The Cask of Trump Meritage

Fortunato and his friend by Lady Green (cc 3.0 by SA—http://fav.me/dto9gv)

Adapted from The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe, 1846. As fictionally narrated by Donald Trump.

THE thousand injuries of The Establishment I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely, settled –but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Reince cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my in to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my to smile now was at the thought of his immolation.

He had a weak point –Reince –although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Few Wisconsinites have the true virtuoso spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and opportunity, to practise imposture upon millionaires. In business and politics, Reince, like his countrymen, was a quack, but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. In this respect I did not differ from him materially; –I was skillful in the Virginia vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could.

It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the election season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased to see him that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand.

I said to him –“My dear Reince, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day. But I have received a pipe of what passes for Trump Meritage, and I have my doubts.”

“How?” said he. “Trump Meritage, A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the election season!”

“I have my doubts,” I replied; “and I was silly enough to pay the full Trump Meritage price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain.”

“Trump Meritage!”

“I have my doubts.”

“Trump Meritage!”

“And I must satisfy them.”

“Trump Meritage!”

“As you are engaged, I am on my way to Ted Cruz. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me –”

“Ted Cruz cannot tell Trump Meritage from Sherry.”

“And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own.

“Come, let us go.”

“Whither?”

“To your vaults.”

“My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Ted Cruz.”

“I have no engagement; –come.”

“My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted. The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with nitre.”

“Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Trump Meritage! You have been imposed upon. And as for Ted Cruz, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Trump Meritage.”

Thus speaking, The Establishment possessed himself of my arm; and putting on a mask of black silk and drawing a roquelaire closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.

There were no attendants at home; they had absconded to make merry in honour of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.

I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to The Establishment, bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together upon the damp ground of the catacombs of the Trumps.

The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode.

“The pipe,” he said.

“It is farther on,” said I; “but observe the white web-work which gleams from these cavern walls.”

He turned towards me, and looked into my eves with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication.

“Nitre?” he asked, at length.

“Nitre,” I replied. “How long have you had that cough?”

“Ugh! ugh! ugh! –ugh! ugh! ugh! –ugh! ugh! ugh! –ugh! ugh! ugh! –ugh! ugh! ugh!”

My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes.

“It is nothing,” he said, at last.

“Come,” I said, with decision, “we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Ted Cruz.”

“Enough,” he said; “the cough’s a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.”

“True –true,” I replied; “and, indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily –but you should use all proper caution. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.

Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould.

“Drink,” I said, presenting him the wine.

He raised it to his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me familiarly, while his bells jingled.

“I drink,” he said, “to the buried that repose around us.”

“And I to your long life.”

He again took my arm, and we proceeded.

“These vaults,” he said, “are extensive.”

“The Trumps,” I replied, “were a great and numerous family.”

“I forget your arms.”

“A huge human foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are embedded in the heel.”

“And the motto?”

“Nemo me impune lacessit.”

“Good!” he said.

The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through long walls of piled skeletons, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time I made bold to seize Reince by an arm above the elbow.

“The nitre!” I said; “see, it increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river’s bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones. Come, we will go back ere it is too late. Your cough –”

“It is nothing,” he said; “let us go on. But first, another draught of the Medoc.”

I broke and reached him a flagon of De Grave. He emptied it at a breath. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand.

I looked at him in surprise. He repeated the movement –a grotesque one.

“You do not comprehend?” he said.

“Not I,” I replied.

“Then you are not of the Establishment.”

“How?”

“You are not of the RNC.”

“Yes, yes,” I said; “yes, yes.”

“You? Impossible! The Establishment?”

“I’m your nominee,” I replied.

“A sign,” he said, “a sign.”

“It is this,” I answered, producing from beneath the folds of my roquelaire an official 2016 RNC Make America Great Again membership card.

“You jest,” he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces. “But let us proceed to the Trump Meritage.”

“Be it so,” I said, replacing the tool beneath the cloak and again offering him my arm. He leaned upon it heavily. We continued our route in search of the Trump Meritage. We passed through a range of low arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt, in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to glow than flame.

At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth side the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior crypt or recess, in depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use within itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.

It was in vain that Reince, uplifting his dull torch, endeavoured to pry into the depth of the recess. Its termination the feeble light did not enable us to see.

“Proceed,” I said; “herein is the Trump Meritage. As for Ted Cruz–”

“He is an ignoramus,” interrupted my friend, as he stepped unsteadily forward, while I followed immediately at his heels. In niche, and finding an instant he had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding his progress arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples, distant from each other about two feet, horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain, from the other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. He was too much astounded to resist. Withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess.

“Pass your hand,” I said, “over the wall; you cannot help feeling the nitre. Indeed, it is very damp. Once more let me implore you to return. No? Then I must positively leave you. But I must first render you all the little attentions in my power.”

“The Trump Meritage!” ejaculated my friend, not yet recovered from his astonishment.

“True,” I replied; “the Trump Meritage.”

As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of bones of which I have before spoken. Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar. With these materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche.

I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I discovered that the intoxication of Reince had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a drunken man. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and the third, and the fourth; and then I heard the furious vibrations of the chain. The noise lasted for several minutes, during which, that I might hearken to it with the more satisfaction, I ceased my labours and sat down upon the bones. When at last the clanking subsided, I resumed the trowel, and finished without interruption the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh tier. The wall was now nearly upon a level with my breast. I again paused, and holding the flambeaux over the mason-work, threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within.

A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated, I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs, and felt satisfied. I reapproached the glorious wall; I replied to the yells of him who clamoured. I re-echoed, I aided, I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did this, and the clamourer grew still.

It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognizing as that of the noble Reince. The voice said–

“Ha! ha! ha! –he! he! he! –a very good joke, indeed –an excellent jest. We will have many a rich laugh about it at Trump Tower –he! he! he! –over our wine –he! he! he!”

“The Trump Meritage!” I said.

“He! he! he! –he! he! he! –yes, the Trump Meritage. But is it not getting late? Will not they be awaiting us at the Trump winery, Mrs. Priebus, Melania, and the rest? Let us be gone.”

“Yes,” I said, “let us be gone.”

“For the love of God, Donald!”

“Yes,” I said, “for the love of God!”

But to these words I hearkened in vain for a reply. I grew impatient. I called aloud —

“Reince!”

No answer. I called again —

“Reince!”

No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick; it was the dampness of the catacombs that made it so. I hastened to make an end of my labour. I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!

Oh, and the wall? Mexico is gonna pay for it. Believe me.

 

A Letter from Atwater Federal Prison

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Those in the self-obsessed world of journalism Twitter certainly know, or know of Matthew Keys.

Perhaps never asleep, Keys was once employed by Reuters working in social media. Without retelling the story in too much detail, Keys was fired for “providing the hacking group Anonymous with a user name and password to log in to computers owned by the Tribune Company, parent company of The [Los Angeles] Times.”

Between when he was fired and when he was sentenced to a two-year term in federal prison for hacking charges, Keys ran an extremely active Twitter empire and a website called “The Feed.” Readers should of course decide whether the degree of punishment doled out to Keys was too lenient, too harsh, or just right, but the crime committed by Keys doesn’t negate the fact that his social media work was very useful to journalists and news junkies.

During the Ferguson riots, The Feed helped keep me up to date, as my wife’s family hails from Ferguson.

When I saw the news of Keys’s sentencing and subsequent arrival at Atwater Federal Prison, I decided to send him some reading material and a very brief note. (It was a copy of The Weekly Standard and a copy of Reason, which I had sitting on my desk.)

I don’t know Keys, nor have I met him personally, but we interacted on Twitter over the years and I knew how… addicted he was to it all. The Internet is a hard drug to quit cold turkey, like any drug is. I just figured that, even if not known for being a right winger, he’d appreciate any news and reading material. Coincidentally, our cover story was on the California high speed rail project not too far from where he is currently housed.

To my surprise, Keys wrote me a very nice letter back, thanking me for the reading material. And, I was right. He really misses the Internet.

I thought I might share an excerpt from his letter that those who know of him might find interesting:

I never realized how much I’d miss interacting online—particularly on social media—until I was forced to go without. Although it seems so inconsequential, lack of online access is just one of the many resources that could prepare inmates here for success in their lives and communities beyond their sentences. We really have few resources here to prepare for life beyond prison—for people with short sentences (or hopes through community pressures and/or the appellate process, as I have), this may not be a huge obstacle. For others—well, it’s no wonder the recidivism rate is high. They don’t call it the ‘prison industry’ for nothing.

Hopefully I’ll be able to publish some thoughts and experiences from here. Maybe it’ll make some difference.

Not to say those serving time in prison deserve the right to access to, say, Twitter from prison, but the current access is indeed lacking. Those without willing friends on the outside even pay a woman to run their social media accounts for them while they’re in prison.

Bureaucratically, I suspect the beginnings of a system would likely spiral into a litigious pro se tornado of lawsuits. (Why can’t I look at/access ______?) Perhaps it’s inevitable, as more and more Millennials head to the #BigHouse, that it’ll be a debate our electeds and courts will have to have.

 

This is the Browns’ Year

They said we couldn’t do it, but we proved the haters wrong. The Browns are, against all odds, 2 and 0 at losing their starting quarterback.

RG3 masterfully lived up to expectations and went down in game one. Nobody was sure if McCown was up for the challenge, and he fought hard to the last minute to prove that he, too, could go out.

Now, it’s Cody Kessler’s turn. We’re counting on you, Cody!

Go Browns!

cleveland

Daily Links

Credit: Sean MacEntee

Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/5144379598

Friends:

Not all of you are politically active, and many of you hold political views divergent from my own. I’ve heard from some of you that enjoy the random things I share on Facebook and Twitter.

Hard as this may be to believe, I read way more interesting stories than I post on Facebook. (Twitter, on the other hand…) I used to have a newsletter, but it’s in hibernation because….

One of the places those stories are shared, along with stories my colleagues recommend, is in the Weekly Standard‘s Daily Standard newsletter. We send it out to a lot of people. If you like the links I share, you should sign up for that and our other wonderful newsletters we at the Weekly Standard produce, if you’re so inclined, here.

Here’s a preview of what I’ve put together for today:

The latest issue of the magazine is live on our site.

Mother Teresa, Saint.

The hidden book tunnel under the Capitol.

Do Pat Toomey and Donald Trump need each other?

Is movement conservatism dead?

Why conservatism trumped populism.

Florida man can’t stop, won’t stop, pretending to be a doctor.

Earmark some time this weekend for this absolutely crazy tale from Los Angeles about a power couple and a PTA president’s dispute gone way, way, wrong.

The Sims have gone transgender.

Ron Fournier’s farewell advice.

IKEA’s iconic Poang chair turns 40 today.

Gus Inspects WMATA Track Work Inspectors

Gus must have snagged my Washington Post log-on because he was deeply skeptical of the late-night WMATA track inspectors early this morning. (And for good reason!)

I tried taking some pictures with my phone, and that didn’t work out too well, so I busted out the DSLR and got this gem. I love the lighting. The wifi router (at left) is blue, and the lights from the track inspection train are yellow and orange.

And course, there’s Gus’s nose graffiti.

What a rascal.

If you don’t follow him on Instagram, feel free to do so here.

area dog

Will Trump’s War on the Media Work?

A Trump supporters heckles the media.

Earlier today, Donald Trump sent out a push “poll” to his supporters attacking the media, which I covered at The Weekly Standard.

If you missed the story, Trump — who has not, to anyone’s knowledge, spent a dime on internal polling — used a push “poll” to fan the flames of anger against “the media” whom he blames for his dismal general election results.

In my view, his campaign is likely using the clearly non-scientific “poll” for four purposes:

  1. Data mining his supporters’ views.
  2. Something he will seriously cite on national TV as evidence of X. (In any other year, it’d be beyond belief, but alas, it’s 2016…)
  3. Data mining his supporters’ reading/viewing habits. (TWS made the top five!)
  4. To use psychology to further convince them that they’re right and everyone else, including reporters, opinion writers, and outlets they typically read/respect, are wrong.

Zach Hanover, a GOP ad maker, writes in:

I can’t imagine doing anything like that with any of my clients. Easily one of the most pathetic and amateurish displays from this campaign and sadly I have a feeling we aren’t done yet…

Also as you pointed out… seems like the only purpose was data mining with the questions about channel preferences. Not sure what else can be gained from that.

One anonymous pollster I spoke to opined:

Once upon a time, people used to make fun of SurveyMonkey. But they never saw this survey from the Trump campaign’s sophomore-year government class… Direct mail people who send out those fundraising ‘surveys’ are laughing at this until their sides hurt… Trump has no other play than to keep his core supporters on board.

“It’s good to at least see what they’re working on instead of opening campaign offices or running ads…” commented former senate press secretary and communications consultant Michael Freeman. “Each day brings new evidence that this is one man’s ego trip, with a dash of grievance-airing, rather than anything resembling a real campaign”

Charlie Sykes, a prominent Wisconsin-based talk radio host and commentator who has been critical of Trump, has this to say about the Trump push “poll”:

It tells me that he has become rather consumed by his war with the media, even at he expense of talking about Hillary. For Trump, this is consistent. I’m guessing his loudest applause lines at his rallies are his attacks on the media and there is no downside to attacking them, at least when it comes to his own base.

His specific examples of mainstream media bias are likely to resonate with his supporters who have marinated in talk radio over the years.

But this is also now becoming a crucial tactic for his campaign: he lives by the media in the primaries and is dying by the media in the general. The coverage of negative, and it is clearly damaging. Trump’s response isn’t just to push back on negative stories; it is to de-legitimize the media altogether. That way he inoculates himself against stories about his outrageous comments, his phony charitable contributions, his Trump U. fraud case, his taxes, gaffes, or misstatements of fact. He has already benefited from the alternative reality created by friendly conservative media, so he has decided to double down in telling his fan base that they are the only credible sources.

Sykes, in an earlier interview with Business Insider‘s Oliver Darcy suggested that conservative media has “created a monster” as it pertains to their listening base:

We’ve basically eliminated any of the referees, the gatekeepers. There’s nobody. Let’s say that Donald Trump basically makes whatever you want to say, whatever claim he wants to make. And everybody knows it’s a falsehood. The big question of my audience, it is impossible for me to say that. ‘By the way, you know it’s false.’ And they’ll say, ‘Why? I saw it on Allen B. West.’ Or they’ll say, ‘I saw it on a Facebook page.’ And I’ll say, ‘The New York Times did a fact check.’ And they’ll say, Oh, that’s The New York Times. That’s [a lie].’ There’s nobody — you can’t go to anybody and say, ‘Look, here are the facts.’ And I have to say that’s one of the disorienting realities of this political year. You can be in the alternative media reality and there’s no way to break through it. And I swim upstream because if I don’t say these things from some of these websites, then suddenly I have sold out. Then they’ll ask what’s wrong with me for not repeating these stories that I know not to be true.

This might be charitably described as the “Fargo” strategy, from season one. A poster in Lester Nygaard’s basement reads: “What if you’re right and they’re wrong?” A red fish swims against the current of yellow fish.

This is the audience Trump seeks input from: citizens so distrusting of the media / trusting in Trump, they’re willing to suspend all disbelief in support of Trump. This, despite dozens of unfavorable stories on Trump from outlets they once, ostensibly, trusted.

In short, trust no one but … Trump and your own lyin’ eyes. (Read: Please, please, please stay on board the Trump Train.)

Brian Rell, chief of staff to Rep. Robert Aderholt tweets, about the push “poll,” that it is “a reflection of public sentiment being used as campaign tool…”

Indeed, Trump is doubling down on an old talk radio trope that had some truth to it. No longer is it “the mainstream media is biased” as it sometimes is, now it’s “the media is biased.” Writ. Large.

Will it work?

Sykes thinks so:

I’m tempted to say yes, because the media polls just above used car salesmen and hemorrhoids. But in this case, it just tells me that he is (1) off message, (2) blaming somebody other than himself for his lousy poll numbers. Neither is a good sign.

After submitting their responses, respondents, of course, are asked to donate, as is the custom of all fake surveys. But Trump’s push “poll” seems less about donations and more about voter psychology… Confirming their bias that they are right, and everyone else is wrong. #MAGA.

More importantly, when will the Trump campaign get around to doing serious polling, running campaign ads on television, and shoring up the infrastructure necessary to compete in American politics?

And what role does this “poll” play in such a strategy, if any?

The Best Subject Line in the History of Political Fundraising

kerry

There it is.

You cannot beat that, I promise.

(Disclosure: I found it when digging through archived images. I had so many on my work computer that it messed up the hard drive. Thankfully, all backed up in Amazon Cloud Drive…)

The New Media Epidemic

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Philadelphia
This being the “new media” era and all, the Democratic Convention is replete with camera-toting journalists (I tote two) running around the conventional hall like shutterbugs at a rare animal exhibit.

Fortunately, selfie sticks — a modern scourge whose time appears to be waning — have been banned from the secure convention zone. Whether the reason is security or practicality isn’t known, but the ban is useless thanks to Facebook’s newest push: Facebook Live.

The advertising company and sometimes social network has been pushing (read: paying) content producers (née news organizations) to change their pixel orientation from words to video. Everybody loves video, and the statistics do not lie.

Which is why everyone is jumping to adopt Facebook’s new platform, especially at such a newsworthy event like the political conventions. In an effort to be helpful(?), Facebook itself has set up numerous Facebook Live studio outposts, sending out armies of helpful pushers to hand out how-to guides to unsuspecting journalists trying to file stories in their spartan media workspaces.

Mind if I Facebook Live you Facebook Living me?

Mind if I Facebook Live you Facebook Living me?

Given the recent changes in Facebook’s algorithm, the how-to guides are more of a demand letter: come embrace our video-centric future or get left out in the engagement-free cold. One can still pay Facebook to promote stories or content, but the theory is that if one successfully produces free content for Facebook through Live on one’s page, an increase in engagement will hopefully(!) drive more users to their actual website, where they can make money through ads or subscriptions.

Whether the content is any good doesn’t matter much to Facebook, since they get free content, engagement, and, ad impressions.

Remote television setups still have their place, this being a convention, but an increasing number of agile and savvy companies have been rigging smartphones and tablets to tripods and high quality microphones instead. Even the major networks are getting on board, giving cub reporters and producers an opportunity to get their moment in the sun.

Less wealthy content producers (I meant to say journalists, I swear!) are forced to lock their arms and hold out their phones raised at an angle, turning their two main appendages into… meaty selfie sticks.

On the face of it, people who engage in Facebooking Live look utterly ridiculous, like they’re taking an extended selife but with deleterious effects.

Navigating the already narrow hallways of the Wells Fargo Center becomes much more difficult the second Jerry Springer emerges from the arena, or another B-list celebrity (of which there are many) emerges from a roped off room and into the populace. Live in seconds, herds of human selfie sticks flock like moths to a flame.

The convention floor is considerably worse, since not only does one already have to dodge long telephoto lenses, security details, and traditional TV cameras… but now the locked-arm organic selfie sticks, which easily and quickly swing 360º to get that absolutely perfect angle of, say, Rear Admiral John Hutson giving his remarks or Lenny Kravitz reliving the 1990s.

The future is awesome, isn’t it?

Sadly, this doesn’t end with our bad media: it doesn’t end. Facebook Live is not just for the media set, it’s for everyone. If Pokemon weren’t bad enough already, many delegates or volunteers under the age of 35 with a phone and some free time are sharing their experience with their world of friends.

It doesn’t matter if you have four friends or four thousand: Facebook Live is by you, for you, but brought to you by Facebook and their advertisers.

Stream away, just not near me.

In Senate, Blackberry Era Officially Over

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This is the way the world ends. Not with a clickity keyboard, but with a swipe.

Senate staffers will no longer be issued official Blackberry smartphones.

The reign of the Blackberry lasted a good decade or more in Congress, early on due to the advanced nature of the devices and obsession with email checking. Even when the iPhone and Androids came about, the Blackberry still kept the throne for awhile because typing on those tiny little keys was faster, a mastered skill with which the iPhone could not compete. (This being government, they were slow to adopt other devices and Bring Your Own Device policies.)

Eventually, though, cracks in the dam formed and other devices started eating up Blackberry’s near-exclusive market share. Yet, unlike the rest of the country, which quickly abandoned Blackberry and sent its corporate owner towards the verge of bankruptcy, the devices still endured in zip codes 20510 and 20515. Long battery life, an email heavy focus, and good size (complete with a douchey belt holster) kept this little niche alive in the subterranean halls of the Capitol.

Outside the beltway, the market dried up. Fewer and fewer models were created, and the old models hoarded by Capitol bureaucrats began to dwindle.

The final notice was sent to staffers today.

A pile of Senate Blackberries await secure destruction, 2010.

A pile of Senate Blackberries await secure destruction, 2010.

From: Notice (SAA)
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 3:56 PM
Subject: BlackBerry Discontinuation

This message was sent to Administrative Managers, Chief Clerks, and System Administrators.

BlackBerry Discontinuation

BlackBerry informed Verizon and AT&T that production of all BlackBerry OS 10 devices (Q10, Z10, Z30, Passport, and Classic) has been discontinued. Future carrier order fulfillment will not be guaranteed due to limited remaining stock.

BlackBerry device support will continue for the foreseeable future. BlackBerry is committed to maintaining their support of our devices to include uninterrupted warranty and technical support.

Once we have exhausted our current in-house stock, new device procurements will be limited, while supplies last, to warranty exchanges only.

As of June 29, 2016, our BlackBerry device stock levels are:

RIM Classic Verizon BlackBerry – 275

RIM Z30 Verizon Black BlackBerry – 160

RIM Classic AT&T BlackBerry – 45

RIM Passport AT&T BlackBerry – 45

RIM Z10 AT&T Black BlackBerry – 45

RIM Q10 AT&T Black Blackberry – 40

For offices wishing to make the transition from BlackBerry devices to other platforms, Verizon has agreed to suspend eligibility upgrade requirements for users migrating to Samsung S6 Android devices. Additionally, the $0 16GB iPhone SE has been added to the Technology Catalog, although current eligibility upgrade and mandatory AppleCare+ requirements apply.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Mobile Communications Services.

 


UPDATE: The folks over at Crackberry.com reached out to Blackberry about the Senate’s internal email and the company disputes the email’s claim that Blackberry 10 devices will “cease to be continued.”

Fictional 2016 Trump GOP Convention Agenda

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Preparing for the upcoming GOP convention in my hometown of Cleveland, a thought kept zinging through my head: What if Trump gets to 1,237 delegates before the Convention? 

Having worked the last two GOP conventions in Tampa and St. Paul, I had a hard time imagining what such a convention might be like… Given that much of the so-called GOP Establishment is not backing Trump.

Who would stump for him? What would the agenda look like?

Now, we have an idea:

**
Revised Convention-Week Schedule

Monday, July 18, 2016
2:00 p.m. Chairman of the RNC Reince Priebus
Call to Order/Start Trade Deficit Clocks

2:10 p.m. Announcement of Recess


Tuesday, July 19, 2016
2:00 p.m. Chairman of the RNC Reince Priebus
Color Guard — Breitbart.com Comment Section Honor Guard
Pledge of Allegiance by Gary Busey
National Anthem sung by Jenna Jameson
Invocation by The Most Rev. Jerry Falwell, Jr.
Opening procedural steps, appointment of convention committees
Welcoming remarks, and House and Senate candidates and RNC auxiliaries 
RNC Chairman Priebus
RNC Co-Chairman Sharon Day
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson
Convention Chief Executive Officer David Gilbert
Co-Chairman of Cleveland Host Committee Alexander Cutler (EATON Corporation)
Republican Congressional Candidates
State Rep. Michele Fiore (NV)
Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania
Chris Collins of New York
Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee
Renee Ellmers of North Carolina
Duncan D. Hunter of California
Tom Marino of Pennsylvania
Tom Reed of New York
Republican Senate Candidates (CANCELED)
Republican National Committee auxiliaries (CANCELED)
Consideration of convention committee reports, roll call vote on revoking credentials of journalists who have been ‘unfair’ to Mr. Trump, and updated list of banned products
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
Committee on Credentials Chairman Mike Duncan
Committee on Permanent Organization Chairwoman Zoraida Fonalledas
Convention Permanent Chairman Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Presiding
Official Convention Photograph
Committee on Rules Chairman John Sununu
Committee on Resolutions Chairman Governor John Kasich (CANCELED)
Committee on Resolutions Co-Chairman U.S. Senator John Hoeven
Committee on Resolutions Co-Chairman U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn
Roll Call for Nomination of President of the United States
Roll Call for Nomination of Vice President of the United States
6:40 p.m. Recess
7:00 p.m. Reconvene
Remarks by Former Cleveland Indians John Rocker and Johnny Damon.
Remarks by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
Video and remarks by Hulk Hogan, owner of Hogan Media (Formerly Gawker)
Remarks by Lou Dobbs (FOX Business surrogate)
Remarks by former U.S. Senator Scott Brown
Remarks by Orly Taitz, accompanied by Phyllis Schlafly
Remarks by Vince McMahon (World Wrestling Entertainment)
Remarks by Dennis Rodman, accompanied by Terrell Owens
Remarks by Bob Knight, accompanied by Mike Tyson
Remarks by Jimmie McMillan (Rent is too Damn High)
Remarks by Breitbart.com Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon
10:00 p.m. Remarks by Ann Coulter
Remarks by Mrs. Melania Trump
Remarks by Alicia Watkins (USAF, Say Yes to the Dress, Troops Media)
Benediction by Minister Omarosa Manigault

Adjournment


Wednesday, July 20, 2016
7:00 p.m. Convention convenes
Call to order
Introduction of Colors by Co-Chair of Veterans for Trump Jerry DeLemus* (*=Pending outcome of criminal trial.)
Pledge of Allegiance by Major General Bert Mizusawa, US Army (Ret.)
National Anthem sung by Tiffany Trump (CANCELED)
Invocation by Willie Robertson (Entrepreneur, star of Duck Dynasty)
Trump Infomercial Montage and History of the Donald on Television Video (Narrated by James Woods)
Remarks by Convention Temporary Chairman Corey Lewandowski
Remarks by Senator Jeff Sessions (AL)
Remarks by Carl Paladino and Dan Scavino
8:00 p.m. Remarks by Sheriff Joe Arpaio (AZ), accompanied by Andrea Tantaros (FOX surrogate)
Remarks by Attorney General Pam Bondi (FL) and Governor Rick Scott (FL)
Remarks by Governor Paul LePage (ME)
Video Remarks by Jean-Marie Le Pen (France) and Geert Wilders (Netherlands)
Remarks by Ben Carson
9:00 p.m. Remarks by Former Governor Chris Christie (NJ)
Remarks by Judge Sarah Palin (AK)
Donald and Melania, the Love of a Lifetime Video (Narrated by Sarah and Bristol Palin)
Remarks by Mike Huckabee, accompanied by Sarah Huckabee Sanders
10:00 p.m. Remarks by Sean Hannity (FOX NEWS surrogate)
Remarks by Alex Jones (Prison Planet)
Remarks by vice presidential nominee Mr. Dinesh D’Souza
Special Screening of Hillary’s America
Benediction by Kayleigh McEnany (CNN surrogate)
2:00 a.m. Adjournment

Thursday, July 21, 2016
2:00 p.m. Convention convenes
Five hours of an empty podium to be aired on all national cable networks.
7:00 Call to order and eviction of Code Pink, Black Lives Matter, and Immigration Protesters by Convention Chairman for Life Corey Lewandowski
Introduction of Colors by Breitbart.com Senior Staff (Milo Yiannopoulos, Matthew Boyle, John Nolte, Joel Pollak)
Pledge of Allegiance by John Daly (British Open Champion)
National Anthem sung by Ted Nugent and Kid Rock, ft. Azealia Banks
Invocation by Scottie Nell Hughes (CNN surrogate)
Remarks by Eric Trump
Reagan and Trump: Their Legacy Video (Narrated by Jeffrey Lord –Former Reagan Aide / CNN surrogate)
Remarks by Newt and Callista Gingrich
Remarks by Donald Trump, Jr.
8:00 p.m. Remarks by Ivanka Trump
Remarks by Roy Beck (Founder, NumbersUSA)
Remarks by Jon Voight, accompanied by Bruce Willis
Remarks by Stephen Baldwin (The Last Ship, TNT)
9:00 p.m. Remarks by Carl Icahn
Remarks by Jean-Claude Van Damme
Remarks by Territorial Governor Ralph Torres (Northern Mariana Islands)
Making America Great Again Video (Narrated by Mark Cuban and Robert Davi)
10:00 p.m. Introduction by Mike Ditka
Remarks by presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Benediction by Minister Rafael Cruz.
Corey Lewandowski declares convention adjourned