Weekly News Roundup & Penicillin

After the overwhelming abnormality of last week, we’re back to being snarky this week, but keeping the list thing. So here’s a list of all of the things that happened this week that made us say “ugh, I need a drink…”

Random Trump-Related Bullshit:

  • Emperor Palpatine I mean Steve Bannon, who may be our actual president, is doing his best to eliminate a paper trail after also being appointed to the National Security Council in an unprecedented move for a schlub Nazi who is totally unqualified. We may be at the order 66 stage, Obi-Wan, you are our only hope. Especially since Carrie is dead.
  • The White House is leaking like a sieve, abnormally for this early in an administration, as reports are that the West Wing is being run like the Lord of the Flies. 
  • A federal judgement was issued against Donald Trump’s Jupiter National Golf Club for nearly $6M in refunds due to former members that Trump refused to pay back once he bought the club. Shocker.
  • Trump made a speech commemorating Black History Month at a “listening session” in the White House in which he hijacked attention to talk about how evil the media was, how big his crowd size was, his “movement,” blah, blah blah. The usual talking points, no listening, little related to the topic at hand.
  • Trump threatened to further erode the separation of Church and State by ”totally destroying” a law prohibiting Churches from endorsing political candidates and causes or risk losing their tax exempt status.
  • During the same speech he berated Arnold Schwarzenegger for his low ratings as the new host of Celebrity Apprentice, the show of which Trump is still Executive Producer, saying “I want to just pray for Arnold, for those ratings.”
  • Trump nominated Judge Gorsuch of Colorado to fill Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court in a made-for-TV event at 8PM on Wednesday night. The extent to which the event was inspired by Trump’s Apprentice past (a show being totally ruined by Arnold, we’re praying for him on the President’s request, the ratings are bad) that he flew in the runner-up solely for appearance’s sake to confuse the media.
  • Meanwhile, Democrat activists began protesting Trump’s court pick before he was even announced. While the seat was stolen by unprecedented obstructionism from Mitch McConnell, Gorsuch represents a more moderate court pick than expected, having no record on guns, abortion, or gay rights. Democrats should swiftly confirm him. He’s the best they’re going to get for the next four years.
  • The page about the Judicial branch of government was removed from the White House website, which, for a time, indicated the only two branches of government were Congress and the Executive. The page for the Judicial branch is back now.
  • Trump is confirmed to be taking a hair growth drug by his doctor, who is beyond a doubt qualified to discuss hair growth drugs. This explains the bird’s nest look.
  • Trump instated a 2-for-1 rules policy for all federal agencies, requiring two regulations be repealed for ever one new regulation implemented. Still no word on a federal 2-for-1 bourbon policy. Buy American. 
  • Trump’s tax plan could preserve millions of dollars in savings for his businesses. But we should trust him that there’s no conflict of interest.
  • CIA director Mike Pompeo will also be added to the National Security Council, perhaps a response to the backlash over Emperor Palpatine being granted a permanent seat on the body.
  • Trump banned HHS from any marketing related to the Affordable Care Act, which threw the agency into such chaos that the ban was lifted 24 hours later.
  • Trump dropped his plan to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers after meeting with lobbyists from drug companies. This comes as the manufacturer of Evzio, used to administer naloxone, a rare example of a true antidote that can reverse an opioid overdose in seconds, plans to increase their prices over six fold amid a national opioid epidemic. #draintheswamp.
  • Protests erupted at UC Berkeley at the prospect of a scheduled speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing troll and editor at the neo-Nazi platform Breitbart. Berkeley canceled the speech, after overreaction by both protesters and police. Yiannopoulos, who was banned from Twitter for life after inciting a hate mob against Leslie Jordan for appearing in the all-female Ghostbusters remake movie, was painted as the victim.
  • Because of the protests, Trump threatened to pull federal funding for UC Berkeley. While I support dragging the hippies into reality, sadly that’s illegal, and would defy the first amendment.
  • Sean Spicer continued to commit crimes against sartorial humanity by wearing a series of truly awful ties and suits that were tailored almost as badly as Donald Trump’s, probably in an attempt to horrify the press corps into silence.

Foreign Policy:

  • Over one thousand State Department employees used an internal dissent channel memo to state objection to the Executive Order on immigration.
  • Spicer says that State Department employees need to get onboard with the Trump Administration plan or quit. I’d quit.
  • Trump threatened to invade Mexico while on a call with the Mexican president.
  • Trump abruptly ended a call with the Australian Prime Minister after giving the PM a condescending performance review saying it was “the worst call of the day – by far!” apparently not understanding that the man he was talking to was the head of a sovereign state, not someone seeking employment.
  • Iran conducted a missile test after being placed on the Muslim Ban list, Trump tweeted they had been “formally PUT ON NOTICE.” What that means is anyone’s guess.
  • Theresa May managed to get the better of Trump during her press conference with him, getting him to commit to NATO, if halfheartedly. She also learned he has a fear of stairs. Achilles heel? Theresa as R2D2, heroically bringing news of the weakness to the rebel base? Hopefully the Queen will use this knowledge to her advantage in Trump’s upcoming state visit.
  • Rex Tillerson was confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of State. Maybe he can offer another moderating voice in the administration. He at least is someone who understands the necessities of a public business to hide its true intentions in innocuous language to stabilize markets during shareholder meetings I mean public statements.
  • The Pentagon released results of a report into whether senior officials manipulated analyst data to paint the Obama administration’s efforts to defeat ISIS in a better light. They didn’t.
  • On the other hand, Trump’s attempts to fight terrorism are already off to a bad start.  He approved an attack in Yemen with incomplete intel that resulted in the death of a navy SEAL and an 8 year old girl (along with many other women and children, as promised).
  • Trump took the first step in easing sanctions on Russia by allowing US companies to make payments to the KGB/FSB.
  • After Trump’s unpredictable phone calls and actions, Foreign leaders are now describing facing “a normal Trump tantrum.”
  • Trump says don’t worry about his tough phone calls with foreign leaders. We’ve all stopped worrying and now feel very relieved. Thanks Mr. President!


  • Jason Chaffetz, the most punchable face in Congress, introduced and then withdrew a bill this week indicating its fixing to sell federal lands in the West. While selling lands in the west could be a good thing, if done right, given the controversy massive federal landholdings have caused in many Western states, Chaffetz’s bill would have been revenue negative, an interesting policy for a “fiscal conservative.”
  • Democrats boycotted a Finance Committee vote to advance controversial and unqualified candidates Steven Mnuchin Tom Price for Treasury Secretary and HHS Secretary for full Senate vote. Committee rules prevent a vote to advance without a quorum of at least one member of each party. Republicans suspended the rules and rammed through the nominees anyway. Both candidates have pending unanswered questions from Democrats about extremely questionable financial dealings.
  • Betsy DeVos’s confirmation for Secretary of Education may be in question after two Republicans confirmed they would not vote for her. She has no background in school funding, tweets with obvious grammatical mistakes, and blamed a clerical error for two decades of donations to homophobic groups. Obviously she took her own education seriously. 
  • Mitch McConnell says the American People won’t tolerate political antics during the supreme court nominee hearing process, despite having done just that less than a year ago.
  • Rumors surfaced of a bill being drafted to completely eliminate the EPA.
  • Jason Chaffetz (ugh) proposed cutting off part of DC and giving it back to Maryland. Unsurprisingly, neither DC nor Maryland wanted this.
  • The State Congress of South Dakota voted to repeal voter-passed anti-corruption measures, because they would be an inconvenience. Screw the voters, #draintheswamp.
  • Hawaii minority leader Beth Fukumoto is considering leaving the GOP after being bullied by the party for disagreeing with Trump and joining the women’s march, as the party says she should be more partisan and stop working across party lines. Apparently, Trump isn’t the only sore winner in the GOP.

It’s been a long second week, but the snark is back. We’ll talk more about the entire immigration ban kerfuffle in a couple of days, it was too long to fit here. In the meantime, here’s a good Drink to still your nerves. Drink it now while you can, since two cases case of measles, an entirely preventable disease, were reported in New Jersey this week. Thanks anti-vaxers!


You’ll need:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 oz. blended scotch
  • ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. honey-ginger syrup
  • ½ oz. Islay single malt scotch, preferably Laphroaig 10
  • Candied ginger to garnish

Make honey-ginger syrup: combine honey, ginger, and 1 cup water in a saucepan on high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Chill overnight and strain to remove solids before serving. Will keep in the fridge.

Combine blended scotch, lemon juice, and syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake it like a polaroid picture (who here even knows what that means?) until the shaker is too cold to hold. Strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube. Top with Islay scotch and garnish with candied ginger. (from Saveur)


Weekday Drinking: (Il)legal Voting

Donald Trump the other day tweeted something dangerous (a sentence I fully expect we’ll get used to saying over the next four years):

I can only assume he’s referring to VoteFraud.org’s claim (promoted by InfoWars) that “Three million votes in the U.S. presidential election were cast by illegal aliens”.

Why is this so bad?

Well, for one it’s totally unsubstantiated. If there are really three million people voting illegally it would be a slam dunk for the Republicans, supporting all their voter suppression efforts over the last XX years, legitimizing Donald Trump’s popular vote victory, and likely allowing them to successfully pass a whole new barrage of voter ID laws.

But – wait, because here comes the first part I need a drink for – Gregg Phillips, the “voting integrity activist” responsible for this claim refuses to release the data!

Since then….nothing. So it’s safe to assume there is no evidence to base these claims on.

This is bad because it sets the stage for PEOTUS to delegitimize his popular vote loss. Donald Trump is going to win the Electoral College vote and become the next president of the United States, but he still lost the popular vote  by over 2 million votes at last check. This means that he does not have a popular mandate for his extreme agenda – which is an important consideration as he continues to pack his cabinet with polarizing individuals with limited mandates of their own.

This delegitimization is also being used by hopefully soon-to-be-ex Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina as he tries to cling to power by claiming he only lost the vote in NC due to voter fraud. It’s been a nice smokescreen while he tries to pack the NC Supreme Court on his way out, too.

Lying about voter fraud delegitimizes democracy.

It’s that simple. Donald Trump and the Republicans won this election but are staring at the real data that shows their hold on the vote is precarious. They lost elections in historically Republican states like North Carolina, despite winning federally, because of their extremist platform. Lying about voter fraud in this way sets them up to claim future losses aren’t really losses at all.

It also sets up pushing through even more restrictive Voter ID laws in the wake of the Shelby County v Holder decision invalidating parts of the VRA. These laws in general have “radically discriminatory intent” and, had the law referenced in the linked NPR story not been struck down, may actually have tipped the NC election.

The highest-elected Republican in the country is pushing a dangerous narrative either out of ignorance or a desire to pass divisive, discriminatory laws that disenfranchise Americans. And he’s not even in office yet.

I need a drink.

Fittingly, here’s a recipe for the Smoke and Mirrors, a scotch-based cocktail guaranteed to help you read through Donald’s Twitter feed:

  • 1.5oz Single Malt Scotch (old enough to vote, if you can find it)
  • .5oz Benedictine D.O.M
  • .5oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Pour the above ingredients into a mixing glass. Smoke with applewood. (For a guide on how to smoke cocktails, check out this video)

Stir well with ice then serve in a chilled coupe glass with an orange twist for garnish. Enjoy!