FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — TRUMP’S WEEK AHEAD — MONDAY: The president will attend the swearing-in ceremony for incoming HHS Secretary Alex Azar. He’ll also have lunch with the U.N. Security Council. TUESDAY: Trump’s first State of the Union. WEDNESDAY: Trump is having lunch with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and meeting with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He’ll also meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. THURSDAY: Trump heads to the Greenbrier in West Virginia to speak to House and Senate Republicans.
WHAT TRUMP TOLD PIERS MORGAN: I’M NOT A FEMINIST — @piersmorgan: “President Trump has declared he is NOT a feminist. He tells me: ‘No, I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist. I mean, I think that would be, maybe, going too far. I’m for women, I’m for men, I’m for everyone.’ Full interview, Sunday, ITV, 10 p.m.” … YASHAR ALI in HuffPo reports that Trump also told Morgan he will keep the elephant trophy ban in place. http://bit.ly/2nnJvjd
Good Sunday morning. JOHN KERRY’S BEST LINES LAST NIGHT AT THE ALFALFA CLUB DINNER: “Thank you for your kind words, President Bloomberg. Mike, usually when I’m next to someone as rich as you, I propose. … Here I am — President John Kerry! I knew this day would come. Although given the Alfalfa average income, thank GOD I didn’t get Swift Yachted. … I’m proud to serve as your new club president. And don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’re also getting John Edwards. …
Story Continued Below
“President Trump calls himself a stable genius! So right there, Robert Mueller’s already got him on two counts of perjury. … Despite the pressure he’s under, the White House physician says President Trump is in great shape — a trim 239 pounds. Personally, I just won’t believe him until he produces his long-form girth certificate. … As Mitt Romney and I can attest, being elected in Massachusetts means, you are only a heartbeat away from losing the presidency.”
HE ALSO TOASTED SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-ARIZ.): “There’s a fellow Alfalfan, who couldn’t be with us tonight, who I met 32 years ago this month. We both loved the Navy. But we had opposite views about a war in which we’d both served. When we first came to the Senate, we didn’t trust each other. We didn’t really know each other. But after a long conversation on a long flight, we decided to work hand in hand to actually make peace with Vietnam and with ourselves here in America. We investigated the fate of Americans still missing from the war. We traveled together to Vietnam and together, we found common ground in the most improbable place.
“I will never forget standing with John McCain, the two of us alone, in the very cell in the Hanoi Hilton where years of his life were lived out in pain but always in honor. Our differences were transformed into years of common effort to finally end a war that divided too many people for too long. John always says ‘a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed.’ He loves to debate, he loves to battle. But one thing the service and the Senate taught John and me — at some point, America’s got to come together.
“And I hope you’ll believe the two of us Alfalfans: if Washington, is a city where you can bridge the divide between a protester and a POW, finding common ground on anything else shouldn’t be so hard at all. I will always thank John McCain for sharing in the discovery of that lesson — and tonight I ask all of you to join me in raising a glass to one of the best and bravest men I know, my friend — our friend — John McCain.”
— GEORGE W. BUSH played the role of “crop reporter” this year giving a hysterical deadpan delivery to introduce the “new sprouts,” including: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Tim Cook, James Murdoch, Ginni Rometty, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Jerome Powell and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
— SPOTTED: KARL ROVE coming up behind former George W. Bush chief of staff JOSH BOLTEN and giving him a kiss on top of his head during the pre-dinner reception. … HENRY KISSINGER, HANK PAULSON and BOB GATES, the “Three Tenors of Foreign Policy,” speaking at the pre-Alfalfa lunch hosted by CSIS — pic http://bit.ly/2nkxR9p
DINNER ATTENDEES INCLUDED: Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, Mitt and Ann Romney, Colin Powell, James Baker, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, David Rubenstein, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin …
… Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Hilary Ross, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chief Justice John Roberts, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Gary and Lisa Cohn, HR and Katie McMaster, Dina Powell, Tory Burch, Kellyanne Conway, Mary Barra, Vernon Jordan, Andrea Mitchell …
… David Petraeus, Madeleine Albright, Anna Wintour, Catherine and Wayne Reynolds, Robert and Elena Allbritton, Valerie Jarrett, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison …
… Geoff Morrell, Ray Hunt, former Ambassador Jeanne Phillips, Indra Nooyi, John F.W. Rogers and Deborah Lehr, Fred and Ginny Ryan, Ambassador Yousef Al-Otaiba, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Wayne Berman and Ken Mehlman.
TRUMP’S WASHINGTON — JOSE ANDRES, the world renowned chef who pulled his restaurant from the Trump Hotel, was not allowed into the Alfalfa after-party at Cafe Milano. He speculated on Twitter that Ivanka Trump told the Milano owner she was uncomfortable with his presence. Jose’s tweet http://bit.ly/2DGUkn6 … Former Mexican ambassador to China, Jorge Guajardo (@jorge_guajardo): http://bit.ly/2nhCXDf
— A WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL declined to comment on the record. On background, the White House official said this story is “absolutely not true.”
SPOTTED: Tim Cook and Gary Cohn having lunch yesterday at the Seasons restaurant at the Four Seasons … Henry Kissinger shaking hands with Ernest Moniz in the lobby of the Hay-Adams yesterday morning.
FRONT PAGE — ARIZONA REPUBLIC has a photo of the president, with the headline, “HUGE IMPACT” http://bit.ly/2kdv5lz
WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT — “Poll: Trump should talk about health care, economy in SOTU speech,” by Steven Shepard: “Voters want to hear President Donald Trump talk about health care and the economy at this week’s State of the Union address. When asked which issues they wanted Trump to address in Tuesday’s speech, the largest percentages of voters say it’s ‘very important’ for Trump to discuss improving the health care system (59 percent) and improving the economy and creating jobs (58 percent), according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.
“Combining those who say it’s very and ‘somewhat important,’ more than four-in-five voters want to hear Trump’s plans for health care on Tuesday. The poll, taken at the one-year mark of Trump’s term, also found voters want to hear about fighting terrorism — 54 percent say it’s very important for the president to discuss the issue in his speech.” http://politi.co/2Bx7TDL
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RUSSIA WATCH — “Trump sought release of classified Russia memo, putting him at odds with Justice Department,” by WaPo’s Ashley Parker, Ros Helderman, Josh Dawsey and Carol D. Leonnig: “On Wednesday, as Republicans were clamoring to make public a secret document they think will undercut the investigation into Russian meddling, President Trump made clear his desire: Release the memo. Trump’s directive was at odds with his own Justice Department, which had warned that releasing the classified memo written by congressional Republicans would be ‘extraordinarily reckless’ without an official review.
“Nevertheless, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly relayed the president’s view to Attorney General Jeff Sessions — although the decision to release the document ultimately lies with Congress. Kelly and Sessions spoke twice that day — in person during a small-group afternoon meeting and over the phone later that evening — and Kelly conveyed Trump’s desire, a senior administration official said. …
“The intervention with Sessions, which has not previously been reported, marked another example of the president’s year-long attempts to shape and influence an investigation that is fundamentally outside his control. Trump, appearing frustrated and at times angry, has complained to confidants and aides in recent weeks that he does not understand why he cannot simply give orders to ‘my guys’ at what he sometimes calls the ‘Trump Justice Department,’ two people familiar with the president’s comments said.” http://wapo.st/2njYjPK
— “Deadline looms for Trump and Russia sanctions,” by Elana Schor: “President Donald Trump’s willingness to crack down on Russia will be seriously tested come Monday. Trump faces a major deadline to use the Russia sanctions power that Congress overwhelmingly voted to give him — and it’s anybody’s guess as to whether he’ll comply on time after missing the last deadline. Scrutiny is high, amid lingering suspicion of Trump’s eagerness to mend fences with Russia and with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation still digging into election meddling by Moscow.
“Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle remain keen to get tough on Vladimir Putin’s government. And they have reason to worry about whether the popular sanctions package Trump reluctantly signed in August will be implemented just as hesitantly. The Russia provisions of the bill were designed as a response to Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election, which the president himself has downplayed.” http://politi.co/2FohdMI
IF YOU READ ONE THING — “The Follower Factory: Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market,” by NYT’s Nick Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris and Mark Hansen: “All these [fake] accounts belong to customers of an obscure American company named Devumi that has collected millions of dollars in a shadowy global marketplace for social media fraud. Devumi sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online.
“Drawing on an estimated stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold many times over, the company has provided customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers, a New York Times investigation found. … By some calculations, as many as 48 million of Twitter’s reported active users — nearly 15 percent — are automated accounts designed to simulate real people, though the company claims that number is far lower. …
“Randy Bryce, an ironworker seeking to unseat Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, purchased Devumi followers in 2015, when he was a blogger and labor activist. Louise Linton, the wife of the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, bought followers when she was trying to gain traction as an actress. …
“Over two years, the Democratic public relations consultant and CNN contributor Hilary Rosen bought more than a half-million fake followers from Devumi. Ms. Rosen previously spent more than a decade as head of the Recording Industry Association of America. In an interview, she described the purchases as ‘an experiment I did several years ago to see how it worked.’ She made more than a dozen purchases of followers from 2015 to 2017, according to company records.” Others in the story include Breitbart’s Aaron Klein, HUD’s Lynne Patton, Fox’s Liz MacDonald, The Hill’s Joe Concha, Britt McHenry and Fred O’Connell http://nyti.ms/2nhKhyL
TROUBLE IN FOGGY BOTTOM — “Frustrated State Department employees hire attorneys, charging ‘political retribution,’” by CNN’s Elise Labott: “A growing number of State Department employees are charging they are being put in career purgatory because of their previous work on policy priorities associated with President Barack Obama and in offices the Trump administration is interested in closing. The situation has got so serious that several officials tell CNN they have retained attorneys after repeatedly trying unsuccessfully to raise concerns about being assigned to low-level jobs in Foggy Bottom such as answering Freedom of Information Act requests.” http://cnn.it/2GnNkxl
MARC CAPUTO and HENRY JACKSON — “Rubio fires chief of staff for improper relations with subordinates”: “Rubio said in a statement that an investigation concluded his chief of staff Clint Reed engaged in behavior that ‘in my judgement amounted to threats to withhold employment benefits.’
“Rubio announced the decision to fire Reed just before midnight on Saturday. The Florida Republican said he became aware ‘for the first time’ on Friday ‘of allegations of improper conduct by my Chief of Staff while under the employment of my office.’
“Rubio said the allegations were reported directly to him and that he then immediately began an investigation with his general counsel. ‘By early this afternoon, I had sufficient evidence to conclude that while employed by this office, my Chief of Staff had violated office policies regarding proper relations between a supervisor and their subordinates,’ Rubio said.” http://politi.co/2Fo34iE
— ANOTHER FLORIDA MAN: TAMPA BAY TIMES FRONT PAGE: “The loudest #NeverTrump voice is Florida Republican Rick Wilson,” by Alex Leary in Tallahassee: “This is no moderate. Wilson, who lives in Tallahassee, is a longtime conservative operative with a burn-it-down appetite for conflict matched only by his affinity for guns and good food. He has used social media and cable news appearances to wage war against a man he sees as a con and a cancer on the GOP. Or, as he described the president last week to his nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter, ‘a serial fabulist and short attention-span mental lightweight.’
“Beyond a shared affinity for Diet Coke, Wilson and Trump understand that being loud and unfiltered attracts notice. A handful of prominent GOP critics of the president have emerged but none as colorful as Wilson, 54, who bears a resemblance to Mike, the assassin and fixer on ‘Breaking Bad.’ He carries a pistol in the small of his back. ‘I started doing it religiously after all the death threats,’ Wilson said.” http://bit.ly/2EhDOeI … A1 PDF http://bit.ly/2zM6Z5O
L.A. TIMES: “Red, white and very blue, Stormy Daniels takes her road show to Las Vegas,” by David Montero in Las Vegas. http://lat.ms/2nj9vg4
COMING ATTRACTIONS — “Steve Bannon Accepts Invitation to Speak at the University of Chicago,” by the Chicago Maroon’s Pete Grieve and Euirim Choi: “Steve Bannon has accepted an invitation from Booth professor Luigi Zingales to come speak at the University of Chicago, Zingales told The Maroon. The former White House chief strategist has not spoken at a public event since his departure from Breitbart. Zingales told The Maroon that Bannon could provide some insight into the current political and economic climate in the United States.” http://bit.ly/2rGBgE2
SUNDAY BEST …
TAPPER’S OPEN: “Hello. I’m Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is stormy. That’s a reference to the tenor in town, not to the porn star by the same name, whom, according to ‘The Wall Street Journal,’ was paid $130,000 by Trump’s lawyer for her silence.”
— JAKE TAPPER talks to SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.VA.) on CNN’S “STATE OF THE UNION”: TAPPER: “A source tells CNN the Democrats plan to try to include a proposal to protect the special counsel in the next round of government funding talks ahead of the February 8 deadline. You were a key figure in negotiating the last short term spending bill that reopened the government. Do you think it’s a good idea? Are you going to try to include protections for Mueller?”
MANCHIN: “Well, the thing about it, I think it’s premature for us to go down that road, too. There’s a process they have to go through. Mr. Rosenstein would be the first person that I would think — if there’s going to be some movement in that direction — where they’re going to go first. And I think that would give us time to move and act if we need to. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I really do. But we have to wait and see.”
— MARTHA RADDATZ talks with SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.) on ABC’S “THIS WEEK”: GRAHAM on border control: “You don’t need 25 billion dollars for a wall. You need wall systems, you need roads, you need redundancy, you need fencing. So we aren’t going to build a 1,900-mile wall, but 25 billion dollars can be spent wisely … so we’re not going to build a wall in places it shouldn’t go.”
— ON RETURNING MONEY RAISED BY FORMER RNC FINANCE CHAIR STEVE WYNN: “Yes. We should do of ourselves what we ask of the Democratic Party if these allegations have merit. So I don’t think we should have a double standard for ourselves.”
— MARC SHORT to CHRIS WALLACE on “FOX NEWS SUNDAY” speaking about Trump’s desire to release House Republicans’ classified memo on Russia: “I think the president is more inclined for transparency in this investigation. To the extent that the House is advocated that its public release, I think the president is receptive to that. … The president generally sides on the side of transparency,” Short said. “Yes, I think he believes that should be put out.” More from Patrick Temple-West http://politi.co/2DEYGez
— MORE “FOX NEWS SUNDAY” with REP. TREY GOWDY (R-S.C.) on whether he still has faith in Robert Mueller: “100%. Particularly if he’s given the time, the resources and the independence to do his job. Chris, he didn’t apply for the job, he’s where he is because we have an Attorney General who had to recuse himself. … Last time you and I were together I told my Republican colleagues to leave him the hell alone and that’s still my advice.”
— CHUCK TODD spoke with HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CALIF.) on NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS” about the classified memo Republicans want released: TODD: “Do you want the president to declassify this memo that was written by Republican staff on the House Intelligence Committee?” MCCARTHY: “Look, they have been doing their investigation. They found something out. I’ve gone down. I’ve read it. The committee voted, this is the process, they voted to allow members to read it. They have the ability to vote to move it forward, just like … And then it would go to the executive branch–” TODD: “Why are they afraid to send this to the Justice Department for review?” MCCARTHY: “Well aren’t we separate, but co-equal? Don’t we have the responsibility for oversight?
ARTICLE OF THE DAY – PAUL MANAFORT PROFILE — FRANKLIN FOER in his debut cover story in THE ATLANTIC: “The Plot Against America: Decades before he ran the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort’s pursuit of foreign cash and shady deals laid the groundwork for the corruption of Washington”: “The clinic permitted Paul Manafort one 10-minute call each day. And each day, he would use it to ring his wife from Arizona, his voice often soaked in tears. ‘Apparently he sobs daily,’ his daughter Andrea, then 29, texted a friend. During the spring of 2015, Manafort’s life had tipped into a deep trough. A few months earlier, he had intimated to his other daughter, Jessica, that suicide was a possibility. …
“For nearly a decade, he had counted primarily on a single client, albeit an exceedingly lucrative one. He’d been the chief political strategist to the man who became the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, with whom he’d developed a highly personal relationship. Manafort would swim naked with his boss outside his banya, play tennis with him at his palace (‘Of course, I let him win,’ Manafort made it known), and generally serve as an arbiter of power in a vast country. …
“Colleagues suspected the worst about Manafort because they had observed his growing mania for accumulating property, how he’d bought second, third, and fourth homes. ‘He would buy a house without ever seeing it,’ one former colleague told me. …
“Helping elect Donald Trump, in so many ways, represents the culmination of Paul Manafort’s work. The president bears some likeness to the oligarchs Manafort long served: a businessman with a portfolio of shady deals, who benefited from a cozy relationship to government; a man whose urge to dominate, and to enrich himself, overwhelms any higher ideal.” http://theatln.tc/2DJCVyk … The cover http://bit.ly/2GqfVlG
CNN’S VAN JONES had a buzzy interview with JAY-Z http://cnn.it/2FoYW1A
— THE PRESIDENT RESPONDS … @realDonaldTrump at 8:18 a.m.: “Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!” … “Our economy is better than it has been in many decades. Businesses are coming back to America like never before. Chrysler, as an example, is leaving Mexico and coming back to the USA. Unemployment is nearing record lows. We are on the right track!”
REMEMBERING ED LORENZEN — ABC 6 (Rhode Island) — “The community is rallying around a local family after a fire took the lives of a father and his young son.
“Friends tell ABC 6 News the support is bringing comfort to the mother who is dealing with unimaginable loss, after Friday night’s fire took her 5-year-old son’s life. Family and friends struggling with the reality that a young boy is gone after a fire ripped through a Coventry home.
“‘Michael was a very happy little boy. He loved to snuggle. He loved picking on his sister and playing with his older brother,’ says family friend Jessamy LeBeau. Family friends say it was supposed to be a normal weekend. Ed Lorenzen was home from his government job in Maryland and spending time with his 3 kids at their Coventry home. The fire started around 6:30 Friday night, but he couldn’t escape the flames. Friends say he was found holding 5-year-old Michael.” http://bit.ly/2Folek6 … How to support the family http://bit.ly/2FoePWr
— LORENZEN was a senior adviser for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Before that, he worked on the Hill for Charlie Stenholm and Steny Hoyer.
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YIKES — “Air Force One Needs New Refrigerators. They Cost $24 Million,” by Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber: “Experts say the reason isn’t price gouging by Boeing, which makes the jets and handles the presidential modifications, but instead the result of bespoke equipment requirements put in place by the White House Military Office and the Air Force. … The new refrigerators aren’t your kitchen Frigidaires, or even a typical jetliner’s cabin-feeding coolboxes. The requirement for Air Force One is the ability to feed passengers and crew for weeks without resupplying. That means storing about 3,000 meals in massive refrigerators and freezers below the passenger cabin. Five ‘chillers’ cool a total of 26 climate-controlled compartments … In December, the Air Force awarded Boeing a $23.7 million contract to replace two … chillers.” http://bit.ly/2njpTgE
MORE ON BURNS STRIDER — “Hillary Clinton Let Him Stay. Women Say His Harassment Continued,” by BuzzFeed’s Ruby Cramer: “In 2007, while working for the candidate who hoped to be the first female president, a young woman filed a complaint against her boss — the campaign’s faith adviser. She described ‘five kisses on the head’ and ‘excessive tracking’ of her whereabouts, among other complaints of harassment, according to campaign documents from the time.
“Senior aides on the campaign wanted to fire him, according to three officials with knowledge of the process, but Hillary Clinton decided against doing so. Not only was the adviser, Burns Strider, not pushed out — he thrived after her campaign, landing a senior role at a super PAC preparing for her next presidential bid. In that job, he exhibited the same kinds of inappropriate behavior toward women who worked there, particularly two young female subordinates.
“In at least three separate instances between 2007 and 2015, women who worked for the Clinton campaign or the pro-Clinton PAC said that Strider, 52, harassed them at work. … On Saturday, Strider did not deny that his behavior had been inappropriate. Speaking by phone in a 45-minute call, he addressed claims laid out for him in a 16-point email, sent by BuzzFeed News. He acknowledged many of the incidents as true. Others, he said, he did not recall in the same way as the women interviewed for this report.
“He dismissed some of his actions as simply friendly, or characteristic of what he described as his Southern background. At the same time, he apologized broadly for his behavior, and noted that he has struggled with depression and is in therapy. In the case of his conduct toward the woman who worked for him on the Clinton campaign in 2007, Strider said, ‘I didn’t consider it excessive, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t to her.’” http://bzfd.it/2Fphu1X
GONE — “RNC finance chair Steve Wynn resigns after sexual harassment allegations,” by Alex Isenstadt: “Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn on Saturday stepped down as Republican National Committee finance chairman, according to three senior Republicans briefed on the decision. The decision followed a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal alleging that Wynn engaged in sexual harassment. Wynn, 76, was President Donald Trump’s handpicked choice for the finance position. It has not yet been determined who will replace him.
“‘Today I accepted Steve Wynn’s resignation as Republican National Committee finance chair,’ said RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, who spoke about the Wynn situation with the president on Saturday morning, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation. Trump returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday evening.” http://politi.co/2DWdRn5
— STAR TRIBUNE: “Garrison Keillor’s wish to be heard is at the heart of standoff with MPR,” by Jeffrey Meitrodt and Neal Justin: “Garrison Keillor is convinced America still wants to hear his voice. The disgraced broadcaster’s determination to reopen the ‘Prairie Home Companion’ archives and revive his daily ‘Writer’s Almanac’ is at the heart of the bitter divorce talks with Minnesota Public Radio that broke down last week in an acrimonious exchange.
“Both sides say they want to resolve the two-month standoff over what MPR termed ‘dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents’ by Keillor toward a longtime writer for ‘Prairie Home.’ Much is at stake. The archives, removed from MPR’s website on Nov. 29, reflect more than 40 years of work — 1,500 episodes of ‘PHC’ and thousands of episodes of ‘Writer’s Almanac,’ which has helped promote unsung poets around the country for 25 years.
“MPR said late last week that it ‘is committed to an agreement that restores access to the materials that are important to our listeners and others.’ Those archives were removed from MPR’s website on Nov. 29, when the company announced its investigation of Keillor found he had engaged in ‘inappropriate behavior’ with a female employee. But the most challenging issue may be Keillor’s insistence that he somehow clear his name, or at least lift the cloud that is making it difficult for him to continue publishing and staging shows around the country.” http://strib.mn/2FkMGiP … A1 PDF http://bit.ly/2rLt0mm
SNL COLD OPEN – “George W. Bush Returns Cold Open”: WILL FERRELL IS BACK! — Bush (Ferrell): “I know what you’re thinking. What the heck is this handsome devil doing back in the Oval Office? Well the truth is this is just a set. I had it built in my basement in Texas so I could pretend to still be president sometimes … I don’t know if you’ve read the news lately. I certainly have not. I’ve been too busy doing oil paintings and getting my MFA from the University of Phoenix online.” 6-min. video http://bit.ly/2Fq2lNZ
BONUS GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:
— “They Are Watching You—and Everything Else on the Planet,” by Robert Draper on the cover of February’s NatGeo – per TheBrowser.com’s description: “A hundred million surveillance cameras are sold every year. America’s skies are filled with 2.5 million drones. Above them at least 1,700 satellites view the Earth. CCTV cameras cover every inch of central London. We are all watched almost all the time. And is it really so bad? There are measurable social, economic and environmental gains from surveillance; What do we set against them, except a loss of privacy on which we do not, in practice, seem to place very much value?” http://on.natgeo.com/2DD8oOG … The cover http://bit.ly/2BxQawe
— “How Arafat Eluded Israel’s Assassination Machine,” by Ronen Bergman, in an adaptation of “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations,” in today’s N.Y. Times Magazine: “The nation’s security forces tried for decades to kill the P.L.O. leader. Now, former officials tell the story of how they failed — and how far they almost went to succeed.” http://nyti.ms/2nebsdX … $22.48 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2GnIlNl (h/t Matt Brooks)
— “Welcome to the Golden Age of Conservative Magazines,” by T.A. Frank in WaPo: “President Trump has scrambled the very meaning of conservatism. Now, a small group of intellectual magazines matters more than ever. … When I met Lowry in New York, where National Review is based, it was the day before the magazine was due to move from Murray Hill to Midtown … Lowry had just welcomed a son to the world a few weeks earlier … ‘One of the giant ironies of this whole phenomenon for us is that Trump represents a cartoonish, often exaggerated, version of the direction we wanted to see the party go in,’ Lowry said.” http://wapo.st/2DSXqYw
— “The kill chain: Inside the unit that tracks targets for U.S. drone wars,” by Roy Wenzl in the Guardian in Wichita, Kansas: “‘You see enemy combatants kiss their kids goodbye, and kiss their wives goodbye, and then they walk down the street. As soon as they get over that hill, the missile is released. We don’t want the family to see it. The technology we use is just insane, it’s so good. We’re fighting with laser beams against people who beat each other to death with sticks.’” http://bit.ly/2rKEVk6
— “How to Win Founders and Influence Everybody,” by Jessi Hempel in Wired: Margit Wennmachers’ “presence has left an indelible imprint on the hundreds of businesses that have come into contact with the firm. We’re all familiar with Silicon Valley’s mythological image of the tech founder: brilliant, nerdy, eccentric, well-meaning. What you don’t know is that, more than just about anyone else in tech, Wennmachers is the person responsible for building the legend.” http://bit.ly/2BxICtk
— “How China Plans to Feed 1.4 Billion Growing Appetites,” by Tracie McMillan in February’s NatGeo: “As more Chinese crave Western-style diets, the booming nation rushes to industrialize an agricultural economy long built around small farms.” http://on.natgeo.com/2DIBiAZ
— “Can Planet Earth Feed 10 Billion People?” by Charles C. Mann in the Atlantic’s March issue: “Humanity has 30 years to find out.” http://theatln.tc/2ndLI1g
–“Norma McCorvey Versus Jane Roe,” by Norma McCorvey in Longreads: “In 1970, a homeless woman pregnant with her third child met with two lawyers at a pizzeria in Dallas. Did it matter, in the end, who Jane Roe really was?” http://bit.ly/2Bx3DnJ
— “How a new technology is changing the lives of people who cannot speak,” by Jordan Kisner in the Guardian – per Longform.org’s description: “The same ‘Stephen Hawking voice’ is used by little girls, old men, and people of every racial and ethnic background. Inside the quest to give people a voice of their own.” http://bit.ly/2nelr2J
— David Brooks interview – “The Jamie Weinstein Show” podcast — National Review: http://bit.ly/2DxPzMD
— “What Everyone Gets Wrong About LBJ’s Great Society,” by Joshua Zeitz in an adaptation of “Building the Great Society: Inside Lyndon Johnson’s White House,” in POLITICO Magazine: “It wasn’t some radical left-wing pipedream. It was moderate; and it worked.” http://politi.co/2DQwf0J … $19.49 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2DVoTJd
— “California Shows How to Beat Trump, Now and in November,” by Peter Schrag on the cover of the Nation: “America’s future arrives first in California, and that bodes ill for the president and his Republican enablers.” http://bit.ly/2DGmouV … The cover http://politi.co/2DGT7At
SPOTTED at a Sips and Suppers fundraiser last night at Pegasus, James Alefantis’ art space on 13th Street: Alice Waters tasting lamb that was grilled outside on the deck, Tony Podesta, David Brock, Judge Jeb Boasberg, Nadia Szold, and James Meyer … Donna Shalala, who is considering running for Congress, at Café Milano Friday night.
SPOTTED at the RIAA/SoundExchange pre-Grammy reception last night in NYC: Reps. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Cary Sherman, Mitch Glazier, Adam Verdugo, Ken Ebie, Shira Gans, Richard Burgess, Mike Huppe, Tyler Grimm, Lisette Morton, Joe Keeley, Sally Rose Larson, Danielle Aguirre, Kathryn Rexrode, Brandon Ritchie and Shelley Husband, Rosalyn Kumar, Jason Everett, Judd Smith, Sally Rose Larson, Todd Flournoy, Kendra Barkoff, Florida State Sen. Bill Galvano and Hawaii State Sen. Kalani English.
BIRTHWEEK (was Thursday): Blank Rome’s Phil Beshara turned 3-0. He celebrated with friends and family at The Passenger (hat tip: Erick Sanchez)
BIRTHDAYS: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) is 71 … Maria Comella, global head of regional public affairs at WeWork, celebrating in Albany (h/ts Matt Mowers, Lauren Fritts and Neil Grace) … Christy Gibson … Lael Brainard … Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) is 49 … Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) is 62 … Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) is 7-0 … Politico’s Peter King … Ray Gurganus … Terry McNaughton … Nick Iacono, director of comms and PR at Archdiocese of New York, is 28 … Jeff Selingo, former EIC at the Chronicle of Higher Ed … Helen Kalla, communications director at the Nevada State Democratic Party … Bloomberg View columnist Justin Fox … Grant Campbell of Sherpa Ventures … Tom Downey … Lynnette Williams, SVP at Edelman … Washington Institute for Near East Policy executive director Robert Satloff … former Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) is 67 …
… Ted Greener, director of public affairs at the Association of American Railroads … Matt DoBias … Frank Purcell, president of Cardinal Waypoint … Alexandra Thornton … Sam Greene … Anne Manhart … Candie Vilmain … Katie Varoga … Jon Erpenbach … Roberta Gassman … Sarah Pribyl … John Milewski … Susan Johannesmann … Jen Millikin … Julie Zagorianakos … Bryan England … Missy Lieberman, manager of gov’t relations at the Pew Charitable Trusts … Peggy Greenberg … CNN senior photojournalist Jay McMichael … chef Matt Britt … Achim Bergmann, partner at Bergmann Zwerdling Direct … Tyler Harber… evangelical pastor Rick Warren is 64 … Fred J. Nation … former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is 63 … humorist Mo Rocca is 49 (h/ts AP)
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