MAY 2016

RM_16_slide5.31 Rick MacLeish dies at 66. “In the first period of Game 6, which clinched the title, MacLeish controlled a face-off in the Bruins’ end, sliding the puck to a teammate, Andre Dupont, who let fly with a slap shot that MacLeish, skating across the goal mouth, deflected into the net with the heel of his stick. It was the only goal of the game and, as The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote after MacLeish’s death, “perhaps the most important one in franchise history.”
5.31 A study published by British researchers in the Journal of Epidemiology and CommunityHealth revealed having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half for the men, compared with those who had sex less than once a month. Experts have also found 30 minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more and having sex once or twice a week can improve levels of an antidy called immunoglobin A, which can prevent colds and infections.
5.31 Political scientist Julie Dolan quoted in Washington Post: “Clinton is the most experienced candidate in the field, but campaign rivals Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are leveling attacks against her that she’s not qualified for the job. In doing so, they’re playing into a long-standing narrative that women lack what it takes to succeed in the male-dominated world of politics. The fact that two less-experienced male candidates are leveling this attack against her is telling. Neither Trump nor Sanders feels compelled to shore up their own credentials or justify their own relative lack of experience because they don’t need to; they benefit from a gendered double standard where men are automatically presumed qualified for public office and women are not.
5. 31 Michael Gerson in the Washington Post: “Republicans are testing out a theory. “What Trump is doing,” argues Peter Wehner of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, “is exactly what Rush Limbaugh and others have been begging Republican presidential candidates to do — to run a brutal, scorched-earth, anything-goes campaign. They now have their man.” So, is the nation longing for more invective, more viciousness, more accusations of scandal and conspiracy? A strong plurality of voters in Republican primaries seemed to agree. We will now see how the national electorate responds. As a starting move, Trump has accused Bill Clinton of rape and intimated that the Clintons are guilty of murder. It is hard to imagine going lower from here, but Trump will surely manage. Some Republicans keep expecting Trump to finally remove the mask of misogyny, prejudice and cruelty and act in a more presidential manner. But it is not a mask. It is his true face. Good Republican leaders making the decision to support Trump will end up either humiliated by the association, or betrayed and attacked for criticizing the great leader. Trump leaves no other options.”
5.29 Brad Thor on the Glenn Beck Show: “I wasn’t worried about an authoritarian in Jeb Bush….The opposition to Trump is completely different… .Trump does not compromise. Trump has the ability to hire and fire people, to hire contractors, to fire contractors. People who work for Trump can work for him or stop working for him. If he gets into the White House, we have to deal with him. And I’ll tell you, one of the best examples I have seen of who Trump really is – I have been mistakenly comparing him to a potential Mussolini. And about a week ago, Foreign Affairs did an amazing article about the Caudillos, the strong men of Latin America. And that is who Trump is. He is a Chavez. He is a Peron. That is the type of guy he is and I guarantee you, Glenn, that during his presidency, during his reign if you will – he is going to petition the American people to allow a temporary suspension of the Constitution so he can help America get back on its feet again. He is a danger to America and I got to ask you a question. . . With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as President? If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that if, if, he oversteps his mandate as president, his constitutional-granted authority, I should say, as president.If he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? And I don’t think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office because you won’t be able to do it through Congress.”
5.29 Golfers in Palmetto, Florida, could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled off the course and into Jurassic Park at the weekend. While playing a typical Sunday game at Buffalo Creek Golf Course, Charles Helms was able to get a video of a monster 16 foot alligator casually strolling across the course.The dinosaur-like gator looked even bigger when another man came into the frame to take a picture – but apparently he is quite a regular sight in the area.
5.25 Trump criticizes Susana Maritinez, the Republican governor of New Mexico: “We have got to get your governor to get going. She’s got to do a better job. Okay? Your governor has got to do a better job. She’s not doing the job. Hey! Maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going. She’s not doing the job. We’ve got to get her moving. Come on: Let’s go, governor.”
5.25 The lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan against Gawker was bankrolled by Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal. Thiel has spent about $10 million.
gillian-bond-052416sp5.21 Gillian Anderson has been proposed to play James Bond
5.20 Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker: ““Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, / As, to be hated, needs but to be seen,” the poet Alexander Pope wrote, in lines that were once, as they said back in the day, imprinted on the mind of every schoolboy. Pope continued, “Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, / we first endure, then pity, then embrace.” The three-part process by which the gross becomes the taken for granted has been on matchlessly grim view this past week in the ascent of Donald Trump. First merely endured by those in the Republican Party, with pained grimaces and faint bleats of reluctance, bare toleration passed quickly over into blind, partisan allegiance—he’s going to be the nominee, after all, and so is our boy. Then a weird kind of pity arose, directed not so much at him (he supplies his own self-pity) as at his supporters, on the premise that their existence somehow makes him a champion for the dispossessed, although the evidence indicates that his followers are mostly stirred by familiar racial and cultural resentments, of which Trump has been a single-minded spokesperson. Now for the embrace. One by one, people who had not merely resisted him before but called him by his proper name—who, until a month ago, were determined to oppose a man they rightly described as a con artist and a pathological liar—are suddenly getting on board. Columnists and magazines that a month ago were saying #NeverTrump are now vibrating with the frisson of his audacity, fawning over him or at least thrilling to his rising poll numbers and telling one another, “We can control him.’ No, you can’t. One can argue about whether to call him a fascist or an authoritarian populist or a grotesque joke made in a nightmare shared between Philip K. Dick and Tom Wolfe, but under any label Trump is a declared enemy of the liberal constitutional order of the United States—the order that has made it, in fact, the great and plural country that it already is. He announces his enmity to America by word and action every day. It is articulated in his insistence on the rightness of torture and the acceptable murder of noncombatants. It is self-evident in the threats he makes daily to destroy his political enemies, made only worse by the frivolity and transience of the tone of those threats. He makes his enmity to American values clear when he suggests that the Presidency holds absolute power, through which he will be able to end opposition—whether by questioning the ownership of newspapers or talking about changing libel laws or threatening to take away F.C.C. licenses. To say “Well, he would not really have the power to accomplish that” is to misunderstand the nature of thin-skinned authoritarians in power. They do not arrive in office and discover, as constitutionalists do, that their capabilities are more limited than they imagined. They arrive, and then make their power as large as they can. And Trump announces his enmity in the choice of his companions. The Murdoch media conglomerate has been ordered to acquiesce; it’s no surprise that it has. But Trump’s other fellow-travellers include Roger Stone, the Republican political operative and dirty-tricks maven, while his venues have included the broadcasts of Alex Jones, a ranting conspiracy theorist who believes in a Globalist plot wherein “an alien force not of this world is attacking humanity”—not to mention Jones’s marketing of the theory that Michelle Obama is a transvestite who murdered Joan Rivers. These are not harmless oddballs Trump is flirting with. This is not the lunatic fringe. These are the lunatics. Ted Cruz called Trump a pathological liar, the kind who does not know the difference between lies and truth. Whatever the clinical diagnosis, we do appear to be getting, in place of the once famous Big Lie of the nineteen-thirties, a sordid blizzard of lies. The Big Lie was fit for a time of processionals and nighttime rallies, and films that featured them. The blizzard of lies is made for Twitter and the quick hit of an impulse culture. Trump’s lies arrive with such rapidity that before one can be refuted a new one comes to take its place. It wasn’t his voice on that tape of pitiful self-promotion. O.K., it was—but he never mocked the handicapped reporter, he was merely imitating an obsequious one. The media eventually moves on, shrugging helplessly, to the next lie. Then the next lie, and the next. If the lies are bizarre enough and frequent enough, they provoke little more than a nervous giggle and a cry of “Well, guess he’s changed the rules!” He’s not Hitler, as his wife recently said? Well, of course he isn’t. But then Hitler wasn’t Hitler—until he was. At each step of the way, the shock was tempered by acceptance. It depended on conservatives pretending he wasn’t so bad, compared with the Communists, while at the same time the militant left decided that their real enemies were the moderate leftists, who were really indistinguishable from the Nazis. The radical progressives decided that there was no difference between the democratic left and the totalitarian right and that an explosion of institutions was exactly the most thrilling thing imaginable. The American Republic stands threatened by the first overtly anti-democratic leader of a large party in its modern history—an authoritarian with no grasp of history, no impulse control, and no apparent barriers on his will to power. The right thing to do, for everyone who believes in liberal democracy, is to gather around and work to defeat him on Election Day. Instead, we seem to be either engaged in parochial feuding or caught by habits of tribal hatred so ingrained that they have become impossible to escape even at moments of maximum danger. Bernie Sanders wouldn’t mind bringing down the Democratic Party to prevent it from surrendering to corporate forces—and yet he may be increasing the possibility of rule-by-billionaire. There is a difference between major and minor issues, and between primary and secondary values. Many of us think that it would be terrible if the radical-revisionist reading of the Second Amendment created by the Heller decision eight years ago was kept in place in a constitutional court; many on the other side think it would be terrible if that other radical decision, Roe v. Wade, continued to be found to be compatible with the constitutional order. What we all should agree on is that the one thing worse would be to have no constitutional order left to argue about. If Trump came to power, there is a decent chance that the American experiment would be over. This is not a hyperbolic prediction; it is not a hysterical prediction; it is simply a candid reading of what history tells us happens in countries with leaders like Trump. Countries don’t really recover from being taken over by unstable authoritarian nationalists of any political bent, left or right—not by Peróns or Castros or Putins or Francos or Lenins or fill in the blanks. The nation may survive, but the wound to hope and order will never fully heal. Ask Argentinians or Chileans or Venezuelans or Russians or Italians—or Germans. The national psyche never gets over learning that its institutions are that fragile and their ability to resist a dictator that weak. If he can rout the Republican Party in a week by having effectively secured the nomination, ask yourself what Trump could do with the American government if he had a mandate. Before those famous schoolroom lines, Pope made another observation, which was that even as you recognize that the world is a mixed-up place, you still can’t fool yourself about the difference between the acceptable and the unacceptable: “Fools! who from hence into the notion fall / That vice or virtue there is none at all,” he wrote. “Is there no black or white? / Ask your own heart, and nothing is so plain; / ’Tis to mistake them, costs the time and pain.” The pain of not seeing that black is black soon enough will be ours, and the time to recognize this is now.”
5.20 Paul Krugman in the Times: “Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, who has already declared that he will, in fact, slash taxes on the rich, whatever he may have said in the recent past, once again declared his intention to do away with Dodd-Frank. . . . Just for the record, while Mr. Trump is sometimes described as a “populist,” almost every substantive policy he has announced would make the rich richer at workers’ expense.The other story was about a policy change achieved through executive action: The Obama administration issued new guidelines on overtime pay, which will benefit an estimated 12.5 million workers. What both stories tell us is that the Obama administration has done much more than most people realize to fight extreme economic inequality. That fight will continue if Hillary Clinton wins the election; it will go into sharp reverse if Mr. Trump wins. . . .The middle-class society that baby boomers like me grew up in didn’t happen by accident; it was created by the New Deal, which engineered what economists call the “Great Compression,” a sharp reduction in income gaps. On one side, pro-labor policies led to a striking expansion of unions, which, along with the establishment of a fairly high minimum wage, helped raise wages, especially at the bottom. On the other side, taxes on the wealthy went up sharply, while major programs like Social Security aided working families. . . .Obamacare provides aid and subsidies mainly to lower-income working Americans, and it pays for that aid partly with higher taxes at the top. That makes it an important redistributionist policy — the biggest such policy since the 1960s. And between those extra Obamacare taxes and the expiration of the high-end Bush tax cuts made possible by Mr. Obama’s re-election, the average federal tax rate on the top 1 percent has risen quite a lot. In fact, it’s roughly back to what it was in 1979, pre-Ronald Reagan, something nobody seems to know.’’
5.20 Chris Cilizza in the Washington Post: “ Seven in 10 voters believe Trump does not have the right temperament to be president, with just 27 percent saying he does. . . .It’s hard to see any candidate — Democrat or Republican, Donald Trump or not — winning a general election for the most powerful and visible job in the country if 7 in 10 voters don’t believe you have the temperament to be the nation’s chief executive.’’
5.19 Ed Rendell, in an interview in the Washington Post: “Will he have some appeal to working-class Dems in Levittown or Bristol? Sure,” Rendell said. “For every one he’ll lose, one-and-a-half, two Republican women. Trump’s comments like, ‘You can’t be a 10 if you’re flat-chested,’ that’ll come back to haunt him. There are probably more ugly women in America than attractive women. People take that stuff personally.”
5.19 Robert Kagan in the Washington Post: “ We’re supposed to believe that Trump’s support stems from economic stagnation or dislocation. Maybe some of it does. But what Trump offers his followers are not economic remedies — his proposals change daily. What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence. His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger. His public discourse consists of attacking or ridiculing a wide range of “others” — Muslims, Hispanics, women, Chinese, Mexicans, Europeans, Arabs, immigrants, refugees — whom he depicts either as threats or as objects of derision. His program, such as it is, consists chiefly of promises to get tough with foreigners and people of nonwhite complexion. He will deport them, bar them, get them to knuckle under, make them pay up or make them shut up. . . . This is how fascism comes to America, not with jackboots and salutes (although there have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac “tapping into” popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party — out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear — falling into line behind him.’’
IMG_06425.18 Molly graduates from Mercy College.
5.16 Brawl in Texas between Blue Jays’ bat-flipping Jose Bautista and Texas’s slugging Rougned Odor.
5.16 Richard Cohen in Washington Post: “Will Reince Priebus have his Don Draper moment? Draper, a smoker himself, finally renounced cigarettes — he would sell out no more. Will Priebus and others in the Republican Party do the same? Will they get a glance of themselves in the mirror and wonder out loud what they stand for and if they have any pride left? I doubt it. Donald Trump has blanched the Republican Party of its honor and has played his most fervent supporters for suckers. It’s as if he was put on Earth to make fools out of his fellow Republicans — and give Reince Priebus something to do on Sundays.’’
5.15 87 year-old bassist Jane Little, said to be the longest tenured orchestra musician in the world, died during the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s performance of “There’s No Business Like Show Business.’’
5.15 Woman in Boca Raton goes to hospital with shark attached to her arm.
5.13 Ralph Nader: “Trump’s questioned the trade agreements. He’s done some challenging of Wall Street – I don’t know how authentic that is. He said he’s against the carried interest racket, for hedge funds. He’s funded himself and therefore attacked special interest money, which is very important, but he’s lowered the level of political debate to unheard-of depths of salacious, slanderous and vacuousness, garnished with massive self-boosterism and repetition. And that’s not good, because that brought a lot of money into the media and that’s the kind of debates they’re going to want to goad.”
5.13 Captain America: Civil Wars. Pretty good!
5.9 Jennifer Rubin in the Post: “It is not simply that Trump lacks consistent conservative principles; rather, he lacks any principles whatsoever. Republicans who argue he has to be elected because the Supreme Court swing seat is at issue need to explain why they have the least bit of confidence in Trump’s pick. If he thought it would be to his advantage to nominate a liberal justice, he surely would. Moreover, he is unlikely to be able to discern the next David Souter from the next Antonin Scalia. Most horrifying for Republicans, Trump now declares the party does not have to be united. “Does the party have to be together? Does it have to be unified? I’m very different than everybody else — perhaps that’s ever run for office,” he said. “I actually don’t think so.”’
5.8 Robert Samuelson in the Post: “ What’s happening is the opposite of the credit boom that caused the financial crisis. Then, Americans skimped on saving and binged on borrowing. This stimulated the economy. Now, the reverse is happening. Americans are repaying old debt, avoiding new debt and saving more. Although consumer spending has hardly collapsed, it provides less stimulus than before. Consider the personal savings rate: the difference between Americans’ after-tax income and their spending. If a household has income of $50,000 and spends $45,000, its savings rate is 10 percent. Here areactual figures. From 1990 to 2005, the savings rate dropped from 7.8 percent to 2.6 percent. Since then, the savings rate has risen; it was 5.1 percent in 2015.’’

MAY 2016

5.7 Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, was elected Mayor of London, beating the son of Sir Jimmy Goldsmith
5.7 A passenger on a flight between Philadelphia and Syracuse reported her seat mate seemed suspicious and was writing in a foreign language. The man in question turned out to be Guido Menzio, a 40 year-old Ivy League economist from Italy who was working on a problem in differential calculus.
IMG_0418IMG_04195.7 Wedding reception for Ben and Lynne in Westerly RI
5.6 Barack Obama in The New York Times: I was having a conversation with a couple of actors who were insisting that what they do is different from what I do. No doubt, it’s different. But never underrate the power of stories. Lyndon Johnson got the Civil Rights Act done because of the stories he told and the ones [Martin Luther] King told. When L.B.J. says, “We shall overcome” in the chamber of the House of Representatives, he is telling the nation who we are. Culture is vital in shaping our politics. Part of what I’ve always been interested in as president, and what I will continue to be interested in as an ex-president, is telling better stories about how we can work together.’’

Jimmy Vielkind (@JimmyVielkind)
5/3/16, 3:07 PM
@grynbaum Cuomo’s speechwriter was the managing editor of Playboy

5.4 Jeffrey Blehar in the New York Post: “The seeds of this were sown long ago, when Cruz first arrived in the Senate. He rather infamously set about building his national profile among the conservative base by positioning himself as a scourge of the dreaded “Establishment.” Many, if not most, of his moves were acts of cynicism rather than principle: Cruz’s most famous gambit, the knowingly futile government shutdown he pushed in 2013 to “repeal ObamaCare,” was transparently designed to convince low-information Republican voters that he was Washington’s only “real conservative,” not like those lily-livered sellouts and compromisers he shared a party with. A presidential run was clearly part of the plan. Before Trump entered the race, Cruz expected to leverage his “outsider” credibility to pose as the Truest Conservative in the race and win enough of the GOP base to beat out an establishment figure like Jeb Bush. Once Trump got in and began dominating, however, Cruz fell back upon a simple assumption: The Establishment may not have loved him, but surely they would eventually fall in line behind him rather than back a vulgar know-nothing like Trump who promised down-ballot disaster in November. It was a grave miscalculation. Former Speaker John Boehner has happily labeled Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh.” Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) recently vowed he’d back Trump, but could never support Cruz, “a person of little character.” I’m pretty sure Long Island Congressman Pete King has said things about Cruz that aren’t printable on these pages. Other grandees of the Republican Party, from Bob Dole to Newt Gingrich, have said the same. Why? First, because Cruz forgot that the people he’d been savaging in his own party for attempting to keep the federal government running with a Democratic president and Senate were humans, not cardboard cutouts. Cruz assumed the establishment types he’d spent the last three years labeling liars, frauds and crypto-Democrats would turn around when faced with the choice between him and Trump and say “Ah, yes, strictly business, no hard feelings.” That’s not how people actually work. But there’s a second, more calculating reason they’d risk their congressional majority with Trump rather than patch things up with Cruz: They’re looking farther down the road than 2016. These people look at Trump — his cult of personality, his incredible ability to generate free media, his demagogic vulgarity — as an ephemeral, once-in-a-generation phenomenon, a “black swan” event. They suspect that, while Trump will lose and it will go hard for the Republican Party in the short run with his downfall, this is as survivable as the losses of 2006 and 2008 were. What is not survivable (for them, at least) is a Cruz victory in the primary. Because Cruz is not ephemeral — he will be in the Senate for as long as he wishes to be — and there are many out there who might seek to follow in his footsteps. If a man like Cruz can elevate himself to the Republican nomination (and maybe even the presidency) by sweeping into Washington and playing on the resentments of the base by cynically tearing his party and his colleagues down to raise his own profile, then it will happen again. It need hardly be said that this sort of behavior is the act of a feeble, corrupt party apparatus. Nobody would begrudge a senator or representative their disdain for Cruz’s behavior while in Congress, but sometimes principle requires people to make unpalatable choices. All those in Washington who feel insulted by Cruz and so have chosen to back Trump demonstrated that they value their pride even more than they value their power. Cruz badly misplayed his hand, and now party leaders are courting their destruction by embracing Trump. All to ensure the “Cruz strategy” serves as a warning to those upstarts who would consider following in his path
5.3 Forgive the self-congratulations, but since my predictions seldom come true, I want to repeat one that did. From Facebook on June 18, 2015:

Jamie Malanowski
June 18, 2015 ·
I believe Donald Trump is going to do very well in the campaign, and might even win the nomination. He is blunt and often entertaining; he says things that people are thinking; he passes for glamorous in flyover country; he has money. He has a larger personality than half of them; he is not going to sound so outrageous in their company. And he will wear the media’s scorn like a medal. Are the Vegas casinos still offering 40:1 and 75:1 odds? I’d take those odds.

5.3 Cruz and Kasich suspend their campaigns after Trump wins the Indiana primary, leaving Trump a clear avenue to the GOP nomination.
5.2 Cruz: “I’m going to do something I haven’t done for the entire campaign,” he said. “I’m going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump.” He proceeded to called Trump “a pathological liar,” “utterly amoral,” and “a narcissist.”
5.2 Hunter Osborn, a 19 year-old Mesa AZ nigh school student, faces at least 69 counts of indecent exposure and at least one count of furnishing harmful material to a minor, a class 4 felong, because he exposed the top of his penis above the waistband of his pants in the team photo of his yearbook.
5.2 Chris Cilliza in the Washington Post: here’s the underlying math. If Clinton wins the 19 states (and D.C.) that every Democratic nominee has won from 1992 to 2012, she has 242 electoral votes. Add Florida’s 29 and you get 271. Game over. The Republican map — whether with Trump, Cruz or the ideal Republican nominee (Paul Ryan?) as the standard-bearer — is decidedly less friendly. There are 13 states that have gone for the GOP presidential nominee in each of the last six elections. But they only total 102 electorate votes. That means the eventual nominee has to find, at least, 168 more electoral votes to get to 270. Which is a hell of a lot harder than finding 28 electoral votes.