Jan 132016

As soon as Gretchen and I arrived at the office on Monday, she began receiving requests for a telephone consultation. “It’s some woman claiming to represent the Ted Cruz presidential campaign,” Gretchen explained, “who says her name is Ellen White.” “Would that by any chance be Ellen Gould White?” I asked. “Let me check,” Gretchen answered. “Yeah, she says that’s her all right.” “Okay,” I replied, “in that case, book her a free telephone consultation in the first available slot today.” “That Chinese capital markets expert from the World Bank scheduled to start ten minutes from now just canceled,” she informed me. “His secretary called and said he’s ‘not feeling well enough’ to come in and meet with you today. […]

Jan 052016

Like most other federal facilities that aren’t directly concerned with law enforcement or national defense, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a vast tract of land near the town of Burns in eastern Oregon, was closed on Saturday, January 2, 2016 in observance of the New Year holiday weekend. There’s an administration center there, consisting of several rustic stone and wood frame buildings set in an otherwise deserted, essentially uninhabited, high Western plains landscape. Under cover of darkness that night, a group of individuals, some of whom, at least, were armed, occupied those buildings, subsequently notifying whoever would listen that they comprise a militia with serious issues regarding the relationship between the citizens of the United States of America and its […]

Dec 292015

Monday morning, Dr. Telhas T’zee Yasharmouta al-Feekah, Chief Policy Attaché Without Portfolio at the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq, arrived at my office for a consultation. The discussion scheduled was supposed to be about restructuring Iraqi petroleum policy, but as he morosely settled into the tastefully upholstered chair in front of my desk, it was glaringly apparent he had something else much more pressing on his mind. “In two hours,” he informed me, “my government will announce that our forces have captured Ramadi.” “Gee whiz, your Excellency,” I observed, “you certainly don’t seem to be very happy about it.” “I’m not,” he sadly confessed while slowly shaking his head. “My goodness,” I pressed. “In a situation such as this, […]

Dec 212015

Starting Wednesday afternoon and continuing into Thursday, Austin Houston Crockett Bowie Bonham III called my office a total of eleven times, requesting that Gretchen schedule an emergency telephone consultation with me as soon as possible. Actually, “requested” and “as soon as possible” put it rather mildly – as regular readers of this Web log know, Austin is from Texas, wealthy, and accustomed to having his way. “That [expletive] cowboy is driving me nuts,” she complained. “Can’t we bump somebody or work late or something, please?” The compromise arrived at was to start business early on Friday; 6:00 AM, to be precise. Since Austin was calling from Texas, which is in the Central Time Zone, of course, that meant he had […]

Dec 092015

As luck would have it, Monday was the regularly scheduled bimonthly consultation for Max Slaughter, Chief Policy Analyst for the American Firearms, Ammunition and Tactical Weaponry Manufacturing Association, an industry lobbying group here in Washington DC. He’s always rather upbeat and optimistic, but on this particular morning, he was verging on the positively ebullient. “Excellent week for the industry,” he chortled as he sidled into my office, tossed his Gucci briefcase on the 1924 art deco coffee table and nestled into the buttery soft lamb skin leather of the couch in front of the picture window overlooking the White House. “Every time there’s a mass shooting, sales go up, of course, but this San Bernardino thing has made the market […]