by John Walters

Starting Five

Mooch Ado About Nothing?*

*The judges give props to the NY Post for “Mooch Madness”

I’ll admit, I miss the halcyon days (i.e., less than a week ago) when Anthony Scaramucci’s greatest verbal crime was praising Donald Trump for, as “sinking three-foot putts.”


Anyway, this story by Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker is hot! hot! hot! The Mooch phoned Lizza after the writer revealed that Trump would be dining with Mooch, Melania, Sean Hannity and Fox News executive director Bill Shine in the White House. What follows is incredible as an enraged Mooch threatens to fire his entire communications staff as an effort to inveigle Lizza to reveal his source(s):

“Who leaked that to you? What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over.”

— “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves. You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”

“Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac. (Channeling Priebus’ thoughts) : ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ”

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock. I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President.”

–“What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people.

Then, near the end, he veered into Obnoxious Referencing The Self In Third Person territory:

“O.K., The Mooch showed up a week ago. This is going to get cleaned up very shortly, O.K.? Because I nailed these guys. I’ve got digital fingerprints on everything they’ve done through the F.B.I. and the fucking Department of Justice.”


What’s it all mean? Well, this dominated the news cycle last night and this morning as opposed to the fact that the U.S. Senate DEFEATED Trump’s proposal to repeal Obamacare. That kinda matters more.

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan, who worked in the Reagan White House, referred to Trump as “a drama queen” and as “Woody Allen without the humor” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this morning.

2. A Tip Jar Guide To Economics

In the past week in NYC, a bartender I know well worked two private parties. One was for a private equity firm, almost all of them (I assume) college educated and Caucasian. The other was for a construction company, where the guests were mostly carpenters and plumbers, mostly immigrants or darker-skinned.

Both parties were open bar.

In three hours the private equity firm bros ordered almost exclusively a brand of beer that is named after a far east Long Island town, an aspirational getaway for Manhattan’s well-heeled. In three hours the blue-collar men ordered almost nothing but Coronas or Red Stripe.

The bartender won’t say exactly what the private equity bros tipped in three hours, only to say that the hard-hat types tipped that total within the first 10 minutes and that by party’s end had tipped more than 10 times as much.

Likely good tippers

It goes without saying, but the hard-hat dudes were fun, happy and generally more convivial. By far. They were on the bartender’s plane. Oh, and yeah, they actually make things (buildings) whereas the former mostly make more money for those who already have a surfeit of it.

Here’s a nickel, squirt. Now get lost.

So what does all this mean in terms of economics? When the wealthiest talk about “trickle-down” economics, you should roll your eyes. Giving those corporate titans more money does not mean they’ll create more jobs or do more for the middle class. They’ll continue to do more for themselves. The only people who truly care about the middle class are other middle class folks.

3. Mr. McCain Goes Back To Washington*

*The judges will also accept “McCain Mutiny”

Despite staying up far past his bedtime, it was Senator John McCain who after midnight cast the deciding vote against the Skinny Repeal. McCain, 80, who was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, recently, returned to the Capitol to cast his vote against Donald Trump’s Repeal-and-Replace-with-Gimme-Some-Time-To-Think-On-It mandate. The bill was defeated 51-49 thanks to McCain, Susan Collins (Maine)and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) on the GOP side and 48 Democratic senators on the other.

This was McCain’s maverick moment. Asked why he voted the way he did afterward, McCain simply said, “Because I thought it was the right thing to do.” As opposed to the Right thing to do.

4. The King in the North

Because he’s Canadian? Also, because he’s too dreamy. It’s like here we are in King’s Landing being ruled by the Lannisters (a family whose main claim to power was wealth, even though most of it was a facade, as they were deep in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos), while there’s a King in the North who’s a man of integrity, has great hair, and is the son of a former king. Wild, no?

5. An NFL Landmark Moment?

Our second consecutive item about a smart and grounded Canadian

Yesterday Baltimore Raven offensive lineman John Urshel, a Canadian and the son of a surgeon and an attorney, announced that he was retiring. Urshel is 26 years old. Urshel was scheduled to earn $690,000 this season.

Urshel graduated from Penn State in three years and with a 4.0 GPA. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at MIT. He announced his retirement two days after The New York Times‘ piece about how 110 of 111 brains of former NFL players that were studied had CTE. In short, Urshel, a numbers whiz, did the math.

Music 101

Hang Me Up To Dry

Believe it or not, this song by American rock band Cold War Kids is already 10 years old. They reign from Long Beach, California, and played this song both on Letterman and Conan.

Remote Patrol

apocryphal (adj.)

being of questionable authenticity

3 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Regarding the tip jar. There are days when I walk out of the house and I think my Dad is turning over in his grave with me carrying no cash. After college he encouraged me to always have at least $50 in “folding money” and a 3 or 4 hundred dollar bills hidden in my wallet for just in case. The guys in the middle abide by that ethic, carry cash. I’ll bet if you emptied the pockets at both events the pile of cash with the hard hats would far surpass the suits. Not to say you are incorrect, the trickle down notion is BS, but cash is a concept to the suited crowd. It would be an interesting experiment if you could set a card reader and iphone/ipad for tips instead of a jar.

    The other day you wrote of the New Yorker piece. The discussion at home was the breakdown of civility. My wife blames Trump. I believe Trump is a result of the breakdown of civil discourse that has it’s roots from the time of “Catholics vs Convicts”.

    It’s hard to believe in a post Paterno era that coaches ignore what goes on inside their locker rooms. Not to say it is a new phenomena but Hamilton High kids posted exploits on social media. Not a good look for coach and AD.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, restaurateurs, but can you not leave tips via card? I feel like this is a discussion of character/kindness, not medium of payment.

      My mom was a manager at a restaurant while I grew up, and I even did a short stint as a waiter the summer after my senior year of high school. It is NOT easy work. Are you building rockets? No, but then again, only engineers do that. I tip not because of obligation, but because of respect. We live in the 21st century, and we are all adults. The least you can do is tip the person that is serving you.

      I’ll always stay true to my word: being a good server is a skillset, just like a programmer can code, a salesman can sell or as an engineer can build. The psychological proponent of serving is extremely underrated.

      • I don’t disagree tipping is a matter of character. I wouldn’t be surprised if the pockets of the suits had any cash. As I said it would be an interesting experiment for a cash bar to have a card reader for tips. I’ve been to many cash bars and never have I seen anything other than a tip jar.
        I got caught a few weeks ago where a hotel shuttle driver did me a favor. I reached in my pocket to tip him and had a money clip with 3 credit cars and a few lonely singles. I immediately went to the ATM withdrew cash, found the guy and gave him the tip he deserved. He was kind of shocked. I was embarrassed not having cash to tip and wanted him to know his efforts over and above the standard for the job were recognized and appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.