Chatological Humor (Apr. 2)

Apr 02, 2019

Today's four-question Post Post-Mueller poll.

You asked for it and you got it. Gene will now be holding weekly mini-chats, where he takes your questions about what's happening in the country — and anything else you want to discuss.

Good afternoon.

So, Biden.  It is a rare situation for me, but I am at a loss for words.  Not in the common sense that I am too gobsmacked to do anything but stammer, but in the sense that I don't really know how to think about this, or what to say. 

Biden has been this way, out in the open, in public, for cameras, for 40 years.  He has never (to my knowledge) been reprimanded or complained about, though he has been subject to "oh how icky" videos, which do, indeed, seem icky, and which only seem to feed his image as Onion Joe Biden, and which seems to have stuck only as a sort of sweet-sour icing.

I completely agree with this take by my colleague Karen Tumulty.   But I also have some strategic thoughts.

I don't think this is the year that the Dems want as their standard bearer someone who projects as a clueless old fud, a  man well behind the times.  And that's what this mini-semi-scandal is doing to Biden.   A lot of men my age (67) know perfectly well this is not reasonable behavior.  It is behavior that is cringeworthy, behavior that, in fact, sometimes results in cringes right there in real time.  Why didn't Joe?  Well, he's EVEN OLDER AND OUTOFITER.

One last thing.  Many of you may have read that New York magazine piece by a freelancer suggesting that the Wapo  cravenly protected Jeff Fager of CBS news by killing portions of the Charlie Rose takedown that would have implicated Fager as well.   I'm not going to link to the piece but you can easily find it.

I am not authorized to speak for the Post about this, and not knowledgeable enough about the original story to even try.  But I know a little about the circumstances, and the personalities involved, and I think this new story is not good journalism.  No news organization has been as aggressive and fearless  in pursuing sexual harassment; if this wasn't published, there was a reason, and a good one.   Marty Baron is fearless and not susceptible to pressure.  The people who work for him are fearless and not susceptible to pressure. 

There is a reason there are editors. Not just to get stuff published, but to know when something should not be published.  It may be the more important responsibility.

My two cents.  Well, four cents.  I know a little more about this stuff than most people.

Please take the poll.   We start at noon sharp.

We moved to NoVa when I was 10, and the wtop traffic reports were always gibberish to me. Then I started driving and came to understand what the I-270 spur was, etc. Now I am extremely proficient in beltway and I-95 lingo.

To me it is, and always has been, gibberish.  They might as well be saying "Beeble booble burble blit.  Schmickle schmackle spickle spit."   Only they don't even rhyme.

Why is it the 270 "spur"?  Isn't just where 270 hits the Beltway or something?  Where is the Occoquan?   The John Hansen Highway?   The American Legion Bridge?  The Outer Loop before the Clara Barton Parkway? The Inner Loop between New Hampshire Avenue and I-95?  I-66 after Sudley Road?  Northbound Route 5 after the 301 Split? Southboard Baltimore Washington Parkway moving from 175 to 32?  Inbound Roosevelt Bridge after Independence Avenue?

I know that other areas of the couintry have their own incomprehensible traffic reports, using local touchpoints, delivered in the same rapidfire bleat.. 

And yes, I know this is going to provoke scads of self-righteousness.   "DON'T YOU KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE, YOU IDIOT?  THIS IS ALL CLEAR AS DAY TO ME!  MY MIND IS LIKE A ROADMAP BECAUSE I AM A FUNCTIONING BEING.... etc.  Fine.  Good for you.  Clapclapclapclap.


Your column on Jackson, Allen, and Crosby was somewhat interesting in its comparison with Trump, but you skipped today's most critical artist question: #muteRKelly. I suppose you were not a fan of his work to begin with. Anyway, I appreciate Jim De Rogatis' long-time work on that issue.

This is the column to which you refer. 

I know nothing of RKelly except for "I Believe I Can Fly," which has the line "There are miracles in life I must achieve / But first I know it starts inside of me.."

So f him, just on the basis of drek work. 

The last question on the poll was a little bit of a challenge--I know what it is getting at, but for 25+ years I've lived in NC and had family in the northeast. So I have lots of experience navigating and cursing DC traffic without ever having lived in the metro area.

But aren't there similarly incomprehensible reports in NC?

Not Mantle or Maris or Yogi or Whitey but Tony Kubek ??

Maris was my favorite player in the 1960s.  This was the 1970s I was writing about when I mentioned the allegedly antisemitic player whom I revered and rooted for just the same.   I did not name him for the simple reason that I have no idea if those rumors were true.

Many people guessed correctly, and good for you, but I reiterate:  This was about rumor, not fact, and my (non)reaction to it. (The Internet has some whispers about him, but they are not dispositive.)   For all I know this guy is now chairman of the United Jewish Appeal. 

I think that your column about whether to stop watching/liking etc. people who you have found out to be slimey creeps has a serious false analogy. It didn't matter if you watched, rooted for, watched on TV or even attended a game being played by the anti-Semitic Yankee player. It made no difference on whether they won the World Series or not. I was following you along with the comparison to Republicans who supported Trump until you said they were concerned about re-election and the loss of their base. Big difference here- if you are talking about members of Congress as opposed to members of the public their support of Trump makes a BIG difference. They could be overriding vetoes, refusing to confirm obvious lobbyists for the opposite of what department they would be leading (like Interior and EPA); even finding a real Republican to run against him in the primary. So yes they are spineless and hypocritical. And bytw I think anyone who likes a movie with disgusting gratuitous violence like Pulp Fiction is a bit off.

I don't think the violence was gratuitous.

I tend to rank movies based on how many scenes stay with me, even years later.   PF has a whole bunch.  

I said no because I don't think there will be any new information in the report. It seems like we've actually found out a LOT of what Mueller did, in real time - the various contacts with Russia, the cover-ups of those contacts, potential coordination with Wikileaks, corruption, incompetence, illegal campaign contributions. I think it's already wreaked whatever political havoc it was going to wreak, so no, I don't think there's additional political harm in the offing.

It depends on what Mueller says about Trump, a la Comey with Clinton.   In a way, this is an interesting dynamic: Mueller has already established he is fair!  He didn't indict!   Now, any judgments he makes, if harsh, will carry more weight.

What do you think of allegations that the Trump's good friends the Saudis hacked Jeff Bezos' phone to get dirt on the WaPo owner (whom Trump hates)? I find it sinister, but utterly credible.

If I recall correctly, The Enquirer says this is not true.  I tend to believe that.

Just say "there's a backup on the exit to Route 50 from the south" and everybody knows what it means.

The whole thing sucks.  I think we can agree.  Part of it might be that the traffic guys and gals are so familiar with the roads it makes perfect sense to THEM.  I may have to do a column on this. 

I like Biden. I even like Diamond Joe Biden. But the man is pushing 80. I am nervous about my 80 year old father driving the car. Too many weird buttons and the like. Who knows which ones he will accidentally press.

I am 67, and I know what has happened to my instant -recall memory.   It is definitely impaired.  I'll frequently be writing something, then open a new screen because of a new idea, and as soon as I hit the new screen, having been forced to an intervening physical act, the new idea is... gone.    And he is 11 years older than I am.

While you are at it, would you please also get them stop with the big electric digital highway signs that tell me something is going on at Exit 126? Like I know which exit is 126?

Thank you.   This reminds me of the main flaw in the otherwise pretty great Google Maps GPS.    When you are leaving the place you are gone to -- a place with which you are usually pretty unfamiliar -- the first command is usually something like "Go North."  WHO KNOWS WHERE NORTH IS?

Not only are you right -- but someone agrees with you about it AND has written a book on the demise of the tomato!! I know this is old, but I just stumbled across it. Have you read, or talked to the author? NPR link 

We haven't spoken.   But I have written this:  "I have basically stopped buying commercial tomatoes.  "Tomatoes are ruined.  Even the farmer's market near my home has tomatoes with skin like ear cartilage and the insides like pebbly sacs of pus.    Today's twentysomethings  have no idea what good tomatoes taste like.  Whenever they tell me, no, I get GREAT tomatoes from....  I say, and what, exactly, are you comparing them to?"


I wrote this in 2009:

I just finished harvesting the last of my homegrown tomatoes. It was a highly productive summer for my little urban garden: More than 300 fruits, each round and ripe and as tasteless as tapwater, all with a faintly metallic bouquet, like licking a refrigerator door; 300 scarlet orbs of pulpy goo beneath skin the consistency of human ear cartilage.

It's okay, it's what I'm used to! It's what you're used to, too, though you probably don't realize it. According to the Commerce Department, you're cheerfully consuming tomatoes by the hundreds of millions.

Oh, if you are older than 40, you probably realize that the tomatoes you buy in stores are not like those of your youth. You probably even know why: Commercial tomatoes have been bred to Frankensteinian proportions by rapacious agri-conglomerates, to fit perfectly on a supersize burger, and/or they've been deadened to maximize appearance and shelf life at the expense of taste. But you probably retain some confidence in the integrity of the farmer-raised tomato, and, above all, the so-called heirlooms -- the popular garden variety that have been given charmingly gooberish names like Mortgage Lifter and Arkansas Traveler, and that supposedly tap into ancient unsullied gene pools, grown by cloistered monks to the soothing music of lutes and lyres, under the direct stewardship of God Himself.

Nope. Sorry. All crap. I shop at a farmer's market, and I grow heirlooms. I admit my standards of comparison are high. The best tomatoes I've ever had were grown by an old lady named Mary Conesa in the back yard of her general store in Hopewell Junction, N.Y., where my parents had a summer house in the late 1950s. Mary was a neighbor; it was not until the day we had dinner at her home that we realized her startling secret: After the meal, she dumped all the table scraps -- corncobs, pork chops, etc. -- out the window onto her tomatoes. They grew in rotting filth.

I'd try to replicate the rotting filth method today, but I know it's no use: The good seeds are not out there. Something dastardly has been done to the American tomato, across the board, whether or not your benumbed palate has personally acknowledged it. There are decent tomatoes to be had, and there are awful tomatoes, but there are no perfect tomatoes anymore, the kind you want to bite into whole, like an apple, with sugary flesh and paper-thin skins that snap under the tooth and spill seedy juice down your chin.

You may think me at best an elitist and at worst a grumpy generational chauvinist, the kind of old fart who believes civilization is in irreversible decline because people use "imply" and "infer" interchangeably, which I do believe, but that's not the point. I am right about tomatoes, too.

I am aware that my assertion is unprovable, since taste is subjective and, when it comes to perishables, what's past is past. (I tried to confirm this obvious epistemological truth by calling an actual epistemologist, Dr. Alex Byrne, a philosophy professor at MIT. We had barely begun to talk before it became clear to both of us that any meaningful dialogue was impossible: Byrne, a Brit, says "tomahto." I say "tomayto.")

I found a better authority to interview: Dr. Autar Mattoo, the USDA expert on tomatoes. I called him:

Me: Are you aware that your last name is an anagram of "tomato"?

Dr. Mattoo: I am! Not many people notice!

Me: Why do people think they're eating great tomatoes?

Dr. Mattoo: Maybe they are only 20 years old!

Me: So you acknowledge a problem.

Dr. Mattoo: Oh, yes.

Me: Is it possible to get a great fresh tomato anymore?

Dr. Mattoo: I had one just two weeks ago!

Me: Really?

Dr. Mattoo:  Yes, in the Netherlands.

Me: Ah.

Dr. Mattoo: Exactly.

For such a geographically challenged group (65% + don't know our region) they sure have strong opinions about collusion and obstruction of justice based on a report that hasn't even been released to the public (or Congress for that matter). I'm sick of the Dems in Congress demanding the Attorney General violate the laws (that they passed) by releasing a full, unredacted version of the Mueller Report.

Understood.  Were you similarly outraged by the publication of the completely redacted, hilariously X-rated Starr report, containing, among many other things, footnote 9 (I think it was 9) ??

I know the law was different.  But did that offend you?  Or just make you laugh out loud?

Mid 50s guy here - I am way better at understanding the traffic reports if they use Road Names or Route Numbers than Exit Numbers. I've always thought it'd be useful if they described the beltway traffic related to the face of an analog clock (e.g. "Outer loop backed up from about 11:00 to 3:00 while the inner loop has it's normal congestion from 4:00 to past 7:00")

That would be way better.

Spent some time in South Africa ten years ago. Every morning the main English-language radio station would give traffic reports FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.


Okay, while we are on the subject, who gives a crap if it is 68 degrees in downtown DC but 67 degrees at Dulles Airport and 69 degrees in Hyattsville?

I knew and respected you in Miami and do so even more now. Just a heartfelt compliment here, from the old days at Tropic

Awww.   Were you aware I've gotten old and doddering?

Were you writing last Sunday's Barney and Clyde when you came up with the Quiz about Dr. Strangelove or vice versa ?

This was written by Horace LaBadie.   And no, just coincidence.    The Sunday funnies are written 6 weeks before you read them (color takes time.)  The chat polls are written six hours before you read them.

Why is it referred to as illegal obstruction of justice? Is there such a thing as a legal obstruction of justice?

That was very deliberate.  I meant to imply something prosecutable.  As opposed to, yeah, well he probably technically committed obstruction, but you'd never get a conviction so you wouldn't file charges.   We are talking about an offense that can and should be prosecuted.

I assume they make perfect sense to the people who travel those roads frequently. Think of them as reports from games in a sport you don’t follow.

There HAS to be a more accessible way to present them.  Also slow down just a tick, guys.

It's also about Anita Hill. He represents the pre-Me Too movement. Time has passed him by. The touching is just the lightning rod for a much broader issue with him.

Sure.  And his most recent disingenuous response to the Anita Hill issue really didn't help him.  He truly seems clueless.

The Anita Hill issue could be, if not adequately explained, reasonably explained.  He had a problem -- perception of unfairness to women vs. perception of unfairness to a powerful black man.   "Lynching."   It was not an enviable position to be in.  He went the wrong way.

Gene, we all know you have the smartest, savviest, best-read audience in the chat world (if I do say so myself), but the Mueller investigation is way too politically charged for us to answer the poll with any objectivity. The answers we gave speak more about us than about the Mueller report.

That was the idea.  See how smart you are?

As I agree with you regarding this being a one-issue election, and believe it is incumbent upon the Democrats to find someone, - almost anyone - who will drive Trump, wiocaHa, out of the White House, I am troubled by the large field of 'way out' candidates with extremely radical bases. While I am a believer in the Women's Movement, Diversity, etc., does it make me a bigot to feel that we need to put up someone acceptable to the widest possible spectrum of American Voters?

Agreed.  But with a caveat:  If I believe that the person most able of beating Trump was a Communist husband-beater, fine.   One.  Issue.

This probably said information that should be significantly politically harmful, because with his base and the sycophants at Fox News, it won't matter. They've already managed to take a document that explicitly says it does NOT exonerate the President and report that it amounts to a complete, total exoneration...

6,000 people have made this point, and it is true.

Well now, that's an interesting question. To his base, is anything politically harmful to Trump? To those who held their noses and voted for him anyway, if 2020 again brings a Democratic candidate they irrationally hate, would anything in the report prevent them from doing the same?

Yeah.  My big fear at this point is the front-runner.   I think Bernie is easily dismissable as a dangerous nut by Trump and the Trumpsters.  He is not a dangerous nut.  But he is easily pigeonholed by dix. 

Clarifying that I voted “no” on the politically harmfully info in the report question because I don’t think evidence of a crime like obstruction of justice would/will be politically harmful to him. His base and their craven representatives will stay with him unless/until someone gets him on tape confessing to murdering a white person for fun.

But what if it were a white LIBERAL?  He probably skates on that one. 

By the way, in reference to a Twitter poll I did yesterday, one of the most counterintuitive facts I know:

Fiorello LaGuardia was a Republican.  Almost half the respondents guessed wrong.

What are the odds that the Dems nominate a loonie lefty who gives the 2020 election to Donald Trump? A year ago, I'd have thought that this was impossible, but the 987 candidates, with a few noteworthy exceptions, seem to be in a race to get to the left of Eugene Debs. More important: what chance does a sober centrist like John Hickenlooper have? I think he's the one who has the best chance of defeating Trump in the general election -- so why does he have no shot with Democrats? And tell me how Dems will rationalize it if they screw up the one job they have -- nominating someone to beat Trump -- by embracing the loony left?

Yes, I am deeply worried about this.  As I have said before, for me this is a one-issue election.   The person who can best beat Trump.

Your neighbor in New York was growing them in compost, not rotting filth. Trust me, there is a huge difference. I would also like to point you in the direction of Rutgers, where they have been hard at work hybridizing tomatoes to taste as good as the ones we had in our youth. Seeds are available for purchase.

I will try Rutgers this year, though I did last year, and nope.  

It wasn't compost in the sense that she didn't compost it.  She flung garbage out the kitchen window into her backyard.

The traffic reporters or the drivers?

Reporters.  Drivers should speed up.

Is it wrong for me to believe that the President shouldn't be over the full retirement age?

Yeah, I think it is wrong of you.  We've had some good presidents over 70.  I think.  Hm.  Maybe we haven't.  Hm.  Have we?  Maybe not!

Saw an interview with pollster Frank Lundz (sp?) on the Amampour show. He was literally in tears talking about the country's partisan divide and throwing shade in all directions. The examples he used to condemn "the Left" were 1) "Forcing" John McCain to pick Palin as his running mate and , 2) the derision directed at Billionaire-de-jour Howard Shulz for his misbegotten candidacy. That's the best they've got?

Really?  Wow.  The left FORCED McCain to pick a nitwit?

From years of these chats, I wouldn't guess you get out of the Capitol Hill - Washington Post corridor very often. Otherwise, it's pretty hard to believe that you don't know I-270 splits into two legs as you approach the Beltway from the north, one of which is called the spur (and takes you to the American Legion bridge!).

And the other goes where? 

A two-issue election: The other is health insurance.

Same issue!

Are you surprised that he's done so well so far? Yeah, he's a vet, brilliant, personable, attractive - and gay. If America had buyer's remorse over a black man and snubbed a white woman, how many decades will it take to elect a gay man as president?

I think we might be ready.  I am perhaps naive, but I don't think it's going to be a huge issue, once people get to know him and see he is "normal." 

Hey, I forget where I saw this, but someone was speculating that if Buttigieg is elected, his husband would be "First Laddie."

Lots of Chataholics seem to "know" who is in Trump's please define for me the differences between Bernie's base vs. Warren's base vs. Harris' base vs. Beto's base vs. Booker's base, et al. To me they are all the same - and aren't they are all to some degree segments of Hillary's base?

I think they are all similar, but with an added factor: Anyone But Trump base.

I like me some Joe Biden, but his age is of a concern. Who I'd like to be is Joe Biden's VP!

How about Biden-Buttigieg?   Biden-Beto.   The killer Bs.

How do you feel about the little ones? I like cherry tomatoes and pop them like blueberries. I do not eat regular tomatoes like an apple - they are bland and not at all pleasant to eat that way.

Cherries have suffered the same fate, to a slightly lesser degree.  

If you commute in a car every day, you know the roads, exits and choke points like the back of your hand. For us, the traffic reports make perfect sense. To put it another way, they're not meant for occasional driver. One update of recent years, however, which should be greatly appreciated by all, is the phasing out of vague terms like "moderate delays" with specifics like "22 minutes delays between X and Y." FWIW, this is all moot. Everybody should just use Waze or a similar GPS app. I can't remember the last time I actually listened to a traffic report.

How do we feel about "police activity"?

Saw that term on the internets last night and I want to help it go viral. Trump can't exit soon enough.

Very good!   I think it will catch on.   Let's hashtag it.

Gene -- The abhorrent public policy notions of some of the athletes and musicians you mention (or chose not to mention) are not central to their performances. However, the abhorrent public policy preferences of Donald Trump and most Republicans are central to Trump's popularity and his administration's goals. The compartmentalization you propose might work regarding entertainers, but doesn't work regarding politicians.

Some people have argued the opposite: That the artists' depravities work their way into their work.  Particularly with Woody.

I respectfully disagree that it's not good journalism. I think that it reveals something about the machinations behind getting a story published, and the impact that partnerships and politics have on those machinations. Whether it's ultimately damning or not will be in the eye of the beholder, but it does raise important questions that are worth asking and having answered. And that's journalism.

I predict this writer will have some trouble getting her freelances pieces published in the future, as good as she might well be.  This was a bullshit move, IMO.  I apologize for saying "shit" twice.

Journalism is not ALWAYS about transparency, as she seems to believe.  Part of it, practiced honestly and correctly and professionally, is anathema to full transparency.

Think of it this way:  if The Post decided the reporting just wasn't there, that they were pretty convinced he was maybe guilty as charged, but didn't have it nailed the way their ethics require for a story this damaging, do you think they should have published a story saying that they heard rumors he was a horrible man who did horrible things but they could not prove it to their satisfaction, so they are just putting it out there with caveat?

If you think so, you ain't no journalist.

Chasten Buttigieg refers to himself as "First Gent", FWIW

Also fine.

I feel we are in desperate need of a third party to represent moderates and perhaps even a moderate to run as an independent in 2020. I don’t trust the Democrats to nominate someone with broad appeal.

Splendid.  Why not just give the election to Trump right now?

Is defeating Trump. Too bad all those who sat out the 2016 election in a fit of pique because their guy didn't win the nomination or voted for Jill Stein didn't realize that.

I fear there will always be a Jill Stein / Ralph Nader etc.  

Back in maybe 7th grade, we had an assignment to select a poem and interpret it. A friend decided to write his own poem and interpret it. The teacher said he was all wrong, and he couldn't correct her without 'fessing up.

This made me laugh out loud.  Was the poem any good?

I get the first 3 questions in today's poll, but what does question 4 have to do with Mueller and/or his report? Is there no connection, or is the Deep State up to something nefarious that it wants to hide from us? (Side note: I moved to the D.C. area in 1985, and it was probably 15 years before I understood the meaning of "inner loop" and "outer loop.")

It was an off-the-wall last minute replacement for the previous question 4, which was written on Friday, and which asked whether you thought the report would be leaked if it was never released.  That question was invalidated by news late Friday.

My takeaway from everything I know to date is that the Russians were probably trying to collude with the Trump campaign but the Trumpsters were too dumb and/or disorganized to seize the opportunity. I've seen literally nothing that gives me any reason to believe they would have rejected the overtures out of patriotism, respect for (or even fear of) the laws against doing so, etc.

I think if the Russians were seriously trying to collude with the dopes, they'd have colluded with the dopes.  I suspect there was no collusion beyond the pretty appalling facts we already know.

I never expected Mueller to find a smoking gun. Trump has worked with the Mob for decades. He understands how to do these things. And at this point is seems a bit pointless. We will have an election to get rid of him in 18 months.

One.  Issue.  Election.  

Regarding last week's column, I have a different take, but arrive at the same conclusion, at least as the column regards entertainment. Let's say a listener enjoys MJ's or R. Kelly's music and accepts that they are monsters. Wouldn't burning their CDs or deleting their iTunes punish the listener who enjoys their music, not them? Why should someone who enjoys their music deny themselves this enjoyment, effectively punishing him/herself for crimes the musicians committed?

I am going ask the readers this, but I think I know the answer.  I don't entirely agree with it, for reasons stated in the column, but I think I understand it.

I sometimes wonder if Trump's base feels less impotent by supporting a bully.

I think there are a lotta people in the country who feel and have long felt bullied by pc liberalism.  Things that Must Not Be Said.  Fragile-flower collegiate crap.   There is a shred of truth in it.  I think we should not discount this. 

There've been 3. Eisenhower was 70 when he left office. Reagan, and the current occupant. So one decent 70-year old

Yeah, but Ike was basically president in his 60s.  He got out at the right time, by this reckoning.

This was an eye opener for me.  

Only Reagan was a 70s president, and you can go either way on him and be right.  Also his last two years were terrifying.

I chose to say that the administration is not guilty of collusion, only because it seems it was never necessary to the Russians to actually collude in order to achieve their goal: destabilizing our faith in our electoral system and seriously compromising President McCheese. Perhaps they didn't figure on how brazenly criminal he would be, openly flaunting violations of law and admitting to it right on TV. With any normal administration, it would have been enough to establish their willingness to conspire against their own country in the famous Trump Tower meeting. Perfect blackmail material against any normal administration. With this administration, the blackmail isn't even necessary -- if it will put money in his pocket, and irritate the established political order, it's what McCheese will do. Although it still seems likely that Putin holds his reins in some fashion.

I am beginning to think it might be possible that Putin holds the reins only in the sense that Trump REALLY wants to be a dictator, just like his big bro Vlad.

Sure, if the Post decided that "the reporting wasn't there," then they can't publish the story. But the writer is contending that the reporting WAS there, that she had reports and interviews from numerous specific women who were afraid for their jobs or for retaliation. The writer says the Post wanted them to go on the record, and they wouldn't. That was the sticking point. So when are numerous anonymous sources -- known to the Post -- not enough to run a story?

Sometimes, absolutely.   Some of you guys think we are way more cavalier than we are.   We take this stuff really seriously.

Suppose Biden ran as a unification candidate and promised to serve only one term, paving the road for his VP?

Tough to do.  You are a permanent lame duck.   I'm not sure that works.

I think that a President who is in office should get the same treatment that many of us older workers do when we reach retirement age: get terminated for a trumped up (you see what I did there) reason.

Or maybe the way that the DMV deals with it.  Force them to take vision acuity tests -- and mental acuity.

I figured 2000 was only a fluke caused by dotty Floridians, but I was certain the country wouldn't reelected Bush-Cheney in 2004 and safe bet everybody at Salon or New York Magazine or whatever thought so too.

If you recall, the exit polling in 2004 was seriously screwed up.   Everyone at the Post with privy to the data was CERTAIN all day that Kerry won. 

What do you think about Richard Wagner?

Not a fan.  But not because he inspired Nazis.

I like Joe. I think he’d probably be a pretty good president. I think any discomfort he caused women was totally inadvertent. But there is a 0% chance I will vote for him in the primary* because if this election becomes about two 80 year old white guys arguing about who did what creepy thing with which woman when, I will lose it. *if Joes the guy, he’s got my full support in the general. I’m a white straight millennial woman and maybe I’m just getting swept up in the trends, but I like Mayor Pete right now. His lack of baggage is refreshing. It’s nice to have someone who has some real stakes in the climate change debate, rather than someone who will be long dead by the time the real problems start. And I think someone young could have a Kennedy/Nixon moment on the debate stage with Trump that none of the Boomer candidates could manage.

I agree, and Mayor Pete impresses me more than any other candidate.  I think he may be a LITTLE too politically fetal right now, at 37.   He'd be the youngest president ever elected BY FIVE YEARS. 

Let's watch how he performs, though.

There are many who want to be the candidate for President and are not far out or old and we can sort that out.

Name the top three with absolutely no far-left red flags.  I am not saying you are wrong, just name em.  I can think of Hick, and Mayor Pete and ...

ridden in a hot air balloon?

No, but I have written in the Goodyear Blimp!  Why?

If they're as awful as their opponents, they won't win the nomination so I don't understand sinking Joe Biden or Beto O'Rourke or whoever by destroying them and try to make them toxic? Dems need surrogates and 2016 showed people will stay home.

I guess Beto is not a too-far lefty.

It's fine - as long it's not directed at me! As for a traffic descriptor, it's vague. Could be a speed trap or similar, but it could also be cops pulled off the side of the road chasing murder suspects through the woods.

Isn't it almost always a code for speed trap? I have read where the cops, officially, do not object to it; they say with a straight face that their goal is to get people to slow down. And any way that happens is fine.   As though they have no quotas.

Hey, I don't use either pinkie when typing.

It's interesting how the counterculture (ie left) in the 50s and 60s was all about "do your own thing", "if it feels good, do it", conventional morality is wrong, etc. And now they are perceived as a bunch of scolds. "Don't eat beef", "Stop with the plastic straws" etc...

True.  Interesting.

Re the previous question, the "do your own thing" image might have been a bit bogus.  We did our own thing within limits.  You had to wear blue jeans.  Frat boys sucked, by acclimation.  Of course, frat boys DID suck.

We Dems absolutely cannot put forward an old white man in the next election. That time is past. Our current example is like a caricature of what Biden or Sanders would be.

I think this is a yoot election, yes.

If Trump were truly "totally exonerated" by this report, why not release it (with appropriate redactions for national security)? It would bolster his narrative of the Democrats being out to get him. So if the Republicans are blocking this, I can only assume that there is damaging material inside it.

Or they are being VERY clever and milking that assumption ahead of a second soft shoe dropping!

Well, remember that Al Capone was convicted and imprisoned for tax evasion, not a bunch of other horrible crimes widely attributed to him.

I'm not sure I see the logic of your argument, but this does remind me that the scene in the Untouchables, with the baseball bat, was based on truth.  Capone almost certainly DID beat not one but three conspirators with a baseball bat.  He didn't kill them, though.  He hired gunsels to walk in at the last minute and administer coups de grace.

Just FYI.   Some folks claim that this was fiction spread by Capone to scare people, but there is some documentary evidence.

Didn't many people vote for Trump in 2016 because defeating Hillary Clinton was, to them, the most important thing?

Sure.  And as precedent, it worked!  Yay! 

Okay, we're outta here for the day.  See you all next week.

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Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

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