FISHTRAP HOLLOW -- The frogs are so loud tonight, it is difficult to have a porch conversation.
Newspapers have become the bullied school kid of American journalism.
Jen Psaki, blameless State Department spokeswoman, explained that the hasty evacuation of our embassy in Yemen was not an evacuation but "a reduction in staff." This proved a problem because the Yemeni government had already announced (and denounced) the "evacuation" -- the word normal folks use for the panicky ordering of people onto planes headed out of the country.
No it was not the most excruciating thing ever seen on television. We've seen worse. We've seen Roseanne singing the national anthem, Magic Johnson hosting a talk show and Paris Hilton, existing. But if it's not number one on that list of god-awful TV, author Reza Aslan's recent interview with Lauren Green of Fox "News" is surely in the top 10.
As congressional leaders depart the nation's capital for a much-deserved five-week break, it is with a sense of relief and pride in accomplishment: a grand-bargain budget that ends sequestration and makes rational spending cuts, a sane immigration reform package and progress on a cost-cutting health-care plan. Well, a girl can dream, can't she?
It's not often that a testy exchange at a hearing, followed by a senator's statement that he would put a hold on the nomination until he got an adequate answer to his question, opens a window to a fundamental issue in our democracy. And a timely one.
"Welcome to the other Great Smoky Mountains," a friend in town said to me. She was right.
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