Saturday November 09, 2019
- Peter Osnos (related to Evan?) writes about editing the first two Trump books: “The Art of the Deal” (w/Tony Schwartz), and “The Art of Survival” (w/Charles Leerhsen). The big reveal has less to do with Trump than with the publishing industry. It's all about fancy lunches in exotic places with rich guys pushing one of their own forward. The press, too, helped. See: a fawning 1976 profile in The New York Times calling him NYC's No. 1 real estate promoter who “looks ever so much like Robert Redford.” Ever so much? It was the original fake news. “The Art of the Deal” is one of the many fake books: a book by and about people who don't read.
- Yes, Evan Osnos is the son of Peter.
- Bernard Slade died last week at age 89. He was a TV writer who helped create “The Flying Nun” and “The Partridge Family,” then transitioned back to his first love, theater, for which he wrote “Same Time, Next Year” and “Tribute,” among others. He also wrote the screenplays for each; he got nominated for “Same Time, Next Year.” Key quote from the Times' obit: “While in Canada I had written a television play called ‘The Big Coin Sound,’ which was about a vocal group. Then one night I happened to catch a family group called the Cowsills on ‘The Tonight Show.’ Since ‘The Sound of Music’ was enormously popular at the time, I thought the combination of original music and comedy could be very effective in a television series.”
- News this week from The New York Times: “A state judge ordered President Trump to pay $2 million in damages to nonprofit groups on Thursday after the president admitted misusing money raised by the Donald J. Trump Foundation to promote his presidential bid, pay off business debts and purchase a portrait of himself for one of his hotels.” Right. So the president of the United States admits to bilking people for his own benefit ... and it hardly causes a stir. Those are the times we‘re in.
- Meanwhile, the latest GOP excuse for the Ukraine Scandal isn’t that it didn't happen, it's that there's no evidence in some of the charges against him. Gordon Sondland, for example, who gave $1 million to the Trump campaign and then became EU ambassador, has testifed before Congress that Trump basically directed him to shake down Ukraine—withholding favors until they conducted a very public investigation of Joseph Biden—but there's no direct evidence of this. Jonathan Chait has some fun with the absurdity of this. To me, it's like congressional Republicans in 1973 saying of Watergate: “It was a Don Segretti operation all the way.”