White House

Secret Service Would Take Bullet For Jared 'N' Ivanka, Not Allowed To Take A Sh*t In Their House

Washington Post uncovers the juicy, reeking details.

In a great act of public service journalism on the final Thursday of the Trump administration, the Washington Post brings us the story we didn't know we needed to know about the Secret Service detail assigned to protect Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Namely, the agents tasked with protecting their lives aren't allowed to use any of the approximately 478 toilets in the Kushner-Trump manse in the posh Kalorama neighborhood of Washington DC:

Instructed not to use any of the half-dozen bathrooms inside the couple's house, the Secret Service detail assigned to President Trump's daughter and son-in-law spent months searching for a reliable restroom to use on the job, according to neighbors and law enforcement officials. After resorting to a porta-potty, as well as bathrooms at the nearby home of former president Barack Obama and the not-so-nearby residence of Vice President Pence, the agents finally found a toilet to call their own.

Eventually, the agency was able to find a terlet to let, in a basement studio in a house right across the street from Caca Casa de Kushner, at the price of $3,000 a month, which is all you need to know the house isn't owned by anyone in the Trump family. The space not occupied by the bathroom also serves as a command post and break room for the Secret Service detail, so that works out pretty well for all, particularly the agents who may need to work some things out themselves. What a relief!

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New Years Eve

America's Plague Year Also Featured A Pandemic!

See, not just Trump, that's the joke there.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues on, with predictions that January is going to be even worse than what we've seen yet and the news that the initial phase of vaccinations will be far short of the target, there are already plenty of excellent analyses of where the US went wrong in dealing with the outbreak. The latest is in the current New Yorker, by Lawrence Wright, who identifies three points where the pandemic could have been, if not prevented, then at least better contained, with far less death and sickness. So we're not going to attempt anything like a comprehensive timeline of the pandemic; you can find those all over. Instead, I want to take a look back at some of the stories from the plague year that stuck with me for one reason or another.

Also, this tweet, a summary of the entire Trump pandemic response.


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Education

Shiny Normal Thing! Joe Biden Picks A Teacher For Education Secretary

Not a billionaire Amway heiress in sight.

Joe Biden made good on his campaign promise to name an actual teacher to lead the Department of Education. On Tuesday, Biden announced he'd picked Connecticut's education commissioner, Miguel Cardona, for the job, saying Cardona "understands that the deep roots of inequity that exist as a source of our persistent opportunities gaps. He understands the transformative power that comes from investing in education."

We'd just like to thank Biden for making it once more possible for us to type the phrase "Secretary of Education" without violently retching. Cardona seems like a hell of a good guy to clean away the mess created by Donald Trump's Ed secretary, Betsy DeVos, who seemed to consider public schools mostly a source of funding for her mission of privatizing education wherever possible.

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Media/Entertainment

Donald Trump Dances About Architecture

Nice to see he's keeping busy when he's not sabotaging coronavirus relief.

As his attempts to overturn the election continue to fail, and with the pandemic still getting worse, Donald Trump took a couple of ineffectual steps recently to shore up his Culture Wars cred. Last Friday, he appointed a bunch of people to his "1776 Commission," a little project aimed at teaching American History the Right way, with appropriate worship of the Founders and all the greatest American heroes, plus a paragraph each for Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, but not too much, lest the 1619 Project poison kids' minds. Then, on Monday, Trump finally issued his big executive order declaring that architecture for federal buildings must be "beautiful," and in the neoclassical style whenever possible. Ultimately, neither is likely to amount to a hill of beans, but the important thing is the gesture to rightwing culture warriors, just like how we're now safe to say "Merry Christmas" again without being shot on sight.

Don't you feel more patriotic already?

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