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When President-elect Obama and his wife and children asked permission to stay at the Blair House in the weeks before the inauguration so that their two children could start the school term in Washington, the Bush White House replied with a curt “no” saying that Blair House was “spoken for.” Now we learn, that, par for the course for the Bush administration, that statement was ripe with truthiness. In fact it was only after the Obama request that the Bush team went scrambling looking for someone to occupy Blair House so it could be denied the Obamas. The taker is former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Howard will be traveling to Washington to receive the last in a series of Bush-awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom. Howard was recently handed a humiliating trouncing by Australian voters, who even turned him out of his own constituency. But he was a far more loyal poodle to George W. Bush than Tony Blair ever was. Among other things, he ventured head-first into American electoral politics, parroting a series of G.O.P. talking points, including the absurd proposition that Obama was the choice of Al Qaeda leaders to be president of the United States.
So Obama is turned out of Blair House to make room for a man who gained notoriety around the world for unprincipled and unfair criticisms of Obama? That’s what the Bush White House calls “gracious.” Most Americans would use other adjectives.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”