Have you ever played musical chairs? It was pretty much mandatory at any birthday party I ever attended growing up.
Of course, given where I grew up and the friends I grew up with, it was a contact sport--not for the faint of heart. Still, bruises were badges of honor worn proudly and not to have played was unthinkable.
There came THE TIME at every party when someone would start arranging chairs—every other one facing in the opposite direction---while someone else set about finding just the right song to mayhem by.
It was then the rest of us would start limbering up, knowing when the music started flowing elbows would be flying. Let the pushing and shoving begin!
Oh, how we circled those chairs in frantic anticipation of when the music would suddenly stop—then just as suddenly begin again—but with one less chair and one less player.
Boy or girl, it made no difference—all that mattered was who’d be the last one sitting in that last chair standing.
A zero sum game this was. You were either on the chair at the end or you weren’t—no style points, no second-place trophy, no going home with the title Ms. Congeniality. Possession was all that mattered.
We played hard and forgot quickly. It was a game—a few bruises here and there, no grudges, no worries one of the losers—the victory challenged, for you PC’ers among us—looking to get even.
Friendships were as strong after as before—stronger even for the shared experience.
I hadn’t thought of those parties in quite a while. Then there was the other evening, watching our 45th president—the Apostate Donald John—speaking only for himself--and Russia, of course—denying any collusion, conspiracy or culpability.
It’s hard to tell the players, even with a program
Walk into any ball park in the nation and you’ll hear the hawkers refrain: programs, get your programs, you can’t tell the players without a program.
Here in Capital City, as of May 22, 2017, the players’ program is written mostly in blank verse. According to the Washington Post’s tote board: of the 557 key Trump administration positions requiring Senate confirmation, 33 have been filled, while only 56 have been nominated.
This compares to the same date in prior administrations rather poorly:
Nominations Sent to Senate 20 May
The Donald’s accusations, notwithstanding, the sparsity of key agency personnel cannot be blamed on Senate Democrats. The President himself is to blame for languorous pace
Carbon taxes are witnessing a huge uptick in attention. The advent of the Trump era is causing clean energy and climate defenders to pursue alternative policy priorities to those of the Obama era. Emphasis of state primacy is at the core of the collective rethink currently underway. It is far from the only element.
Policies less reliant on regulation and more dependent on market principles are emerging from the shadows to center stage. The unsettling prospects of a Trump-wellian world is having an interestingly galvanizing effect.
Climate defenders on the right and the left are finding common ground and common purpose. One of the principal organizing threads may be seen in the #PUTAPRICEONIT campaign. It is a remarkably diverse grouping of partner organizations, e.g. Our Climate, Environmental Defense Fund, republicEn, Climate Change and Citizens Climate Lobby, serving as a call to rally ‘round tax policy.
Earlier this year the concept of a national carbon tax made headlines when the Climate Leadership Council released The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends. Council leaders are not the names one might ordinarily associate with climate defense. They include two former secretaries of state, James A. Baker III and George P. Shultz; two former chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisers, Martin S. Feldstein and N. Gregory Mankiw; and former treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.
The Paris Climate Agreement Should We Stay or Should We Go?
(This is and update of the previously posted article.)
Predictably there’s been a lot written over the last few weeks about the Paris Climate Agreement and whether the Trump administration will continue to sit with other nations.
Driving the coverage is the on-again off-again meeting between Trump and a pace of senior advisors. The ultimate decision will remain for The Donald to make--purportedly after the G-7 summit at the end of May.
Trumpeters are divided. EPA Administrator Pruitt leads the leaver, while Secretary of State Tillerson and the Kushners—Jared and Ivanka--are shepherding those advising to stay.
Pruitt believes remaining a signatory to the Paris agreement will be used as grounds to challenge the administration’s recent roll back of environmental regulations, including the hold put on the Clean Power Plan. Tillerson is wary of increased diplomatic pressures, should Trump decide to renounce the agreement. Interestingly, both are right.
It is important to be clear about what is really being decided. It’s reported that the question is whether the U.S. will continue to honor the obligations made by President Obama.
The hot air coming off Capital Hill is responsible for today’s high winds in the city
ON THE WINDS OF SPRING
THE 2017 ½ OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL
A proud native of Chicago, I know a thing or two about wind. I’m aware, for example, that the essential elements needed to make it blow are pressure and
I’m also a long-time resident of Capital City, who has come to know a thing or two about political winds and what’s required for them to blow. Unsurprisingly, it is the same two elements.
Both have been in abundance in D.C. for quite some time. A most notable wind passed through Congress just the other day and in the nick of time to avoid shutting down the federal government.
The 1,665 page Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (Act) gained bi-partisan and bicameral support much more rapidly than many had predicted. Republicans and Democrats, in sufficient numbers, agreed there would be no winners should the government be forced to hang a “Gone Fishing” sign on the door.
One of the most surprising outcomes of the Act was how well federal clean energy and environmental programs fared by comparison to the proposed slash and burn preferences of the Trump administration and many Republican members of Congress.
Congressional brinksmanship has become quite commonplace over the last forty or so years. I seriously doubt the framers of the Constitution had ever imagined an annual appropriations process of last minute continuing resolutions.
This and floriferous cherry trees have become rites of Spring here in D.C. Although I doubt whether continuing resolutions will ever make it on to the postcards tourists seem to love.
How the Process Is Supposed to Work—more or less
Signatories of the Constitution had envisioned spending bills wending their way through Congress much like any other piece of legislation, with one notable exception.
The nation had just about the best 100 Days in History. What? You Don’t Believe Me?
THE FIRST 100 DAYS — TRUMPETING THE (UN)ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE 45TH PRESIDENT
A lie is more comfortable than doubt, more useful than love,more lasting than truth.
— Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I had thought to resist the temptation of writing about The Big D’s first 100 days in office. I wasn’t really keen to relive those moments; the wounds were still weeping and I saw no reason to risk further infection.
Alas, my mind is proving once again not the captain of my spirit; and, here I am about to add my ha’penny’s worth to the conversation. Even if what follows doesn’t contribute much to the national dialogue, scrabble players should find it to have some redeeming value. Except for UnBannoned, which I needed to make up to make my point, all the other words are legit as far as standard and scrabble dictionaries are concerned.
I came upon this format quite by accident. When gathering my thoughts, I couldn’t help noticing that many of the adjectives I was jotting down started with the un prefix — so I went with it. What follows is a list of the 124 words I think reflect the tenor and (un)accomplishments of the Trump administration in his first c-note of days.
Unabridged: What happened to Chris Christie’s chances of becoming Attorney General.
Unabashed: Trump’s disdain for the liberal press and the middle of the road media.
Unacclimatized: What Trump has directed EPA administer Pruitt to do to the environment.
Joel B. Stronberg
Joel Stronberg, MA, JD., of The JBS Group is a veteran clean energy policy analyst with over 30 years’ experience, based in Washington, DC.