1. A Pew Research Center survey in 37 nations asked about U.S. favorability. They found that our national reputation rating has dropped from 64% at the end of Obama's administration to 49% in these early days of the Trump administration. Among Mexicans we've slid from 66% to 30%; in Canada, from 65% to 43%; in Germany, from 57% to 35%.
When asked specifically about favorables for Trump himself, they found only 22% who had confidence that he would do the right thing in world affairs, compared to 64% for Obama and 42% for Angela Merkel.
Trump's lowest personal ratings were in Mexico and Spain, with 7% each. His highest ratings were Russia's 53% and Israel's 56%. Overall, 75% of respondents described Trump as "arrogant," 65% called him "intolerant," and 62% said he was "dangerous." However, 55% still called him a "strong leader."
2. News analysts seemed aghast that the FBI had spent 10 hours, spread over 5 meetings, interviewing former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. Reporters claimed this was the most extensive questioning of anyone associated with the Trump campaign concerning a Russian connection. Page denied any wrong doing or that he was a go-between for the campaign.
My reaction to the lengthy interviews was to chuckle. I've seen several frustrating attempts by MSNBC host Chris Hayes trying to get Carter Page to answer one simple question with a plain answer. This man has perfected the art of obfuscation, non-answers, and endless qualifications. "I will only say that, if I ever did meet with [X person] it would not have occurred anywhere except in Cleveland, perhaps, if I did. But I'm not saying I did." So I'm not surprised they went round and round for 10 hours. I'm betting that he never gave a simple, straight answer to one single question. And all the while, he has a smirk on his face. The whole thing adds up to the impression that he's guilty, even if he's not.
3. What a big deal they're making of the fact that Amazon is going to buy Whole Foods -- and apply Amazon's vaunted delivery service to the grocery buying process. Something new!!! The way of the future!!!
Heck, we did this 70 years ago in my father's small grocery store in the small town I grew up in. We had what would now be one antique telephone -- the kind that had a small round base, with a 12 inch upright post with the mouthpiece atop it. The receiver was a separate piece that you held up to your ear, connected to the base by a wire. You pick up the receiver, wait for "Central" (the operator) to ask "Number, please?" Then she plugs in your line to the switchboard's slot for the number you want to call. Telephone numbers at that time, in small towns, were two digits, sometimes three. I still remember my grandparents' number: 49.
Ladies would call in their grocery orders. We would fill them, and then a young delivery boy would get on one of two bicycles we owned, put the sacks of groceries in the extra large basket over the front wheel, and pedal over to Mrs. So and So's back door, go in and put the bags down on her kitchen table.
When I got old enough to handle the big bikes, I did deliveries myself on Saturdays and summer time. I liked it, because it got me outside, instead of the confines of the small store. The only problem was having to deliver to Mrs. Woodall. First, she served midday dinner for paying guests; so her orders were extra large. But the worst thing was that she had a big dog who always growled menacingly at me, as I raced through the backyard loaded down with big sacks of groceries, hoping Rufus didn't break his leash and bite me. The concept of tipping hadn't yet caught on in Sandersville in the 1940's. It was just part of the service we provided.
Who knew that some day, delivering groceries would be the biggest business news story of the day in the New York Times? Of course, ours was not quite the high tech system Amazon will devise, with apps, smart phones, automated filling of orders and drone deliveries. Now there's a good title: "Replaced by a Drone."