Monday, August 17, 2020

Last Call For An Orange Man With Mail Pattern Badness, Con't

Looks like Westy was right about Postmaster General Louis DeJoy facing House Democrats next week.

I haven't looked into this, but since the Postal Service is a quasi-autonomous organization (DeJoy isn't directly appointed by the President), it ought to (in theory) be even more illegal for Trump to "block" their testimony - not saying he won't try, but saying that a friendly judge is more likely to rule on an emergency motion to enforce a subpoena if it comes to that, because there's no serious argument that he can't testify.

Looks like Dejoy's lawyer has advised him the same.  Hooray for enlightened self-interest!

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has agreed to House Democrats’ request for him to testify next week about his controversial Postal Service changes that have raised hackles around the nation, according to two people familiar with the matter.

On Sunday, Democrats moved up a request for DeJoy to testify to Monday, Aug. 24, calling it an “urgent” matter. The Oversight and Reform Committee hearing is likely to be tense, with Democrats loudly objecting to changes that have slowed mail delivery in numerous parts of the country amid President Donald Trump’s calls to restrict the use of mail-in ballots for the November election.

A number of Democrats have called on him to resign, and moderate House member Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), even said that he wanted DeJoy, a major Republican Party fundraiser, arrested by the House sergeant at arms if he didn’t agree to testify.

“Over the past several weeks, there have been startling new revelations about the scope and gravity of operational changes you are implementing at hundreds of postal facilities without consulting adequately with Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission, or the Board of Governors,” House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) wrote to DeJoy on Sunday, giving him a deadline of Monday to respond to the testimony invitation.

“Your testimony is particularly urgent given the troubling influx of reports of widespread delays at postal facilities across the country—as well as President Trump’s explicit admission last week that he has been blocking critical coronavirus funding for the Postal Service in order to impair mail-in voting efforts for the upcoming elections in November.”

Maloney also has requested the testimony of Mike Duncan, chairman of the Postal Service’s Board of Governors. Duncan also agreed to testify, according to a person familiar with the matter. Duncan is a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

A spokesperson for the Postal Service didn’t immediately have a comment.

We'll see what happens on Monday.  It's possible that Trump will move to block the testimony still, but as Westy pointed out, Trump may not be able to. DeJoy's cooperation is probably a very good idea on his part, because the second Trump realizes wrecking the post office in public is hurting him, he'll throw DeJoy under the postal truck.

Should be fun next week.

Stream Of Unconsciousness

In a post-COVID world, there's little place for movie theaters, and increasingly, for entire movie studios, as NYT columnist Ben Smith opines on the death of Warner Bros.

For decades, the best thing about being a Hollywood executive, really, was how you got fired. Studio executives would be gradually, gently, even lovingly, nudged aside, given months to shape their own narratives and find new work, or even promoted. When Amy Pascal was pushed out of Sony Pictures in 2015, she got an exit package and production deal worth a reported $40 million
That, of course, was before streaming services arrived, upending everything with a ruthless logic and coldhearted efficiency. 
That was never more clear than on Aug. 7, when WarnerMedia abruptly eliminated the jobs of hundreds of employees, emptying the executive suite at the once-great studio that built Hollywood, and is now the subsidiary of AT&T. In a series of brisk video calls, executives who imagined they were studio eminences were reminded that they work — or used to work — at the video division of a phone company. The chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment, Bob Greenblatt, learned that he’d been fired the morning of the day the news broke, two people he spoke to told me. Jeffrey Schlesinger, a 37-year company veteran who ran the lucrative international licensing business, complained to friends that he had less than an hour’s notice, two other people told me. 
“We’re in the brutal final scenes of Hollywood as people here knew it, as streaming investment and infrastructure take precedence,” said Janice Min, the former Hollywood Reporter co-president who did a brief stretch as an executive at the streaming platform Quibi. “Politesse and production deal kiss-offs for those at the top, and, more importantly, the financial fire hose to float a bureaucracy, seem to be disappearing. It’s like a club, already shut down by the pandemic, running out of dues to feed all its members.” 
The drama at Warner marked a turning point, in part because of its huge size and the high profile of the iconic companies under its umbrella: Warner Brothers, HBO and CNN among them. And it comes as Hollywood power is conspicuously absent from the national conversation. Washington is consumed by TikTok, the Chinese-owned video-sharing app that’s the most successful new content platform in the world. TikTok has succeeded as Quibi — Hollywood’s premium alternative to user-generated content — struggles to find an audience. The California politician just nominated for the vice presidency comes from San Francisco, and doesn’t particularly advertise her Hollywood ties (though she was all over Hollywood insiders’ Instagram last week). 
The corporate shifts at WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal in recent days signal that the technological shift you’ve been reading about for years is finally taking concrete form, accelerated by the pandemic. The new leaders of the industry want to talk about digital products and subscription marketing. The most interesting profiles of entertainment executives are, literally, obituaries, notably the catalog of victories and vices that marked the career of Viacom’s founder, Sumner Redstone. 
(Like much of his industry, Mr. Redstone, who died last week at age 97, held on far longer than anyone expected. Former Viacom employees recalled that it had been more than six years since, the then- chief executive, Philippe Dauman, asked his aides to draft a stirring eulogy for Mr. Redstone, who was 90 at the time, and to create a website in his memory. But Mr. Dauman was fired four years ago, there are no plans for him to deliver a eulogy and the website remains on some forgotten digital shelf.) 
Much of what’s happening now in Hollywood, too, has that feeling of a death so long anticipated that you half assumed you’d just missed the funeral. At WarnerMedia, the executives’ firings came after the company badly botched the introduction of a streaming service whose name — HBO Go, HBO Now, or HBO Max — nobody could figure out. The service has primarily distinguished itself so far by its energetic and unsuccessful attempts to spin about 4 million people who have actually used the service into a number north of 30 million.

Disney Plus is trying to sell the live action Mulan remake for $29, the price of an adult movie ticket and two kids tickets and no popcorn.

A year from now most movie theaters in the US will be out of business, but they were headed for the graveyard ever since 9/11 and the Aurora shooting made them soft targets in the back of everyone's minds. All COVID did was speed up the desiccation process.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

If the "suburban housewife" revolt against Trump has reached here, Northern Kentucky outside of Cincinnati, then Trump is going to get butchered.

If you search “suburban housewives” on Facebook—between the pages dedicated to gossiping about the Real Housewives reality shows and one called “A group where we pretend to be suburban PTA housewives”—you will now find at least eight groups dedicated to overthrowing Trump. The group descriptions and membership varies, but the message is the same: Trump cannot count on suburban women to pull him over the line this November.

“Donald Trump used sexist language to describe us as ‘suburban housewives,’” one group description reads. “He also said that we’d be voting for him. He’s wrong.”

“A group of ‘suburban housewives’ whose vote Trump does NOT have—despite what he seems to think,” reads another.

Loni Yeary Gentry, a stay-at-home mother of three from Florence, Kentucky, started the group “Suburban Housewives Against Trump” on Wednesday afternoon. The objective, she said, was to create a space for other Trump critics in her conservative community to speak freely. When she went to bed that night, the group had just over 100 members. When she woke the next day, it had more than 300. At the time of publication, it had 6,000.

To Yeary Gentry’s surprise, the group members included several mothers from her children's Catholic private school—women she had assumed were Trump supporters.

"I think people may make assumptions,” she said. “And I think that's something the president has done, unfortunately, is make assumptions that all white women are going to support him. And we're not."

I don't think people fully appreciate what it's like to have the suburban school soccer moms with kids in Covington Catholic (Remember Nick Sandmann?) and schools like it here around the NKY Cincy exurbs to be in an open Facebook group against Trump.  This is a part of the country where an Obama bumper sticker will get your tires slashed, your car keyed, or your vehicle blocked in by two big Dodge Ram 1500 coal rollers covered in MAGA propaganda and Confederate flags.

If the women here are going to vote for Biden, in Kentucky, a state where Trump should win by 25 points, he's in dire trouble elsewhere, in more diverse suburban precincts.

Indeed, a recent NPR/PBS poll found that 66 percent of suburban women said they disapproved of the job Trump is doing overall, and 58 percent said they "strongly" disapproved. According to The New York Times’ Nate Cohn, Trump trails Biden by 25 percentage points with female voters. And in the 2018 midterms, when a historic wave of Democratic women swept into office, 51 percent of married men voted Republican, while just 44 percent of their wives did the same.

Presidential candidates have long considered the suburbs, which now make up about half the electorate, key to winning their elections. Trump took the suburban vote by 5 percentage points in 2016, and voters there drove him over the finish line in battleground states like Michigan and Wisconsin. That’s likely why his campaign dispatched more than a dozen female surrogates to the suburbs starting last summer, and why he has been increasingly courting them with his “law and order “message.

But Mary Hayes, the founder of a Facebook group called “The Real Suburban Housewives for Biden/Harris,” pointed out a flaw in Trump’s logic: The suburbs are not dominated by the white women who so famously supported him in 2016. By trying to appeal to suburban housewives with racist comments, Hayes said, Trump is alienating a large part of the increasingly diverse group.

Trump even acknowledged the growing diversity of the suburbs in a recent press conference, noting that more than 30 percent of suburban residents are minorities. But he also doubled down on his tweet, claiming that allowing low-income housing in the suburbs would create “lots of problems” and would “destroy suburbia.” (The policy in question, the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, was created to prevent housing discrimination. Biden has pledged to reenact it, but said nothing about Booker being in charge.)

“He might as well have said, ‘The white housewife will be voting for me because I kept the low income [people], or the minorities, or however you want to say it, out of your neighborhoods,’” said Hayes, a Black woman and mother of three from Northern Virginia. “You cannot want to get the vote of somebody and discard certain people in that same community

If Trump's anti-coattails carry over to Senate races, it's 2008 all over again, only this time with a real mandate.


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