2.28 The Beast from the East: Snow storms from Siberia blasted Britain and Ireland on Thursday with the worst weather since 1991
2.28 Quartz: Rhesus macaques prefer evocative imagery in advertising, preferably featuring female macaque backsides or dominant males.
2.28 President Trump: “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”
2.27 Hope Hicks tells Congress that she tells `little white lies’ for Trump
2.26 Daily Kos: “The intensity of feeling is hardening against the president. The percentage who “strongly disapprove” of him is more than double the percentage who “strongly approve,” 39% compared with 16%.
2.26 Daily Kos: By almost 2-1, 61%-33%, they say tightening gun-control laws and background checks would prevent more mass shootings in the United States. By more than 2-1, 63%-29%, they say semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15, used by the Florida shooter, should be banned. By more than 6-1, 76%-12%, they say people who have been treated for mental illness should be banned from owning a firearm.
2.25 Anne Applebaumin the Washington Post: “Enrage the base. Use violent language. Create fear and anxiety. Talk the country down, tell everybody that things are getting worse. Promote division — sort Americans into “us” and “them,” in speech and online. Undermine democracy itself: Hint heavily that the vote is rigged, that the system is broken, that the nation’s ideals are trash. Engage in voter suppression, too: Discourage potential opponents from going to the polls at all. Imply that your rivals are crooks or thieves, and lie about their records. These were the tactics used by the Russian “Internet Research Agency” during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, brilliantly exposed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s indictment. . . . . There’s only one thing we’ve forgotten: These were the same tactics used by Donald Trump himself.”
2.26 Donald Trump: “”I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon.”
2.25 Cynthia Heimel, author of Sex Tips for Girls, dies at 70. “A sense of humor isn’t everything. It’s only 90 percent of everything.”
2.24 Quartz: $105,000 is the point at which greater household income in the US is not associated with greater happiness. The technical term for this cutoff is the income “satiation point.”
2.24 Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel: “Instead of rushing in, several Broward sheriff’s deputies waited outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while a killer gunned down schoolchildren, according to other officers on the scene.”
2.24 Miami Herald: “Despite … dire warnings and the FBI’s awareness of a September 2017 tip … labeling Cruz as a potential ‘school shooter,’ … the [FBI] call center intake specialist and a supervisor decided not to take further investigative action, … according to … Republican Sen. Charles Grassley,” chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating.
2.24 Fig and Olive with Paul and Anne and Ginny
2.24 The US men’s curling team beat Sweden and captured Olympic gold for the first time in history on Saturday – and then was awarded the wrong set of medals. Four of those five US curlers were given medals meant for the winners of the women’s competition.
2.23 Trump reads `The Snake’ at PAC. “ ‘Oh, shut up, silly woman!’ said the reptile with a grin. ‘You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in,’ ” Trump will say, his voice often rising to a growl. The lyrics were written in the 1960s by Oscar Brown Jr., an outspoken singer, songwriter, social activist and former Communist Party member from Chicago.
2.22 Shepard Smith on Fox News: White House senior aide Jared Kushner’s multiple omissions on required financial disclosure forms for his security clearance would “be a crime, punishable by prison” for other people. “Apparently not in this case.”
2.22 Daily Kos: Samantha Fuentes, who was shot in both legs during the Parkland assault, said she had felt no reassurance during a phone call from the president to her hospital room last week. “He said he heard that I was a big fan of his, and then he said, ‘I’m a big fan of yours too.’ I’m pretty sure he made that up,” she said in an interview after being discharged from the hospital. “Talking to the president, I’ve never been so unimpressed by a person in my life.He didn’t make me feel better in the slightest.” Ms. Fuentes, who was left with a piece of shrapnel lodged behind her right eye, said Mr. Trump had called the gunman a “sick puppy” and said “‘oh boy, oh boy, oh boy,’ like, seven times.”
2.22 Fareed Zakaria: “In just one year in office, Trump has already done damage. Besides denigrating critical media outlets and lauding friendly ones, he has threatened to strengthen libel laws, strip network licenses and tax the owner of a particular newspaper. His administration has blocked the merger of a news organization he considers biased, while facilitating the merger of an organization with more favorable coverage. “An institution,” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “is the lengthened shadow of one man.” Institutions are collections of rules and norms agreed upon by human beings. If leaders attack, denigrate and abuse them, they will be weakened, and this, in turn, will weaken the character and quality of democracy. The American system is stronger than most, but it is not immune to these forces of democratic decay.”
2.21 The US Women’s Hockey Team beats Canada in a shootout, wins the gold medal
2.21 U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney: “Yeah, well, obviously there is a lot of politics in it, and it’s interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats, but the media doesn’t talk about that either.”
2.20 David Hogg, 17-year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior, to CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “I am not a crisis actor. I’m somebody that had to witness this and live through this and I continue to have to do that. The fact that some of the students at Stoneman Douglas high school … are showing more maturity and political action than many of our elected officials is a testament to how disgusting and broken our political system is right now in America. But we’re trying to fix that.””
2.20 Philip Bump in the Post: “We’re just four presidential lives away from the Founding Fathers. John Adams — or Thomas Jefferson, if you want to talk about an author of the Declaration of Independence — was alive at the same time as Andrew Johnson. Johnson was alive at the same time as Herbert Hoover. Hoover was still alive when Trump was born. But as a commenter noted after that original article, we can collapse American history even further. When the Constitution was ratified in 1788, Martin Van Buren was 6 years old. He died when William Howard Taft was 4. Taft died when George H.W. Bush was 6.”
2.20 Trump orders Sessions to draw up regulations banning bump stocks
2.20 Thomas L. Friedman in the Times: “Our democracy is in serious danger. President Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy. That is, either Trump’s real estate empire has taken large amounts of money from shady oligarchs linked to the Kremlin — so much that they literally own him; or rumors are true that he engaged in sexual misbehavior while he was in Moscow running the Miss Universe contest, which Russian intelligence has on tape and he doesn’t want released; or Trump actually believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when he says he is innocent of intervening in our elections — over the explicit findings of Trump’s own C.I.A., N.S.A. and F.B.I. chiefs.In sum, Trump is either hiding something so threatening to himself, or he’s criminally incompetent to be commander in chief. . . .Up to now, Trump has been flouting the norms of the presidency. Now Trump’s behavior amounts to a refusal to carry out his oath of office — to protect and defend the Constitution. Here’s an imperfect but close analogy: It’s as if George W. Bush had said after 9/11: “No big deal. I am going golfing over the weekend in Florida and blogging about how it’s all the Democrats’ fault — no need to hold a National Security Council meeting.”. . . It is so obvious what Trump is up to: Again, he is either a total sucker for Putin or, more likely, he is hiding something that he knows the Russians have on him, and he knows that the longer Mueller’s investigation goes on, the more likely he will be to find and expose it. . . . That must not be tolerated. This is code red. The biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office.
2.20 Andrew Ross Sorkin in the Times: “What if the finance industry — credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express; credit card processors like First Data; and banks like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo — were to effectively set new rules for the sales of guns in America?”
2.19 Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir not only won the gold in ice dancing, but broke the world record in total points.
2.19 Philip Rucker in the Post: “For everyone, [the Florid school shooting] was a distraction or a reprieve,” said the White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reflect internal conversations. “A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled.”
2.19 Eugene Robinson in the Post: “Late Saturday night, well past his usual bedtime, Trump was wide-awake and still tweeting: “The only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!” Stop laughing, Vladimir Putin. You’ll hurt yourself.”
2.18 Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post: “For whatever reason, Trump is unwilling to accept the reality of what happened in 2016 and, more alarming, unwilling to do his duty to seek to prevent it from happening again. We are at war with an enemy plotting to undermine our democracy, and our supposed leader, far from working to halt this, seems determined to ignore it. Where is Trump’s outrage now that the evidence against Russia is public, not that he needed to wait for that? It is invisible.”
2.17 After dinner at Rye House in Port Chester, saw Black Panther with Ginny, Molly Cara and Shawn.
2.16 Quinta Jurecic in the Washington Post: “Trump is presiding over a great destabilization in American life, and his attacks on institutions are a key aspect of this uprooting. He appoints Cabinet secretaries whose main goal seems to be destroying their own agencies, and he directs bile toward institutions personally. He began his presidency in a battle with the intelligence agencies, mocking their report on Russian election interference and comparing them to officials in “Nazi Germany.” He has since moved on to attacking the FBI and the Justice Department for failing to display adequate loyalty. He regularly complains about the civil service, saying he is being thwarted by a malignant “deep state.” He dubbed a federal judge who ruled against his immigration ban a “so-called judge” and accused the courts of putting the country in “peril.” He suggested that the news media is the “enemy of the American people.” With each new outrage, Trump smashes assumptions about the things a president would never do or say. Nonpartisan norms we thought we could depend on, such as the independence of the Justice Department and the importance of a free press, appear under threat.”
2.16 LeBron James: “When I was growing up, there were, like, three jobs that you looked to for inspiration, or you felt like these were the people that could give me life. It was the president of the United States, it was whoever was the best in sports, and then it was like the greatest musician at the time. You never thought you could be them, but you could grab inspiration from them. If there was a neighborhood African American cop, and he was cool as hell coming around, I felt like I could be him. I never felt like I could be the president of the United States, but I grabbed inspiration from that. At this time right now, with the president of the United States, it’s at a bad time, and while we cannot change what comes out of that man’s mouth, we can continue to alert the people that watch us, that listen to us, that this is not the way.” Kevin Durant in response: “What’s going on in our country, it’s all about leadership, and I learned that playing basketball — I learned a lot of life skills from playing basketball. You need to empower people, you need to encourage people, and that’s what builds a great team. And I feel like our team, as a country, is not run by a great coach.” James: “It’s not even a surprise when he says something. It’s laughable.”
2.16 Max Boot in the Washington Post: “Politicians, primarily but not exclusively Republicans, are turning their idolatrous worship of the Second Amendment into a suicide pact. If the United States had been under assault from Muslim terrorists, they would have acted long ago. But apparently homegrown mass murderers are of scant concern even though they kill far more people than terrorists do.”
2.16 James Hohmann in the Washington Post: “Donald Trump could have gotten his border wall. Democrats were willing to cave on that in exchange for saving the “dreamers.” That would have fulfilled the president’s single biggest campaign promise, and he might have taken a triumphant victory lap. But Trump moved the goal posts, demanded dramatic reductions in legal immigration and then mobilized to kill a bipartisan compromise that would have given him much of what – until very recently – he said he wanted. The White House demanded all or nothing. For now, he gets nothing. Savvy insiders from both parties who have worked on this issue for years were taken aback by Trump’s rejection of the deal brokered by Sens. Susan Collins and Mike Rounds, which Democratic leader Chuck Schumer pushed many members of his caucus to back against their will. Then, in a stinging rebuke, only 39 senators voted for Trump’s four-prong immigration framework. He needed 60. The president’s refusal to accept a meaningful victory, because he wanted a bigger one, is just the latest illustration of the degree to which he has fallen under the thrall of his most rigidly ideological advisers. From entitlements to infrastructure and even Russia, Trump has moved toward the hardliners who work for him this week. After Trump purged and then disavowed Steve Bannon, the conventional wisdom on the D.C. cocktail party circuit was that the president would probably move more toward the GOP establishment and perhaps even moderate. That was always wishful thinking on their part. This week has shown it was wrong.”
2.16 Former ambassador Michael McFaul on MSNBC: “The Internet Research Agency is run by a close, personal friend of Vladimir Putin. They would have never undertaken … this audacious operation without the blessing of the Kremlin. And nothing in Russia happens without Vladimir Putin being involved. . . .three cheers to the FBI and to … Robert Mueller and to everybody that was involved in this — and probably more than just the FBI. This was an incredible achievement, and that will get people’s attention … That’s an instance of deterrence. We were attacked. Our sovereignty was violated. Spies came into our country.”
2.16 Mueller indicts 13 Russians for tampering with the 2016 election. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: “The nature of the scheme was the defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists.”
2.15 Lita Taufatofua, cross country skier from Tonga, finished in 114th place in the 15km cross-country skiing event, taking 56:41.1 to complete the course, finishing third from last. However, he met his goals: “The first step, finish before they turn the lights off; that’s number one. Don’t ski into a tree, that’s number two.”
2.15 Shepard Smith on Fox: “Forget your political arguments, why can’t we come together as a society and say, ‘We’re going to study this; we’re going to research this; we’re going to put our best and brightest together. Put them all in a room, give them funds and give them whatever they need to figure out why are our children killing each other more in the United States than anywhere else in the world?'”
2.15 Joe Scarborough, on MSNBC: “I grew up in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, for most of my life. You went to church with people that went hunting with their kids. … After something like this happens, it’s not like it’s just my friends in the media, … it’s my friends who have taken their children hunting, whose fathers took them hunting when they were 5 years old, that are saying: ‘I don’t need an AR-15 to go hunting. And I don’t need an AR-15 to protect my family and my home in Pensacola. If somebody walks through my front door, I’ve got all the firepower I need.'” Jon Meacham, to Scarborough: “There’s a huge opening here for a significant moment of leadership. If you’re a United States senator or if you’re the president of the United States, this is moment where you can speak out against the interest group that has an outsized influence over the lives of our children [the NRA]. Speak out, take them on. We remember political leaders, we remember generations — because this is not just the leaders, it’s also us. Because we have to make it possible for them. We remember those leaders and those generations who stand up against clear, self-evident wrongs. This is a self-evident wrong. And if I were in the United States Senate today or the White House today, I’d be thinking that this is a moment to stand up and be counted.”
2.15 EJ Dionne in the Washington Post: “Here is a bet that there is also a quiet revolution of conscience in the country among those who are sick to death of the chaos they see every day on the news, a White House whose energy is devoted to stabbing internal foes in the back and a president who can’t stop thinking about himself. In the face of this, demanding simple decency is a radical and subversive act.”
2.14 Jimmy Kimmel: “You like to say this is a mental health issue but one of your very first acts as president, Mr. Trump, was to actually roll back the regulations that were designed to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. You did that. Your party voted to repeal the mandates on coverage for mental health. So, I agree, this is a mental illness issue because if you don’t agree we need to do something, you’re obviously mentally ill.”
2.13 Omarosa, on “Celebrity Big Brother”:“As bad as y’all think Trump is, you would be worried about Pence. We would be begging for the days of Trump back if Pence became president. (Pence is) extreme. I’m Christian. I love Jesus. But he thinks Jesus tells him to say things. I’m like, ‘Jesus isn’t saying that.’”
2.13 The Atlantic: Top officials from the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, and other agencies told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia plans to interfere with America’s upcoming midterm elections after successfully targeting some states’ voter data in 2018.
2.13 Todd Howe: “I’m in a boatload of trouble altogether.”
2.13 Shaun White comes from behind to win gold in spectacular fashion
2.13 Washington Post: “Balancing the budget is the latest Trump campaign promise to fall by the wayside. The. . . White House is preparing to propose a budget that fails to get rid of the deficit over 10 years and instead seeks to merely reduce its growth by $3 trillion. This is not what Trump told voters he would do during the 2016 campaign — and even as recently as last year, when the White House claimed (based upon questionable math) his previous budget proposal would have eventually balanced the budget if enacted. At times Trump has even said he would not only get rid of the deficit, but he would somehow wipe out what was then nearly $20 trillion worth of the national debt.”
2.13 Washington Post: “As a candidate, Trump repeatedly said he would never cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Now he proposes cutting Medicare by $554 billion and Medicaid by around $250 billion over the next decade.”
2.12 Michael Gerson in the Post: “The institution of the presidency does not require perfect men or women. But by even the most generous standards, Trump is a figure of monumental smallness. He describes himself in terms that would have embarrassed King Louis XIV. He conducts himself with the decorum of a spoiled and nasty child — lashing out at enemies, elevating lackeys, treating professionals at the FBI or CIA like minions, blurting out conspiracy theories and obvious lies. He regularly brings the presidency and the country into disrepute. And the White House staff — leaky, incompetent, embittered, backbiting — has generally followed his example.”
2.10 Barron’s: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed on Friday at 2619.55, rallying 1.5% on the day, but down 5.2% for the week. At Thursday’s close, stocks were down more than 10% from their previous all-time high—the traditional definition of a correction—of 2873, set Jan. 26. The downturn last week ended a streak of 404 trading days without a 5% drop in stock prices from the previous high—the longest such streak in market history. The last correction came in February 2016, when stocks dropped 15%.
2.9 According to a suit against the Weinstein Co. and its founders filed by the New York Attorney General, the Weinstein Co. “employed one group of female employees whose primary job it was to accompany [Harvey Weinstein] to events and to facilitate [his] sexual conquests.” “[T]heir primary responsibility included taking [Weinstein] to parties at which he could meet young women … These women were described by some witnesses as … his ‘wing women.'” “One of the members of this entourage was flown from London to New York to teach [his] assistants how to dress and smell more attractive.”
2.9 Pence stands not ten feet from Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korea’s reclusive dictator, but ignores her.
2.9 Carter Eskew in The Washington Post: “The immediate consequences of the tax cut seem to be benefiting Trump: Wages are rising, and so is his popularity. But the tax cut will accelerate the need to raise interest rates, as the economy overheats and the deficit expands. And it could very well shock the system and set off a vicious economic cascade leading to rapid economic deceleration and whiplash.”
2.9 Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post: Ironically, it took a GOP-led Congress and a Republican president following the anti-tax (never raise no matter how much we spend, cut no matter how much revenue we need) to put a stake in the small-government mythology. As soon as the $1.5 trillion tax cut was passed, the arguments for fiscal restraint and specifically for the Budget Control Act of 2011 went out the window.
2.9 In China, police are now wearing sunglasses equipped with facial-recognition technology to catch criminal suspects.
2.8 Former President George W. Bush in Abu Dhabi: “There’s pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled. Whether they affected the outcome is another question.”
2.8 Sen. Rand Paul: “If you were against President Obama’s deficits, and now you’re for the Republican deficits, isn’t that the very definition of hypocrisy?”
2.7 Donald Trump Jr.: “I know him [the president]; I’ve seen him my whole life. I’ve seen the things he’s done. You know it’s amazing — all the rappers, all his African American friends, from Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton — have pictures with him.”
2.7 Washington Post: “The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
2.7 Nancy Pelosi speaks on the floor of the House for eight hours, the longest speech there in a century, She used the time to tell the stories of more than 300 DACA kids.
2.6 SpaceX’s 27-engine Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched, and two of its three boosters successfully returned to earth
2.4 Philadelphia 41, New England 33. The Eagles win their first Super Bowl, and first NFL championship since 1960. Tom Brady: “The Eagles played a better game. They deserved to win. That’s why we’re not world champs. It sucks. But no one is going to feel sorry for us.’’
2.2 Heather Timmons on the risks of dismissing the FBI’s Russia memo: “For the country and its people, the system that apportions specific powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches stands as a guarantee of the rule of law and a bulwark against authoritarian rule. When the intended balance is disturbed by one branch failing to follow the law or even long-standing standard protocol, the very idea of a representative democracy is threatened.”