- The Washington Times - Monday, November 27, 2017

“She seriously looks like an angel.”

So said a youngster who visited first lady Melania Trump on Monday, the moment reported by NBC News as a beaming Mrs. Trump welcomed local school children for a first look at the sparkling, traditional Christmas decorations throughout the White House. There were cookies, hugs, arts and crafts, a 300-pound gingerbread White House, 53 Christmas trees, ballerinas and good will all around.

Things were not so harmonious at Vanity Fair, where a new, mostly anonymously sourced report published Monday that suggested Mrs. Trump never wanted the role as first lady, and that she and President Trump “live essentially separate lives.”

The White House offered an instant, succinct reaction.

“Once again part of the liberal media, this time Vanity Fair, has written a story riddled with unnamed sources and false assertions. As a magazine tailored to women it is shameful that they continue to write salacious and false stories meant to demean Mrs. Trump, rather than focus on her positive work as first lady as a supportive wife and mother. As has been stated on the record many times before, she is honored by her role,” Stephanie Grisham, director of communication for Mrs. Trump, said in a statement to CNN.

MCCAIN TO HILLARY: ‘MOVE ON’

Sen. John McCain has a forthcoming memoir titled “The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights” that begins with his rogue bid for the White House with running mate Sarah Palin in 2008. The Arizona Republican essentially waited an entire decade before revealing his experiences. So it’s understandable that he is critical of Hillary Clinton’s insta-memoir “What Happened,” published only months after she lost the 2016 election — and rife with finger-pointing.

“You can’t rewrite history. One of the almost irresistible impulses you have when you lose is to somehow justify why you lost and how you were mistreated. The hardest thing to do is to just shut up,” Mr. McCain told Esquire in an interview released Monday.

“What’s the [expletive] point? Keep the fight up? History will judge that campaign, and it’s always a period of time before they do. You’ve got to move on. This is Hillary’s problem right now: She doesn’t have anything to do,” Mr. McCain noted.

“Every losing candidate could come up with a list of excuses for blowing an election. What’s missing from Hillary’s list is the one factor that really matters: She was a terrible, terrible candidate. Most importantly, she didn’t work as hard as Donald Trump did. Trump’s campaign made significantly more stops in battleground states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin while Hillary coasted on her supposed inevitability,” writes HotAir columnist John Sexton. “So what is the point of blaming everything under the sun for her loss? There is one thing that could explain it (beyond the need to explain her failure): Maybe she is keeping her options open for 2020. Maybe she wants a rematch.”

SMARTER THAN SMARTPHONES

Yes, some people appear “addicted” to their smartphones. But never fear. Now there is the “Substitute Phone” from Austrian designer Klemen Schillinger, meant to provide therapeutic motions for those who can’t stop scrolling and swiping. No, really. The phone-like object is appropriately sized, with substitute features that mimic the smartphone experience.

“By replacing digital functions with the stone beads, Schillinger aims to create a set of therapeutic tools that can help frequent smartphone users cope with withdrawal symptoms, by providing physical stimulation as a substitute for phone usage,” writes Natashah Hitti, who writes for DeZeen, a design magazine based in London.

“One feels the urge to check their phone, even if you are not expecting a specific message or call. These observations inspired the idea of making a tool that would help stop this checking behavior,” Mr. Schillinger told the publication.

STILL TALLYING THE FARE

Judicial Watch continues to file Freedom of Information Act requests, seeking to obtain travel expense records accrued by former President Barack Obama during his time in office. The watchdog’s most recent request revealed that family vacations and fundraising trips in 2014 and 2016 were, well, costly.

“The total for Obama travel is $9,028,346.90 for this production of documents. Added to the previously released costs, the known total for travel expenses for the Obamas is now $114,691,322.17,” Judicial Watch stated, also noting that so far in office, President Trumptravel costs have reached $10 million.

PARSING POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

Weary of political correctness? On Tuesday the Cato Institute stages an intriguing discussion titled “Marxist origins of hate speech legislation and political correctness.”

“Throughout much of the Western world, free speech is under assault. From the Muhammad cartoon controversy in Denmark to student protests against speakers with unorthodox views on U.S. campuses, journalists, academics, and public figures must moderate their views or find themselves being prevented from speaking out,” note the organizers. “The spread of Marxist ideas, facilitated by the communist regimes during the Cold War and by postmodern scholarship, deserve at least part of the blame.”

On hand for insight: Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; Flemming Rose, senior fellow at the Cato Institute; and moderator Marian L. Tupy, a senior policy analyst for the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at Cato Institute. See the event streamed live at 4 p.m. ET, at Cato.org/live.

POLL DU JOUR

77 percent of Americans are worried they won’t save enough money for their retirement.

60 percent save for retirement through an IRA or 401(k), 40 percent through a personal savings account, 19 percent with stock market investments, 10 percent with savings bonds.

52 percent don’t “feel good” about the amount they save, 40 percent are comfortable with it.

31 percent cite “retirement” as a good reason to save money, 30 percent cite a vacation, 17 percent a car, 16 percent “nothing in particular,” 15 percent a smartphone or computer, 14 percent a new home, 11 percent college tuition, 10 percent “bucket list” experiences, 9 percent a child’s future, 5 percent a wedding.

Source: A YouGov Omni poll of 1,116 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 10-13 and released Monday.

Churlish remarks, reasonable facts to [email protected]

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