. is a Teachta Dála, a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament, so comparable to a Congressional Representative or an MP.

Yes, surprising.

Jesus christ + energy

Dec 4th, 2020 11:38 am | By

Why we can’t have interesting things.

A group of young men claiming to be Christians have posted a video of themselves tearing down a mysterious monolith that had appeared atop a California mountain and replacing it with a cross.

The monolith had been built near the town of Atascadero and sparked huge interest after the appearance of a similar silvery metal-faced monolith that had been discovered in the deserts of Utah.

The one in Utah was torn down by some random people.

Now the Atascadero monolith has met a similar kind of fate, according to a report in the San Luis Obispo Tribune newspaper.

In a video, which was livestreamed and posted online, the group of young men drive from southern California to tear down the structure. Under cover of darkness, they hike up to the structure and tear it down while chanting “Christ is king!”. They then erect a homemade wooden cross in its place and drag the remains of the monolith down the mountain to their car.

During the video, the men also make offensive comments and drink substantial quantities of energy drinks, while also referencing Donald Trump and the QAnon conspiracy theory and their mission is to demonstrate “how much we love Jesus Christ”.

Oh that kind of christian – the Trump-loving asshole kind.

The vandalism angered local officials.

“We are upset that these young men felt the need to drive five hours to come into our community and vandalize the monolith,” Atascadero’s mayor, Heather Moreno, said in a news release. “The monolith was something unique and fun in an otherwise stressful time.”

Energy-drinking Trump-loving young men have to ruin everything.


Dec 4th, 2020 11:03 am | By

Those damn turkeys.

Americans couldn’t resist the urge to gather for Thanksgiving, driving only slightly less than a year ago and largely ignoring the pleas of public health experts, who begged them to forgo holiday travel to help contain the coronavirus pandemic, data from roadways and airports shows.

The nation’s unwillingness to tamp down on travel offered a warning in advance of Christmas and New Year’s as virus deaths and hospitalizations hit new highs a week after Thanksgiving. U.S. deaths from the outbreak eclipsed 3,100 on Thursday, obliterating the single-day record set last spring.

Vehicle travel in early November was as much as 20% lower than a year earlier, but it surged around the holiday and peaked on Thanksgiving Day at only about 5% less than the pandemic-free period in 2019, according to StreetLight Data, which provided an analysis to The Associated Press.

Oh ffs. That’s pathetic. I know people like to get together but is it really that urgent? Especially if they’re just going to do it all over again in a month? We give ourselves a double whammy here by having two mandatory Family Holidays instead of one. I would think Thanksgiving could be made optional for just this one year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged people to stay home for the holidays, but officials acknowledged that many people would not heed that advice and advised them to get tested before and after trips. Friedman said that this year’s holidays presented “tough choices” for many families.

But not all that tough if only 5% of us decided to skip it.

[I]nfections, even from small Thanksgiving gatherings, have begun to stream in around the country, adding another burden to health departments that are already overwhelmed.

“This uptick here is really coming at a time when everyone’s exhausted,” said Don Lehman, a spokesman for the Warren County Public Health Department in upstate New York.

The county concluded that Thanksgiving gatherings or travel likely caused 40% of the 22 cases it reported in the last two days. That means contact tracers have to figure out where people came from or traveled to and contact health officials in those places. Lehman said it adds “a lot of legwork” to the contact-tracing process.

Yes but pumpkin pie.

If you cannot name

Dec 4th, 2020 10:03 am | By

Let’s see if we can figure out how this works, or if it works.

There’s something that I see GC people saying a lot, JKR said it, and they’re right

“If you cannot name your injustice or oppressor, then you can’t fight it”

And then they try to stop people saying transphobe, TERF, even cis. They try and shut down all discussion of transphobia

I don’t know what Montgomerie has against periods at the end of sentences…Maybe it’s a sly joke about the fact that trans women don’t have periods?

Anyway, I think I have figured it out, and it doesn’t work. You have to name the injustice and the oppressor accurately. They both have to be real. We’re well familiar with people shouting about “injustices” that aren’t real at all – look at Trump for example. Look at angry White Pride demonstrators. Look at men who are furious that they can’t find a woman who wants to have sex with them. And yes look at the kind of trans activist who tweets “KILL ALL TERFS” and the like.

It’s not an injustice or a form of oppression that a man thinks he is a woman inside, or that a woman thinks she is a man inside. It may be a lot of other things – a misfortune, an unhappy situation, a misery – but it’s not an injustice, because justice doesn’t come into it. Injustice and oppression require agency, which means they require agents, and there are no agents behind this feeling of being the other sex. It’s just something that happens (at least according to the accounts people give – it’s so subjective and so quick to change shape that it’s hard to know), as opposed to something that someone did.

Is it unjust and oppressive that we don’t all believe that sex is a matter of self-description as opposed to fact? No, because it can’t be, because we need to know which is which for a long list of reasons.

So the truth of “If you cannot name your injustice or oppressor, then you can’t fight it” doesn’t apply to what Montgomerie is talking about. Trump should stop saying that dead people voted, because it’s a lie and he’s engaged on a criminal attempt to steal an election and destroy what’s left of American democracy. Montgomerie should stop talking about “transphobes” and “cis people” because those are not real categories and they are used to bully and ostracize feminist women.

The stakes are too high

Dec 4th, 2020 8:22 am | By

Nailed it.

Young people of all genders

Dec 3rd, 2020 5:35 pm | By

Amnesty International and Liberty are joining forces to say that oh yes children should definitely be put on puberty blockers if they’re not loving their experience of puberty.

Amnesty International UK and Liberty are disappointed to see the High Court’s judgment on the use of puberty blockers. We are concerned not only for what this means for the health and well-being of trans young people, but the wider implications this will have on the rights of children and young people of all genders, particularly on consent and bodily autonomy.

Children don’t have “rights to bodily autonomy.” They’re not old enough.

Puberty blockers have been a reversible intervention used for decades to pause precocious puberty. Young trans people have been able to access puberty blockers under medical supervision since the late 1990s as a way to put on hold the physical changes of puberty, alleviate gender dysphoria and allow young trans people to flourish as their full selves. For many young trans people, or those questioning and exploring their gender identity, puberty blockers allow more time to make important decisions.

And for many others they’re a huge mistake which leaves them wishing they’d never done it – like Keira Bell for example. Why don’t AI and Liberty give a shit about that? Why are they trotting along with the stupid trans dogma as if they were moody adolescents instead of grown-up organizations?

For those who decide to fully transition, puberty blockers allow them to live in the correct gender as adults much more easily, by avoiding physical changes that are very difficult to reverse.

Speaking of difficult to reverse…the effects of postponing puberty can be very difficult to reverse too. What about that? What about “first do no harm”?

Young trans people should not have their access to healthcare restricted simply because they are trans.

That’s so stupid. It’s not “simply because they are trans”; it’s not because they’re trans at all, it’s because blockers mess with the body and children under 16 aren’t equipped to grasp all the consequences.

What a trainwreck.

An entire population group

Dec 3rd, 2020 4:35 pm | By

A November 27 letter from Canadian Women and Sport to the CEO of World Rugby implores him to repeal the “ban” on trans women playing on women’s teams.

Dear Brett, Canadian Women & Sport and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) are writing to express our strong opposition to World Rugby’s ban on Transgender Women Athletes. In doing so, we join 84 academics, Athlete Ally, Egale Canada and others in urging World Rugby to repeal their recent ban preventing transgender women from participating in women’s rugby.

The ban violates the human rights of transgender and gender diverse women, forcing them out of sport and denying them the benefits it brings. The discriminatory ban perpetuates the harmful and marginalizing practice of gender policing in women’s sport.

What are “gender diverse” women? As far as I know they’re not excluded from women’s teams – not wearing skirts would not be a reason to ban a woman from a women’s team.

More basically, not letting men who identify as women play on women’s teams doesn’t “violate their human rights” – and arguably it does violate the human rights of women to let them play on women’s teams. Men who identify as women are still men, and they shouldn’t be leveraging their discomfort with being men to take everything away from women.

The ban is not based on sound scientific evidence. In their letter to World Rugby, 84 notable academics from around the globe stated, “there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence to justify a ban which would only be harmful to transgender and gender diverse people.” The letter also voices their opposition to the exclusion “of an entire population group from playing women’s rugby: non-binary people assumed male at birth and transgender women … .”

It’s women’s rugby. Of course it “excludes an entire population group,” because that’s the nature of being women’s rugby (or men’s rugby). Nursery schools exclude an entire population group: people over the age of 5; that’s the nature of nursery schools. It’s not invidious or mean or discriminatory, it’s just how sports are organized because of the fact that women and men have different kinds of bodies.

Maybe climate change is making people’s brains to hot to operate correctly.

And also to serve

Dec 3rd, 2020 4:12 pm | By

So that’s one bit of good news.

Banned from the building

Dec 3rd, 2020 1:19 pm | By

You mean there’s a limit???

AP reports:

The official serving as President Donald Trump’s eyes and ears at the Justice Department has been banned from the building after trying to pressure staffers to give up sensitive information about election fraud and other matters she could relay to the White House, three people familiar with the matter tell The Associated Press.


That is, a spy Trump tried to plant at the Justice Department has been told to gtfo after she tried to bully staffers into helping her spy.

Heidi Stirrup, an ally of top Trump adviser Stephen Miller, was quietly installed at the Justice Department as a White House liaison a few months ago. She was told within the last two weeks to vacate the building after top Justice officials learned of her efforts to collect insider information about ongoing cases and the department’s work on election fraud, the people said.

Did they think she was going to be an honest “liaison”?

Stirrup is accused of approaching staffers in the department demanding they give her information about investigations, including election fraud matters, the people said.

The surprise here is that they were able to get rid of her.

Stirrup had also extended job offers to political allies for positions at some of the highest levels of the Justice Department without consulting any senior department officials or the White House counsel’s office and also attempted to interfere in the hiring process for career staffers, a violation of the government’s human resources policies, one of the people said.

She really sounds like a lot of fun.

Earlier this week, Attorney General William Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and the FBI had looked into allegations of election irregularities and found no evidence of widespread voting fraud that would change the outcome of the election.

“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” he said on Tuesday.

Trump shot back at Barr on Thursday, saying the Justice Department “hasn’t looked very hard” and calling it a disappointment. But he stopping short of implying Barr’s future as attorney general could be cut short.

Well what do you mean “short”? He’s only got 7 weeks as it is.

“Ask me that in a number of weeks from now,” Trump said when asked if he still has confidence in Barr.

Dude in a number of weeks you’re out of there and looking through the subpoenas from the New York prosecutors. You’re not canning anybody in “a number of weeks.”

Which party is spewing hatred?

Dec 3rd, 2020 12:39 pm | By

I avoided it at first because blegh, but let’s take a look at that letter of former Ellen now Elliot Page’s.

Image may contain: text

The third paragraph:

My joy is real, but it is also fragile. The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now, and knowing how much privilege I carry, I’m also scared. I’m scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the ‘jokes,’ and of violence. To be clear, I am not trying to dampen a moment that is joyous and one that I celebrate, but I also want to address the full picture. The statistics are staggering. The discrimination towards trans people is rife, insidious, and cruel, resulting in horrific consequences. In 2020 alone, it has been reported that at least 40 transgender people have been murdered, the majority of which were Black and Latinx trans women. To the political leaders who work to criminalize trans health care and deny our right to exist and to all those with a massive platform who continue to spew hostility towards the trans community: you have blood on your hands. You unleash a fury of vile and demeaning rage that lands on the shoulders of the trans community, a community in which 40% of trans adults report attempting suicide. Enough is enough. You aren’t being ‘cancelled,’ you are hurting people. I am one of those people and we won’t be silent in the face of your attacks.

People who have investigated the murder statistics point out that most of the murders of trans women are of sex workers; it’s well known that sex work is dangerous, in the sense that johns can turn violent. It’s not clear that all the murdered trans women were murdered because trans as opposed to because sex workers. If a trans woman tries to climb Everest and dies in the attempt it’s not necessarily because the trans woman is trans.

And about this “spewing hostility” and “you have blood on your hands” and “you unleash a fury of vile and demeaning rage” – none of that is true. I can easily believe that in real, physical, face to face life there is hostility and mockery, because people police people who are being unusual in public. But that’s not what Page is talking about, because Page is angry at “those with a massive platform” – which I think has to mean Rowling first of all, since Page is a movie actor and the Potter movies loom large. Rowling didn’t “spew hatred” or anything resembling it. Social media ragers said she did, and they were lying when they said it. Page appears to have accepted the lies as simple truth. Page’s ragey denunciation takes up most of the room in the letter. It’s all very McCarthy, very Hate Week, very gullible and destructive.

Thanks to Sastra for highlighting that bit of the letter.

Another wheelbarrow load

Dec 3rd, 2020 11:50 am | By

Another shining example of trumpal excellence at Voice of America:

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a federal watchdog, disclosed Wednesday that it had found “a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing” at the parent agency of the Voice of America under the leadership of the CEO appointed by President Trump.

Since taking over the U.S. Agency for Global Media, CEO Michael Pack has turned it upside down, sidelining top executives, firing network chiefs, and deep-sixing requests for visa extensions for foreign staffers. Most notably, Pack had two senior political aides with records of strongly pro-Trump ideological statements investigate journalists for perceived anti-Trump bias and push for sympathetic news coverage of the president during the campaign.

The finding is yet another formal and stinging rebuke to Pack’s actions, though it is not a final determination. In late November, U.S. Judge Beryl Howell ruled that Pack had acted unconstitutionally in investigating his own journalists on political grounds. She ordered him to stop intervening inside VOA’s newsrooms. Suspended executives have separately filed a complaint with the inspector general of the U.S. State Department, which has jurisdiction over the agency.

But he’s the boss! He gets to do whatever he wants! That’s the rule. Stupid peasants with their rakes and shovels don’t get to tell bosses what they can do.

NPR has learned that among the whistleblowers is Steve Herman, VOA’s White House bureau chief and perhaps its best-known journalist. Two of Pack’s top political aides investigated Herman, claiming he was unfair to Trump and demanding he be reassigned from covering the presidential campaign. The two men, neither of whom has a background in journalism, relied in part on tweets relaying statements from the president’s critics. 

Way to model the benefits of free and independent journalism.

Chase pushes the panic button

Dec 3rd, 2020 11:00 am | By

Chase Strangio is distraught over the Tavistock ruling.

It’s interesting and typical and a big part of the problem that CS resorts to hyperbolic emotional language at the outset. How “terrifying and sad and scary” – as if puberty blockers were ventilators and trans young people were being forcibly deprived of them.

I don’t think “people with large platforms” have much effect on courts of law. That aside, is it really true that “this care” i.e. puberty blockers has been deemed medically necessary, safe and effective by every major medical association? What does “medically necessary” even mean in this context? I could understand “psychologically necessary” (without necessarily agreeing with it) but medically? That doesn’t make sense. I suspect Strangio is padding out the claims here.

Strangio is simply ignoring the fact that there are people who took puberty blockers and now wish they hadn’t. It’s silly to forget that, because that’s what the case was about. Strangio is very sure that puberty blockers are good for all who take them, but Keira Bell brought the suit because they were not good for her and she thinks she was too young to decide to take them.

I find Chase Strangio pretty scary, to tell the truth.

Trump doesn’t mind losing an election

Dec 3rd, 2020 9:28 am | By

Philip Bump at the Post:

Over the length of a 46-minute video posted to social media Wednesday, President Trump read and riffed on a prepared script lambasting those who had the audacity to suggest that receiving fewer votes than his opponent meant he shouldn’t serve a second consecutive term in office. It was the functional equivalent of one of his beloved campaign rallies, both in the sense that it offered the same meandering range and, quite obviously, the same relief for his frustrations. It was also clearly no small undertaking; the numerous cuts in the final product suggested that what was offered to the country was a subset of what Trump had to say to the camera.

In other words the craziest bits got sliced out, so the crazy rant that remains is the less crazy part. With Trump there is always worse.

It was, almost literally, a distillation of the past four weeks of rants, allegations and accusations, including countless examples of claims which have already been soundly debunked. That sudden surge of votes seen in Wisconsin, something so compelling in Trump’s eyes that he brought a visual aid to demonstrate it? We dispatched that on Nov. 11: It was just the county of Milwaukee reporting its results. Whether it’s more worrisome if Trump knew it had been debunked or if he didn’t is up to you to determine.

Well, see, it’s like this. Milwaukee is a city, an industrial city, a northern industrial city. What do we know about northern industrial cities? Ohhhh right, they have a lot of [whispers] those people in them. Those people don’t vote for Trump. How dare Milwaukee county report its results?! See also: Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta. Don’t tell me Atlanta isn’t a northern city, it is, geography be damned.

Again, there wasn’t anything new to it. It was a pastiche of so much that we’ve heard so often. It presented no coherent case for the existence of fraud, instead substituting a volume of accusations for an abundance of proof. Having hundreds of people make unfounded allegations isn’t proof of wrongdoing, as any review of those sheaves of affidavits collected by Trump’s campaign from various supporters makes clear.

Yes but unfortunately that’s not the only issue. As we keep being reminded: endless repetition of a lie = many people believe it. Hitler knew that, and so does Dirty Don.

“This election was rigged. Everybody knows it,” he said. “I don’t mind if I lose an election, but I want to lose an election fair and square. What I don’t want to do is have it stolen from the American people. That’s what we’re fighting for, and we have no choice to be doing that.”

Yes, definitely, he doesn’t mind a bit if he loses fair and square. He’s demonstrated that his whole life. If I repeat that a million times will anyone believe it?

Who’s “we,” buster?

Dec 2nd, 2020 4:51 pm | By

The Military Times is not impressed.

The idea that the U.S. military would oversee a new nationwide presidential election — ordered under martial law by President Donald Trump — is “insane in a year that we didn’t think could get anymore insane,” a defense official tells Military Times.

Yet retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn promoted that exact idea Tuesday evening when he tweeted a press release from an Ohio-based conservative political organization.

Actually let’s just skip the vote entirely and let the military make Trump Dictator for Life. Why not?

Flynn calls for martial law

Dec 2nd, 2020 4:33 pm | By

Stand With Mueller writes:

A week after receiving his pardon from “President” Donald Trump, former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn promoted a call for the “president” to “temporarily suspend the Constitution” and put the country under martial law.

On Tuesday, weeks after the election Trump lost, Flynn shared a press release from the right-wing We the People Convention imploring Trump to implement martial law. The statement drew a connection to what Abraham Lincoln did with his presidential authority during the Civil War.

“Then, as now, a President with courage and determination was needed to preserve the Union,” the statement says. “Today, the current threat to our United States by the international and domestic socialist/communist left is much more serious than anything Lincoln or our nation has faced in its history – including the civil war.”

The statement goes on to rail against Antifa, Black Lives Matter, “socialists,” the “corrupt media,” and Big Tech, blaming them all for an “attempted stealing” of the election.

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would prove a stolen election, and much of the evidence collected by Trump’s legal team has been thrown out of court.

The statement culminates in a call for Trump to engage in “a limited form of martial law” before the country supposedly plunges into corruption and a new civil war.

“When the legislators, courts and/or Congress fail to do their duty under the 12th Amendment, you must be ready Mr. President to immediately declare a limited form of Martial Law, and temporarily suspend the Constitution and civilian control of these federal elections, for the sole purpose of having the military oversee a national re-vote….You must also act, like Lincoln did, to silence the destructive media’s one-sided propaganda designed and proven to influence the election outcome, and end the unlawful censorship of Big Tech, to restore the confidence of the American People in our electoral process or we cannot continue as a nation. Failure to do so could result in massive violence and destruction on a level not seen since the Civil War. Limited Martial Law is clearly a better option than Civil War!”

Flynn’s tweet comes shortly after Sidney Powell, the former Flynn and Trump campaign lawyer, amplified a call for Trump to “suspend” the election and “set up military tribunals” to launch an investigation into it.

Powell was a member of Trump’s legal team disputing the 2020 election results, but after days of spouting unsubstantiated voter fraud claims and conspiracy theories, she was cut.

By Ken Meyer

Via Gnu Atheism


Dec 2nd, 2020 4:10 pm | By

Oh INteresting.

DC attorney general, so Trump can’t pardon her ass out of there.

Scannell reports for CNN:

Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and adviser, sat for a deposition Tuesday with investigators from the Washington, DC, attorney general’s office as part of its lawsuit alleging the misuse of inaugural funds, according to a court filing.

In January, the DC attorney general’s office sued the Trump Organization and Presidential Inaugural Committee alleging they abused more than $1 million raised by the nonprofit by “grossly overpaying” for use of event space at the Trump hotel in Washington for the 2017 inauguration.

Depositions of witnesses as part of the lawsuit have been underway over the past several weeks.

Grossly overpaying, eh? Now why would they do that? Oh riiiiiiiiight, because the hotel belongs to the guy who was inaugurated. Nothing filthy about that at all, oh hell no.

The attorney general’s office has also subpoenaed records from Barrack, Ivanka Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and Rick Gates, the former inaugural committee deputy chairman, the filing said.

Rick Gates knew.

In December 2016, Gates wrote to Ivanka Trump that he was “a bit worried about the optics of PIC [Presidential Inaugural Committee] paying Trump Hotel a high fee and the media making a big story out of it,” according to the lawsuit.

Ah yes the optics, and making a big story out of it. What he meant was he was worried they might get busted for rank corruption.

According to the lawsuit, Gates agreed with the hotel’s managing director and Trump family members to pay $175,000 per day for the committee to reserve space for four days.

The committee’s own event planner — Stephanie Winston Wolkoff — advised against the transaction, telling the committee and the Trump family that the charges were at least twice the market rate, the lawsuit states.

Sir, pardon me sir, this would be you siphoning money from your inaugural committee into your own pocket sir, it wouldn’t look good and it could even be a crime, sir.

Wolkoff “noted unease with the offer during an in-person meeting with President-elect Trump and Ivanka Trump,” said DC Attorney General Karl Racine. She also sent a follow-up email to both Ivanka Trump and Gates to “express [her] concern,” according to the attorney general.

“The Inaugural Committee accepted the contract anyway,” the lawsuit alleges.

Because that’s how greedy and entitled and psychopathic Trump is.

Out of towner

Dec 2nd, 2020 3:25 pm | By

Seattle has a celebrity visitor, all the way from the Arctic.

Rare snowy owl perches on rooftops in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood,  drawing bird watchers

This snowy owl has been wowing residents and birders in Queen Anne.* It is rare for the owls to be seen in this region, and the owls always create a stir in Seattle, where with their striking appearance they can hardly be missed. Their color evokes their usual home in the Arctic. Snowies are the largest of owls, with a wingspan that can reach nearly 5 feet. They also are among the heaviest, weighing in at about 5 pounds. 

I went to see her today. Google actually had the address – apparently she really likes that particular chimney so that’s where she spends the day – which made it easy. No joy on the street side, but I’d seen photos of people watching her in an alley so I went around to the alley and sure enough there were people with their professional cameras…and then there was the owl. Snuggled up to the chimney just as in the photo.

I knew a pair at the zoo long ago, but I’ve never seen a wild one before. Not too shabby.

Photos: A rare snowy owl appears in Queen Anne | Seattle Refined

*Updating to add – I forgot to mention that Queen Anne is my neighborhood (named after the style of architecture, not the monarch). Owl is 5 blocks north and 6 east, in an area I walk around all the time. Talk about lucky.