Home sick, drinking tea, and watching Bella Lugosi movies as it snows outside

Hello, everyone. I am at home, in bed, drinking Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice tea, and eating Fishermans Friend cough drops by the fistful. I hate being sick, but it’s nice that everyone in the house is coughing and wheezing at the same time for a change, as I don’t feel guilty for just laying around and watching movies. Right now, Arlo and I are half way through our Bella Lugosi B-movie double feature. Having watched The Devil Bat (1940), we’re about to start The Invisible Ghost (1941). [The Black Cat (1934), which also stars Boris Karloff, is better, but it’s not streaming for free with Amazon Prime. If you’ve got the extra $3.99, though, I’d suggest making it a triple feature. If it’s snowing where you are, like it is here in Ypsilanti, I can’t imagine a better way to spend the day than sitting in front of a fireplace with a 7 year old, watching Bella Lugosi strangle people.] Here, if you’re not yet sold, are the trailers.

And, yes, this site is being underwritten for the duration of the polar vortex by Amazon Prime, Celestial Seasonings, and Fisherman’s Friend. [We almost got The Snuggie Store onboard, but negotiations broke down at the last minute.] It took about 15 years, but I finally sold out and went corporate. [You’ll be happy to know that the contract still allows me to post about politics, but I just have to do so with a perpetual cold, working in references to the various teas I’m drinking, cough drops I’m chewing, and movies I’m watching.]

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Trump advisor Roger Stone was just arrested by the FBI

For those of you who, like me, could use a little cheering up right now, here’s footage shot outside the Fort Lauderdale home of trusted Trump advisor Roger Stone this morning, where FBI agents took the former protege of Republican rat-fucker Roy Cohn into custody. According to the indictments against Stone, which were opened this morning, the longtime Trump advisor was arrested on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering, all tied to his role as the Trump campaign emissary to Wikileaks during the DNC hack.

You can read the full indictment online, but here’s one of the best excerpts I’ve read thus far… And, yes, if I had to guess, I’d say that Julian Assange will be the next co-conspirator to go down.

Oh, and here’s one more thing to consider… a tweet from our President encouraging Stone not to cooperate with federal investigators looking into the hacking of our 2016 election.

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Good luck to those of you in transit during Trump’s government shutdown

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Textbook witness intimidation

Hearing that Michael Cohen had given word today that he would not be testifying before Congress on February 7 as promised, citing threats made against members of his family by Donald Trump, I decided to pull together a little “witness intimidation” timeline for us to go over as a group. I hope you find the exercise worthwhile and instructive.

NOVEMBER 29: It was announced that Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, had accepted a plea deal with federal prosecutors that would, among other things, require that he acknowledge having knowingly lied to Congress in October 2017 in response to questions about Donald Trump’s ongoing negotiations with representatives of the Russian government during the 2016 election for the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow. [note: Whether or not you believe the Buzzfeed story about Trump having personally directed Cohen to lie to Congress, it’s worth noting that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has conceded that the two men may have talked just before Cohen’s perjured testimony on Capitol Hill.]

DECEMBER 10: Donald Trump takes to Twitter not only to accuse Cohen of lying to federal prosecutors, but to float the idea that his Department of Justice could go after Cohen’s wife and father-in-law for having committed unspecified crimes. [note: By December 16, Donald Trump would be referring to Cohen as a “rat”, for cooperating with prosecutors.]

JANUARY 10: It was announced that, before entering prison to serve his three-year sentence, Cohen would be testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. [When the Democrats took over the House on January 3, calling Cohen to testify was among the first things that they did.] Among other things, we were told that Cohen would be asked by the Democrats on the committee about the campaign finance laws he violated when he paid off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal on Donald Trump’s behalf, as well as his knowledge concerning those negotiations between Donald Trump and the Russians during the 2016 campaign over the construction of the aforementioned Trump Tower in Moscow.

JANUARY 12: Trump, in a live interview with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, once again appears to threaten Cohen’s father-in-law… Here’s the exchange.

TRUMP: “In order to get his sentence reduced, he says, ‘I have an idea. I’ll tell… I’ll give you some information on the President.’ Well, there is no information… But he should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that’s the one that people want to look at. Because where does that money… that’s the money in the family. And I guess he didn’t want to talk about his father-in-law. He’s trying to get his sentence reduced. So it’s pretty sad. You know, it’s weak. And it’s very sad to watch a thing like that. I couldn’t care less.”

PIRRO: “What is his father-in-law’s name?”

TRUMP: “I don’t know, but you’ll find out, and you’ll look into it. Because nobody knows what’s going on over there.”

JANUARY 13: Representatives Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff, and Jerrold Nadler, the Chairmen of the House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Intelligence, and the Judiciary, issued the following statement in response to the above comments made by Donald Trump on Fox News regarding Michael Cohen’s testimony before Congress, and what might happen to his family members if he were to follow through.

“The integrity of our process to serve as an independent check on the Executive Branch must be respected by everyone, including the President. Our nation’s laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress. The President should make no statement or take any action to obstruct Congress’ independent oversight and investigative efforts, including by seeking to discourage any witness from testifying in response to a duly authorized request from Congress.”

JANUARY 20: Giuliani says on CNN that Cohen’s father-in-law “may have ties to something called organized crime.”

JANUARY 23: Through his attorney, Cohen says he no longer intends to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on February 7, citing the repeated threats to his family. In the words of Cohen attorney Lanny Davis, “Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date.”

Well, as you might imagine, a few folks are suggesting that what we’re seeing play out is, in fact, a felony.

First, here’s Representative Ted Lieu’s take.

And here’s what Representatives Cummings and Schiff had to say.

“We have received Mr. Cohen’s notice postponing his voluntary appearance in an open hearing before the Committee on Oversight and Reform. We certainly understand the completely legitimate concerns for the safety and security of Mr. Cohen and his family members in light of the attacks last week by President Trump and again this past weekend by his attorney, Rudy Giuliani…

Nevertheless, when our Committees began discussions with Mr. Cohen’s attorney, not appearing before Congress was never an option. We will not let the President’s tactics prevent Congress from fulfilling our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities. This will not stop us from getting to the truth. We expect Mr. Cohen to appear before both Committees, and we remain engaged with his counsel about his upcoming appearances.”

For what it’s worth, Donald Trump, when asked about his intimidation of Cohen today, said today that he did not threaten his former attorney. He says that Cohen was merely “threatened by the truth.”

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The incredible shrinking Maynard

Every few years, the company I work for encourages all of us employees to get health screenings. And, on occasion, I comply, even though I know it’s motivated more by a desire to reign in health care costs than it is by any real concern about my personal well-being. Well, this year, after going through the process of being weighed, measured, and poked at with needles, I was given a report that showed, among other things, that I was dramatically shrinking.

And that brings us to the point in the post where I’d like to ask a favor… I know some of you are mathematicians and scientists, right? Well, if one of you could take a moment, I’d appreciate it if you could look at the following data and tell me when, if I keep shrinking at this rate, I’ll completely disappear.

OK, here’s the raw data.

On 4/25/2010 I was 6’00”.
On 2/9/2011 I was 5’11”.
On 1/3/2019 I was 5’10”.

So, if I continue shrinking at this rate, when will I just cease to exist with a tiny, sad, little “pop”?

Speaking of health stuff, I also have some good news to report today. According to my doctor, the hearing issues I’ve been experiencing lately are not being caused by a tumor. No, according to the MRI results I just received, there’s nothing in my brain that shouldn’t be there. My tinnitus is pretty bad, and I’ve recently experienced a somewhat significant loss of hearing in my left ear, but it’s apparently not being caused by any kind of malignant growth, so I’m happy about that. And, what’s more, I got official confirmation that I have the “appropriate brain volume” for a patient of my age. So I’ve got that going for me, even if I’m shrinking elsewhere.

In all seriousness, I was fearing the worst when I had this MRI done last night. My tinnitus has been getting progressively worse over the past two moths, and, while most of my hearing loss is bilateral, meaning that it’s happening equally in both ears, my most recent hearing test showed that my left ear was functioning significantly worse than my right ear when it came to picking up words spoken at a volume of 50 decibels. And this, apparently, raised a red flag. But, like I said, the good news is, there doesn’t seem to be anything growing in there that shouldn’t be. So, as I close out this, my 50th year on earth, I am happy to report that not only did I ace my first colonoscopy, but my brain is just as it should be, with perfect volume, and no malignant growths.

update: Thank you to Todd Phipps of Greensboro, North Carolina, who converted me over to centimeters, graphed the data, and extrapolated that, at my current rate of shrinkage, I would disappear from existence in 399.8 years.

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