Here are a few miscellaneous things from my afternoon trawl of the news:
Thing the first:
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is in talks with President Donald Trump’s administration about taking an ambassadorship position, according to sources close to the governor. No offer has been extended yet, according to The Star’s sources, but the governor has discussed the possibility of taking a position as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for food and agriculture, a position that would move the Midwestern governor to Rome.
The ambassador for what? There are two takeaways from this: (a) Trump really doesn't want Brownback in his administration, and (b) Brownback really wants to get out of Kansas. His tenure as governor has been a nonstop trainwreck, highlighted by his huge tax cuts for the rich that have tanked the state's economy. There's really no way to fix things without raising taxes, so Brownback just wants to hightail it out of the governor's mansion and leave the problem to somebody else. And hey, Rome is a nice place for an exile.
Thing the second:
Check out this picture of Trump holding a conference in the Oval Office:
Trump is apparently so insecure that he holds every conference from behind his desk, even when it involves seven people. Who does that? In all the pictures I've seen before of presidents, they're out from behind the desk sitting on a chair or a sofa on equal terms with everyone else. But Trump seems to need the desk to remind himself that he's in charge.
Thing the third:
This is just a bit of a ramble that's on my mind. I've been trying to figure out how to respond to the Republican health care plan, but nothing seems quite right. I've written plenty about the details, and so have others, but none of this really gets the true story across.
Here's the thing: anyone with even a cursory knowledge of health care knows that the Republican plan isn't serious. Paul Ryan knows it. Mitch McConnell knows it. Mike Pence knows it. Mick Mulvaney knows it. Everyone knows it. It's just a cynical joke. It will cover virtually no one, and will quite possibly destroy the individual insurance market in the process. Its only purpose is to repeal about $600 billion in taxes on the rich.
This is not really controversial or even very partisan. The plan just doesn't do much of anything for anybody except the rich. But we're all expected to stroke our chins and pretend that it's a serious proposal that should be seriously analyzed. There's something badly wrong about this. Why do we all have to do this?