Viewers of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC know that generally she begins he first segment with a 20 minute segment that meanders though a story that initially doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere significant. Last night was no different.
In honor of Rachel I will begin this story with a peripherally related introduction the same way, though I won’t drag it out.
Last night my friend and I went to dinner at our favorite little Mexican restaurant, Cha! Cha! Cha! which is in nearby Milwaukie (with an -ie) outside of Portland, Oregon. I had the Molcajete: Grilled Steak / Sausage / Bell Peppers / Onions / Melted Jack & Shredded Cheese / Fresh Guacamole / Chipotle Crema / and Three Sisters Corn Tortillas: delicious. She had the Wholesome Bowl of kale, black beans, and other healthy veggies which I try to avoid. I had a Corona and she had a margarita.
The week-long celebration of The Day of the Dead had ended but they still had their decorations displayed on a table with colorful skeletons and skulls. After diner we came back to my house to watch The Rachel Maddow Show.
We couldn’t have anticipated that references to the stench of death would come up several times in Rachel’s opening segment, but it did.
Rachel’s story began with a description of a train full raw supposedly non-odorous treated sewage, what she then called poop for the rest of the segment, loaded on what she also called the “poop train” as the segment continued. Boxcars of poop, she said, had been shipped from either New York or New Jersey and it ended up stopping in various towns in Alabama. In each town the residents and officials complained mightily that the train emanated such an odious smell that people said that it was as if someone had died and their body was rotting. The train smelled like death.
After five minutes, as usually happens, we were wondering “where is Rachel going with this?” My guess was that the story had to have something to do with the Trump administration.
As the story unfolded Rachel described how the “poop train” was forced by officials to move from one town to another as it made its way south to Birmingham.
My impression was that she took delight in saying poop again and again. She must have said it about a dozen times. She resisted implying directly that she could have noted that the poop train stirred up the kind of storm often referred to by using a term she wasn’t allowed to say on television. The closest she got to saying “shit” was saying that “the claim that the treated sewage wouldn’t stink was a load of — umm — claptrap.”
Eventually she got to the point and, as I predicted, it did have everything to do with the Trump administration. It turned out that the man responsible for the poop train, Trey Glenn, was an individual who also ended up embroiled in several ethics scandals and is the current subject of new indictments, eventually was appointed as head of the southeastern branch of the Environment Protection Agency, the largest geographical area covered by an EPA office. Rachel noted the headline in the Alabama media that his appointment to the national EPA was downright Orwellian.
There had to be more to the story than merely one comparatively minor incompetent and ethically challenged individual being hired to run a federal agency that is tasked with a job that they have been proved to be incapable of doing. After all, this is par for the course in the Trump administration.
Trey Glenn, the said regional EPA administrator, was just indicted in state court in Alabama for violating state ethics laws when he was in charge of the state environment agency. Rachel went on and on, dragging out the segment longer than absolutely necessary as usual, to list all the Trump appointees who have been investigated for ethics violations, fired, or were about to be fired.
Jeff Sessions finally comes up in the last minute of this 20 minute segment. However, you won’t find out how and why until the next segment. It has to do with the new Maryland State case challenging the legality of Matt Whitaker being the acting attorney general, a State case involving Jeff Sessions.
You can watch the entire Rachel Maddow segment, “Stench of EPA officials indictment scandal reached Jeff Sessions” here.