All the lovely people in the news

After the good Lord Sumption hit the news for telling a woman with stage 4 cancer that her life is less valuable than other people’s, reporters started digging into his past writings and some clever devil found that when he was a Supreme Court justice he was involved in a case weighing whether doctors should be able to help patients end their lives.

The sanctity of life, he wrote, is a “fundamental moral value.” 

Unless it involves the country going into lockdown, which he’s against. If it ends lockdown, we get to ask which life is less sanctified. 

In fairness, he’s trying to dig his way out of that hole by insisting that it was all a misunderstanding: He didn’t say the woman’s life wasn’t at all valuable, only that it was less valuable. 

And besides, he didn’t mean her specifically. Just, you know, people like her.

I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.

Irrelevant photo: Moose. Because we need something cheerful here.


Switching countries

These next stories come from the wrong country–I’m supposed to be writing about Britain here–but I can’t pass them one up: 

A Texas real estate agent and radio host flew to Washington DC  in a private plane (a cute guy invited her, she said; who could turn that down?) and she social-media’d the whole experience, from getting on the plane to invading the Capitol.

“We’re gonna go and storm the Capitol,” she said in a Facebook video. “We are going to fucking go in here. Life or death. It doesn’t matter. Here we go.”

As she climbed the steps, she said to the camera, “Y’all know who to hire. Jenna Ryan for your realtor.”

Having since been arrested, she’s outraged:

“I’m facing a prison sentence,” she told a news program. “I think I do not deserve that. I would ask the president of the US to give me a pardon.” (For clarity, that was still Trump when she said that.) She’d been “displaying her patriotism,” she said. “I listen to my president who told me to go to the Capitol.”

If you ever need to define entitlement, think of Jenna Ryan. If you need a realtor–well, you’ll make your own decisions, of course, but I’d think of someone else.

Now that the dust has settled, a lot of it has settled on her and in the cold light of morning, when you’re running around with a feather duster trying to clean up you image for the courts, she’s said, “What I believed to be a peaceful political march turned into a violent protest.” 

She added that she doesn’t condone violence and that we should all come together, Republican and Democrat and independent and resolve our issues in peace. 

Then we’ll sing “Kumbaya,” have a group hug, and accept a presidential pardon.

One of the things she posted, peacefully, from the attack was a picture of a broken window. It said,  “Window at The capital. And if the news doesn’t stop lying about us we’re going to come after their studios next.”

Oh, lo-ord, kumbaya.


With the Trumps leaving the building, the news is leaking out that Ivanka and her husband wouldn’t allow the Secret Service officers assigned to protect them to use the toilet in their house. 

I’m sure you understand. They only had six.

Sorry, six and a half.

Or to put that in American, they wouldn’t let them use the bathroom. In American, it’s not polite to mention that porcelain thing you sit on. It reminds us of what you do on it. In British, toilet’s a fairly normal word, although you get into all sorts of weirdly British class issues about who will use the word and who’ll avoid it. But never mind the complications: Some people will use it and no one will call a toilet a bathroom.

A hundred years ago, when I was new to Britain, I asked someone who worked in a fast foodery where the bathroom was. She did a visible double take, thinking I wanted to wash up.

Which in British is what you do with dishes, not (as it is in American) what you do with your own grubby body. So she thought I was looking for a tub of water to jump into.

But back to our point: First the Secret Service set up a porta-potty outside, but the neighbors objected. Then they used the houses of the Obamas and of the Pences, plus the occasional local restaurant. Since 2017, they’ve been paying rent on a studio apartment just so they can use the toilet/bathroom/loo/can/etc. That cost $3,000 a month. 

A White House spokesperson denied the story, saying it was the Secret Service’s decision. The Washington Post, which broke the story, stands by it. It’s being called WaterClosetgate.

54 thoughts on “All the lovely people in the news

  1. Lord Sumption was mauled by the media about his comment regarding lives of some people having “less value”. As a human being I consider all lives to have value, even those who have committed heinous crimes, but as a doctor in the cash-limited NHS, I am bound to take into account the value of treatments, their cost and effectiveness.
    The NHS Role of the Doctor consensus statement says: “Within a world where the capacity to treat is growing but financial resources are finite, doctors have a duty to use resources wisely and effectively and engage in constructive debate about such use.”
    NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) was set up by the government to evaluate treatments. It uses a cost effectiveness threshold of between £20,000 – £30,000 per “QALY” (quality adjusted life year) to approve new drugs. If a new treatment costs more than this or would be expected to benefit a patient for less than a year (pro rata, I suppose), the drug/treatment doesn’t get approval for general use in the NHS. Governments don’t like to use the “R” word (rationing) but that’s what has been happening in the NHS for decades. It is a fact of life – and death.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true. And in the US we do rationing using the simple and brutal measure of income/job/money: If you’ve got good insurance, we’ll treat you. If you don’t, you’re on your own.

      Oh, by the way, the co-pay comes to $40,000. Will that be cash or check?

      But that’s a tangent. I think–although I admit, on this subject I haven’t thought deeply–that there’s a difference between triage (we have X resources; how do we save as many people as possible?) and putting a value on life. Triage doesn’t say one person’s less valuable, only that they’re less likely to live than someone else, or that treating them would take up so many resources that several other people couldn’t be treated. They’re brutal calculations and I wouldn’t want to be the person making them, because that can’t–and shouldn’t–be an easy weight to carry, but they don’t say any life is less valuable.

      What do you think?


  2. I can never get why anyone’s prudish about the word “toilet” – it’s no less of a euphemism than lavatory, washroom, bathroom, restroom (!), smallest room, and all the rest of it. Even WC seems to refer to the room rather than the equipment.

    But most of us seem to have settled on “loo”, which will do.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never been a Trump fan, not a Biden fan either, for that matter not a fan of the media. Don’t know what the BBC is like, but the media here is already showing their all-too-noticable bias. When Trump was elected Ivanka, as most first ladies now do, announced her charity of choice, the media immediately came down on her every chance they got until she finally gave it up (only one seriously hurt was the charity). Now the new first lady has announced her charity, and the media won’t stop drolling over her.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. American prudishness exemplified. Some time in the sixties my mother was at some social do with Americans present. One gentleman appeared ill at ease so she asked if she could help. Yes, he said…he needed to find the men’s powder room.
    Did he think that even the word ‘bathroom’ would cause alarm in a matronly bosom?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I apologize if someone already mentioned this (sorry, I got here late) the “so-and-so said I could do this” is a viable defense. That is, as long as you could more or less reasonably expect that said so-and-so had appropriate authority over the law(s) you were about to bend/break and can convince a judge/jury of same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting legal issue. It raises the question of (1) whether the president has appropriate authority to allow an invasion of the Capitol and (b) whether the authorization and the action taken have to seem marginally sane. It also reminds me of the problem soldiers face when they’re given an illegal order. Who’s going to take responsibility if they’re held to account for it? That’s not the same, I admit, because this wasn’t in the same category as an order, but somewhere in there there’s a connection.


      Sorry–it’s morning here. The caffeine hasn’t kicked in yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in court. Some argue that if Trump is convicted in the Senate, that it helps the argument these people are making. True to form, he threw them collectively under the bus, disavowing any intent and saying that they deserve to be punished – of course that statement helps him in his impeachment trial. They’re all such stand-up folks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That they are.

          I can see where the mind of someone already convinced the election was stolen would go if the Senate votes to impeach him, but on the other hand I think the core of people who believe that have established that they’ll go out to the edge no matter what happens. It’s not as if you can just turn the TV on for half an hour and settle the tantrum down. My inclination is to think it just might settle things down if the country gathers itself and establishes that invading the Capitol, threatening lawmakers, and encouraging a coup are criminal acts that will be treated as–gasp–criminal acts, because they’ve had a sense of impunity up till now.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. In case I ever become President I have begun compiling a list of people whom I will command to jump off a VERY high bridge. I’ll bet Jenna Ryan’s mother never warned her about that either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think all parents–at least in the US–are required to say, at least once, “If all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you jump off too?” Even the ones who swore they’d never say that to their kids. But I expect you’re right about the president and the very high bridge not coming into it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, wow. And so one of the ex-president’s final moves was to secure Secret Service support for another six months for Ivanka and Jared (plus Jr., Eric and Tiffany who Wanda Sykes had long ago advocated be guarded by a mall cop since no one even knew who she was). I guess that also means we will be paying extra for the potty/bathroom/loo. Oh, wow, I repeated.
    Breaking news: one of Mr. Trump’s legal advisers for his second impeachment trial is an attorney from South Carolina.
    The hits just keep on rolling, but hey, as of yesterday I remember him as a bad dream that lasted for four long, very long did I say LONG years.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I had a similarexperience when I visited the USA a long long time ago…people just did not understand what I wanted and I went through all the words O could think of “loo, toilet, lav, bog etc” – the girl finally guessed at bathroom? I really struggled with that as I dint want a bath or a wash. Its a big cultural divide. I realise that American-English is very different to English-English.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Across the pond there, you probably missed one last little satisfying detail about Jenna Ryan. That cute boy who invited her on the plane? well, he ended up spending more time with a different cute girl who was on the plane, and hanging out with her in DC. Tell-all Realtor Jenna mentioned that in some interview. It is so pleasing that a lot of the Mob bust themselves because they just can’t resist social media.

    Liked by 1 person

Talk to me

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.