Quick Takes: A White House in Chaos From Top to Bottom

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Chaos is contagious.

An obscure White House office responsible for recruiting and vetting thousands of political appointees has suffered from inexperience and a shortage of staff, hobbling the Trump administration’s efforts to place qualified people in key posts across government, documents and interviews show.

At the same time, two office leaders have spotty records themselves: a college dropout with arrests for drunken driving and bad checks and a Marine Corps reservist with arrests for assault, disorderly conduct, fleeing an officer and underage drinking…

[Presidential Personnel Office] leaders hosted happy hours last year in their offices that included beer, wine and snacks for dozens of PPO employees and White House liaisons who work in federal agencies, White House officials confirmed. In January, they played a drinking game in the office called “Icing” to celebrate the deputy director’s 30th birthday. Icing involves hiding a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, a flavored malt liquor, and demanding that the person who discovers it, in this case the deputy director, guzzle it.

* The word catastrophic comes to mind when I read things like this:

The Trump administration is expected to launch an effort in coming days to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles, handing a victory to car manufacturers and giving them ammunition to potentially roll back industry standards worldwide…

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is expected to frame the initiative as eliminating a regulatory burden on automakers that will result in more affordable trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles for buyers, according to people familiar with the plan.

* I feel that it is my duty to be clear that this is not The Onion:

* Young people REALLY don’t like Donald Trump.

A majority of young people believe President Donald Trump is racist, dishonest and “mentally unfit” for office, according to a new survey that finds the nation’s youngest potential voters are more concerned about the Republican’s performance in the White House than older Americans.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV found that just 33 percent of Americans between the ages of 15 and 34 approve of Trump’s job performance.

That’s 9 points lower than all adults, who were asked the same question on a separate AP-NORC survey taken this month.

* This trend has a lot of implications, including for campaign finance given that so much of the money raised is spent on television commercials.

The number of Americans choosing to ditch cable in favor of streaming has nearly tripled in the last five years according to a new report from the Video Advertising Bureau, an advocacy group that counts major cable networks among its membership.

Though cord cutters still only make up 11 percent of US households, the number of steaming-only households increased from just over 5 million in 2013 to 14.1 million in 2017 according to the report. Of these households, the majority have at least two different streaming services, with 32 percent having three or more services.

* Roxane Gay watched the “Roseanne” reboot so I don’t have to.

As I watched the first two episodes of the “Roseanne” reboot, I thought again about accountability. I laughed, yes, and enjoyed seeing the Conner family back on my screen. My first reaction was that the show was excellent. But I could not set aside what I know of Roseanne Barr and how toxic and dangerous her current public persona is. I could not overlook how the Conner family came together to support Mark as he was bullied at school for his gender presentation, after voting for a president who actively works against the transgender community. They voted for a president who doesn’t think the black life of their granddaughter matters. They act as if love can protect the most vulnerable members of their family from the repercussions of their political choices. It cannot.

This fictional family, and the show’s very real creator, are further normalizing Trump and his warped, harmful political ideologies. There are times when we can consume problematic pop culture, but this is not one of those times. I saw the first two episodes of the “Roseanne” reboot, but that’s all I am going to watch. It’s a small line to draw, but it’s a start.

* Finally, when I listened to this cover by the father/son duo of Brian and Thomas Owens, my first thought was, “this is why they call it soul music.”

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.