Call It "Absurd"
But maintain The Presumption of Grace
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Even with The Presumption of Grace top of mind, there are some things that simply must be labeled “absurd” (or “c’mon, man!”) at times.
1. The fact that the high temperatures and brutal humidity during the brunch hour today means that many members of the Gang of 500 will be wearing shorts for the Lauriol Plaza brunch, including some who, well, don’t look that great in shorts.
2. The United States is now poised to fight something called “monkeypox.”
President Biden said Sunday that the United States is looking into what vaccines might be available to protect people against monkeypox — saying that “everybody” should be concerned as an outbreak of the disease continues to spread around the world and some countries beef up their stockpiles of treatments.
“We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine if any might be available for it,” Biden said from South Korea, where he is on an official visit.
Biden said the recent outbreak of monkeypox infections — identified by the World Health Organization in at least 12 countries where the relatively rare disease is not endemic — could be “consequential” if it spreads.
Health advisers “haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” Biden said. “It is a concern in that if it were to spread it would be consequential.” (Washington Post)
3. This paragraph from a CBS News story about one of the Hunter Biden laptops:
What's known about the chain of custody of the laptop in the photograph shared by Hunter Biden's lawyer begins in February 2019, when Hunter Biden left it at the Boston office of a therapist he was seeing. The laptop was in the Newburyport, Massachusetts, office of Dr. Keith Ablow, when the office was raided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, an action unrelated to Biden. But his laptop was also taken by the DEA. A source close to Ablow confirmed this to CBS News and said Ablow then sought to have the laptop returned to Hunter Biden.
4. This exchange from an airborne AF1 gaggle with President Biden’s national security adviser:
Q What can you tell us about how John Kirby is coming over? How did that all come together? And can you describe what his role will be and how often we'll see him in the briefing room?
MR. SULLIVAN: So, John Kirby, as you all know, is a very effective national security voice and advocate for the President's policies. Actually, you know, I think a good partner to you all. So we're excited to have him at the White House.
And I'm particularly excited to have him at the NSC, because having a senior voice who can come do these gaggles instead of me will just be awesome. (Laughter.) No, I'm joking. I'm joking.
No, but -- but otherwise, we'll work out how it's all going to play out in practice. The key thing is that John, at a moment when we're dealing with a series of really critical national security issues, is just going to bring a great wealth of experience. And he's going to be fun to work with for me; he’ll be fun to work with for the entire press team as well.
Q There was reporting that he would basically fill the same role that Ben Rhodes did near the end of the Obama administration. Is that sort of how you guys are seeing the role, or is it going to be different?
MR. SULLIVAN: The thing about describing models like that -- the “Ben Rhodes model” -- they tend to be unique to an individual. And Ben, who is a very good friend of mine, is a unique individual and served in a unique capacity to President Obama.
John Kirby will have the "John Kirby model" of the role of Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the NSC. And he'll shape it based on his own, kind of, capabilities, the relationship he builds with the President and the rest of the team. And so I -- I think the comparisons tend -- tend not to illuminate.
5. This exchange from a White House pool report:
Q Do you have a message for Kim Jong Un while you're here?
PRESIDENT BIDEN“Hello.” Period.
6. From another White House pool report:
Shortly after 2:30 President Biden entered a cafeteria in the bowling alley to meet mostly uniformed troops and some family members. Cafeteria included posters of Johnny cash and Elvis. No one was masked.
Biden walked in wearing a black cap. One White House official said it was labeled US-PK and a gift from commander of the base.
Biden went straight for the ice cream and picked up a small cup of chocolate chip ice cream. There was a banner behind the ice cream stand reading, “especially for you.”
Pool asked to get closer and was told “no, sorry.”
Biden went straight to the tables with children. He spent several seconds writing a note to one girl. As he visited servicemen he took his cap off. He then went back for a second serving of ice cream, this time getting vanilla and chocolate, according to the ice cream server.
8. The fact that there are no essential reads today.
9. The lack of coverage of the Michael Sussman trial in Wide World of News.