Stories by Mail, Day 29 – Bigwig stuf



He clutched them in the palm of his hand, his voice soaring over the din: the bandleader crooning a standard everyone recognized but no one could name, tall glasses clinking, a dozen natterings about the latest gossip on the Hill. His donors nodded and smiled, transfixed. This is why he’d chosen politics–crafting responsible policy was one thing, but the adrenaline surge from watching the wealthy and the powerful bend to your will was everything.

“Sir?”, a sprucely-dressed server appeared from behind carrying a tray. A wineglass filled with organic milk rested in one corner; a dozen Oreo cookies were piled in the other. Three years before, the Senator’s doctor had forbade him from drinking alcohol prior to surgery. At the suggestion of his twelve-year-old daughter, the Senator had substituted Oreos and milk for his single malt scotch. He’d discovered that he enjoyed it more than expected and decided shortly thereafter to continue. The small eccentricity served him well.

His donors raised their glasses, watching him. “To a very special friendship,” he said. His hand hovered above the glass, ready to dunk the Oreo.


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NaNoBlogMo, Day 7 – Virginia is for love, not hate

In a few hours, it’ll be November 8th. One year ago, we watched in horror as our country elected a monster.

Tonight, in Virginia, voters elected Danica Roem to the state legislature. Danice is the first openly transgender person elected to that office, and she defeated an incredibly transphobic Republican candidate who had served 13 terms.


Kelly Fowler won election to Virginia’s House of Delegates.


Ms. Fowler wore the scariest costume she could think of for Halloween.

Democrats won the governor’s race, the Attorney General’s race, and picked up 13 seats in the House of Delegates.

I’m still worried about 2018. I’m still not sure we’ll even have elections. Part of me suspects that the Trump Administration will manufacture a national emergency immediately before voting is scheduled to occur, or North Korea will be bombed, or some other event intended to interfere with our process will be thrust upon us. As we know, they’ve done so before.

But tonight, there’s a flicker of hope.

Critical hit

CNBC Republican debate
October 28, 2015
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.
Segment Four: 9 PM – 9:15 PM


QUINTANILLA: Welcome back to the third Republican debate of the 2016 Presidential campaign season, live from the University of Colorado in Boulder. I’m Carl Quintanilla, along with my co-moderators, Becky Quick and John Harwood. Before the break, you heard the candidates’ positions on immigration, and we’d like to take a moment to address an issue of paramount importance that doesn’t typically get sufficient media coverage.

HARWOOD: It’s an opportunity for all of us to come together around the table. Senator Cruz: recently, you filibustered legislation that would continue to fund the government. You refused to relinquish control of the floor until you lost at LIFE. Critics say it was a bold move, and even your fellow Republicans deemed your strategy rather risky. What’s your response to them?

CRUZ: John, LIFE is hard, particularly trying to fit the peg-kids into those little cars. Going to college, getting married, selecting a sensible career, having children, paying your debts responsibly with a reasonable amount of interest –these are the conservative principles that built a nation, which just so happens to be the greatest of all nations: America. Why did I choose that strategy? Because I was endowed by my Creator with infallible spinner-wheel skills. I’m the only person on this stage to be undefeated in the annual Houston Rally for LIFE tournament, and–

PAUL: There are plenty of candidates here who aren’t from Houston!

HARWOOD: Doctor Paul, what would be your solution?

PAUL: We must END the illegal NSA spying program like the Founding Fathers would’ve wanted, and protect the privacy of EVERY American, which is guaranteed under the Constitution. And then we need to retcon the year 2011 so that the movie Battleship was never greenlit.

QUICK: It wasn’t that bad, Senator.

PAUL: I mean, Liam Neeson was all right, but Rihanna?


TRUMP (to PAUL): You’re not doing well tonight.

QUICK: Mr. Trump, the obvious segue would be to ask you about Monopoly–

TRUMP: Yes, well, I’m incredibly rich. And I’m a businessman. Also, when I play Monopoly, I do things that are really terrific.

QUICK: Can you give us an example?

TRUMP: Fantastic things, Becky. Things that make our country great.

QUICK: OK, but what specifically–

TRUMP: Look, I’m leading in every poll. The people love Trump. Our leaders are stupid. I’m going to have a strategy for Monopoly, and it’s going to be better than any you’ve ever had, and when I’m President–

FIORINA: How many times per game do you plan to go bankrupt?


TRUMP: I’m very proud to have used the laws of this country to my advantage. You’re such a loser that you would probably just stake everything on Mediterranean and Baltic.

CARSON: I like being the thimble.


QUINTANILLA: Let’s turn to you, Governor Bush. Mr. Trump claims that your friendship with Marco Rubio is contrived, an act for the cameras. Explain why Mr. Trump is wrong.

BUSH: Marco and I are from the same state, and we have a long, proud history of service to our constituents. Mr. Trump is a blowhard with atrocious hair. But listen, seriously, the murderer could NOT have been Professor Plum with the candlestick. Crist KNEW Marco would fall for his misdirection. We deserve someone who will say NO to the special interests and stand up for–


QUINTANILLA: We’ll get to you, Senator.

RUBIO: And anyway, how are you going to lecture me about character development?


HUCKABEE: I’m still here, if anyone’s noticed. Obama is a Zygon who hates puppies.

BUSH: Marco, I wasn’t trying to lecture you, but frankly, your leadership in the game was something I’d expect from Hillary.


FIORINA (scribbling furiously on pad): Damn it, Jeb.

TRUMP: Stop whining. You would’ve run that zinger into the ground like it was Hewlett-Packard.

CHRISTIE (to TRUMP and FIORINA): You know what, you two? No one cares about your fancy resumes and your sniping. They care about jobs. They care about safety from terrorism. They care about conservative values.

QUICK: Governor Christe, you’ve been shrouded in controversy over BridgeGate. Many analysts say you could’ve done well in 2012 when the public was begging you to run, but your candidacy is struggling now. How can you turn things around?

CHRISIE: Betsy, if I crafted policy based on the polls, I wouldn’t deserve the honor of being New Jersey’s governor. It’s a Democratic state! I work with politicians on both sides of the aisle to solve questionable quandaries without resorting to quixotic methods, Ms. Quick.

QUICK: I’m sorry, what?

PAUL: Bravo, Chris!

CARSON: I’m never sure what to do with the “Qu” tiles because whenever there’s an opportunity to use them, I always wonder if my next turn will reveal something even more advantageous, so they just sit there and stare at me.

QUICK: Governor, were you playing Scrabble with your answer to the question I asked you?

CHRISTIE: No, of course not.



QUICK: Governor Kasich: You expanded Medicare in your state even though it plunged Ohio deeper into debt. Your opponents say that’s not the action a fiscally conservative watchdog would take.

KASICH: You know, folks, I understand this isn’t a popular stance, but the medical community has spoken on this issue–when you treat sick people, they get better, and that saves us all money. Sounds simple, right? But some of the other people on this stage don’t think a sick man should see a doctor to remove his Headphone Headache. They don’t believe Cranky Knee requires an operation. The American people are looking for a candidate who’s not afraid to touch the sides of our problems, and I WILL deliver that kind of courage, from sea to shining sea.

HARWOOD: To ask the next question, we’d like to welcome the host of “Mad Money,” Jim Cramer.

CARSON: Are we going to talk about “Mouse Trap” soon?

CRAMER: Governor Huckabee–

HUCKABEE: Oh, you remembered I’m still here! While I’ve been patiently waiting for a question, Obama has delightfully gulped down the tears of five babies.

CRAMER: Governor, earlier today, you declared war on Hungry Hungry Hippos. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? I ENCOURAGE *MY* CLIENTS TO BUY, BUY, BUY!

HUCKABEE: Jim, Hungry Hungry Hippos teaches marble dependency. Young hippos learn that they don’t need to find their own marbles if they don’t want to. And then they vote for Democrats, who are all too happy to keep them reliant on the government. We can end that cycle.

CARSON: For me, the best part in “Mouse Trap” is when the boot kicks over the bucket! That gets me every time.

BUSH: Not now, Ben.


HARWOOD: One final question. Mr. Trump, you began your campaign with controversial remarks about–

BUSH: Women.

CHRISTIE: War veterans.

KASICH: Anyone who isn’t Trump.

RUBIO: Journalists.

FIORINA: My face.

CARSON: Toast!

PAUL: The other candidates, when we should be focusing on how Hillary and Obama have destroyed this once great nation.

CARSON: Not toast?

HARWOOD: I was going to say “Mexicans.”

TRUMP: Look, I’ve answered this already. Several times. Racial profiling helps law enforcement at the border. Does the person have blue eyes?


TRUMP: Is the person wearing a hat?

HARWOOD: No one’s wearing a hat.

TRUMP: Does the person wear glasses?

HARWOOD: I don’t know what you’re–

QUINTANILLA: We’ve overdue for a break, but when we come back, we’ll ask the candidates about foreign policy, the economy, and their preferred pizza toppings. Keep it right here on CNBC, your place for politics.