“Saturday Night Live” envisioned a world in which President Trump was never elected in its latest cold open, titled “It’s a Wonderful Trump.”
Alec Baldwin, in a takeoff of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” reprises his role of the president as Clarence, played by cast member Kenan Thompson, comes down from heaven to show Trump what the world would be like without him in the Oval Office.
Aidy Bryant as Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for example, thanks Baldwin’s Trump for suggesting she go into public relations, adding that she has made “so much money” working for “awesome companies” like Facebook, Ashley Madison and the “Romaine Lettuce Association.”
Baldwin then says Kellyanne Conway, played by Kate McKinnon, looks ““healthy and vibrant.”
“I’m no longer eaten from within by lies,” she replies. “After we lost the campaign, the devil gave my soul back.”
Clarence tells “Trump” that Hillary Clinton won the election, noting that she only had to “visit Wisconsin once,” and that her emails were discovered and “they were all Bed Bath & Beyond coupons.”
“Shouldn’t you be in jail after you flipped on me?” Baldwin’s Trump later asks Ben Stiller, as the president’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who was sentenced last week to three years in federal prison.
“What? I would never, ever flip on you. You’re my best friend. And, since it’s Christmas, I just want to say: ‘You taught me everything I know,’ ” Stiller says.
“It’s true. Everything single thing I’ve done is because you directed me to do it,” he adds. “We’re a team like O.J. and Kato or Lyle and Erik Menendez. I’ll see you tomorrow at the grand opening of Trump Tower… Moscow!”
Finally, Robert De Niro as special counsel Robert Muller appears, handing Trump a picture of his grandson.
“I’ve been spending so much more time with him since I don’t have to investigate some idiot for treason,” De Niro says.
“Wait, it sounds like you know I used to be president,” Baldwin says.
“Oh, I know everything, everything,” De Niro says.
Baldwin’s Trump reveals at the end of the segment that he’s had an epiphany: “The world does need me to be president after all.”
“Yeah, that was not the lesson at all,” Clarence responds.
THINNED SKINNED trump REACTS TO SNL SKIT.
“A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live,” he tweeted.
“It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion?”
Another day, another high-profile witness in the Russia investigation. On Thursday, Stephen Colbert unpacked the news that David Pecker — the publisher of The National Enquirer and a close ally of President Trump — had admitted to prosecutors that he made hush-money payments to a Playboy model to shield Trump’s presidential campaign.
A beautiful painting by Paul Folwell titled “Silverton”. It’s an incredible piece. The sky is magical. This was painted in one of Paul’s classic periods twenty some years ago. Canvas size is 30” x 48”.
Silverton has been proudly displayed at Maria’s Bookshop for a long time and is currently hanging on the wall of the shop. “Silverton” is looking for a new home. It’s a classic piece.
Paul Folwell is one of the original Purgatory patrollers and is the namesake of Pauls Park ski run at Purg. He is still painting canvas daily with great success.
Please see Maria’s owners Andrea & Peter for details.
NEW ORLEANS — Discussing his views on music’s role in a city’s culture, the jazz keyboardist Jon Batiste, who is the band leader on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” told a panel in New Orleans that music has a unique power to inspire action.
Music has always been the soundtrack of movements, he said.
Mr. Batiste, 32, who hails from the nearby suburb of Kenner, spoke with Marc Lacey, the national editor of The New York Times, then concluded by stepping to the piano and playing a stark, somewhat melancholy rendition of “What a Wonderful World,” a tune made famous by Louis Armstrong.
The performance was perfect, as the lyrics seemed to reflect Mr. Batiste’s inherent optimism, while his contemplative execution communicated the musician’s awareness of social inequity that permeated the Armstrong era and beyond. Mr. Batiste, the final panelist at the Cities for Tomorrow conference, talked about how his career and musical aesthetic were molded by two dynamic cities.
In New Orleans, he was steeped in jazz culture, both as a member of one of the city’s premier musical families and as a student at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. When, at age 17, his talent took him to the Juilliard School in New York, he absorbed the kinetic nature of the metropolis, where he and his band played mini concerts for subway riders.
Earlier panelists had discussed how the rise in population and economic vitality in many cities had exacerbated inequity. Mr. Batiste’s view of music’s role in city culture reflected his resistance to urban unfairness. When Mr. Lacey asked if music could be part of “the actual lifting up of cities,” Mr. Batiste responded in activist terms.
Music can inspire action, he said. “Music has always been a way for people to endure hardship and figure out how to really connect to their humanity or affirm their humanity when everything around them is trying to squash their humanity,” he said.
The importance of music, he added, goes beyond entertainment. “In any situation, music can be used as a reprieve or a balm.”
Not all of Mr. Batiste’s comments on music and its impact on city lifestyle were as weighty.
He confessed that he liked to play his piano loudly, which irks his neighbors in tight New York apartment buildings. Or, at least it used to. As he explained, when he became a television personality, the reproachful notes and the pounding on his floor from the room below magically ceased.
Reflecting on his instant upsurge in prestige upon taking the “Late Show” job, he said, “TV is crazy.”
In addition to his TV duties, Mr. Batiste is working on the score for a Broadway musical based on the life of the late 1980s art superstar Jean-Michel Basquiat.
The title of Mr. Batiste’s most recent album, “Hollywood Africans,” was taken from a 1983 Basquiat painting. The album includes his gorgeously ironic “What a Wonderful World.”
As extreme drought marched northward from Arizona and New Mexico and parked itself squarely over the Four Corners in early 2018, many turned to one tool to understand the change: the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The map is updated weekly, and it continues to show poor conditions in much of the Southwest.
“Droughts are like the Rodney Dangerfield of hazards. They just don’t get any respect,” said Drought Monitor co-creator Mark Svoboda, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Standing watch for the drought typically happens under the radar. TV crews are quick to cover hurricanes and wildfires. They seldom rush out to stand in front of a desiccated farm field or talk about the federal money set aside for crop losses.
As with many government initiatives, the Drought Monitor got its start after drought struck Washington D.C. 20 years ago. Today the once-obscure resource is used by water planners who decide resource allotments, farmers who need water for their livelihood and federal bureaucrats who it to calculate aid for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program.
The U.S. Drought Monitor tracks the encroaching drought in Colorado through 2018.
U.S. Drought Monitor
Citizen scientists like Dave Kitts outside of Sante Fe, New Mexico are keen to the insights the drought maps provide.
“I think it’s a little obsessive. But I check it every Thursday,” said Kitts, who’s lived on the same 2-acre spread in New Mexico for decades.
He watches the map because he can chart progress on his land. Good wet years mean normal conditions. Dry years crust the soil and kill his pinyon trees.
“It’s just upsetting and depressing to me,” Kitts said. “And when it moves the other direction it definitely lifts my spirits.”
In bad drought years, the map can appear to be yellow, orange and red crayola crayons melted in a haphazard jumble. Each color signifies a level of drought, with deep crimson being the worst. White patches signify normal, moist conditions.
The colorful blobs are intentional, driven by dozens of data points.
Svoboda pointed out they cover everything, “from groundwater, stream flow, [to] temperature.”
Right now all eyes are on the dark red bullseye in Four Corners.
Any weekly adjustments to that bullseye — for better or worse — often take into account input from hundreds of people. It all starts with recommendations from state climatologists on any potential changes.
Assistant Colorado Climatologist Becky Bolinger is personally “feeling a little bit more hopeful“ about recent rain and snow translating into a smaller blotch hovering over the confluence of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
State recommendations aren’t always based on professional weather watchers. Ranchers and farmers from across the country also send missives to state and national offices.
“We’ve gotten some very specific examples of like, ‘Well, I went out to put in a wood post and the surface was wet and three inches deep the soil was bone dry,’” Bolinger said.
Once recommendations from around the nation arrive, then comes the hard work. Every single national Drought Monitor map is authored by one person who coordinates reports from around the country.
David Simeral, of the Nevada-based Desert Research Institute, is one of those authors. He said the map is “a physically and emotionally draining process,” that starts with data and then he digs into the recommendations. If that sounds like an 8-hour workday, think again. Fortunately, the map author job is rotated between creators every two weeks.
The lines of the Drought Monitor are both a science and art — and a high stakes proposition. Since 2011, the Drought Monitor has triggered $7 billion to ranchers through the Livestock Forage Program.
Each public map has the author’s name printed on it, so Simeral and his peers quickly develop a thick skin. He often finds himself justifying decisions to everyone including politicians who watch federal aid tied to the map, the ranchers who do or don’t receive it and everyday people like Dave Kitts.
He picked up the phone and called the Drought Monitor a few weeks ago after multiple storms moistened the soil on his small ranch. But he didn’t see any changes on the monitor.
Simeral was ready to listen.
“[Kitts] told me it was the most he had seen in the 25 years he had lived in that area,” Simeral said.
So, Simeral wrote down the information and included it in the reams of data for the the following week’s author to review.
Kitts was pleased.
“It even seemed as if my little bit of data was important to [Simeral] and the other authors of the map,” he said.
After that conversation even more rain fell in New Mexico. One week later, when Kitts’ routine brought him back to the drought map, he saw a small improvement for drought classification in his New Mexico county.
There was another change, too: A new appreciation for the Drought Monitor, and the hundreds of people behind it.
President Trump’s Oval Office meeting on Tuesday with Senator Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House leader, quickly devolved into a public bickering match. The big sticking point was Trump’s insistence on funding for a border wall — and because the president had insisted on bringing news cameras into the meeting, the tense negotiations became public theater.
The late-night hosts all covered the altercation, saying Trump came off as impulsive. Jimmy Kimmel remixed footage from the meeting, turning it into an imaginary clip from “The Real White House Wives of D.C.”
“Trump is threatening to shut the government down unless Congress fully funds the border wall. Trump said he would be, quote, ‘proud to shut the government down for border security.’ He’s basically a toddler threatening to keep screaming on the floor of Toys ‘R’ Us until Congress buys him a Hatchimal.” — JIMMY KIMMEL
“It looks like Trump’s border wall is right on track to still never be built. Trump says if he doesn’t receive funding for his border wall, he will ask the military. And if that doesn’t work, he’ll have no choice but to ask Santa Claus.” — JAMES CORDENA
‘A Manhood Thing’
Stephen Colbert pointed out that Pelosi pulled no punches in a meeting with House Democrats after her Oval Office visit, saying the border wall was “like a manhood thing” for Trump.
“So the wall is a metaphor for his manhood? No wonder he’s having trouble erecting it.” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“That’s pretty cold from Nancy Pelosi, you know? It’s like she always says: When they go low, we punch ’em in the junk!” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“Saturday Night Live” opened this week’s broadcast in the Trump Tower bedroom of Eric (played by Alex Moffat), as he timidly told his older brother, Donald Jr. (Mikey Day), that he feared something sinister was in his closet.
Day told him: “Eric, there’s no boogeyman in your closet. Have you been watching the news again? You can’t watch that stuff, bud. It’s too grown-up.”
Belgrano keeper Brian Leandro Olivera made a terrific blunder. He scooped up a loose ball in the box and went to clear it downfield, except he punted in the ball directly into the back of a Juventud player. The ball bounced right to the attacker’s feet for a golden chance to extend Juventud’s lead, with the goal unattended.
But then, what is this? What is this furry blur darting across the pitch? Who is this shadowy hero patrolling the goal mouth? Could it be, A DOGGY?
Hokusai’s famous “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” Scroll through the gallery to see more of his ukiyo-e prints. Katsushika Hokusai
A massive wave threatens to engulf three fishing boats, its foam crown extending like claws, menacing the rowers below. It’s an epic scene of human struggle and natural terror that dwarfs the sacred Mount Fuji just behind it.
This is “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” a woodblock print by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai and one of the world’s most iconic pieces of Asian art.
If this climactic moment seems ubiquitous — think T-shirts, coffee mugs, laptop decals — that’s because it was designed to be.
A visitor looks at Katsushika Hokusai’s famous print, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” at the Ara Pacis Museum in Rome. Credit: AFP Contributor/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The artwork is considered a fine, if somewhat hackneyed, example of “ukiyo-e,” a genre of mass-produced Japanese woodblock prints that displayed everything from theater announcements to the most salacious of erotica.
Ukiyo-e prints were cheap to produce and widely distributed in Edo (today’s Tokyo) between the 17th and 19th centuries. As many as 5,000 impressions were made from the original woodblocks for “The Great Wave.” Back then, the prints were sold for the price of a bowl of noodles.
By the time “The Great Wave” made its debut, in around 1830, Japan was flirting with the idea of ending more than 200 years of isolationism. The story of growing foreign influence is evident in Hokusai’s masterpiece — the rich shade of blue used in the prints was imported from Europe. Prussian blue, as it’s commonly known, was a synthetic color created in the 18th century and prized for its depth and durability.
That Hokusai employed the hue as the principal actor in his oceanic drama suggests that he was depicting Japan on the cusp of change. As much as the wave portends instability and danger, it also suggests possibility and adventure.
Business as usual on the Colorado River may be about to come to a screeching halt.One of the worst recorded droughts in human history has stretched water supplies thin across the far-reaching river basin, which serves 40 million people.
Nowhere is this more obvious than Lake Mead, which straddles the border of Arizona and Nevada. The water level in the country’s largest manmade reservoir has been plummeting; it’s now only 37 percent full.
With an official water shortage imminent, Arizona, Nevada and California are taking matters into their own hands. The states are hammering out a voluntary agreement to cut their water use — an approach some consider revolutionary after so many decades of fighting and lawsuits.
The cooperation springs from self-preservation. If Lake Mead drops too low, the federal government could step in and reallocate the water.
At the same time, upper basin states like Colorado and Wyoming want to use more Colorado River water — something they’re legally entitled to.
In Colorado, Denver Water is in the final stages of seeking approval on a water storage project that would take more water out of the Colorado River. Wyoming is researching whether to store more water from the Green River, a Colorado tributary. Utah is discussing whether to build a pipeline to transport water from Lake Powell, the reservoir found up river from Lake Mead along the Utah – Arizona border.Add in the likely impacts of climate change and how it’s affecting the Colorado River basin and you have an increasingly complex and challenging picture developing for the 21st century.
Pat Mulroy, a senior fellow at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and a leading Western water expert, says the time for a new toolbox and ideas to approach water management has arrived.
“There won’t be any winners and losers,” Mulroy says, unless Colorado River states move beyond the fighting and lawsuits of the last century as they try to adapt to the next century. “There will only be losers.”
Upper Basin States Want More Storage
There’s a silent miracle that delivers water every day to Denver Water’s 1.4 million customers. For decades, the Fraser River, a tributary of the Colorado River, has flowed through a manmade system of dams, diversions and tunnels beneath the Continental Divide.
A critical linchpin sits just outside Boulder. Gross Reservoir is a man-made lake that provides reliable storage for Denver Water. Retired IBM workers Beverly Kurtz and Tim Guenthner live just out of eyesight from the reservoir. For Kurtz, that’s on purpose.
“It’s choking off a wild river which in my opinion is never a good thing,” Kurtz says.
The couple have a new-found job in retirement. It’s fighting a proposed expansion to Gross Reservoir’s dam. Denver Water wants to raise the dam by 131 feet.
“It doesn’t make sense to build a multi-million dollar dam and disrupt the environment here, when down the line,” Kurtz says, “that’s not going to solve the problem.”
The problem is that Colorado’s population is expected to nearly double by 2050. A carefully crafted water plan by Colorado’s top chiefs calls for 400,000 more acre feet of storage, and 400,000 additional acre feet of conservation.Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead says more storage is an important part of the solution. It’s also an insurance policy against future drought.
“From Denver Water’s perspective, if we can’t provide clean, reliable, sustainable water 100 years from now to our customers, we’re not doing our jobs,” Lochhead says.
With the proposed expansion of Gross Reservoir, Denver Water took a new approach. The agency worked with environmental groups and Western Slope water interests on the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement. Part of the effort involves Denver Water actively working on the Fraser River to narrow the stream channel and restore the river. If the agency gets the green light to expand Gross, it would be required to keep a formal relationship with environmental groups and local governments through the life of the project.
But that expansion is still expected to decrease stream flows by about one half of what they are now.
In Wyoming, state engineer Pat Tyrrell says the state is studying whether to store more water from the Green River, another Colorado River tributary.
“We feel we have some room to grow. But we understand that growth comes with risk,” he says.
There’s risk because Wyoming could expand reservoirs with proper permits. In 10 or 20 years there may not be enough water to fill that storage — or deliver enough water to existing reservoirs like Lake Powell. Upper basin states have developed a contingency plan to make sure that happens in the future.
Imbalance Between Supply and Demand
What unites all water planners from Colorado down to California is the need for certainty. They need confidence there will be enough water to fuel population and agricultural growth. And there’s a huge new wildcard in the deck.