Here we are, over a week beyond the election that swept Republican candidates for the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, Governor and state house and state senate seats into office.
The Hits Just Keep on Coming
Both the House and Senate are back in town here in Our Nation's Capital; the members of the 114th Congress are still in their seats and offices but the staffs of the losers are alternating between packing boxes with their boss' papers and calling friends to see if they know of any jobs - on or off The Hill.
The incoming freshmen can't vote, but they have begun the orientation sessions that will help them get off to a good start ("How to Hire a Staff") and stay out of ethics trouble ("What the Government Will and Won't Pay For").
Meanwhile, at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, it is business as usual in the White House.
Which is to say, the bad news just keeps on coming.
While President Obama was in China chatting up Russian President Vladimir Putin, Putin was rolling heavy armor - tanks and big guns - across the border into eastern Ukraine.
The New York Times' David Herszenhorn reported:
"A senior NATO official confirmed [that] Russian troops and military equipment are crossing the border into Ukraine, seemingly preparing for renewed military action, though what exactly remains unclear."
Speaking of China, President Obama issued a statement while he was there demanding that the Internet be reclassified as a utility - like the electric companies - by the FCC.
Tom Wheeler, the FCC Chair reminded the President that he was happy to have the President's input and all but, according to the Washington Post:
"Huddled in an FCC conference room Monday with officials from major Web companies, including Google, Yahoo and Etsy, agency Chairman Tom Wheeler said he as preferred a more nuanced solution. 'I am an independent agency,' Wheeler told them repeatedly, according to several officials."
That's the kind of thing that happens when a President is sitting at about 42 percent in the public polls and is coming off the worst drubbing in many a year.
If Obama were at 60 percent approval and had more-or-less held his own on November 4, Wheeler might have been a bit more circumspect before publicly chiding the President.
The only U.S. Senate race still outstanding (now that Alaska has dropped into the R column) is Louisiana where incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy will face each other in a run-off election on December 6.
Landrieu is currently Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and took to the Senate floor yesterday - a floor still controlled by Harry Reid (D-Nev) - to push for immediate passage of a bill to authorize the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
This, it is believed, will help her in the energy-conscious Pelican State.
Not to be outdone, the Republican-led U.S. House announced that it will vote on a similar bill next Tuesday introduced by … Bill Cassidy. Not only that, but incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that if Congressman Cassidy wins the runoff (which most observers think will be the case) and becomes Senator Cassidy he will get a seat on that same Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Except Cassidy would sit with the majority on that committee, Landrieu would be on the minority side.
The interesting part of this Keystone pipeline maneuvering was, as Susan Davis wrote in USA Today:
"The Democratic rallying behind the pipeline came a day after the Obama administration announced a sweeping bilateral deal with China to reduce carbon emissions."
President Obama is known to chew Nicorette gum to avoid (or at least reduce) smoking cigarettes.
He was spotted stepping from his limousine, arriving at an official event in China snapping and crackling - OK energetically chewing - gum.
This was seen by the Chinese press as the height of barbarism. USA Today reported
"Chinese Internet users, accustomed to the highly formal standards of their stiff party leadership, quickly characterized the leader of the world's most powerful nation as an impolite 'idler,' or careless 'rapper.'
Never one to fear jumping on a potential international incident, I Tweeted:
"Good thing he wasn't in Singapore. He'd have been caned."
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to all the stories above - Ukraine, FCC, Keystone and … Gum Gate.
Also a surprising (to me) Mullfoto about an office I didn't even know existed.