Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Quick Hits: Volume CLIII

Good news from the White House, especially the fact that all the lame Bohemian Rhapsody jokes can cease.

President Donald Trump ousted his communications director after only 10 days and introduced his new chief of staff, a former Marine Corps general who has the task of imposing more discipline in the West Wing, following one of the most turbulent weeks of the administration.

Anthony Scaramucci was removed from the communications director post on Monday, becoming the seventh major administration official to leave in Mr. Trump’s first six months. Mr. Scaramucci was ousted at the urging of the new chief of staff, retired Gen. John Kelly, in one of his first official acts in the job, two administration officials said. Mr. Kelly previously ran the Homeland Security Department.

Mr. Kelly urged Mr. Scaramucci to resign during a one-on-one meeting in his new office shortly after being sworn-in at a Monday morning White House ceremony, the officials said. Mr. Scaramucci’s removal was designed to better organize a White House that has been riven by competing factions, they said.

While many were pleased with the move of Kelly being named Chief of Staff, the enthusiasm seemed to be dulled when it was reported that Scaramucci would continue to report to President Trump as opposed to the new CoS, which is the typical chain of command in the White House. However, I'm pleased that Kelly apparently had the President's ear on this one.

Also, the Scaramucci hire never seemed to make a lot of sense, especially since he had zero qualifications for the job. As we in Minnesota know all too well, hiring a communications director with no experience can end up being disastrous.

- Steve Bartman, the Chicago Cubs fan who was blamed by many in "Cub-dom" for ending the team's magical 2003 postseason run, will be receiving a 2016 Cubs World Series ring.

Because a good number of those fans directed irrational hatred and invective towards Bartman, my initial sentiment was those kooks deserved to suffer another 95-year Cubs championship drought given their idiotic behavior.

Ah, but Bartman getting a World Series ring is arguably the next best thing.

- Some of you may know that my wife, mother-in law and myself were on vacation last week. With my mother-in law not in the greatest of health, the wife & I figured it best to drive her to see her family in Canfield, OH (about 90 minutes south of Cleveland). I was amazed how the fetching Mrs. Carlson and I were able to find so many tourist attractions within 3 hours of her aunt and uncle's Canfield home.

Perhaps the most impacting visit was to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Stoystown, PA, which is less than a 2 hour drive southeast from Pittsburgh. This tiny town was the location of where United Airlines Flight 93, on September 11, 2001, crashed into a field about 20 minutes flight time from the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. This flight was best remembered for several courageous passengers thwarting hijackers' attempts to inflict further carnage that day.

The visitor center contained audio recordings of some of the passengers leaving voice mail messages for their loved ones, essentially telling them "goodbye." There were also TVs which played on a loop news broadcasts from that morning, including the first official statement from President George W. Bush. And there was a map marking the scores of flights still airborne at the time of the World Trade Center coming under attack.

The actual memorial was at a separate location, down the hill from the visitor center. Included in this memorial were the individual names of the flight crew and passengers, including Twin Cities native Tom Burnett.

I could literally pen a series of blog posts to share the experience and it wouldn't come close to doing it justice. So if you're ever in the eastern Ohio/western Pennsylvania areas, it would be well worth your time to check out this wonderful and poignant tribute to the Flight 93 victims.


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