1. It’s Thursday, August 25, 2016. It’s 75 days until the election.
2. It’s the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service. Not only does the NPS oversee the sprawling parks such as Yellowstone and Great Smoky Mountains, but it also is custodian of monuments including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore.
The Park Service says that, to celebrate, there are no fees from today through Sunday. I’m not sure how that works, but if you have a chance, go. Especially the parks. I’ve been to seven of them, and they are all unique experiences.
Of the seven national parks I’ve been to, the one that stands out is Haleakala in Hawaii. I think that’s as close as any of us will ever come to seeing what the moon’s like. It’s also cold, which is a word you don’t often use on the rest of Maui.
If you can’t take part in the NPS Centennial, make a note to visit a park or monument sometime soon. They’re wonderful, and among the greatest things about this country.
3. The most recent addition to the National Park Service roster was made this week by President Obama. It’s the Katahdin Woods in northern Maine.
The President, who clearly was a fan of “The West Wing,” took a page from the Jed Bartlet presidency and declared the land a national monument by use of the Antiquities Act. This way he could bypass the Republicans in Congress, who wouldn’t throw a life preserver to someone who was drowning if President Obama asked for it.
In this case, a family that made a fortune getting people to pay crazy money for lip balm – Burt’s Bees – donated the land and pledged support to make the park operational.
And, of course, Maine’s zucca of a governor, Paul LePage, raised all kinds of objections to the idea of federal control of the land. It’s amazing – these people who cry about individuals lose their freedom have a problem when individuals decide they want the nation to share in what they have.
Not sure I’ll ever get the opportunity to get to Katahdin Woods – I haven’t even been to Acadia, which is Maine’s great seashore national park. But I’m glad it’s there if I’m ever in the neighborhood.
4. Hillary Clinton called into Anderson Cooper’s CNN program last night. This was shortly after Trump accused her of being a bigot – somehow, he’s thinking there’s some way he can mitigate the almost unbelievable disadvantage he has with African-Americans and Latinos.
Cooper didn’t softball anything with Clinton. But she stayed pretty true to her honed answers on such matters as the Clinton Foundation and why she hasn’t held news conferences in nearly a year.
There was also an exchange on the e-mail questions. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza thought it was her best response to this matter yet.
Here’s what she said: “I have been asked many, many questions in the past year about emails, and what I have learned is that when I try to explain what happened, it can sound like I am trying to excuse what I did. And there are no excuses. I want people to know that the decision to have a single account was mine. I take responsibility for it. I apologize for it.”
That’s good. For starters.
What she really needs to do is go into detail. Explain why she did it. Explain why she now understands it was not the right thing to do. Explain that it doesn’t matter what Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice or, had there been e-mail at the time, George Washington did. And explain what she’ll do to make sure she and others don’t do anything like that again.
Once she does that, she’ll have really done all she can to get this over with. Calling Anderson Cooper or Rachel Maddow or whoever and repeating the long quote three paragraphs up won’t really do that.