1. It’s Monday, January 9, 2017. It’s the birthday of Richard Nixon and Dave Matthews.
2. Normally, new presidents attempt to unify the country before they assume the office.
Trump’s not even pretending to do that.
The Cabinet he’s chosen is almost as despicable a bunch as any of the people Hillary Clinton called out in that now-infamous speech last September.
An attorney general nominee whose racism is a matter of record. An education secretary nominee who hates public schools. A secretary of state nominee who’s cozy with the Russians who hacked into our election process.
And now, with the confirmation process at hand, the Republicans who run the Congress – the Senate in particular – are trying to railroad these nominees through. The Office of Congressional Ethics complains that the Trump people have stalled effort to vet these nominees, many of whom are among the wealthiest in the nation.
One way to get these people through is to hold as many hearings at the same time as possible as quickly as possible. The rationale being that it’s harder to get that godawful soundbite of nominee X being challenged by Democratic Senator Y if there’s so much to choose from.
Journalists, already a diminished class in the new Trump order, face a tough task holding these people accountable. And the question becomes one of logistics: Do you focus on the higher-profile people, such as Jeff Sessions and Rex Tillerson, or cover all of them and dilute your effort somewhat?
3. I vote for full coverage, and I don’t know that there has to be any dilution.
CNN, MSNBC and CBSN are big enough to cover multiple congressional hearings, a Trump news conference if he crawls out of his cocoon long enough and whatever else happens that day.
It’s amazing, frankly, how much talent these networks have, some of it not especially famous. I know this from experience.
And if the reputable networks feel as though they need help, there are resources with which they can team. The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, which despite its Murdochian ownership still shows some reporting integrity.
But these confirmation hearings require full, thorough coverage. They also require serious challenges – from Democratic opponents and the few Republicans with the guts to get at the facts and truth.
It is understood that there is little chance any of Trump’s nominees won’t be confirmed. But the extremity of their viewpoints and, in some cases, their lack of respect for all of the American people – another reminder that 2,864,974 more people voted for Clinton than her opponent – make it imperative that they at least get their positions on record.
4. The 19th-century artists of the Hudson River School movement would cringe if they saw the Indian Power nuclear power plant in New York.
For some stupid reason, in the late 1950s, people got the idea to build a hideous nuclear power plant in an iconic place of beauty. If you drive along U.S. 9W headed for Bear Mountain State Park, the whole experience is marred by this eyesore across the river.
Not to mention that, like other nuclear plants, people have never been especially comfortable about the safety. In my kitchen drawer are the emergency evacuation plans occasionally distributed by local authorities. And I’m about 10 miles south and west of the plant across the Hudson.
So I’m really happy that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is finally putting the padlock on Indian Point. He’s announcing that the plant will close in 2021, ending decades of worry about natural disasters, mechanical problems, terrorism and inconsistent reliability.
Now, what I’d really like to see is the state and local authorities tear down the facility and restore the land to blend in with the beauty around it. The Hudson River Valley is magnificent, and sometime in the late 2020s, it might even be better without Indian Point.