Nothing like a first-thing-in-the-day puke: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2018/01/02/daily-202-trump-s-true-priorities-revealed-in-holiday-news-dumps/5a4af37830fb0469e883fe50/?utm_term=.0e6c987c172a

Time to hit the fallout shelter: http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/forecast-2018-go-wrong/

Can hardly wait: Der Trump posted on Twitter Jan 2, 2018 08:05:10 PM: “I will be announcing THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR on Monday at 5:00 o’clock. Subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media. Stay tuned!

Unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable – or vice versa: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/03/us/politics/trump-bannon.html?emc=edit_na_20180103&nl=breaking-news&nlid=2476992&ref=cta&_r=0


In all the kerfuffle – the keening and moaning – about Der Trump, who seems every day to be playing with several fewer cards than the accustomed 52, a choice piece of political-economic wisdom has gotten lost in the noise. It was promulgated by the late Herbert Stein and states, simply, that if something can’t go on forever, it won’t. I think this applies to Der Trump. The omens are gathering like vultures on a branch: the Wolff book, Der Trump’s split with Bannon (which provides the extra useful insight that the way to go after DT is to go after his children (Donald Jr’s an idiot, can be depended upon to put his foot in it), jump on their every social and business (Ivanka, Eric) move, estrange Melania from her husband  by over-reporting their young son), various leaks.  

Everyone’s talking about this: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/01/michael-wolff-fire-and-fury-book-donald-trump.html

And this: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/michael-wolff-my-insane-year-inside-trumps-white-house-1071504?utm_source=Dealbreaker+Newsletters+Master+List&utm_campaign=3ff9c4fbfa-MAILCHIMP_DB_OPENINGBELL&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_7b7b809044-3ff9c4fbfa-410840457


I seldom find myself on the same side of any argument as John Podhoretz but his view here https://view.email.fortune.com/?qs=826e2939270b6d21bc7c72033c529d7208586dd941ff110006770261f36479f02d612e8bc77e58f73b3aec4a91463a3f5aa13145e6e7aa73c5683903adcd7c7b  jibes with my own view of Wolff (disclosure: I reviewed Wolff’s book on Murdoch for The New York Observer, and found it a curate’s egg, convincing in parts but also calculated to cause a stir thanks to its benign (more than most) view of The Digger). I find it hard to believe that Wolff was allowed a virtual free run of the White House, talking to whomever he pleased. I find it impossible to accept that Gary Cohn, who hasn’t gotten to where he is by being e-indiscreet, sent that scurrilous email to Blankfein. Wolff is a writer whose unquenchable thirst for stardom leads him down strange fantasist lanes. I was educated to believe that public figures can’t sue for libel (you should see the stuff that the press said about Grant!) but we shall see. Wolff vs Trump: reminds me of the tigers racing in circles at the foot of L’il Black Sambo’s tree (apologies to all you identity victims out there.)  Throw this into the mix: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/04/donald-trump-michael-wolff-book-216245


Figures: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2018/01/06/trump-making-obama-great-again/Ge68WgqS6ljwXtwjSpDTYI/story.html?s_campaign=breakingnews:newsletter

Have finished Chernow’s Grant. A commanding work of history that should be read by every American 40 years or older, not only to remind them of what they may have forgotten (or may never have known or learned), but because every other page, especially those dealing with Grant’s presidency, contains thought-provoking resonances of the state in which this Great Republic now finds itself. I’m of the generation raised by learned professors and lists published in NYT  to rate Grant as the worst American president, worse than Buchanan, worse than Harding, a drunk and a dupe. How little they knew. On the basis of Chernow’s openly, admittedly redemptive biography, Grant ranks close to the top! 


Journalistic gutlessness incarnate…and yet…and yet…I have to say that there’s not been a day when I wished Hillary Clinton were president, just as there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t wished Der Trump wasn’t president…so how do I get around that? https://nypost.com/2018/01/06/were-still-better-off-with-trump-than-clinton/

In the last month, two friends have died whose lives I looked upon with something approaching envy (odd for me, since I abandoned envy as an existential organizing principle years ago) because it seemed to me that these two got out of life what they wanted, and that “what” jibed with my sense and definition of a life well-lived.  The first was Bob Wilmers, who died three weeks ago. The other was Gene Thaw, who died last week. Gene brought honor, style and intellectual distinction to the vocation of art dealer (a vocation I craved for myself, but was bullied away from by my father – although that’s another story). He was a consummate connoisseur, with a versatile eye that found interest and quality in everything from Old Masters to Native American art. There are art dealers who embody the “art” part of the designation – Bill Acquavella, Paul Kasmin, Cecily Langdale, Mark Brady, Richard Feigen – and art dealers who emphasize “dealer” in the way they go about their business (a jumped-up commodities-promoter like Gagosian comes to mind, or the bucket-shop operators who flog Koons and Wool to purblind hedge-fund types).  Gene was of the first part, in spades:  and a notable collector-philanthropist in the bargain. And so it goes. Ave atque vale. 

So what is one to make of this? “Cultural attractions”? http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20180105/REAL_ESTATE/180109950

Read this: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/oprah-winfreys-full-golden-globes-speech/story?id=52209577   And then read it again. 

Kunstler clearly has: http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/fairy-tale/


Yesterday, NYC came as close to urban Gotterdammerung as I dare say it has in a good long time. During the morning commute, no less than 15 subway lines had problems. The LIRR’s main lines broke down for a time. There were a number of water main breaks, including one that affected the UN department where my wife works, shutting down electronic apparatus essential to her job as a translator-editor. In the afternoon, my area’s Spectrum (formerly Time-Warner) internet connection was out for several hours.  And they were still trying to sort out JFK!

I like this: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-01-08/how-to-make-companies-share-their-bounty?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=180108&utm_campaign=sharetheview

Interesting but troubling. Seems to imply a way to keep people in “distraction bondage” even as they grow older and should be giving up this stuff: https://view.email.fortune.com/?qs=e1157827ff9dc1756ba5cba4650688f0b5bf0f12b7de49c3d6ba30011d4e9f11c697a6324dc13d382af6a2015670133ffe7e289a0ec5a59a57cb15f138f9e09b


From the absolutely indispensable website, The Browser. I have given annual subscriptions (only $20 per) to my family. I urge you to subscribe. The Browser  is the best assurance I have that time spent wandering the Internet isn’t the complete waste it usually is. Of course, Galbraith’s Op-Ed goes directly to the Putin-Russia-2016 Campaign business that has the collective knickers of the self-regarding and  self-important in such a twist: http://www.nytimes.com/1986/01/05/opinion/the-year-of-the-spy-in-a-manner-of-speaking.html


I never believed in Wriston, the 1980s Messiah of all-new American banking (my novel The Ropespinner Conspiracy stems from the premise that a Soviet “financial mole” rises to the top of U.S. banking and sets out to destroy it by doing exactly what Wriston was doing at the time at Citi): http://wallstreetonparade.com/2018/01/can-a-serially-troubled-wall-street-bank-grow-by-shrinking/


I like thishttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agjGFwpTFaM

I agree with Noonan. And with H.G.Salsinger. veteran Detroit sportswriter, who on the retirement of Ty Cobb wrote: “We shall not see his like again. For the game has changed. And not for the better.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-oprah-and-the-art-of-deflection-1515715459

Triple amen! I no longer read “the front of the book” in The New Criterion, to which I’ve subscribed from Day One, thirty-five years ago. https://thebaffler.com/latest/decline-of-the-new-criterion-ganz 


Curiouser and curiouser: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/01/the-strange-brands-in-your-instagram-feed/550136/

This explains it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/how-robo-call-moguls-outwitted-the-government-and-completely-wrecked-the-do-not-call-list/2018/01/09/52c769b6-df7a-11e7-bbd0-9dfb2e37492a_story.html?utm_term=.074dadf70053


Really quite satisfying: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/jan/13/the-top-30-vanity-projects-in-tv-film-and-music

Watched the Patriots clobber the Titans in a clear case of the former utterly outcoaching the latter. All the talk-show lead-ins, plus Tony Romo, who was doing the “color” on CBS,  emphasized that the only chance Tennessee had was to rely on its behemoth linemen on both sides of the ball. OK, fair enough, but if that’s your game plan you better have at least a dozen of the aforesaid mastodons, because if they have to run side-to-side (“East and West” in NFL parlance) they wear down quickly and need to be rapidly cycled in and out (for confirmation, check out the Atlanta fatigue factor in the 2017 Super Bowl). Going in, however, I think I heard someone say that the Titans were down to five defensive big boys – and that proved to be that. Brady & Co. went side-to-side and quick stuff on the wings.  By halfway through the second quarter, even on TV you could see the Titans were gasping. Game over

Indispensable: https://www.project-syndicate.org/section/economics