John Kelly boasts about firing Rex Tillerson while he was the toilet

Meet John Kelly, the White House's "adult in the room":

Reporters gathered at the White House on Friday were stunned when Chief of Staff John Kelly shared a very embarrassing story about outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Kelly recounted a very awkward conversation with Tillerson during which he informed the secretary that President Donald Trump would very likely soon fire him. ... Tillerson, Kelly told the room, was suffering from a stomach bug during a diplomatic swing through Africa, and was using a toilet when Kelly broke the news to him.

Sources were stunned that, even in an off-record setting, Kelly would say this—to a room filled with White House officials and political reporters—about Tillerson, who does not officially leave the State Department until the end of the month.

The idea that John Kelly is the "grown-up" is one of the saddest lies the press tells itself about Trump's White House. Kelly is a stone-faced moron in public and an adolescent boy in private, a Jessup-esque archetype of the military lifer made real. A perfect fit for Trump, not a foil.

Ireland lost a musical giant this week

Irish music lost one of its legends this week, with the passing of Liam O'Flynn.

A player of the Uilleann pipes, O'Flynn, or as he was known by the Gaeilge iteration of his name, Liam Óg Ó Floinn, was born in 1945 to a family of musicians. In his youth, his piping earned him prizes at county and national levels, but it wasn't until he was in his thirties that he really hit his stride. As one of the founding members of Irish trad super group Planxty, O'Flynn helped to breathe new life to traditional Irish music by showing that it could be every bit as exciting and full of life as rock and roll. Without Planxty, there may not have been a Dexy's Midnight Runners; No Waterboys, Pogues, or Dropkick Murphys. We'd all be poorer for it. Plantxy's music left me with the impression, as a kid, that the tunes I played on the instruments I grew up with were cool. I had the privilege of meeting Mr. O'Flynn at a musical festival I was covering for a magazine back in the 1990s. He was pleasant and seemed genuinely pleased to make my acquaintance. The encounter left me feeling giddy for days afterwards.

One of my favorite songs by Planxty, Raggle Taggle Gypsy, has a tune lashed on to the end of it called Tabhair dom do laimh, which roughly translates as Give Me Your Hand. O'Flynn's rendition of the tune has been one of my happy places for decades. The Uilleann pipes are a difficult instrument to play competently. When he's in charge of the bellows, the music that comes out is emotional, and as full of love as the tune's title.

It makes me sad that the world has to go on without him, but I've his music as consolation.

Journalist charged with Criminal Harassment for attempting to set up an interview

Two of the largest parts of a journalist's job are waiting and making phone calls. When you're waiting, it's likely for someone to return a call. When you're making a phone call, it's likely to set up an interview, or interview someone over the phone, Skype or whatever.

Antoine Trépanier is a reporter for Radio-Canada: it's the French language farm of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation. Think PBS, only Beyond the Wall. Recently Trépanier was covering a story about a manager from a high-profile NPO falsely representing herself as a lawyer. Just another day in the dry-as-a-popcorn-fart world of public broadcasting. He called this individual, Yvonne Dubé, the executive director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter in Gatineau, Quebec, to see if she'd be interested in sitting for an interview. She was down with the idea, or so it seemed. She cancelled the interview at the last moment. Trépanier emailed her, explaining that Radio Canada was going to run the story on his investigation. He wanted her to have the opportunity to comment on the allegations being leveled against her.

The next day, the Gatineau police dropped by to arrest Trépanier for criminal harassment.

According to the CBC, The Crown (our Queen-loving version of a district attorney) hasn't decided whether the charges will make it into court. The story of Trépanier's arrest touches on the topic of where the right of a journalist to contact a source ends and the rights of a source begin. It's an important issue: How much does the public's right to know about a topic that could effect their lives matter versus an individual's right to privacy? Should the rules for this be different if the individual in question holds no public office? Where are the lines drawn? A great American example of this issue can be found in whether American citizens have the right to see President Trump's tax returns from before he took office.

As a tech journalist, I don't have to worry too often about pissing in someone's cornflakes. More often than not, companies want to talk to me and show me all of their new toys. I've always felt that journalists reporting on hard news do a more important job than I do. That what they uncover matters more than my telling you whether a smartphone sucks or not. It's my feeling that they deserve the highest levels of access possible, where the public trust is concerned.

What's your take on it?

Image: Evan-Amos - Own work, Public Domain, Link

Terry Gilliam: women "knew what they were doing" with Harvey Weinstein

Looks like Terry Gilliam is one of those guys: “Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey — that’s the price you pay.”

In a an interview with AFP on Friday, the filmmaker, a member of the comedy group Monty Python, specifically went after Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims, and said, “Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey — that’s the price you pay.”

“It is a world of victims. I think some people did very well out of meeting with Harvey and others didn’t,” he added. “The ones who did, knew what they were doing. These are adults; we are talking about adults with a lot of ambition.” Gilliam also claimed that some of the women didn’t actually suffer, but used Weinstein to further their careers, and that he knew women who walked out of meetings with the mogul before getting sexually abused.

Has a Gilliam film ever had a woman lead? Hell, has one ever had a woman in it?

Photo: Vegafi (CC-BY-SA)

Donald Trump Jr.’s wife Vanessa filed for divorce

Vanessa Trump once told The New York Times that Donald Trump introduced her to Donald Trump Jr. (one of Trump's dumb and dumber boys) during a fashion show in 2003. They chatted during a break at the show. Five minutes later Trump introduced his son to her again, as if the first time had never happened. When she ran into Junior six weeks later, she said they talked for an hour before she realized who he was, and then blurted out, Hey, "you're the one with the retarded dad!"

Yep, she had that one right, and the apple obviously didn't fall far.

But Vanessa didn't connect the dots, and married Junior in 2005. After 13 years and five children, however, she finally got the picture and filed for divorce.

According to Business Insider:

Just Wednesday, the New York Post reported that the Trumps, who have five young children, were on the rocks. Vanessa, 40, has now filed for divorce, per New York court records. But signs of the couple’s separation had long been speculated about — Don Jr., 39, a prolific user of social media, had lately been posting pictures of family life in which his wife was notably absent.

Fueling speculation about a rift, Vanessa had also been a no-show to her father-in-law’s State of the Union address, an occasion that drew Trump Jr.’s younger brother Eric, and his wife, Lara, as well as their half sister, Tiffany Trump. In a video posted to Instagram stories, the siblings and their spouses — sans Vanessa — gathered at the Kalorama home of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner before heading to the Capitol to listen to their father’s speech.

Alright Melania. Your turn.

Image: DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos -, Public Domain, Link

Surgical resident judges the accuracy of medical scenes from film and TV

In this Wired video, Columbia University general surgery resident Annie Onishi watches ER and operating room scenes from some film and TV scenes, including Uma Thurman's adrenaline-to-the-heart one in Pulp Fiction, and gives her professional opinion on their accuracy. Although it's 20 minutes long, it's entertaining, so give it a watch... STAT.

Wired notes:

Correction: We misidentified the type of worm in the Grey's Anatomy episode at 5:23! It was actually Ascaris lumbricoides,not Strongyloides

Previously: Doctors diagnose the bad guys' injuries in 'Home Alone'