Hello 'Pussy' this is Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle:
Judge Robart’s order allowed people from the seven countries who had been authorized to travel, along with vetted refugees from all nations, to enter the country.
Should I remain in bed, leave my country or fight against the dragon?
( see also the story by Wolfgang Hampel,
' Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say ' )
Betty and Don MacDonald in Hollywood
Betty MacDonald's mother Sydney with grandchild Alison Beck
Betty MacDonald fan club fans,
you can join Betty MacDonald fan club on Facebook.
Thank you so much in advance for your support and interest.
We are very curious to learn more about Betty MacDonald's experiences in Hollywood especially Eartha is dreaming of Hollywood very often.
Betty MacDonald Memorial Award winner Wolfgang Hampel does a great job.
Thanks a Million!
Eartha can imagine very well to be a Hollywood movie star.
Who are Betty MacDonald's favourite actors?
Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter February includes the updated Betty MacDonald fan club essays ' Betty MacDonald in Hollywood' and ' Betty MacDonald and Dorita Hess '.
There is also an article about Betty MacDonald fan club letter collection.
We are going to publish some new Betty MacDonald fan club interviews by Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel.
Wolfgang Hampel and Betty MacDonald fan club research team are working on an updated Betty MacDonald biography.
This very new Betty MacDonald biography includes all the results we got during a very successful Betty MacDonald fan club research which started in 1983.
You'll be able to find unique Betty MacDonald treasures in our Betty MacDonald biography.
Betty MacDonald biography includes for example interviews with Betty MacDonald, her family and friends.
We got many letters by Betty MacDonald and other family members even very important original ones.
Our goal is to publish a Betty MacDonald biography that shows all the details of Betty MacDonald's life and work but also to present her fascinating siblings.
Dear Betty MacDonald fan club fans let us know please what you are interested most in a future Betty MacDonald biography.
Do you prefer an e-book or a so called real book?
Wolfgang Hampel and Friends of Vita Magica visited Minister of Science of Baden-Württemberg, Theresia Bauer in Stuttgart.
They visited Landtag and had a great time there.
Do you have any books by Betty MacDonald and Mary Bard Jensen with funny or interesting dedications?
If so would you be so kind to share them?
Our next Betty MacDonald fan club project is a collection of these unique dedications.
If you share your dedication from your Betty MacDonald - and Mary Bard Jensen collection you might be the winner of our new Betty MacDonald fan club items.
Thank you so much in advance for your support.
Thank you so much for sending us your favourite Betty MacDonald quote.
You'll be able to read more info during January.
We are so glad that our beloved Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli is back.
New Betty MacDonald documentary will be very interesting with many new interviews.
Alison Bard Burnett and other Betty MacDonald fan club honor members will be included in Wolfgang Hampel's fascinating project Vita Magica.
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel interviewed Betty MacDonald's daughter Joan MacDonald Keil and her husband Jerry Keil.
This interview will be published for the first time ever.
New Betty MacDonald documentary will be very interesting with many interviews never published before.
We adore Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli
Thank you so much for sharing this witty memories with us.
Wolfgang Hampel's literary event Vita Magica is very fascinating because he is going to include Betty MacDonald, other members of the Bard family and Betty MacDonald fan club honor members.
It's simply great to read Wolfgang Hampel's new very well researched stories about Betty MacDonald, Robert Eugene Heskett, Donald Chauncey MacDonald, Darsie Bard, Sydney Bard, Gammy, Alison Bard Burnett, Darsie Beck, Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde Reynolds Jensen, Sydney Cleveland Bard, Mary Alice Bard, Dorothea DeDe Goldsmith, Madge Baldwin, Don Woodfin, Mike Gordon, Ma and Pa Kettle, Nancy and Plum, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and others.
Linde Lund and many fans from all over the world adore this funny sketch by Wolfgang Hampel very much although our German isn't the best.
I won't ever forget the way Wolfgang Hampel is shouting ' Brexit '.
Don't miss it, please.
It's simply great!
You can hear that Wolfgang Hampel got an outstandig voice.
He presented one of Linde Lund's favourite songs ' Try to remember ' like a professional singer.
Thanks a million!
Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli and our 'Italian Betty MacDonald' - Betty MacDonald fan club honor member author and artist Letizia Mancino belong to the most popular Betty MacDonald fan club teams in our history.
Their many devoted fans are waiting for a new Mr. Tigerli adventure.
Letizia Mancino's magical Betty MacDonald Gallery is a special gift for Betty MacDonald fan club fans from all over the world.
Don't miss Brad Craft's 'More friends', please.
Betty MacDonald's very beautiful Vashon Island is one of my favourites.
I agree with Betty in this very witty Betty MacDonald story Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say by Wolfgang Hampel.
I can't imagine to live in a country with him as so-called elected President although there are very good reasons to remain there to fight against these brainless politics.
What does the Trump administration want?
Don't miss these very interesting articles below, please.
My favorite is Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, a person you have probably never heard of even though he’s been in Congress since the 1980s and is currently head of the prestigious Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.
I think the future dinosaur flatulence will be the behaviour of 'Pussy' and his very strange government.
Poor World! Poor America!
Don't miss these very interesting articles below, please.
The most difficult case in Mrs.Piggle-Wiggle's career
Hello 'Pussy', this is Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
You took calls from foreign leaders on unsecured phone lines, without consultung the State Department. We have to change your silly behaviour with a new Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle cure. I know you are the most difficult case in my career - but we have to try everything.......................
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sent his brilliant thoughts. Thank you so much dear Wolfgang!
Hi Libi, nice to meet you. Can you feel it?
I'll be the most powerful leader in the world.
Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say
Copyright 2016 by Wolfgang Hampel
All rights reserved
Betty MacDonald was sitting on her egg-shaped cloud and listened to a rather strange guy.
He said to his friends: So sorry to keep you waiting. Very complicated business! Very complicated!
Betty said: Obviously much too complicated for you old toupee!
Besides him ( by the way the First Lady's place ) his 10 year old son was bored to death and listened to this 'exciting' victory speech.
The old man could be his great-grandfather.
The boy was very tired and thought: I don't know what this old guy is talking about. Come on and finish it, please. I'd like to go to bed.
Dear 'great-grandfather' continued and praised the Democratic candidate.
He congratulated her and her family for a very strong campaign although he wanted to put her in jail.
He always called her the most corrupt person ever and repeated it over and over again in the fashion of a Tibetan prayer wheel.
She is so corrupt. She is so corrupt. Do you know how corrupt she is?
Betty MacDonald couldn't believe it when he said: She has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.
Afterwards old toupee praised his parents, wife, children, siblings and friends.
He asked the same question like a parrot all the time:
Where are you? Where are you? Where are you?
I know you are here!
Betty MacDonald answered: No Pussy they are not! They left the country.
They immigrated to Canada because they are very much afraid of the future in the U.S.A. with you as their leader like the majority of all so-called more or less normal citizens.
By the way keep your finger far away from the pussies and the Red Button, please.
I'm going to fly with my egg-shaped cloud to Canada within a minute too.
Away - away - there is nothing more to say!
I can understand the reason why Betty MacDonald, Barbara Streisand, other artists and several of my friends want to leave the United States of America.
I totally agree with these comments:
Daniel Mount wrote a great article about Betty MacDonald and her garden.
We hope you'll enjoy it very much.
I adore Mount Rainier and Betty MacDonald's outstanding descriptions
Can you remember in which book you can find it?
If so let us know, please and you might be the next Betty MacDonald fan club contest winner.
I hope we'll be able to read Wolfgang Hampel's new very well researched stories about Betty MacDonald, Robert Eugene Heskett, Donald Chauncey MacDonald, Darsie Bard, Sydney Bard, Gammy, Alison Bard Burnett, Darsie Beck, Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde Reynolds Jensen, Sydney Cleveland Bard, Mary Alice Bard, Dorothea DeDe Goldsmith, Madge Baldwin, Don Woodfin, Mike Gordon, Ma and Pa Kettle, Nancy and Plum, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and others - very soon.
It' s such a pleasure to read them.
Let's go to magical Betty MacDonald's Vashon Island.
Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund and Betty MacDonald fan club research team share their recent Betty MacDonald fan club research results.
Congratulations! They found the most interesting and important info for Wolfgang Hampel's oustanding Betty MacDonald biography.
I enjoy Bradley Craft's story very much.
Don't miss our Betty MacDonald fan club contests, please.
You can win a never published before Alison Bard Burnett interview by Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel.
This CD is a golden treasure because Betty MacDonald's very witty sister Alison Bard Burnett shares unique stories about Betty MacDonald, Mary Bard Jensen, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Nancy and Plum.
Wolfgang Hampel's Betty MacDonald and Ma and Pa Kettle biography and Betty MacDonald interviews have fans in 40 countries. I'm one of their many devoted fans.
Many Betty MacDonald - and Wolfgang Hampel fans are very interested in a Wolfgang Hampel CD and DVD with his very funny poems and stories.
We are going to publish new Betty MacDonald essays on Betty MacDonald's gardens and nature in Washington State.
Tell us the names of this mysterious couple please and you can win a very new Betty MacDonald documentary.
Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli is beloved all over the World.
We are so happy that our 'Casanova' is back.
Another rare episode (from March 21 1952) of the short-lived comedy soap opera, "The Egg and I," based on best selling book by Betty MacDonald which also became a popular film.
The series premiered on September 3, 1951, the same day as "Search for Tomorrow," and ended on August 1, 1952.
Although it did well in the ratings, it had difficulty attracting a steady sponsor. This episode features Betty Lynn (later known for her work on "The Andy Griffith Show") as Betty MacDonald, John Craven as Bob MacDonald, Doris Rich as Ma Kettle, and Frank Twedell as Pa Kettle.
Betty MacDonald fan club exhibition will be fascinating with the international book editions and letters by Betty MacDonald.
I can't wait to see the new Betty MacDonald documentary.
Enjoy a great breakfast at the bookstore with Brad and Nick, please.
Have a very nice Monday,
Anita & Eartha Kitt II
Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen
Betty MacDonald forum
Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I
Wolfgang Hampel - Academic ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - cyclopaedia.net ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - DBpedia ( English / German )
Wolfgang Hampel - people check ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Memim ( English )
Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French )
Wolfgang Hampel - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Wikipedia ( English)
Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel
Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD
Betty MacDonald fan club items
Betty MacDonald fan club items - comments
Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I
Betty MacDonald fan club groups
Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund
Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Greta Larson
Betty MacDonald fan club fan Heiderose Teynor
Rita Knobel Ulrich - Islam in Germany - a very interesting ZDF ( 2nd German Television ) documentary with English subtitles
Where Trump’s Travel Ban Stands
What does the Trump administration want?
What does the administration argue?
What did the appeals court do?
How fast will the appeals court act?
Who are the appeals court judges?
Will the appeals court hear oral arguments?
Will the case reach the Supreme Court?
The judge's temporary restraining order represents a major setback for Trump's action, though the White House said late Friday that it believed the ban to be "lawful and appropriate" and that the U.S. Department of Justice would file an emergency appeal.
As a result of the ruling, the Department of Homeland Security suspended its enforcement of the ban, announcing on Saturday that "standard policy and procedures" were now in effect.
"In accordance with the judge's ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States," DHS said in a statement.
"DHS personnel will resume inspection of travelers in accordance with standard policy and procedure," it stated, adding that the Justice Department would file an emergency stay to "defend the president's executive order, which is lawful and appropriate."
The move came on the heels of the State Department announcing it was reversing the revocation of visas that left countless travelers stranded at airports last weekend.
"Those individuals with visas that were not physically cancelled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid," the department said in a statement.
Early Saturday morning, Trump criticised the ruling as "ridiculous" and warned of big trouble if a country could not control its borders.
Still, just hours after the ruling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection told airlines they could board travelers who had been affected by the ban. Trump's Jan. 27 order caused chaos at airports across the United States last week as some citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were denied entry. Virtually all refugees were also barred, upending the lives of thousands of people who had spent years seeking asylum in the
The State Department said Friday that almost 60,000 visas were suspended in the wake of Trump's order; it was not clear Friday night whether that suspension was automatically revoked or what travelers with such visas might confront at U.S. airports.
While a number of lawsuits have been filed over Trump's action, the Washington state lawsuit was the first to test the broad constitutionality of the executive order. Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, explicitly made his ruling apply across the country, while other judges facing similar cases have so far issued orders concerning only specific individuals.
The challenge in Seattle was brought by the state of Washington and later joined by the state of Minnesota. The judge ruled that the states have legal standing to sue, which could help Democratic attorneys general take on Trump in court on issues beyond immigration.
Washington's case was based on claims that the state had suffered harm from the travel ban, for example students and faculty at state-funded universities being stranded overseas. Amazon.com and Expedia, both based in Washington state, had supported the lawsuit, asserting that the travel restrictions harmed their businesses.
Tech companies, which rely on talent from around the world, have been increasingly outspoken in their opposition to the Trump administration's anti-immigrant policies.
Judge Robart probed a Justice Department lawyer on what he called the "litany of harms" suffered by Washington state's universities, and also questioned the administration's use of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States as a justification for the ban.
Robart said no attacks had been carried out on U.S. soil by individuals from the seven countries affected by the travel ban since that assault. For Trump's order to be constitutional, Robart said, it had to be "based in fact, as opposed to fiction."
"At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the president, which we believe is lawful and appropriate," the White House said in a statement.
"The president's order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people."
Washington Governor Jay Inslee celebrated the decision as a victory for the state, adding: "No person - not even the president - is above the law."
The judge's decision was welcomed by groups protesting the ban.
"This order demonstrates that federal judges throughout the country are seeing the serious constitutional problems with this order," said Nicholas Espiritu, a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center.
Eric Ferrero, Amnesty International USA spokesman, lauded the short-term relief provided by the order but added: "Congress must step in and block this unlawful ban for good."
But the fluid legal situation was illustrated by the fact that Robart's ruling came just hours after a federal judge in Boston declined to extend a temporary restraining order allowing some immigrants into the United States from countries affected by Trump's three-month ban.
A Reuters poll earlier this week indicated that the immigration ban has popular support, with 49 percent of Americans agreeing with the order and 41 percent disagreeing. Some 53 percent of Democrats said they "strongly disagree" with Trump's action while 51 percent of Republicans said they "strongly agree."
At least one company, the ride-hailing giant Uber, was moving quickly Friday night to take advantage of the ruling.
CEO Travis Kalanick, who quit Trump's business advisory council this week in the face of a fierce backlash from Uber customers and the company's many immigrant drivers, said on Twitter: "We have a team of in-house attorneys who've been working night & day to get U.S. resident drivers & stranded families back into country.
"I just chatted with our head of litigation Angela, who's buying a whole bunch of airline tickets ASAP!! #homecoming #fingerscrossed"
Four states in court
In Boston, U.S. District Judge Nathan Gorton expressed skepticism during oral arguments about a civil rights group's claim that Trump's order represented religious discrimination, before declining to extend the restraining order.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia, ordered the federal government to give the state a list by Thursday of "all persons who have been denied entry to or removed from the United States."
The state of Hawaii on Friday also filed a lawsuit alleging that the order is unconstitutional and asking the court to block the order across the country.
Phillip Tutt contributed to this article.
During a phone conversation on Saturday, Mr Trump reportedly told his Australian counterpart that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day and that “This was the worst call by far.”
Australian government officials, who said the Washington Post's account of the call was "substantially accurate", described the conversation as "robust" and admitted it was "shorter than expected", ABC News reported.
Mr Turnbull denied that Mr Trump hung up the phone.
"The call ended courteously, that's all I want to say about that," he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“This is the worst deal ever,” Mr Trump said, according to the Washington Post. Mr Trump complained he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.”
The president had recently issued an executive order temporarily barring the admissions of refugees. To account for the Australia deal, a special provision in the order allows for exceptions to honour “a preexisting international agreement”.
Mr Trump vented his anger over the deal on Twitter on Wednesday night and called into doubt whether he would honour the agreement. "Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!," he said.
Mr Turnbull refused to comment on reports of the conversation. The prime minister said conversations with world leaders are conducted "candidly, frankly, privately", but stressed Australia's solid relationship with the US was still in place.
"I can assure you the relationship is very strong," he said.
Mr Turnbull remained confident the resettlement deal of the refugees would continue. Many of the refugees come Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia, countries that are listed in Mr Trump's travel ban.
“I don’t want these people,” Mr Trump reportedly said, telling Mr Turnbull it was “my intention” to honour the agreement. A senior US official said the phrase was designed to give the president a way to back out of the deal in the future, the newspaper said.
"He keeps suggesting we will have the best relationship ever with a broad departure of countries, but there is no substance to back it up," the official told CNN. "When he encounters a policy challenge like with Turnbull, he responds with a tantrum."
Bill Shorten, the opposition leader, called on Mr Turnbull to be open about his interaction with Mr Trump, saying The Washington Post version of the call was worrying.
"We shouldn't be finding out about what's happening to Australian policy through the news of foreign countries," Mr Shorten said.
The wrangling with Australia comes days after Mr Trump sparked a diplomatic crisis with Mexico for ordering the construction of a border wall, prompting President Enrique Peña Nieto to cancel a scheduled visit to the White House.
"When I have frank advice to give to an American president, I give it privately, as good friends should, as wise prime ministers do when they want to ensure they are best able to protect Australians and Australia's national interest," Mr Turnbull told reporters on Tuesday.
Some observers suspect Mr Turnbull has held his tongue because he is grateful to Mr Trump for agreeing to honour the refugee deal.
The Australian prime minister has made efforts to maintain strong ties the new US administration and after Mr Trump's inauguration, Mr Turnbull tweeted: "Congratulations President Trump @POTUS We are steadfast allies & trusted friends with a great future ahead of us. We wish you every success."
- Everything you need to know about Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban'
- Who will Donald Trump nominate for the Supreme Court? Runners and riders
- Mexico border wall: What is Donald Trump planning, how much will it cost and who will pay for it?
- Everything you need to know about Trump's pledge to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
- Who is Sean Spicer, Donald Trump's combative press secretary?
- Trump and Putin: inside the world's most dangerous special relationship
Donald Trump 'threatened to send US troops' across border to stop 'bad hombres' in call with Mexican presidentDonald Trump threatened to send US troops to Mexico to deal with "bad hombres down there" in a call with President Enrique Peña Nieto, according to a partial transcript of the call seen by the Associated Press.
Mr Trump used similar rhetoric while campaigning for the presidency, but such a warning in a call with an allied world leader would mark an extraordinary departure from decorum, in addition to the obvious violation of Mexico's sovereignty that enforcing it would entail.
"You have a bunch of bad hombres down there," Mr Trump told Mr Pena Nieto, according to the excerpt seen by the AP. "You aren't doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn't, so I just might send them down to take care of it."
The White House and the Mexican foreign ministry both denied that Mr Trump made the threat.
Trump 'to focus counter-extremism programme solely on Islam'The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a US government programme designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.
The programme, "Countering Violent Extremism," or CVE, would be changed to "Countering Islamic Extremism" or "Countering Radical Islamic Extremism," the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.
US Senate narrowly confirms Rex Tillerson as secretary of stateThe US Senate narrowly confirmed Rex Tillerson to serve as secretary of state on Wednesday, meaning the former ExxonMobil CEO will now be at the forefront of US foreign policy.
Democrats and Republicans have been doing battle in the Senate over Mr Trump's other cabinet nominees and his pick for the US Supreme Court.
The vote on Mr Tillerson was largely on party lines, with all 52 Republicans voting in favour, along with three Democrats and one independent. It was not immediately clear when Mr Tillerson would be sworn in and formally take over at the State Department.
In the 12 days since Mr Trump's inauguration, however, the White House has taken steps that foreign policy professionals view as self-inflicted wounds.
US puts Iran 'on notice' after missile testThe White House issued a cryptic warning on Wednesday that the US will act against Iran unless it stops testing ballistic missiles and supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen, but declined to say what retaliatory actions the US would pursue.
Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's national security adviser, forcefully denounced Iran's behavior in his first public remarks since Mr Trump took office. He accused Iran of threatening US allies and spreading instability throughout the Middle East while faulting the Obama administration for doing too little to stop the Islamic Republic.
On notice for what, Mr Flynn didn't say. Senior Trump administration officials said they were actively considering a "range of options" including economic measures and increased support for Iran's regional adversaries. The officials, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, declined repeatedly to say whether military action was being considered.
More Americans support Donald Trump's immigration ban than oppose it, poll showsNew polling suggests that Mr Trump's executive order to impose a temporary block on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries has the support of nearly one in two Americans, Patrick Scott reports.
Today in the Trump Administration
Tweets on Iran, Australia, and Paris Louvre attackIn a blitz of Twitter activity early Friday morning, President Trump addressed Iran’s ballistic missile test, praised Australia’s prime minister, and discussed the machete attack that occurred in Paris’ Louvre museum.
America’s business leaders at White HouseTrump meets with his Strategic and Policy forum -- big business names, including Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, Mary Barra of GM, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Bob Iger of Disney, among others. Travis Kalanick resigned from the group Thursday.
The CabinetVery early Friday morning, senators took a procedural vote on Betsy DeVos to be education secretary. The Senate advanced DeVos’ nomination on a procedural vote, 52 yeas to 48 nays -- a straight party line vote.The Senate will continue debating the nomination with a final confirmation vote on DeVos expected by the full Senate early next week, possibly as early as Tuesday February 7.
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch continues to visit with the senators who will decide on whether to confirm him.
What will Senate Democrats do about Neil Gorsuch? Which Democratic senators will vote for him? Against him? When President Trump announced his Supreme Court pick as Judge Neil Gorsuch, Senate Democrats pounced.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer immediately fired off a statement that Gorsuch, a consevative Denver-based judge who currently sits on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, would face an “exhaustive, robust, and comprehensive debate” on his fitness to be a Supreme Court justice.
Others, like Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, charged that the seat on the Supreme Court bench was “stolen” from former President Obama after Republicans refused to confirm Judge Merrick Garland. Merkley vowed to do everything in his power to “stand up against this assault on the court,” seeming to threaten a filibuster of Mr. Trump’s nominee.
Executive actionTrump will also sign an executive order before he flies to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend
The Takeout podcast:Will Neil Gorsuch be the next David Souter? On this week’s show, Carrie Severino, conservative activist and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and conservative activist, and CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford joined CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett and CBS News senior political editor Steve Chaggaris to talk about why Republicans are confident President Trump has found a bona fide conservative justice in Neil Gorsuch… and why Gorsuch is no David Souter - a justice appointed by a Republican president who ended up voting with liberals on the court.
CBS News poll on immigration ban and Supreme Court nomineeTo be published at 7 a.m.
What you missed yesterday
How Trump ordered a covert raid in Yemen against al QaedaWhen President Trump was deciding to order his first known covert raid against al Qaeda in Yemen -- an operation that later resulted in nearly 30 deaths, including suspected terror leaders and the first U.S. military casualty under Mr. Trump -- he had several trusted advisers by his side. Among them: his son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner.
AP: U.S. readies sanctions on Iran after missile test
The Trump administration is preparing to levy sanctions on Iran after it test-fired a ballistic missile, according to U.S. officials and others with knowledge of the decision.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick quits Trump’s economic advisory councilUber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned from President Donald Trump’s economic advisory council in the wake of blistering criticism on social media of his participation on the White House panel of top business executives.
Kalanick informed Uber’s employees of his decision in a memo published Thursday.
“Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community. I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council,” Kalanick’s memo stated.
Family businessNordstrom says it will stop selling Ivanka Trump clothing and accessories.
The Seattle Times reports the Seattle-based department store chain said the decision was based on sales performance of the first daughter’s brand.
Prayer breakfastAt the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, President Trump boasted of his television ratings during his time hosting “The Apprentice” reality show and urged attendees to “pray” for his successor, former California governor and Hollywood macho man Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take my place,” said Mr. Trump, who still has an executive producer credit on the “Celebrity Apprentice.” “And we know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes.”
Lawmakers respond to reports of Trump’s call with Australian PMSome members of Congress are trying to defend Australia and the importance of its alliance with the U.S. after President Trump reportedly had a tense phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last weekend.
Trump threatens Berkeley, Yiannopoulos jabs “social justice left” after campus protest escalatesPresident Donald Trump issued a social media threat early Thursday to federal funds allocated to the University of California-Berkeley in the aftermath of a riot that forced the cancellation of a speech by polarizing Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
Russia sanctionsThe Trump administration appeared to loosen U.S. sanctions Thursday that the Obama administration had imposed against Russia in response to its cyberattacks in the 2016 presidential election.
The Treasury Department published a license that authorizes certain transactions between U.S. companies and the FSB, Russia’s security service and for the importation, distribution or use of “certain information technology products in the Russian Federation.” Such transactions had been prohibited under Obama administration sanctions imposed on Russia in late December. At the time, the U.S. sanctioned nine entities and individuals including the FSB and GRU. The Obama administration said that the FSB had assisted and provided material support to the GRU in its efforts to interfere with the U.S. election.
Homeland Security IG will review immigration ban implementationThe Office Inspector General (OIG) for the Homeland Security Department (DHS) announced late Wednesday that it will be reviewing DHS’ rollout of President Trump’s immigration ban executive order, signed by Mr. Trump on Friday.
New guidance for travel ban exempts green card holdersAfter days of confusion over how President Trump’s controversial immigration order would be applied to legal permanent residents of the United States, the White House says it has issued a new guidance that exempts green card holders from the travel ban.
“They no longer need a waiver because if they are a legal permanent resident, they won’t need it anymore,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at a news briefing Wednesday.
MeetingsThe president meets with Sen. Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and top Democrat Ron Wyden, also with House Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady and ranking member Richard Neal, 11:15 a.m.
He also met with Harley-Davidson executives for lunch.
The cabinetThe nominations of two of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks -- Scott Pruitt for the Environmental Protection Agency and Mick Mulvaney for the Office of Management and Budget -- will advance to a vote by the full Senate after committee votes held Thursday.
A day after delaying its vote because of Senate Democrats’ boycott, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted -- still with no Democrats present -- to send Pruitt’s nomination to the full Senate. Pruitt’s nomination advanced with 11 votes (all Republicans) to zero after GOP members of the committee changed the rules to allow for a vote without Democrats present
And Mulvaney’s nomination will also go to the full Senate, though the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee voted 8-7, along party lines, to send the nomination without a recommendation.
Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide
Standing Rock may be the first battle site in Trump’s war on the environment
On Tuesday, President Trump signed executive orders that took the first steps toward reversing two Obama administration rulings against oil pipeline projects. One of those rulings, by the State Department, rejected the application for the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries and shipping points in the United States. The other ruling, from the Army Corps of Engineers, told owners of the Dakota Access pipeline to come up with alternative routes that would not endanger the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota.
As those two actions made headlines, more reports surfaced about the administration’s Putin-like attempts to muzzle anyone in any government agency who has views on the environment that are out of step with the new regime.
Even with best-friend-of-the-oil-industry Scott Pruitt not yet confirmed by the Senate as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA employees are feeling the cold hand of the Trump White House covering their mouths. Grants and contracts worth $4 billion that support environmental programs for states, tribes and other entities have been put on hold. EPA employees, as well as scientists, researchers and government workers in other departments who deal with environmental issues — particularly climate change — have been told to make no public statements, put no new content on websites, stay away from social media and submit for review any speaking engagements or contacts with the news media.When an unidentified person at the Badlands National Park was found to be defiantly tweeting facts about climate change, the posts were quickly removed by enforcers of the ban.Since Trump’s election, scientists have been scrambling to copy vital climate research onto private servers before the climate change deniers who dominate policy in the new administration can do anything to harm the data. “Something that seemed a little paranoid to me before all of a sudden seems potentially realistic, or at least something you’d want to hedge against,” UC Davis environmental researcher Nick Santos told the Washington Post. “Doing this can only be a good thing. Hopefully they leave everything in place. But if not, we’re planning for that.”Trump has been in office less than a week and he is already confirming the worst fears of environmentalists. An overwhelming number of scientific studies indicate that man-made climate change will be an existential threat to humanity if no action is taken to sharply reduce reliance on fossil fuels. President Obama believed the science; Donald Trump and the people he has put in charge of energy and environmental policies do not. It appears obvious that the Trump administration will consistently favor oil, gas and coal interests over citizens who just want clean air and water and a landscape that is not carpeted with drilling rigs and fracking equipment.Last weekend’s huge women’s marches in cities across the country pulled together people with a variety of concerns, but environmental issues got slight attention. That needs to change because the environment is the one thing we all have in common.The first place where the environmental battle lines are drawn will very likely be the Standing Rock reservation. Through the summer, fall and into the snow and freezing temperatures of winter, the tribe led anti-pipeline protests that grew dramatically in size and drew international attention to what had been an obscure project. Protesters thought they had won, but now, with a stroke of Trump’s pen, victory has been snatched away. The tribe will take the fight to the courts, but it seems inevitable that there will be another physical confrontation as well. Thousands of people will gather to resist, this time with the weather on their side, the federal government against them and the future in their hands.The war is on.David.Horsey@latimes.comFollow me at @davidhorsey on Twitter
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Trump claims torture works but experts warn of its 'potentially existential' costs
Speaking to ABC News, Trump said he would defer to the defence secretary, James Mattis, and CIA director, Mike Pompeo, to determine what can and cannot be done legally to combat the spread of terrorism.
But asked about the efficacy of tactics such as waterboarding, Trump said: “absolutely I feel it works.”
“When Isis is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since medieval times. Would I feel strongly about waterboarding. As far as I’m concerned we have to fight fire with fire.” Trump said he asked intelligence chiefs earlier this week whether torture works. “The answer was yes, absolutely,” he said. He added that terrorist groups “chop off the citizens’ or anybody’s heads in the Middle East, because they’re Christian or Muslim or anything else ... we have that and we’re not allowed to do anything. We’re not playing on an even field.” The interviews come after reports that Trump is preparing to sign an executive order that would reinstate the detention of terrorism suspects at facilities known as “black sites”. This would remove limitations on coercive interrogation techniques set by a longstanding army field manual intended to ensure humane military interrogations, which is mostly compliant with the Geneva Conventions. Mattis and Pompeo were “blindsided” by reports of the draft order, Politico said citing sources. However, Trump faces resistance to the prospect of the reintroduction of torture. On Wednesday, Steve Kleinman, a retired air force colonel and senior adviser to the FBI-led team that interrogates terrorist suspects warned that weakening US prohibitions against torture was dangerous and ignorant. “A lot of these people who weigh in heavily on interrogation have no idea how little they know, [and do so] because of what they see on television,” said Kleinman, chairman of the research advisory committee to the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG). “There is, at best, anecdotal evidence to support torture,” said Kleinman, who emphasized that he was not speaking for the HIG.“There is, on the other hand, a robust body of scientific literature and field testing that demonstrates the efficacy of a relationship-based, rapport-based, cognitive-based approach to interrogation, as well as a robust literature that would suggest torture immediately undermines a source’s ability to be a reliable reporter of information: memory is undermined, judgment is undermined, decision-making is undermined, time-references are undermined. And this is only from a purely operational perspective; we can’t take the morality out of strategy.” “If the US was to make it once again the policy of the country to coerce, and to detain at length in an extrajudicial fashion, the costs would be beyond substantial – they’d be potentially existential,” Kleinman said. Senator John McCain, a torture survivor and co-author of a 2015 law barring the US security agencies from using interrogation techniques that surpass the prohibitions beyond those set out in the US army field manual, signalled his defiance. “The president can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law. We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America,” said McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the Senate armed services committee. McCain referenced explicit guarantees from Pompeo and Mattis during their Senate confirmation proceedings to follow the interrogations law and the army field manual. “I am confident these leaders will be true to their word,” McCain said. The former CIA head Leon Panetta, who gave the orders to close the agency’s black sites told the BBC that it would be a “mistake” to reintroduce enhanced interrogation techniques and “damaging” to the reputation of the US. Panetta said torture was violation of the US values and the constitution.
Mark Fallon, who was the deputy chief of Guantánamo’s Bush-era investigative taskforce for military tribunals, said: “It does appear like a subterfuge to enact more brutal methods because that was what candidate Trump campaigned on during the election.” Fallon warned that the field manual’s appendix M, which allows extended “separation” of a detainee from other captives, represented a “slippery slope that could bring back torture”. Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, has been urged to by her own MPs to make Britain’s opposition to torture clear to Trump when she visits him on Friday. At prime minister’s questions Andrew Tyrie, a senior Tory MP, said: “President Trump has repeatedly said he will bring back torture as an instrument of policy. When she sees him on Friday, will the prime minister make it clear that in no circumstances will she permit Britain to be dragged into facilitating that torture, as we were after 11 September?”
Since you’re here…
At the time, many people here viewed the candidate and the big cat as interlopers, soon to be exposed and expelled. But both are still around — and one is clearly causing more concern than the other on this increasingly anxious island.
“If we could have the cougar or Trump for the next four years, I’d take the cougar,” said Tristan Dornall, 27, who has not ventured alone into the woods near his house since he had a startlingly close encounter with the animal there in November. “I mean, definitely.”
If Seattle is the predictably Democratic capital of the Pacific Northwest, Vashon, just 20 minutes away by ferry, is one of the region’s experimental laboratories, a place where new strains of environmentalism and progressivism flourish, unencumbered by mainland reality. It presents an increasingly rare constituency: rural but not red.
Country roads curve through art galleries, alpaca farms and sustainable distilleries. A nonprofit’s popular “rewilding” program teaches families “our renowned approach to deep nature connection and the bundle of teachings we call Coyote Mentoring.”Of the 7,701 people here who cast ballots for president in November, fewer than 13% voted for Trump, and nearly 78% backed Hillary Clinton.Now, as the Trump era unfolds, Vashon is confronting what many parts of liberal America feel, an uncomfortable blend of realization, determination and fear. And this being an island — a bubble, yes, islanders know that — there is also a temptation to retrench, to shrink the world to the immediate shoreline.“I tend to be very globally minded, and I think my processing right now is to think more locally,” said April Sherman, whose great-great-grandfather homesteaded here in the 1870s. “I feel a little out of control, like I can’t do much.”Some Vashon residents say they want to reach out, to bridge the cultural and economic divisions Trump’s campaign helped reveal. Many also express resolve to fight harder than ever to protect the planet and their unique piece of it.“Since the advent of environmental laws, I think there is more gravely at risk now than ever before,” said Amy Carey, whose fight to stop a gravel mine from being dug here more than a decade ago led her to found Sound Action, an assertive nonprofit that works to protect nearshore areas all over Puget Sound. “And we have no gimme room for error.”A couple of years ago, stories shot across the Internet declaring Vashon the most liberal place in the United States based on an analysis of political donations. Not long after, that analysis was debunked by an island newspaper, which concluded that, using the same measure, Vashon was merely more liberal than Seattle. Other skeptics have questioned what liberalism really looks like in a wealthy enclave where more than 90% of its 10,600 residents are white.Islanders, ever self-aware, are trying to answer the question themselves. They have been working to finalize a new zoning plan that aspires to a challenging progressive balance — increase the amount of affordable housing without compromising their rural way of life or giving too much freedom to developers they do not trust.One idea is to create a nonprofit that would build only as much housing as island workers need and in a way that puts the environment first.“I know we are grieving with the results of the national election,” Martin Baker, a longtime resident and environmental activist, wrote to concerned residents last fall. “I suggest this is a place to take action. It is, after all, our home.”
That word, “home,” resonates deeply here. Cashiers in the grocery store pick up conversations with customers from the last time they came in. Baristas anticipate orders. Not only do people leave their cars unlocked, some leave the keys on the seat.
The novelist Michael Chabon once lived on Vashon and has said it helped inspire the setting of his 2002 book, “Summerland.” In the book, the fictional Clam Island was connected to the mainland until a bridge collapsed. It did not take long for islanders to view their new isolation as a good thing. Vashon never had a bridge, but its residents, like those in the book, are content to come and go by ferries, which run frequently from two terminals on the island.
“You could not get a cup of coffee or clam chowder, or hear all about your neighbor’s sick cousin or chicken, on the Clam Narrows Bridge,” Chabon wrote, adding, “Islands have always been strange and magical places. Crossing the water to reach them ought to be, even in a small way, an adventure.”
As for Trump, some here are trying to take a long view — hoping that his election is an aberration, a difficult but not insurmountable hurdle in the march toward a more progressive era.Many residents note that the West Coast voted overwhelmingly Democratic (some big cities and counties voted more decisively for Clinton than Vashon did). They emphasize that Clinton won nearly 3 million more votes nationwide (suggesting they may not be in such a bubble after all), and they point out that Trump is viewed with suspicion even among many in his own party (another reason, they hope, he might not win a second term).“You have to empathize with and understand those people,” Derek Churchill, who teaches sustainable forestry practices on Vashon but also in conservative timber towns, said of Trump voters in rural areas. “A lot of these folks are so desperate.“They live in places where schools are closing, where there are meth addiction problems, these communities that are slowly spiraling downward. That is something we need to figure out how to address. That’s got to be a wake-up call.”Bianca Perla, who grew up on the island, earned a doctorate in ecology at the University of Washington and now runs the Vashon Nature Center, said that, although she fears a Trump administration, it may not be a bad thing that his election pierced what she called Vashon’s “bubble mentality.”“Now we see more widely,” Perla said. “Our island, the nice thing about it is we can be sort of insular and have this beauty all around us. But the cold reality is that it’s affected by larger systems. It’s all connected.”That dynamic, in fact, is what prompted the cougar to make his big swim last summer.
“If you picked that island up and plopped it down somewhere near the mountains,” Chandler said, “it’d be exactly the same habitat.”
Feckless on Foreign Policy
Jan. 23, 2017, at 3:30 p.m.
Trump's 'day of patriotic devotion' has echoes of North KoreaJustin McCurry in Tokyo
Trump’s proclamation, which was made official on Monday, has been uttered by Kim in speeches to his 1.2 million-strong military and members of the ruling Korean Workers’ party in recent years.
In an address to a military parade in Pyongyang on 10 October 2015 – the party’s 70th anniversary – Kim thanked the “heroic men and women” of the army and security services who, “in hearty response to the party’s appeal, have worked with patriotic devotion and created one heroic miracle after another” in their quest to build a “thriving socialist nation”. The phrase also crops up in North Korean propaganda. On 19 December last year, the fifth anniversary of the death of Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, the Rodong Sinmun, the ruling party’s official newspaper, said of the late leader: “The noble image and patriotic devotion of the peerless patriot, who reliably defended socialism centred on the popular masses and turned [North Korea] into an invincible politico-ideological power and a world military power.” In an article just after Kim’s death, the official KCNA news agency cited meteorologists as saying “the spring of prosperity under socialism will surely come … thanks to the patriotic devotion of Kim Jong-il, who blocked the howling wind of history till the last moments of his life”. And last January, the Rodong Sinmun cited a speech in which Kim Jong-un had congratulated a socialist youth league formed in the name of his grandfather and North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung, on its 70th anniversary.Kim, according to the paper, said the league had enjoyed “a history of brilliant victories of the great leaders’ original idea of prioritising the youth and their wise leadership and a history of ardent loyalty and patriotic devotion, with which the young people of Korea have supported the party and the leader, the country and the people”. Trump’s use of the term, and its provenance, was noted on Twitter.
In his inaugural speech, Trump declared that he would put “America first” and argued that patriotic zeal could heal the nation’s divisions. On Monday, paperwork was filed with the federal government declaring that the day of his inauguration, 20 January 2017, would be officially known as the “National Day of Patriotic Devotion”. Trump’s executive order said the proclamation would “strengthen our bonds to each other and to our country – and to renew the duties of government to the people”. Jiro Ishimaru of Asia Press, an Osaka-based organisation with a network of high-level contacts in North Korea, said that by invoking patriotic devotion, Trump appeared to be channeling three generations of North Korea’s Kim dynasty. “Ordinary North Koreans hear those words every day,” Ishimaru told the Guardian. “They don’t just appear in the media and speeches, but on posters and in other propaganda. They hear the word patriotism at local residents’ meetings, where, for example, they’re told to produce more rice out of love for their country, or to collect more scrap metal for weapons and bullets.” It is not unusual for incoming US presidents to draw on their political and philosophical beliefs when, as is customary, they give a new name to inauguration day. Barack Obama called his first inauguration, in 2009, a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation; eight years earlier, George W Bush began his first term by declaring the date a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving. Ishimaru said most ordinary North Koreans were barely aware that the US had a new president. The Rodong Sinmun reported the inauguration in a brief article, without comment, at the bottom of the newspaper’s back page on Sunday, two days after it took place. “I talk to North Koreans every day, and Trump’s inauguration has barely registered with them,” he said. “Life is extremely tough, so they are too busy concentrating on their own problems to think about US politics.”
Since you’re here…
“Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election!” Mr. Trump wrote. “Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.”
However, shortly after posting that first tweet, he added that he respects Americans’ right to protest:
top aide Kellyanne Conway defended Mr. Trump’s comments on the protests.
She denounced the “vulgar” comments from some at the Women’s March on Washington, saying there was no need for such “negative” comments.
“You had profanity-laced, vulgar comments coming from celebrities,” she said. “Donald Trump in his inaugural address talked about the forgotten man, now these forgotten celebrities came to Washington to deliver really negative messages.”
The gender gap in the election was large: Mr. Trump beat Clinton by 53 percent to 41 percent among men, while Clinton won among women by 54 percent to 42 percent. The gender breakdown among white voters was different, however: Mr. Trump beat Clinton among white women 53 percent to 43 percent.
The Women’s March featured millions of protesters in cities across the country rallying against President Trump’s stated agenda, with the primary protest being a large rally in Washington, D.C. Many protesters wore pointy-eared “pussyhats,” carried signs protesting various aspects of the new administration’s plans, and chanted "Welcome to your first day, we will never go away.”
Betty MacDonald fan club fans,
we share a very special gift by beloved and very popular Betty MacDonald Fan Club Honor member Letizia Mancino.
We know you'll enjoy it as much as we do.
Thanks a Million, dear Letizia Mancino.
You are an outstanding writer and artist.
We are so proud and happy to have you with us.
Letizia writes: One should not underestimate Wolfgang Hampel’s talent in speedily mobilizing Betty MacDonald’s friends.
We agree. Thank you so much dear Wolfgang Hampel for doing this. You founded Betty MacDonald Fan Club with four members.
Now we have members in 40 countries around the world. A dream came true.
Mary Holmes did an excellent job in translating this great story.
Thank you so much dear Mary Holmes.
We are really very grateful.
All the best to Letizia, Wolfgang and Mary and to all Betty MacDonald Fan Club fans from all over the world!
Following in Betty’s footsteps in Seattle:
or some small talk with Betty
Copyright 2011/2016 by Letizia Mancino
All rights reserved
translated by Mary Holmes
We were going to Canada in the summer. “When we are in Edmonton”, I said to Christoph Cremer, “let’s make a quick trip to Seattle”. And that’s how it happened. At Edmonton Airport we climbed into a plane and two hours later we landed in the city where Betty had lived. I was so happy to be in Seattle at last and to be able to trace Betty’s tracks!
Wolfgang Hampel had told Betty’s friends about our arrival.
They were happy to plan a small marathon through the town and it’s surroundings with us. We only had a few days free. One should not underestimate Wolfgang’s talent in speedily mobilizing Betty’s friends, even though it was holiday time. E-mails flew backwards and forwards between Heidelberg and Seattle, and soon a well prepared itinerary was ready for us. Shortly before my departure Wolfgang handed me several parcels, presents for Betty MacDonald's friends. I rushed to pack the heavy gifts in my luggage but because of the extra weight had to throw out a pair of pajamas!
After we had landed we took a taxi to the Hotel in downtown Seattle. I was so curious to see everything. I turned my head in all directions like one of the hungry hens from Betty’s farm searching for food! Fortunately it was quite a short journey otherwise I would have lost my head like a loose screw!
Our hotel room was on the 22nd floor and looked directly out onto the 16-lane highway. There might have been even more than 16 but it made me too giddy to count! It was like a glimpse of hell! “And is this Seattle?” I asked myself. I was horrified! The cars racing by were enough to drive one mad. The traffic roared by day and night.
We immediately contacted Betty MacDonald's friends and let them know we had arrived and they confirmed the times when we should see them.
On the next morning I planned my first excursion tracing Betty’s tracks. I spread out the map of Seattle. “Oh dear” I realized “the Olympic Peninsula is much too far away for me to get there.”
Betty nodded to me! “Very difficult, Letizia, without a car.”
“But I so much wanted to see your chicken farm”
“My chickens are no longer there and you can admire the mountains from a distance”
But I wanted to go there. I left the hotel and walked to the waterfront where the State Ferry terminal is. Mamma mia, the streets in Seattle are so steep! I couldn’t prevent my feet from running down the hill. Why hadn’t I asked for brakes to be fixed on my shoes? I looked at the drivers. How incredibly good they must be to accelerate away from the red traffic lights. The people were walking uphill towards me as briskly as agile salmon. Good heavens, these Americans! I tried to keep my balance. The force of gravity is relentless. I grasped hold of objects where I could and staggered down.
In Canada a friend had warned me that in Seattle I would see a lot of people with crutches.
Betty laughed. “ It’s not surprising, Letizia, walking salmon don’t fall directly into the soft mouth of a bear!”
“ Betty, stop making these gruesome remarks. We are not in Firlands!”
I went further. Like a small deranged ant at the foot of a palace monster I came to a tunnel. The noise was unbearable. On the motorway, “The Alaskan Way Viaduct”, cars, busses and trucks were driving at the speed of light right over my head. They puffed out their poisonous gas into the open balconies and cultivated terraces of the luxurious sky- scrapers without a thought in the world. America! You are crazy!
“Betty, are all people in Seattle deaf? Or is it perhaps a privilege for wealthy people to be able to enjoy having cars so near to their eyes and noses to save them from boredom?”
“When the fog democratically allows everything to disappear into nothing, it makes a bit of a change, Letizia”
“ Your irony is incorrigible, Betty, but tell me, Seattle is meant to be a beautiful city, But where?”
I had at last reached the State Ferry terminal.
“No Madam, the ferry for Vashon Island doesn’t start from here,” one of the men in the ticket office tells me. ”Take a buss and go to the ferry terminal in West Seattle.”
Betty explained to me “The island lies in Puget Sound and not in Elliott Bay! It is opposite the airport. You must have seen it when you were landing!”
“Betty, when I am landing I shut my eyes and pray!”
It’s time for lunch. The weather is beautiful and warm. Who said to me that it always rains here?
“Sure to be some envious man who wanted to frighten you away from coming to Seattle. The city is really beautiful, you’ll see. Stay by the waterfront, choose the best restaurant with a view of Elliott Bay and enjoy it.”
“Thank you Betty!”
I find a table on the terrace of “Elliott’s Oyster House”. The view of the island is wonderful. It lies quietly in the sun like a green fleecy cushion on the blue water.
Betty plays with my words:
“Vashon Island is a big cushion, even bigger than Bainbridge which you see in front of your eyes, Letizia. The islands look similar. They have well kept houses and beautiful gardens”.
I relax during this introduction, “Bainbridge” you are Vashon Island, and order a mineral water.
“At one time the hotel belonging to the parents of Monica Sone stood on the waterfront.”
“Oh, of your friend Kimi!” Unfortunately I forget to ask Betty exactly where it was.
My mind wanders and I think of my mountain hike back to the hotel! “Why is there no donkey for tourists?” Betty laughs:
“I’m sure you can walk back to the hotel. “Letizia can do everything.””
“Yes, Betty, I am my own donkey!”
But I don’t remember that San Francisco is so steep. It doesn’t matter, I sit and wait. The waiter comes and brings me the menu. I almost fall off my chair!
“ What, you have geoduck on the menu! I have to try it” (I confess I hate the look of geoduck meat. Betty’s recipe with the pieces made me feel quite sick – I must try Betty’s favourite dish!)
“Proof that you love me!” said Betty enthusiastically “ Isn’t the way to the heart through the stomach?”
I order the geoduck. The waiter looks at me. He would have liked to recommend oysters.
“Geoduck no good for you!”
Had he perhaps read my deepest thoughts? Fate! Then no geoduck. “No good for me.”
“Neither geoduck nor tuberculosis in Seattle” whispered Betty in my ear!
“Oh Betty, my best friend, you take such good care of me!”
I order salmon with salad.
“Which salmon? Those that swim in water or those that run through Seattle?”
“Betty, I believe you want me to have a taste of your black humour.”
“Enjoy it then, Letizia.”
During lunch we talked about tuberculosis, and that quite spoilt our appetite.
“Have you read my book “The Plague and I”?”
“Oh Betty, I’ve started to read it twice but both times I felt so sad I had to stop again!”
“But why?” asked Betty “Nearly everybody has tuberculosis! I recovered very quickly and put on 20 pounds! There was no talk of me wasting away! What did you think of my jokes in the book?”
“Those would have been a good reason for choosing another sanitorium. I would have been afraid of becoming a victim of your humour! You would have certainly given me a nickname! You always thought up such amusing names!” Betty laughed.
“You’re right. I would have called you “Roman nose”. I would have said to Urbi and Orbi “ Early this morning “Roman nose” was brought here. She speaks broken English, doesn’t eat geoduck but she does love cats.”
“Oh Betty, I would have felt so ashamed to cough. To cough in your presence, how embarrassing! You would have talked about how I coughed, how many coughs!”
“It depends on that “how”, Letizia!”
“Please, leave Goethe quotations out of it. You have certainly learnt from the Indians how to differentiate between noises. It’s incredible how you can distinguish between so many sorts of cough! At least 10!”
”And also your descriptions of the patients and the nurses were pitiless. An artistic revenge! The smallest pimple on their face didn’t escape your notice! Amazing.”
“ I was also pitiless to myself. Don’t forget my irony against myself!”
Betty was silent. She was thinking about Kimi, the “Princess” from Japan! No, she had only written good things about her best friend, Monica Sone, in her book “The Plague and I”. A deep friendship had started in the hospital. The pearl that developed from the illness.
“Isn’t it wonderful, Betty, that an unknown seed can make its way into a mollusk in the sea and develop into a beautiful jewel?” Betty is paying attention.
“Betty, the friendship between you and Monica reminds me of Goethe’s poem “Gingo-Biloba”. You must know it?” Betty nods and I begin to recite it:
The leaf of this Eastern tree
Which has been entrusted to my garden
Offers a feast of secret significance,
For the edification of the initiate.
Is it one living thing.
That has become divided within itself?
Are these two who have chosen each other,
So that we know them as one?
The friendship with Monica is like the wonderful gingo-biloba leaf, the tree from the east. Betty was touched. There was a deep feeling of trust between us.
“Our friendship never broke up, partly because she was in distress, endangered by the deadly illness. We understood and supplemented each other. We were like one lung with two lobes, one from the east and one from the west!”
“A beautiful picture, Betty. You were like two red gingo-biloba leaves!”
Betty was sad and said ” Monica, although Japanese, before she really knew me felt she was also an American. But she was interned in America, Letizia, during the second world war. Isn’t that terrible?”
“Betty, I never knew her personally. I have only seen her on a video, but what dignity in her face, and she speaks and moves so gracefully!”
“Fate could not change her”
“Yes, Betty, like the gingo-biloba tree in Hiroshima. It was the only tree that blossomed again after the atom bomb!”
The bill came and I paid at once. In America one is urged away from the table when one has finished eating. If one wants to go on chatting one has to order something else.
“That’s why all those people gossiping at the tables are so fat!” Betty remarks. “Haven’t you seen how many massively obese people walk around in the streets of America. Like dustbins that have never been emptied!” With this typically unsentimental remark Betty ended our conversation.
Ciao! I so enjoyed the talk; the humour, the irony and the empathy. I waved to her and now I too felt like moving! I take a lovely walk along the waterfront.
Now I am back in Heidelberg and when I think about how Betty’s “Princessin” left this world on September 5th and that in August I was speaking about her with Betty in Seattle I feel very sad. The readers who knew her well (we feel that every author and hero of a book is nearer to us than our fleeting neighbours next door) yes we, who thought of her as immortal, cannot believe that even she would die after 92 years. How unforeseen and unexpected that her death should come four days after her birthday on September 1th. On September 5th I was on my way to Turkey, once again in seventh heaven, looking back on the unforgettable days in Seattle. I was flying from west to east towards the rising sun.
Is this Mr. Tigerli?
info to: Sandra Lorinda Traci Petr Dana Jana Michaela Rebekah Swiss Charrd Tru John Darsie Darsie Toby Jeanine Carol Justin Lila Daniel Mo Nika Steve Neal Jitka Jitka Tami Pete Laurie Maia Nancy Kelly Pam Mary Jan and all our other friends
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