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Sunday, 26 March 2017

Dear Mr President,

OK, a few style notes, I guess you’d call them. Out here in Gattos Gordos County, I’m known for being very style conscious. You might say a sort of trend-setter. A few years back, I started wearing Levis and denim work shirts. Getting my pick-up out of the mud? Levis and denim work shirt. A beer down at the Retrofit Roadhouse? Levis and denim work shirt. Town council meeting? Levis and denim work shirt. Church? . . . The question has never come up. Anyway, I’ve noticed that’s what everybody is wearing now.

I’ve mentioned before that the jacket with the patches that the Navy had you wear wasn’t good. I think the admirals were pranking you – like those Lakota did with Calvin Coolidge that time. You know, with the headdress with the feathers? He never lived that down – anybody says “Calvin Coolidge” and you immediately think, “Oh, that meshugener with the feathers.” That’s what you say if you’re Jewish. The Lakota probably had another word. But back to the jackets with the patches. You know it wasn’t regulation because they don’t have anybody in the Navy that would take that size. But I haven’t seen you in it lately, so I guess you’re taking my advice.

But then the other day the truckers did the same thing – getting you to climb into the cab of a semi and pretend to drive. Like some trucker’s six-year-old son. God knows what the truckers’ word is. Something crude, you can bet. Reminded everybody of Mike Dukakis on that tank. Slightly better than your picture, looks like a ten-year-old who is having fun.

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So, The Moral: no hats, no jackets, no stunts. Try to act like you’re in charge, not like some photographer’s dummy. A default pose: squint and point off-camera like you’re ordering somebody deported. Make sure everybody is looking where you’re pointing and nobody is laughing.

Finally that picture of Jared and Ivanka that was in The Hill on Saturday (below). No problem about style with Ivanka, not at all. But decorum? A little situational awareness? A disaster! From the front, they look like a million bucks (just an idiom, I know it’s way more), a typical American couple, a picture of domestic harmony, just like folks (OK, we know she didn’t bring that dress back from the dry-cleaners herself). And they’re close, which is good. So close we can’t see Jared’s left arm. Fine. But behind them is a mirror! Don’t they know that? Isn’t it their house, for Heaven’s sake? We can see where his hand is! Think of America’s children!

Saturday, 26 March 2017

Dear Mr President,

I read this in the Wall Street Journal, I think. In case no one in the White House has explained it to you, I thought I’d give you a heads-up. It’s one of those complicated things.

Now that Trumpcare has faded faster than gramma’s Medicaid supplement, Wall Street billionaire and Secretary of the Treasury Steven (Munchie) Mnuchin (famed as the banker who forced 65,000 families out of their homes during the 2008 housing crisis) and millionaire and Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (famed as a shrewd investor in health-industry stocks whose prices he could boost from inside Congress) have joined forces to propose a new program to give peace of mind and limited health-care coverage to the elderly who are facing simultaneous mortgage payments and Obamacare Death-Spiral co-payments.

Called the Henry Winkler Free-Choice Reverse-Mortgage and Health-Care Act – after the beloved and trusted Fonz – the Act would provide that the HHS Department would automatically pay off all mortgages for homeowners over 50 and give them medical benefits up to the value of their monthly mortgage payment until the mortgage is paid off or they drop dead before that – “which lots of them will,” Mnuchin told reporters.

If medical expenses in any month are less than the value of the former monthly payment, the difference will be paid to the medical insurance companies who administer the program. Those who outlive their former mortgages will be allowed to remain in their homes but with limited medical care. “By ‘limited’, Price explained, “we mean maternity and pediatric coverage, but nothing for Alzheimer’s, stroke, hip surgery, prostate surgery, or any form of cancer.”

Price explained that an advantage of this program over commercial reverse mortgages is that the market for the latter was limited to the gullible and the desperate, whereas the Winkler Act (or Fonzcare, as it will be affectionately known) will be the only alternative for those in their Golden Years, once the expected 5-4 Supreme Court decision striking down Medicare takes effect.

Asked what provision the plan would make for people who can’t afford either a mortgage or medical care, Mnuchin said, “None, they’re SOL.” He did not elaborate.

Maybe Jared can make it clearer.

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Friday, 25 March 2017

Dear Mr President,

As you enter the twilight of your presidency, it might be good to take a moment to look back at the halcyon days of your tenure, before your enemies betrayed your future by digging up your past. If only they could have accepted the wisdom of Kellyann and looked only forward, they would have almost seen how much you were almost destined to achieve. So as you plod on (I keep thinking of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow, for some reason), let’s review what you have accomplished:

– A Wall that was almost started and that Mexico almost paid for.

– One healthcare law that was almost repealed and another that came very close to passing one chamber of Congress before not coming anywhere near passing the other.

– The near dismantling of one federal agency (the EPA) and one cabinet department (State).

– A yet-unwritten plan to ban all discussion of climate change in the federal government and eventually, with the cooperation of Secretary Betsy DeVos, in all public schools.

– A jobs-saving revocation of the ban on dumping coal-waste in streams, which might have reversed the War Against Coal – had Coal not already lost it.

– A chisel-ready jobs-bill proposed by Secretary Carson to build pyramids for storing coal.

– Record profits for Ivanka’s Made-in-China Power-Fashion Emporium.

– A secret waiver of the requirement for American-made steel in the Keystone Pipeline.

– Two heroic though brief attempts to reinterpret the Constitution as allowing religious tests after all – Who knew? We could have been doing that all along! – until struck down by so-called judges.

– A proposed budget that would eliminate Meals on Wheels because it shows no results (other than allowing old people to eat) and increases funding for anti-submarine warfare because . . . ISIS (they’re trickier than Obama thought).

– Forging of a new relationship with our former adversary, Russia – a relationship so ground-breaking that we may not grasp its full significance for many months.

Not to mention your most enduring legacy, your vision – your attempts to teach America to see what only you can see: millions of illegal aliens voting for Hillary; hundreds of thousands of inauguration-day celebrators on empty streets; thousands of dancing Muslims on Jersey City rooftops; 68 stories on Trump Tower, where less visionary people see only 58.

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Dan Embree