Washington Overdose

“Isn’t it difficult to spend so much time writing about such an awful subject?”

“I don’t know how he does it.”

This exchange was included in a periodic Ukraine email update I receive from a friend. Seems to me he could have written it about Washington.

Or about me.

“Listen to your body,” my trainer says. If she were a writing coach, would she suggest listening to my mind?

If so, I would have to face the longest gap between stories since I began doing this. March 10, March 31 and today.

This can’t be a good sign.

Am I suffering from a Washington overdose?

House of Cards

Season Five of House of Cards will begin on May 30. Here is a link to the trailer https://www.netflix.com/watch/80188078. If you have not seen the first four seasons, drop everything and watch them. Better still watch the British version too.

Those writers don’t seem to have much trouble writing about “such an awful subject” so maybe I should just suck it up. I’d like to do it as well as they do.

Your Government at Work

I spoke to a former Congressman the other day.

Nice well-spoken guy. I should have listened more carefully to his name but even so it would have been mean to use it.

We were in the lobby of the [I’m not telling].

I told him my theory of why nothing gets done in Washington.

“If any problem is ever allowed to be solved, neither side can raise money fighting about it in the future. Hence no problems ever get solved.”

“That’s a little dark,” he said.

I mentioned the Republican and Democratic call centers where our elected officials spend large parts of each day dialing for dollars.

He said, “If you are on the Ways and Means Committee, you don’t have to do that.”

“Why,” I asked thinking there was some kind of exemption from the requirement of raising money for the parties for members of that all-important tax-writing committee.

“Oh, because the donors come to you,” he said.

As we learned in geometry, QED. [An abbreviation for the Latin phrase “quod erat demonstrandum” (“that which was to be demonstrated”), a notation that is often placed at the end of a mathematical proof to indicate its completion.]

I also asked if he would go back to being a Congressman. He laughed and said, “no way.”

Celebration of the First Amendment

“Donald Trump skips a celebration of the First Amendment to lash out at the press instead”

“This weekend Hollywood went to Washington, DC to attend the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents’ Association. Donald Trump skipped it to address a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he castigated the “failing” media. Mr. Trump was the first president to miss the gala since Ronald Reagan, who did so in 1981 because he was recovering from an assassination attempt.”

No fake news there. That really happened. But….

The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner?

A celebration of the First Amendment?

Severe intestinal distress to follow.

The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is a self-congratulatory orgy of reporters celebrating themselves. Add starlets add cleavage. Spend the entire weekend alternately telling yourselves how great you are and whining about how little respect you get.

How can The Economist have done this to me?

Decades of loving Walter Bagehot’s newspaper and they write something this idiotic.

Democracy Dies in Darkness

This tagline was added to The Washington Post after Jeff Bezos bought the paper for $250 million in 2013. Forbes says Jeff is worth $81 billion. He could have bought the paper 324 times or, if he simply lost that amount running it per year, The Washington Post would not die in darkness until 2341.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a big Amazon fan but Amazon stands a pretty good chance of being the Pol Pot of job killers, especially in retail.

If the company that represents a huge chunk of your $81 billion net worth is embarked on a job killing frenzy, devoting 1/324th of your net worth to owning the most influential newspaper in the capital seems a clever plan.

Detroit newspapers have nice things to say about the car business.

Houston newspapers have nice things to say about the oil business.

It is understandable that Washington newspapers should have nice things to say about the government business.

And nasty things to say about critics of the government business.

The Post knows that “the way things work in Washington” is the side to be on. The swamp that others would drain is a sacred ecosystem to the Washington Post.

Big time job killers might need a properly purchased government somewhere along the way but “Democracy Dies in Darkness” feels just a bit disingenuous.


This is not a word we use much in America but it gets a reliable laugh in England.

“She got a proper rogering, she did.”

Now it could be used to describe Mr. Ailes or even “Fox and Friends.”

Of course some of the casting couch hijinks took place in New York but since it is Fox News, that must count as close enough to Washington.

100-Day Stories

 There were few things learned about the first 100 days of the Trump presidency in the rat-tat tat barrage but here they are:

  • If you said something nice, you were a Republican
  • If you said something nasty you were a Democrat
  • If you read any of them, you wasted your time
  • If you wrote one, you were not celebrating the First Amendment.

There is Hope

My name is Haven. I am suffering from a Washington overdose. One day at a time. I will listen to my body. I will listen to my mind. My trainer will be happy.



10 Responses to “Washington Overdose”

Gaetano Cipriano, May 04, 2017 at 8:40 am said:

Best piece I”ve read in a very long time! I , too, have decided to tune out politics and the media maelstrom which covers it all, blabs about it all, hyperventilates about it all, mocks it all, marches for it all. I recently bought a new( for me) car and it has Sirius XM radio . Now I spend my time in the car listening to classic rock and R+B without commercial interruption. It’s priceless. Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye are far more entertaining than Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow. I’ve also found the Neil Diamond channel, the Garth Brooks channel, and the Tom Petty channel. Now I can pursue my sworn mission of personally increasing the income inequality factor in this nation with iron determination, seven days a week, distanced from the scolding of the pundits from across the political spectrum wagging their tongues. God Bless America !


Haven Pell, May 04, 2017 at 10:07 am said:

Thanks Guy, I suppose introducing you to channel 124 on Sirius XM would be counterproductive. POTUS, Politics of the United States. Michael Smerconish in the morning and Julie Mason in the afternoon are especially good. The midday White House press briefing is just as self serving in this administration as it was in the last.


Dale Jenkins, May 04, 2017 at 9:47 am said:

The “sacred ecosystem” of Washington – as you call it – is going through the Stages of Grief over the 2016 election of Donald Trump. First there was the Midnight Meltdown, beginning at about 12:01 AM on Nov. 9. This was followed by the We Hate Trump stage, and now finally Evaluation, done with the more normal infighting.

Of course, not everyone moves at the same pace. Mika of MSNBC, with her bewildered rejection, is still in Midnight Meltdown. The NY Times, MSNBC, CNN and some others are in We Hate Trump, and have made it into a competition, even a sport, to see who can articulate the most venemous comments. Finally, a few such as David Brooks have moved to the third stage, Evaluation, in which he describes Trump as incompetent.

Maybe we will get up to the full five stages. OMG, where could that take us?


Haven Pell, May 04, 2017 at 10:04 am said:

Eventually ambition should take hold and there will be Democrats entering the fray. With luck there will be a new generation and the 70 somethings will be retired.

There might even be Republicans offering a calmer alternative.

Reporters, TV personalities, radio talk show hosts and bloggers, on the other hand, will prefer to fan the flames to preserve their niches.


Ashley Higgins, May 04, 2017 at 10:41 am said:

Maybe Mika needs a proper rogering?


Haven Pell, May 04, 2017 at 10:43 am said:

I don’t know Mika personally so that is a more difficult question to answer.


SellersMcKee, May 04, 2017 at 11:30 am said:

Good article, but am surprised you did not mention what is going on on campuses around the country. That, in my opinion, is the real attack on the First Amendment. The Donald simply rails about the press’ dishonesty, not, to my knowledge, about their right to their blather. Berkley and, unfortunately, our “Alma Mater” are much worse.
Interesting discussion about tolerance at Universities last night on “The Five.” When asked if they would share a room with a Democrat, a vast majority of Republicans (80% I think) said they would have no problem with that. When the question was asked of Democrats, more than half said they would be very uncomfortable sharing a room with a Conservative. The best comment of the discussion, in my opinion, came from Dana Perino, who said the question should not be allowed or tolerated. Students will have to deal with opposing viewpoints in real life, and the purpose of Universities is to train people for real life. Actually, she might have gotten the tense wrong. That used to be a function of education but is that still true in 2017? To Conservatives it appears that the function of education today is to brainwash students in “Progressive thought” (which Conservatives consider an oxymoron).


Haven Pell, May 04, 2017 at 2:52 pm said:

Brevity is not my strong suit as you have likely observed. On the other hand, there is always more room for posts so devoting one to colleges and universities and the residents therein sounds like a splendid idea.


bill gordon, May 04, 2017 at 12:28 pm said:

Traveling now so will be brief….


Haven Pell, May 04, 2017 at 2:52 pm said:

Cleverly you are increasing your distance from the nation’s capital for the coming months. It appears that I am less clever.


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