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CSotD: Traces of smoke and scat

I’ll be sending you off to some good stuff today, but let’s lead with a cartoon I absolutely cannot understand.

I almost always disagree with AF Branco (Creators) but it’s not hard to figure out his rightwing fringe take on things.

This one makes no sense, though, unless he preferred the succession of liars, obstructionists and bullshit artists who held the office under Trump. You might get a quick reply from them, if they answered your question at all, but even then it was usually a company talking point in place of the information you needed.

Yesterday, Jen Psaki — who smiles often, btw — did an hour-long press conference, and I was impressed with the lack of smokescreens and horsepucky.

She not only answered the questions she could answer on the spot, but, when something was still in development, she explained with clarity where things stood and what they were doing about it so far.

And, yes, when she didn’t know the answer, she promised to find out and get back to the reporter. Branco thinks this is a terrible thing; It made me long for the days when I knew (only) one or two press people who did their job that well.

They made my job easy.

I guess that, while I believe the White House Press Secretary should be helping reporters let the public know what’s happening, Branco remains convinced that Trump’s squad of cover-up artists were doing things right.

Quick anecdote: I mentioned the other day a friend who went to college on a debating scholarship. She was first a public relations person when I was a reporter and then she ascended to an important independent position in the business community.

We used to meet once a month at the food court in the mall for lunch. If we’d met at a regular restaurant, anyone seeing us would wonder why we were getting together, but, at the mall, it looked like we had just run into each other.

In fact, we were exchanging off-the-record insights about, in my case, the newsroom and, in her case, the business world, so that we could each make our approaches with some helpful background.

Part of that thing about never asking a question to which you don’t already know the answer.

And, yes, if I needed information she didn’t have, she’d promise to get back to me with it, and then she would. In time for my deadline, too.

Maybe you need to have been in the trenches, but Psaki rocks.

 

Speaking of knowing what you’re talking about, today’s Bliss (Trib) is more of a smiler than an outright laugh, but does verify that Harry has a place up in the hills.

My folks had this poster by the backdoor at home and sometimes we remembered them and sometimes we’d come back in to look something up, but below the poster I’ve put prints of a bear and a porcupine, front and back paws, one of them blown up to equal the other.

I don’t often like cartoons where one person sees the lurking danger and the other is oblivious — it’s just too common a thing — but it works this time because it’s a lovely example of how a little bit of knowledge can be worse than none at all.

Good choice of color, too, since, while most bears are denned up this time of year anyway, the brown ones are scary and the black ones are not.

Or, as the traditional tourist warning goes:

 

 

I got a different laugh from Mother Goose and Grimm (KFS), because at one point, my aunt’s brother (my “uncle-in-law”?) had a job that included fetching distant rental cars back to the regional headquarters in Montreal.

It was pretty easy work most of the time, but he once had to bring back a car that had been detained at the border. The family had been shopping in the US, and got caught without the right papers coming back to Canada, so the car got stored in an impound lot there for about six weeks.

In the summer.

With several pounds of raw chicken in the back seat.

Better they had lost it completely than that poor Bill had to drive it back.

 

The other day, I speculated about oil and gas companies putting out self-serving information, which made me pleased to see Arctic Circle (KFS) make a positive gag about pellet stoves.

And, perhaps, the Grape-Nuts shortage.

There’s a lot of chatter about wood stoves being bad for the environment, and maybe it’s planted and maybe it’s real, though a fire at the end of a day of skiing won’t destroy the ice caps.

But, as a full time heat source, pellet stoves not only burn clean but provide a use for otherwise waste products of logging, while pellet mills create jobs in rural areas.

I don’t mind city folks mistaking bear tracks for giant porcupine prints, but I do object to them conflating pellet stoves with wood stoves or even wood chip burners.

You probably need a ceiling fan to help distribute the heat, and you should have a backup heat source in case you ever want to leave home in winter for more than a few days, but pellet stoves are a marvel.

 

Oh, the places you can go!

I was going to send you off to read the Houston Chronicle story about Nick Anderson, but DD Degg scooped me on that one, as he often does. Don’t miss it.

 

You should also head for the Nib to see this collection of Herblock cartoons on the downfall of Richard Nixon.

It’s not as exciting as watching it happen in real time, but it sure beats having people who weren’t born yet tell you a story you already know, and, for those not old enough to remember, Herblock is a reliable narrator.

Also, as seen in this sample, a lot of those bastards went to jail. Just an observation.

 

And Barry Blitt, well known for his New Yorker covers, has a fun feature over at Airmail about the Trump Presidential Library.

Oxier and more moronic than which you cannot get.

 

Now, from the land of woodchips and grizzly bears …

Community Comments

#1 Don Blakeslee
February/3/2021
@ 8:37 am

A few weeks ago, my wife asked where Trump’s library would be built. The answer came to me immediately: on the head of a pin.

#2 Laurel Strand
February/3/2021
@ 9:01 am

Can’t remember where I saw the link to this website last week, but check it out.

https://djtrumplibrary.com/

#3 William Ramwell
February/3/2021
@ 12:28 pm

I haven’t seen Psaki but will make a point of it. From my time in corporate PR is you never tell a lie, you always tell the truth, but that doesn’t mean you have to tell the whole truth. When you don’t know, say so. I would not compromise my personal credibility. Meanwhile, the previous incumbent (and the whole administration) seemed to think they were interpreters of the presidential tweets: “What I think the president meant was…”

#4 Brent J. Nordquist
February/3/2021
@ 2:45 pm

When I gave briefings in the Air Force, it was always acceptable to say, “I don’t know, sir/ma’am, but I’ll find out and let you know ASAP.” But you were taking your career into your hands if you tried to BS your way past the question.

I think that’s the perfect recipe for building a culture that values truth and facts, as opposed to appearances and stage performance.

#5 Mike Peterson
February/3/2021
@ 3:46 pm

We had a terrific PAO at Plattsburgh AFB: Helpful, honest and really tried to understand our needs. Then he took off to Desert Storm with Schwartzkopf and the next guy was worse than useless.

I did a story about the changing world of officers’ wives, how they had their own careers and weren’t doing the charity work on bases anymore. Had a colonel’s wife, major’s wife and general’s wife as sources (not always good for hubby’s career), and the general’s wife was heading a national commission to study the issue.

Sent the photographer out to the base for a photo and got a shot of a cheerful NCO’s wife preparing items for a charity garage sale.

Makes you wonder if the PAO was trying to screw you, or was just that incompetent.

Later stories suggested the latter.

#6 Ed Rush
February/3/2021
@ 10:28 pm

We used to say that Dubya’s library had two books, and one had already been colored in. With tRump, though, I cannot imagine what a presidential library would contain that any sane person would want to see.

#7 Robert Berend
February/4/2021
@ 8:20 am

I heard someone complain on right-wing media that she had been asking the White House press for their questions in advance of the press conference. They painted this as negative, doing away with the element of surprise, and in general a bad thing. Elsewhere I heard that she asks for the questions so that she can do research and give the people the answers when the press conference is actually happening. So she’s doing the right thing, she can’t know everything

#8 Peace Souljer
February/7/2021
@ 8:54 am

No problem hating the man but you cannot downplay his role in moving the US to a higher international plane and pushing back against the Cancel Culture. As I predicted Iran and China are going to continue to push the envelope of both their moves to eliminate Israel and become the planet’s dominant power, respectively . Let’s hope that 46, who never has had a real job, can get the job done. #unconstitutionalelection

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