PETRO PRESIDENCY: According to reports, President-elect Donald Trump has run so low on billionaires for his cabinet that he’s down to mere multimillionaires — but only if they’re heavy into oil and close to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
And what’s a GOP cabinet without a frackin’ Texan?
Rick Perry, former Texas governor who once pledged to abolish the energy department, is Trump’s choice to run the agency. Also, weirdly, when Perry was seeking the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 and wanted to eliminate the energy agency, he couldn’t remember its name.
Speaking of Putin pals and multimillionaires, Trump wants ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state, thus giving him global petro power. He has no diplomatic experience, but so what?
But Trump could have trouble with Rex, a heavy hitter used to giving orders, not taking them from a carnival-barker type.
COOLIDGE OR JOHN WAYNE? So what will the political New Year bring: a gentle shower, or thunder and lightning? Silent Calvin Coolidge or John Wayne?
A Ty Cobb slapping dead-ball singles or the Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth, bouncing legislative balls off the newly polished Capitol Dome?
Unless you’ve been asleep or beachcombing in Thailand, you know in your bones that all hell is about to break loose as soon as or even before Trump’s fat ass hits the Oval Office chair.
Speaking of Babe Ruth and presidents, baseball buffs recall the time when the castoff kid from the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys was being paid $80,000 a year by the Yankees and fighting a pay cut during the Depression. That, he was reminded, was more than Herbert Hoover made for being president of the United States.
“What the hell has Hoover got to do with this?” the Bambino famously demanded. “Anyway, I had a better year than he did.” And he did, too.
As for 2017, if you’re rich and yearn to get richer, you’re going to be very happy after Trump is sworn in on January 20. Trump, his appointees, and his friends in Congress will clear away those pesky regulations and cut your taxes. Put a good solid reactionary in the Supreme Court. Squash the environmental movement.
But if you don’t happen to be in that elite group, you’d best hunker down. It’s going to be a bumpy road. After the knives come out, Medicare, Social Security, and Obamacare figure to be carved up like a Christmas turkey.
If you’re among the 20 million or so who could lose their health insurance in the coming congressional race to kill Obamacare (excuse me, “reform” it), start looking for a Plan B. If there is one.
SUFFERING CHILDREN: This time of year, people who don’t normally read books are quoting from the Bible. Like Matthew 19:14, where Jesus is saying, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Depending on your reading of the Good Book, of course. As I understand it, “Don’t hinder the kids coming to visit me.”
But now we have a 2016 version, as in children living in slumlord Dario Pini’s ratty palaces. The City of Santa Barbara has staged another of its raids and come up with the usual list of dangerous code-breaking violations.
City Attorney Ariel Calonne was beside himself with indignation. Professing himself amazed at the large number of children that inspectors found living amid such squalor, he said, “This isn’t just about buildings or neighborhoods being intruded upon. It’s about kids having to live in slum conditions in 21st-century America.”
In one two-bedroom unit, amid a conglomeration of rat feces, faulty water heaters, and plumbing problems, 16 beds were jammed in. Pini’s attorney lauded him for doing a favor by providing housing for desperate low-income families.
Look, the Pini problem has gone on for years and years, with raid after raid, and no change. One time Pini preferred to spend time in jail rather than in one of his own units.
Calonne says he hopes the results of the inspections will convince a judge to order that a court-appointed receiver take over management of Pini’s shameful gulag to assure safe housing for those suffering children.