MAY 2017: “I HOPE YOU CAN LET THIS GO”

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5.25 The spring finalists have been decided: Penguins-Predators, and for a third consecutive year, Cavs-Warriros
5.25 The day after bodyslamming and punching a reporter, Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte won a special election for Congress in Montana.
5.25 Trump to NATO leaders: “Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense,” Mr. Trump declared, as the leaders shifted uncomfortably behind him, shooting one another sidelong glances. “This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States,” he added. “And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years.”
5.24 CBO says 23 million would lose health coverage under GOP bill repealing Obamacare
5.24 The New York Times: Trump told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that Washington has sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, an apparant breach of security. “We have two submarines — the best in the world. We have two nuclear submarines, not that we want to use them at all.”
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5.24 At NATO summit, Trump pushes his way past the prime minister of Montanegro
5.24 AP: Here are the 10 highest-paid CEOs for 2016, as calculated by AP and Eqular, with change from last year: Tom Rutledge, Charter Communications, $98 million, Up 499%; Les Moonves, CBS Corp., $68.6 million, Up 22%; Bob Iger, Walt Disney Co., $41 million, Down 6%; David Zaslav, Discovery Communications, $37.2 million, Up 15%; Robert Kotick, Activision Blizzard Inc., $33.1 million, Up 358%; Brian Roberts, Comcast Corp., $33 million, Down 9%; Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner Inc., $32.6 million, Up 3%; Ginni Rometty, IBM, $32.3 million, Up 63%; Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, $28.3 million, Down 40%; Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts, $28.2 million, Up 36%
5.24 Mike Allen in Axios: Republican leaders are coming to the bleak conclusion they will end summer and begin the fall with ZERO significant legislative accomplishments. Privately, they realize it’s political malpractice to blow at least the the first nine of months of all Republican rule, but also realize there’s little they can do to avoid the dismal outcome. In fact, they see the next four months as MORE troublesome than the first four. They’re facing terrible budget choices and headlines, the painful effort to re-work the healthcare Rubik’s Cube in the House (presuming it makes it out of the Senate), a series of special-election scares (or losses) — all with scandal-mania as the backdrop.
5.24 Richard Patterson, the Florida man who used the big penis defense was acquitted of killing 60-year-old girlfriend.
5.24 vajacials
5.23 Finished The Keepers. Infuriating. Frustrating.
5.23 The Washington Post: Trump asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers to publicly deny that there is any evidence of connections between Trump’s team and Russia.”
5.23 John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director: “”Frequently individuals who go along a treasonous path do not even realize they are on that path until it gets to be a bit too late.”
5.23 Speech by Mayor Mitch Landrieu explaining why New Orleans removed four statues honoring confederates: “The historic record is clear: The Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This “cult” had one goal—through monuments and through other means—to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity. First erected over 166 years after the founding of our city and 19 years after the end of the Civil War, the monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy. It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America. They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots. These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy, ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement and the terror that it actually stood for. After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city. Should you have further doubt about the true goals of the Confederacy, in the very weeks before the war broke out, the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens, made it clear that the Confederate cause was about maintaining slavery and white supremacy. He said in his now famous “corner-stone speech” that the Confederacy’s “cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.” . . . [A] friend asked me to consider these four monuments from the perspective of an African American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth-grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of our beautiful city. Can you do it? Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too? We all know the answer to these very simple questions. When you look into this child’s eyes is the moment when the searing truth comes into focus for us. This is the moment when we know what is right and what we must do. We can’t walk away from this truth. And I knew that taking down the monuments was going to be tough, but you elected me to do the right thing, not the easy thing and this is what that looks like. So relocating these Confederate monuments is not about taking something away from someone else. This is not about politics. This is not about blame or retaliation. This is not a naive quest to solve all our problems at once.This is, however, about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile and most importantly, choose a better future for ourselves, making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong. Otherwise, we will continue to pay a price with discord, with division and, yes, with violence.”
5.23 Roger Moore dies
5.22 Suicide bombing at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester kills 22
5.22 “Love your shoes. Boy, those shoes. Man!” — President Trump, returning a compliment given by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, who had told Mr. Trump, “You are a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible.”
5.21 AP: “With laughter, hugs and tears — and … death-defying stunts — the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus received its final standing ovation Sunday night as it performed its last show.”
5.21 Incumbent Hassan Rouhani was re-elected president in Iran. Rouhani, who wants to open the country up to the West, handily beat Ebrahim Raisi, a protégé of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who strongly opposed Iran’s nuclear deal in 2015.
5.21 Ev Williams, a Twitter co-founder in the Times, re Trump saying Twitter helped elect him: “It’s a very bad thing, Twitter’s role in that … If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.”
5.19 Revealed: Trump to Russian officials in the Oval Office on May 10, the day after he fired Comey, per a document summarizing the meeting that was read to the Times by an American official: “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job … I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off. … I’m not under investigation.”
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5.19 Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa spends $110.5 million on a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, a record price for an American artist at auction
5.18 Trump: “The entire thing has been a witch hunt. There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign—but I can only speak for myself.”
5.18 Man drives through Times Square, kills one, injures 22
5.18 Robert Mueller named Special Counsel
5.18 Roger Ailes dies at 77
5.18 Graydon Carter in Vanity Fair: `The media, the opposition, the resistance, and indeed the rest of the Free World are playing by outmoded rules of engagement with regard to the man in the White House. The thing is, you cannot rise above Donald Trump, you cannot go under him, and you cannot engage him in a conventional way. Before he became president, you could basically ignore him—he was a local joke, after all. Now that he’s commander in chief, you must resist him, with everything that is in you and in every way you can. As anyone who has followed his jerry-rigged career from the 1980s onward will tell you, Trump just drags you to the bottom of the pond every time. Decades ago, he was a short-fingered vulgarian tooling around town in a mauve stretch limo, reeking of Brut. In those days, competitors, subcontractors, politicians, and wives were the ones who found themselves mired in the Trump muck. Now it is the country that’s up to its knees in it.”
5.18 At Cannes, 70 year-old Susan Sarandon shares photo taken in 1978
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5.17 Camera catches Alex Rodriguez‘s notes before broadcast of Yankees-Royals game: “ “We should be talking about why we haven’t spoken about it. Child, birth control, baby, pull out stuff”
5.16 Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from a black Mercedes-Benz sedan as his security detail attacks pickets at the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington
5.16 NY Times reports Trump asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. According to a memo Comey wrote, Trump said “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” “A whole new door has opened,” said a well-known Republican operative who has worked to help the Trump White House. “A week ago, we were talking about the agenda grinding to a halt,” the Republican said. “Now, the train is going down the hill backwards.”
5.16 Times: Trump‘s “mood, according to two advisers, … has become sour and dark, and he has turned against most of his aides — even his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — describing them in a fury as ‘incompetent.'”
5.16 Ross Douthat in the Times: “The 25th Amendment Solution to Remove Trump”: “[T]he 25th Amendment to the Constitution … allows for the removal of the president if a majority of the cabinet informs the Congress that he is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office’ and (should the president contest his own removal) a two-thirds vote by Congress confirms the cabinet’s judgment.”
5.15 Washington Post: “Trump “revealed highly classified [‘code-word’] information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week”
5.15 AP: “Fidget spinners, the hit toy that spun out of nowhere.”
5.15 At least 200,000 people in 150 countries were hit over the weekend by a malware virus dubbed `Wanna Cry’ that holds files hostage for $300 in bitcoin. A security researcher stumbled into a way to slow the virus
5.15 Gideon Lichfield provides a guide to 21st-century propaganda: “What’s changed, of course, is the internet, and the many new ways it creates for falsehoods to reach us. The power of populism today lies in its ability to combine 20th-century propaganda techniques with 21st-century technology, putting propaganda on steroids.”
5.15 Caitlin Flanagan in New York magazine on Ivanka: “Sometimes, she seems not just essential to his idea of being president; sometimes, she seems the point of his being president. … [Trump] is Lear — ‘All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience’ — but Lear with only one relevant daughter, and to her has fallen the task of keeping his terrifying impatience from destroying not just their shared empire but the world itself. He is strangely dependent on her now. And so are we.”
5.14 Yankees retire Derek Jeter‘s jersey, hang plaque
5.13 In Virginia, alt-right’s Richard Spencer leads torch-bearing protesters defending Confederate statue

MAY 2017: “AN UNTRAINED MIND BEREFT OF INFORMATION”

5.13 Matthew Continenti in National Review: “You hear it all the time: President Trump hasn’t been tested, hasn’t faced a real crisis. The events of the last few weeks, however, have made me want to turn that formulation around. Trump doesn’t face crises so much as manufacture them. In a way he is the crisis, and his presidency is in danger of being defined not by any legislative or diplomatic achievement but by his handling of the multiplying and daunting obstacles he creates for himself. I do not mean that we are in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Nor are we in a crisis of democracy. Trump was fairly elected, the mechanisms of representative government continue to function, the judiciary and bureaucracy and Congress and media constrain the office of the president. What Trump did in firing James Comey accorded with the powers of the chief executive. Indeed, how this political survivalist had managed to last so long was something of a mystery to me. Throughout his time in Washington, Comey had managed to annoy no less than three presidents — Bush on surveillance, Obama on law enforcement, Trump on Russia. Bush and Obama must have worried about the backlash that would ensue if they derailed Comey and appeared to interfere in the workings of the Department of Justice. Trump has no such hang ups. Violating norms is what he does. The rules that govern public speech, public conduct — what you are allowed to say about your opponents, judges, Islam, immigration, women, how you separate yourself from your company, where you spend your weekends — do not make Trump flinch. His flippancy was part of his appeal. He was the middle finger of the American electorate, a protest against two decades of establishment missteps. He was going to shake things up, drain the swamp, expose that there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the parties, and if he offended his adversaries along the way, well, so be it. Elite consensus had become so petrified, the beneficiaries of globalization so powerful and entrenched, the institutions of the administrative state so disconnected from the sentiments of the people that only a brash tycoon with no political experience could break the deadlock. Trump brought to his campaign an improvisational and unstructured managerial style, a flair for publicity, a savant-like understanding of social media, and the insight that confrontation and polarization are keys to building a brand. He’d follow one outrageous statement with another, hold strident rallies from which cable television could not look away, announce policies so novel and controversial that they seized immediately the imagination of the electorate. The persistent atmosphere of crisis, of emergency and mess, the sense that it could fall apart at any moment heightened the drama, amped us up, kept us watching. McCain, Graham, Megyn Kelley, Carly Fiorina, David Duke, Heidi Cruz, Judge Curiel, Manafort, WikiLeaks, the Access Hollywood video — none of it was planned, none of it was reasoned. It was the same word-salad, the same tweets, jokes, insults, and poses that had carried Trump from relative anonymity as the son of Fred to global fame as a hotel and casino developer, business icon, and bestselling author, television star, golf course owner and licensing king, nascent president. The Trump persona and its endless cycles of deals, failures, and comebacks had carried him this far. Why stop?”


5.10 Trump fires Comey
5.7 Macron beats LePen with 65% of the vote
5.7 New York Times: “[Priebus] has reduced the pace of public events and, like a Montessori teacher, modulates structured work time with the slack periods Mr. Trump craves.”
5.6 Warren Buffet: ““Massive trade should be — and is actually — enormously beneficial to both the U.S. and the world,” he said. “Greater productivity will benefit the world in a general way, but to be roadkill, to be the textile worker in New Bedford” is a painful experience, he added. “It would be no fun to go through life and say I’m doing this for the greater good, and so that shoes or underwear was all for 5 percent less.”
5.5 Quartz: Elon Musk’s juvenile joke is costing Tesla real money. His plan to name his car models “S,” “3,” “X,” and “Y”
5.4 The Atlantic: “ on Thursday, after an embarrassing early failure and weeks of fits and starts, a narrow GOP majority passed legislation to partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that even many of its supporters conceded was deeply flawed. The party-line vote was 217-213, with 20 Republicans voting against. The bill now goes to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain at best. The American Health Care Act scraps the Obamacare mandates that people buy health insurance and that employers provide it, eliminates most of its tax increases, cuts nearly $900 billion from Medicaid while curtailing the program’s expansion, and allows states to seek a waiver exempting them from the current law’s crucial prohibition against insurers charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions.”
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5.4 Greta van Sustern: “Maybe I’m delusional, but I don’t get this one at all. What is the celebration? It can’t pass in the Senate. It hasn’t even gone to the Senate. . . .It’s like claiming victory in a football game at the end of the first quarter or the half or something,” she continued. “For the life of me, I don’t know why they put themselves in a position where they’re clapping each other on the back for getting something halfway done. The American people want a product. We’re not even there and it’s not even likely to be there. Now we have this picture, this bus ride, this big hoopla. Americans “want health care fixed, they want pre-existing problems taken care of,” she added. “I don’t get this thing. This is a big show. It is fun for us, it’s exciting, we have a big bus going down Constitution avenue. For what? Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed.”
5.4 House repeals Obamacare 217-213, replaces with terrible concoction. At Rose Garden celebration, Trump says `Coming from a different world and only being a politician for a short period of time — How am I doing? Am I doing okay? I’m president! Hey! I’m president! Can you believe it, right?”
5.4 Prince Philip retires
5.3 Hillary Clinton blames Comey, Wikileaks/Russia for loss
c4c2060abd02c0dd2ecc0fe0c4a810155.3 Found this cute picture of Graham Nash and Joni Mitchell
5.3 JP Morgan: Our work around the world has made two things clear. The first is that there are some universal drivers of inclusive growth, which include workforce development — getting more people the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy — small business expansion, financial health and neighborhood revitalization. The second is that making real impact requires the private sector to play a much more active role. Companies must leverage their unique assets to help solve problems — not simply give away money and hope for the best.
5.2 Trump calls Kim Jong-un a “pretty smart cookie”
5.2 George Will: It is urgent for Americans to think and speak clearly about President Trump’s inability to do either. This seems to be not a mere disinclination but a disability. It is not merely the result of intellectual sloth but of an untrained mind bereft of information and married to stratospheric self-confidence. . . . What is most alarming (and mortifying to the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated) is not that Trump has entered his eighth decade unscathed by even elementary knowledge about the nation’s history. As this column has said before, the problem isn’t that he does not know this or that, or that he does not know that he does not know this or that. Rather, the dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something.”
5.2 JAMES COMEY: “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election.”
5.2 Joe and Mika get engaged
5.2 Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) tweeted his reaction to Kimmel’s baby news on Tuesday, writing: “Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else’s health care.”
5.1 Jimmy Kimmel: “We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world, but until a few years ago, millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all. Before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition. You were born with a pre-existing condition. And if your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition.If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right This isn’t football. There are no teams. We are the team, it’s the United States. Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants.”
5.1 R.R. Reno, editor of the journal First Things: “Mr. Trump‘s shocking success at the polls has done our country a service. Scholars may tut-tut about the historical connotations of ‘America First,’ but the basic sentiment needs to be endorsed. Our country has dissolved to a far greater degree than those cloistered on the coasts allow themselves to realize.”
5.1 Stephen Colbert: “Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine,” Colbert said near the end of the insult-laden rant. “You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”

DECEMBER 2016: ““IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO HIM, IT HAPPENS.”


12.31 Anthony Bourdain in Reason: “The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now. I’ve spent a lot of time in gun-country, God-fearing America. There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do: the best they can to get by, and take care of themselves and the people they love. When we deny them their basic humanity and legitimacy of their views, however different they may be than ours, when we mock them at every turn, and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good.”12.30 Atlas Obscura: “At Walt Disney World, the weeks around Christmas are one of the most crowded times of the year: from all over the country and all over the world, families flock to Orlando to be in this special space for just a few days. Most Disney patrons would probably call their trip a vacation, but to anthropologists, religious studies experts, and art historians, a visit to Disney World looks a lot like another, older form of travel—a pilgrimage.Appetites for direct contact with Disney’s creations have transformed the trek to Disney World into a genuine form of pilgrimage,” writes historian Cheryl Krause Knight, author of Power and Paradise in Walt Disney’s World. In the modern world, a trip to Disney has become a rite of passage that transforms those who make the trek, and the design of the park heightens that experience: Disney World resembles a medieval pilgrimage center, designed to connect pilgrims with the supernatural, represented by Mickey Mouse and company.12.29 President Obama announced sanctions against a number of Russian officials and entities in response to Moscow’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election. The move, which included the expulsion of 35 Russian intelligence officials and the closure of two U.S.-based Russian properties, is the first public step the U.S. has taken against Russia for the cyberattack.
12.28 EJ Dionne in the Washington Post: “Here is a bet that the mobilization against Trump will rival in size and influence the tea party uprising against Obama.”
12.28 Debbie Reynolds dies
12.27 Carrie Fisher dies
12.26 Serena Williams in the Washington Post: “If I were a man, I would have 100 percent been considered the greatest ever a long time ago.”
12.25 Saw LaLa Land with Cara. Meh.
12.24 Reince Priebus via Twitter: “”Merry Christmas to all! Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King. We hope Americans celebrating Christmas today will enjoy a day of festivities and a renewed closeness with family and friends.
12.24 George Michael dead at 53
12.24 The farmer said, ” Well, as I see it, Donald Trump is like a ‘Post Tortoise’. When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a tortoise balanced on top, that’s a post tortoise.” “You know he didn’t get up there by himself, he doesn’t belong up there, he doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there, he’s elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put him up there to begin with.”
12.23 Poet Maggie Smith
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12.23 Carl Palladino, interviewed by Artvoice:
Artvoice: What would you most like to happen in 2017?
Carl Paladino: Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford. He dies before his trial and is buried in a cow pasture next to Valerie Jarret, who died weeks prior, after being convicted of sedition and treason, when a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.
Artvoice: What would you most like to see go in 2017?
12.23 Barack Obama, from an interview conducted November 17 with The Atlantic: “Well, look, I think I am absolutely, you know, surprised like everybody else with the outcome.”
Carl Paladino: Michelle Obama. I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.
12.23 Dana Milbank in the Washington Post: “Trump lieutenant Newt Gingrich this week proposed an elegant solution for all the conflicts of interest swirling around the president-elect and his team of billionaires: Ignore the law. President-elect Donald Trump, Gingrich said, should let those in his administration do as they wish with their personal fortunes and business interests and pardon them if they are found to have violated laws against using public office for personal enrichment. “He could simply say, ‘Look, I want them to be my advisers, I pardon them if anybody finds them to have behaved against the rules, period’,” Gingrich said on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show” on Monday.“Drain the Swamp” is so October.”
12.23 History Channel:
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12.23 Catherine Rampell in the Washington Post: “These Democratic policies probably would help the white working class. But the white working class doesn’t seem to buy that they’re the ones who’d really benefit. Across rural America, the Rust Belt, Coal Country and other hotbeds of Trumpism, voters have repeatedly expressed frustration that the lazy and less deserving are getting a bigger chunk of government cheese. In Kentucky, consumers receiving federal subsidies through the Obamacare exchanges complain that neighbors who are less responsible are receiving nearly free insurance through Medicaid. “They can go to the emergency room for a headache,” one woman told Vox’s Sarah Kliff. In Ohio, white working-class focus group participants decried that women who “pop out babies like Pez dispensers with different baby daddies” get “welfare every month” and “their housing paid for, their food.” These women seem to live large, one participant said, while people like herself are “struggling to put food on the table.” Participants in this focus group, held by the Institute for Family Studies, were also skeptical of efforts to raise the minimum wage. But how do you really feel? Regardless of party affiliation, gender and income level, most people are more optimistic than they think. Opponents argued either that higher pay wasn’t justified for lower-skilled, less intense work or that raising the minimum wage would unfairly narrow the pay gap between diligent folks such as themselves and people who’d made worse life choices. “That son of a b—- is making $10 an hour! I’m making $13.13. I feel like s— because he’s making almost as much as I am, and I have never been in trouble with the law and I have a clean record, I can pass a drug test,” said one participant.”
12.22 TMZ: “JetBlue kicked a Brooklyn lawyer and his Hunter College professor husband off a plane at JFK on Thursday morning — after he accosted fellow passenger and future first daughter Ivanka Trump right before takeoff. “Your father is ruining the country!” lefty lawyer and avowed Hillary Clinton supporter Dan Goldstein shouted at Trump, as she sat with her husband, Jared Kushner, and their three kids in the main cabin.
12.21 An explosion in the San Pablito fireworks market in Tultepec, Mexico, kills at least 29.
12.21 David Remnick on BBC Newsnight: ““A friend at the office said it’s like you’ve been tossed out of an airplane…you feel the alarm, the fear, you feel the freezing wind around you, but you haven’t gone splat yet. On the other hand no parachute has opened…there’s no sense of ‘aah, this is a normal event.’ The back and forth between Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals. There’s not that sense, at least not in me. But there is that impulse to make it such. Normalization. It’s a very human impulse…to normalize the situation so you’re not in a state of constant alarm or fear or sadness or agitation.”
12.21 Trump doctor Harold Bornstein: “If something happens to him, then it happens to him. It’s like all the rest of us, no? That’s why we have a vice president and a speaker of the House and a whole line of people. They can just keep dying.”
12.21 Dana Milbank in The Washington Post: “ We now know Comey’s bombshell was based on nothing: The FBI had no evidence of wrongdoing in the newly discovered emails, found on Huma Abedin’s laptop, and no reason to suspect there was anything on the laptop that the FBI hadn’t already dismissed as insufficient to mount a prosecution. Yet that was the flimsy basis for Comey’s letter to Congress reopening the Clinton probe. The new emails were irrelevant or redundant. But by the time Comey said, just two days before the election, that the FBI found nothing new, the damage to Clinton was done.’’


12.20 Bill O’Reilly: “This is all about race. The left sees white privilege in America as an oppressive force that must be done away with. Therefore white working class voters must be marginalized. White men have set up a system of oppression and that system must be destroyed … The left wants power taken away from the white establishment and they want a profound change in the way America is run.”
12.19 A semi-trailer packed with steel speeds through an outdoor Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 and injuring dozens more. ISIS claims credit. On the 23rd, the perpetrator was killed in a gun battle with the police in Milan.
aptopix_turkey_russian_ambassador_9215712192016_w31512.19 Andrey G. Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an Ankara art exhibit on Monday evening by a lone Turkish gunman shouting “God is great!” and “don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!” in what the leaders of Turkey and Russia called a provocative terrorist attack. The gunman, described by Turkish officials as a 22-year-old off-duty police officer, also wounded at least three others in the assault on the envoy. Turkish officials said the assailant was killed by other officers in a shootout.
12.19 Michael Gerson in The Washington Post: “The plausible case that Russian espionage materially contributed to the election of an American president has been an additional invitation to anger. Now, not only the quality but also the legitimacy of our democracy is at stake. This extreme threat would seem to require a commensurately radical response — some way to change the outcome. But what is the proper conservative response? It is to live within the boundaries of law and reality. There is no certain way to determine if Russian influence was decisive. And no serious constitutional recourse seems to remain. While open to other options, I see none. It will now fall to citizens and institutions to (1) defend the legislature and judiciary from any encroachment, (2) defend every group of people from organized oppression, including Muslims and refugees, (3) expand and defend the institutions — from think tanks to civil liberty organizations — that make the case for a politics that honors human dignity. And pray for the grass to grow.’’
12.19 Atlas Obscura: “Cuba is offering the Czech Republic 135,000 tons of rum to settle a $276 million debt. Czech officials say it’s an “interesting option.”

Jamie Malanowski
12.18 Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post: 11We have had smart presidents and dim ones, effective ones and incompetents, successful ones and unaccomplished ones. Until now, we have never had one for whom it was legitimate to question at the onset of his presidency whether he could fulfill his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” As things stand now, President-elect Donald Trump has suggested he will not divest himself of a myriad of businesses around the globe that pose serious conflicts of interest, nor will he liquidate even foreign holdings, the proceeds of which would put him in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. In an academically sound and federal court brief quality paper, Norman Eisen, Richard Painter and Laurence Tribe conclude: Careful review of the Emoluments Clause shows that the Clause unquestionably applies to the President of the United States; that it covers an exceptionally broad and diverse range of remunerative relationships (including fair market value transactions that confer profit on a federal officeholder); and that it reaches payments and emoluments from foreign states (including state-owned and state-controlled corporations). In the context of Trump, they cite multiple sources of foreign revenue that on their face would, the moment Trump is inaugurated, put him in violation of the Constitution. They enumerate multiple instances in which he already improperly blurred private and public conduct.
12,18 Zsa Zsa Gabor dead at 99
12.18 Washington Post: “A large fraction of Republicans — 52 percent — said Trump won the popular vote, compared with only 7 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of independents. Among Republicans without any college education, the share was even larger: 60 percent, compared with 37 percent of Republicans with a college degree.”
12.16 FBI Director James B. Comey and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. are in agreement with a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election in part to help Donald Trump win the White House, officials disclosed Friday
mcdonalds-holiday-cup-2-fwx12.16 Do McDonald’s holiday cups look like a butt?
12.16 Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic: “In the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration, he and his wife, Michelle, hosted a farewell party, the full import of which no one could then grasp. It was late October, Friday the 21st. . . . The farewell party, presented by BET (Black Entertainment Television), was the last in a series of concerts the first couple had hosted at the White House. . . .This would not happen again, and everyone knew it. It was not just that there might never be another African American president of the United States. It was the feeling that this particular black family, the Obamas, represented the best of black people, the ultimate credit to the race, incomparable in elegance and bearing. “There are no more,” the comedian Sinbad joked back in 2010. “There are no black men raised in Kansas and Hawaii. That’s the last one. Y’all better treat this one right. The next one gonna be from Cleveland. He gonna wear a perm. Then you gonna see what it’s really like.” Throughout their residency, the Obamas had refrained from showing America “what it’s really like,” and had instead followed the first lady’s motto, “When they go low, we go high.” This was the ideal—black and graceful under fire—saluted that evening. The president was lionized as “our crown jewel.” The first lady was praised as the woman “who put the O in Obama.”. . . Much as the unbroken ranks of 43 white male presidents communicated that the highest office of government in the country—indeed, the most powerful political offices in the world—was off-limits to black individuals, the election of Barack Obama communicated that the prohibition had been lifted. It communicated much more. Before Obama triumphed in 2008, the most-famous depictions of black success tended to be entertainers or athletes. But Obama had shown that it was “possible to be smart and cool at the same damn time,” as Jesse Williams put it at the BET party. Moreover, he had not embarrassed his people with a string of scandals. Against the specter of black pathology, against the narrow images of welfare moms and deadbeat dads, his time in the White House had been an eight-year showcase of a healthy and successful black family spanning three generations, with two dogs to boot. In short, he became a symbol of black people’s everyday, extraordinary Americanness.


12.15 John Podesta in the Washington Post: “The more we learn about the Russian plot to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and elect Donald Trump, and the failure of the FBI to adequately respond, the more shocking it gets. The former acting director of the CIA has called the Russian cyberattack “the political equivalent of 9/11.” Just as after the real 9/11, we need a robust, independent investigation into what went wrong inside the government and how to better protect our country in the future. As the former chair of the Clinton campaign and a direct target of Russian hacking, I understand just how serious this is. So I was surprised to read in the New York Times that when the FBI discovered the Russian attack in September 2015, it failed to send even a single agent to warn senior Democratic National Committee officials. Instead, messages were left with the DNC IT “help desk.” As a former head of the FBI cyber division told the Times, this is a baffling decision: “We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana.” What takes this from baffling to downright infuriating is that at nearly the exact same time that no one at the FBI could be bothered to drive 10 minutes to raise the alarm at DNC headquarters, two agents accompanied by attorneys from the Justice Department were in Denver visiting a tech firm that had helped maintain Clinton’s email server. This trip was part of what FBI Director James B. Comey described as a “painstaking” investigation of Clinton’s emails, “requiring thousands of hours of effort” from dozens of agents who conducted at least 80 interviews and reviewed thousands of pages of documents. Of course, as Comey himself concluded, in the end, there was no case; it was not even a close call. Comparing the FBI’s massive response to the overblown email scandal with the seemingly lackadaisical response to the very real Russian plot to subvert a national election shows that something is deeply broken at the FBI
12.15 Jimmy Kimmel revealed he’ll be paid $15,000 to host the Oscars ceremony.

NOVEMBER 2016 “THE CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES”

jamie-malanowski11.7 Talking Will Cushing at the Town of Lloyd NY Historical Society
11.7 Ron Brownstein in the Atlantic: “The best-case scenario is she holds enough working-class whites to defend the Rustbelt states Trump has targeted, and attracts enough college-educated whites and minorities to tip most of the Sunbelt battlegrounds. The worst-case scenario for her is that Trump’s blue-collar blitz narrowly pushes him past her in some of the Rustbelt states she needs, while she cannot advance quite enough among minority and college-educated white voters to overcome his non-college-educated, non-urban, religiously devout coalition in Sunbelt states like North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado, much less Arizona and Georgia. Transitioning between her party’s past and future, Hillary Clinton’s nightmare is that she might be caught awkwardly in between.
11.7 Greg Sargent in the Washington Post: Trump in one chart
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11.7 Jennifer Rubin in the Post: Reactionaries, as political theorists explain, suffer from false memory and the need to shut out current reality: “[The reactionary’s] story begins with a happy, well-ordered state where people who know their place live in harmony and submit to tradition and their God. Then alien ideas promoted by intellectuals—writers, journalists, professors—challenge this harmony and the will to maintain order weakens at the top. (The betrayal of elites is the linchpin of every reactionary story.) A false consciousness soon descends on the society as a whole as it willingly, even joyfully, heads for destruction. Only those who have preserved memories of the old ways see what is happening. Whether the society reverses direction or rushes to its doom depends entirely on their resistance. For Trump “a happy, well-ordered state” means women are docile, minorities do not compete for white males’ jobs and the United States stands apart from the world. This infatuation of the past is characteristic of the alt-right (who’d like to reverse 60 years, at least, of racial progress). It likewise reflects the vibe of white Christian evangelicals who resent no longer dominating the culture (hence the obsession with getting everyone to say “Merry Christmas”) and who have adjusted poorly to the rapid influx of non-whites. He perfectly encapsulates the sentiments of the anti-immigrant exclusionists who fear newcomers will deform America (i.e., move it away from its white, religious, Christian origins). The people who adore Trump are those who have lost status for the past few decades; his most ardent foes (professional women, minorities) those who have gained the most. Ironically, Trump keeps asking: What do you have to lose? The last 50 years, answer women and minorities. This is where the GOP is heading — backward. You see it in the party’s refusal to accept gay marriage, in its idolization of the smokestack industry of the 1950’s and in its condescension toward women. If they seem uninterested in finding concrete solutions to real problems it is because they do not wish to accept where we are; they engage in magical thinking to imagine going back. “Make America Great Again” is a reactionary plea for the present to become like the past. If the center-right is to maintain a viable political movement it will have to banish the reactionaries, flee from their party or stage an intervention. If there is to be a conservative renaissance it will need to come from the groups whom Trump has most alienated and who have the most to lose from his vision — millennials, women, minorities, the college-educated. Many Republicans figured this demographic and philosophical reckoning would come in a decade or so. Thanks to Trump, that process has been accelerated. With an electorate that much more closely resembles contemporary America than Trump’s America, this political collision is occurring before our eyes, in real time.”
11.7 EJ Dionne in The Washington Post: “The fact that Trump still has a chance of victory speaks to a profound distemper in the country. Our deep divides along lines of party, race, class, gender and region guarantee even a man as deeply flawed as Trump a firm foundation of support. And many of our fellow citizens, shaken by economic and social changes, are hurting so much that they have embraced the opportunity to use Trump as a way of expressing their rage. Trump’s rise challenges both sides of politics. The massive support for Trump among white working-class voters suggests that they do not find the economic promises of progressive politicians sufficiently persuasive or believable to entice them away from the riskiest vote they will ever cast in their lives. Liberals have much work to do.”
11.7 In Vanity Fair: “My belief is that Peter Thiel does not personally believe in Trump, but that he wants to create what I call the ‘burn it down party’,” investor Jason Calacanis told me. “Peter would like to see Trump win because it is the quickest way to break the two-party system and create Peter’s vision for America, which he is slowly unpacking.” That theory, no matter how dystopian, may have some credence. Thiel, wittingly or not, has been articulating a very particular vision of late. During a speech at the National Press Club, Thiel hit on some familiar territory. He noted that the tech industry is deeply out of touch with the impact that their financially successful products have on the rest of the country. (This is one area where I actually agree with Thiel: in the Valley, a majority of pointless app founders are often too able to convince themselves that they have somehow “made the world a better place.”) In general, as Adam Davidson recently explained in The New Yorker, Thiel articulated a vision of national despair and ruin centered around inequality, student debt, and the trade deficit. “The protagonists in his national drama are Trump voters,” Davidson writes. “The villains are élites in their coastal bubbles of Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., who do not intend to tolerate the views of half this country.”
90709511.7 Leonard Cohen dies
11.6 Matthew Dowd, ABC: I think she’s got about a 95 chance to win this election, and I think she’s going to have a higher margin than Barack Obama did in 2012. Higher margin. She’s going to win by more than 5 million votes. She’s going to win a higher percentage. And interestingly she’s going to have a more diverse coalition than Barack Obama even did when you take the final vote into consideration. Every piece of data points in that direction.”
11.4 Elon Musk, like many in Silicon Valley, has also become obsessed with the question of what will happen when artificial intelligence and advanced robotics combine to take human jobs. “People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things,” Musk told CNBC in an interview published Friday. But millions of people will also be out of work, made obsolete by robots that can do the same jobs at a lower labor cost. The solution, Musk muses, will be for the government to provide a universal basic income to everyone in the country, establishing a baseline wage as technology displaces human workers. “There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” Musk told CNBC. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”
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11.4 Charles Krauthammer in the Post: We are entering a period of unprecedented threat to the international order that has prevailed under American leadership since 1945. After eight years of President Obama’s retreat, the three major revisionist powers — Russia, China and Iran — see their chance to achieve regional dominance and diminish, if not expel, U.S. influence. At a time of such tectonic instability, even the most experienced head of state requires wisdom and delicacy to maintain equilibrium. Trump has neither. His joining of supreme ignorance to supreme arrogance, combined with a pathological sensitivity to any perceived slight, is a standing invitation to calamitous miscalculation. Two generations of Americans have grown up feeling that international stability is as natural as the air we breathe. It’s not. It depends on continual, calibrated tending. It depends on the delicate balancing of alliances and the careful signaling of enemies. It depends on avoiding self-inflicted trade wars and on recognizing the value of allies like Germany, Japan and South Korea as cornerstones of our own security rather than satrapies who are here to dispatch tribute to their imperial master in Washington. It took seven decades to build this open, free international order. It could be brought down in a single presidential term. That would be a high price to pay for the catharsis of kicking over a table.”
11.4 Two former allies of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were convicted on Friday for their roles in the “Bridgegate” lane closure scandal,
11.3 Chicago Cubs defeat Cleveland Indians 8-7 in extra innings to win their first World Series since 1908
11.3 Britain’s plan for getting out of the European Union was thrown into doubt Thursday as a senior court ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May will need to get Parliament’s approval before she acts.
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11.1 The Civil War Roundtable of Eastern Pennsylvania

GO ARMY!

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On a gorgeous autumn afternoon, Paul Lindstrom and Ginny and I went to Michie Stadium at West Point for a football game between Army and Air Force. I loved the blazing colors and conspicuous enthusiasm. Cannons boomed on kickoffs, and when Army scored, cadets ran into the end zone and did push ups. And when either team scored a touchdown, its flag sprinted about the end zone, banners unfurled. Air Force won, 31-12.
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OCTOBER 2016 “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”

img_222710.30 Bought a Subaru Forrester
10.29 Interview by Mark Moskowitz for documentary on Lary and Theresa
10.29 Washington Post: “Senior Justice Department officials warned the FBI that Director James B. Comey’s decision to notify Congress about renewing the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server was not consistent with long-standing practices of the department, according to officials familiar with the discussions. The bureau told Justice Department officials that Comey intended to inform lawmakers of newly discovered emails. These officials told the FBI the department’s position “that we don’t comment on an ongoing investigation. And we don’t take steps that will be viewed as influencing an election,” said one Justice Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the high-level conversations. “Director Comey understood our position. He heard it from Justice leadership,” the official said. “It was conveyed to the FBI, and Comey made an independent decision to alert the Hill. He is operating independently of the Justice Department. And he knows it.”’
10.27 Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post: “Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager. She has a kind of genius for assembling random words into very long sentences, which she wields against journalists’ questions the way a Jedi knight uses a light saber to deflect incoming fire. Somehow she is serenely unfazed by direct contradiction. After the first debate, she said that Trump had displayed the “presidential virtue” of restraint by not mentioning Bill Clinton’s affairs. But when Trump brought Clinton’s accusers to the second debate, well, she said that was presidential, too.”
10.27 After Tammy Duckworth said that her family had served in uniform dating back to the Revolution, Sen. Mark Kirk replied “I’d forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.Duckworth’s mother, Lamai, is Thai, but her late father, Franklin, was a Marine veteran whose family roots in this country trace to before the American Revolution.
maggi-peyton-3a20899110.26 Maggi Peyton dies at 82. Harold Holzer: “Maggi Peyton, for more than 40 years the very model of the quintessential and indispensable behind-the-scenes New York City political aide, died at her Manhattan home on Wednesday, after a long illness. She was 82 years old. One of the closest of all the campaign staffers who helped advance the political fortunes (and manage the dispiriting defeats) of the late feminist icon Bella Abzug through many hard-fought state, city, and local election campaigns in the 1970s, Ms. Peyton. . . a onetime ballet dancer and founding member of the Manhattan Women’s Political Caucus. . . was famously tight-lipped about her bosses, politically sophisticated, intensely loyal, unflappably calm, and a brilliant vote counter in tight elections.”
10.26 The Washington Post: “Trump allies are actively laying plans to punish the GOP leadership for failing to fully embrace Trumpism — and, crucially, to keep Trumpism’s legacy very much alive as a malevolent and disruptive political force inside the Republican Party. The Times notes that Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon is intent on forcing out House Speaker Paul Ryan, while other leading congressional supporters of Trump are warning the GOP leadership not to dare moderate on immigration, which could stir the great Trumpian masses to rise up in rage. In other words, the battle lines will roughly divide between GOP leaders, party strategists, and establishment figures who are urging one set of lessons to be drawn from the defeat (that the party needs to make peace with cultural and demographic change), and Trump supporters who are urging that a very different set of lessons be drawn (that the party must embrace Trump’s species of ethno-nationalism and xenophobic, America First populism). As one congressional expert puts it: “I expect civil war within the GOP after November 8th, as party elites inside and outside of Congress jockey to assign blame and claim the GOP mantle going forward.”
imgres10.26 Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon, by Peter Ames Carlin
10.25 Dana Milbank in the Washington Post: “Take the baby boomers. Please.The idealists of the 1960s have come a long way from Woodstock. After a quarter- century of mismanaging the country, they have produced Donald Trump, who with his narcissistic and uncompromising style is a bright orange symbol of what went wrong with the massive generation. And polls show that the boomers are the biggest source of support for Trump.Among voters between age 50 and 64, Trump leads Hillary Clinton by three points in Post-ABC News polling and by a point in NBC-Wall Street Journal polling, equal to the older, smaller Silent Generation’s support of the Republican nominee in the latter poll. The generational support for Trump’s burn-it-all-down campaign is the latest reminder of why the baby boomers are in the running to be remembered as the Worst Generation. But, if I may claim a rare moment of generational pride, there is good news in the polling, too. Generation X — my much-maligned generation — has turned emphatically against Trump. The NBC poll shows Clinton leading by 22 points among those between 35 and 49 — a more lopsided rejection of Trump than even the millennials mustered. This raises hope after the debacle of boomer governance. “It’s really the boomers that are driving the hyperpartisanship and polarization and gridlock,” says David Rosen, a consultant specializing in generational effects in politics. Beginning with the boomer-led 1994 Republican Revolution, “that’s where you see the origin of the insane politics that we have right now. Trump is in some ways taking that style to its most absurd and ridiculous extremes.”
10.22 The Chicago Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-0, and reach World Series for first time since 1945
10.21 In the Washington Post, Trump says “What a waste of time if we don’t pull this off. You know, these guys have said: ‘It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. There’s never been a movement like this in the history of this country.’ I say, it matters to me if we win or lose. So I’ll have over $100 million of my own money in this campaign. So, if I lose,if I lose, I will consider this —”
10.20 Donald Trump at the Al Smith Dinner: “I must say the media is more biased than ever before. Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves her. My wife Melania gives the same speech and people get on her case,” he said.
10.20 Hillary Clinton at The Al Smith Dinner: “People look at the Statue of Liberty, and they see a proud history of a nation of immigrants — a beacon of hope for people around the world. Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4. Maybe a 5 if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.”
10.19 Atlas Obscura: “Earlier this October, at a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice, London paid its rent to the Queen. The ceremony proceeded much as it had for the past eight centuries. The city handed over a knife, an axe, six oversized horseshoes, and 61 nails to Barbara Janet Fontaine, the Queen’s Remembrancer, the oldest judicial position in England. The job was created in the 12th century to keep track of all that was owed to the crown. In this case, the Remembrancer has presided over the rent owed on two pieces of property for a very long time—since 1235 in one case, and at least 1211 in the other. Every year, in this Ceremony of Quit Rents, the crown extracts its price from the city for a forge and a piece of moorland. No one knows exactly where these two pieces of land are located anymore, but for hundreds of years the city has been paying rent on them. The rate, however, has not changed—the same objects have been presented for hundreds of years.”
10.19 Wajahat Ali: “Are you not entertained? Is this is not why we’re here? After watching the final presidential debate, and reminiscing about this absolutely absurd and historic election, I’m reminded of the poem “Auto Wreck,” by Karl Shapiro, which I read in elementary school. “The traffic moves around with care, But we remain, touching a wound/That opens to our richest horror.” This election cycle has opened up a uniquely American Pandora’s box of horrors and delights. I am forever changed. How can I ever go back to serious, boring talk about policies that could affect the lives of millions? How can I sit through sober conversations about foreign policy and individual liberties? Who needs elitist jabberwocky, when you’ve just fed me glorious sex talk, bad hombres, Alicia Machado, “Celebrity Apprentice,” Howard Stern, bragging about anatomical size, Mexicans as “rapists,” white supremacists, anti-Semitic trolling, threats against journalists, encouraging foreign governments to hack our emails, reckless allegations of election rigging, threats to jail presidential candidates, “Access Hollywood” videos, Khizr Khan, the mockery of Gold Star mothers, Gennifer Flowers, Ben Carson’s “fruit salad of their lives,” and the use and abuse of Pepe the Frog as a symbol to promote a nativist, racist agenda? Sensationalism has replaced sobriety. Conspiracy theories and baseless allegations have replaced facts. Diplomacy and tact are mocked, and victories are measured not by intelligent policy positions but by snarky tweets and rhetorical low blows. This is the election America deserves, not the one it needs. It encapsulates and unleashes our collective id on the world.”
10.19 10.19 Facial recognition software used by law enforcement agencies across the country has captured information on more than 117 million Americans, according to a report that calls for greater oversight and reviews for possible racial bias. The report, “The Perpetual Line-up,” found that roughly half of all US adults are included in facial recognition databases and 16 states allowed law enforcement officials to run searches against driver’s license photo databases without warrants — a “highly problematic” finding, according to the report released Tuesday by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology.

OCTOBER 2016 “YOU CAN DO ANYTHING”

lwobdqaaqbaj10.18 Stuart Rotherberg in the Washington Post: The newest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll shows Trump doing worse against Clinton than Mitt Romney did against President Obama with almost every demographic group, including men, women, whites, Latinos, Republicans, voters with household incomes of more than $100,000 per year, voters with a college degree, voters with a postgraduate degree and voters 65 and older. African Americans, white men without a college degree and younger voters are among the few groups with which Clinton is underperforming compared with Obama. But that should not give much comfort to Trump, who is drawing only 9 percent of African Americans, compared with the 6 percent that Romney drew against the first African American president. It would be a mistake to call Trump’s current path to an electoral-college victory narrow. It is nonexistent. Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, once part of the Trump scenario, have never been “in play,” and he is not competitive in states Obama won only narrowly in 2012, such as Virginia and Colorado. Trump is more likely to lose North Carolina than win it, which would put him under 200 electoral votes. Frankly, the writing has been on the wall for months about this race. You simply needed to look at the candidates, their campaign teams, the map and the voters.”
10.17 Michael Gerson in the Washington Post: “It is a further indication (as if we needed it) that Trump has no commitment to the American political system. He is perfectly willing to delegitimize democratic institutions as a campaign tactic, squandering a civic inheritance he does not value. Even before his current troubles, he said that an electoral loss would be prima facie evidence of fraud and encouraged supporters to monitor majority-black polling stations in Pennsylvania. Now he is entering uncharted territory. By preemptively questioning the legitimacy of his forthcoming shellacking, Trump is stepping outside the four corners of the constitutional order, on the model of autocratic strongmen he has publicly admired.”
bec975ravens-giants-football10.16 Giants beat Ravens 27-23, as Odell Beckham Jr. scores two touchdowns and accumulates 222 yards
10.15 New Disunion anthology published.
10.14 Toronto Sun: Designated by Cleveland manager Terry Francona as the Tribe’s Game 2 starter, Trevor Bauer managed to cut himself badly enough on the pinky finger of his pitching hand to require stitches and has been pushed back at least until Game 3 on Monday in Toronto. Francona chose to address the crisis with humour. “I think we’ve all, probably everybody in here, have had, at some point or other, a drone-related problem,” said Francona during his press briefing Friday before Game 1. “I think he said it was routine maintenance. And, again, I have no idea what that is.”
10.14 Interview with Steve Schmidt by Andrew Prokop of Vox:
Prokop Stepping back a bit from the swirl of allegations about Trump’s personal behavior in the news, what’s your big-picture view of the state of the Republican Party right now, and our politics in general?
Steve Schmidt One of John McCain’s famous quotes was quoting Chairman Mao: “It’s always darkest before it’s completely black.” The Trump campaign is over — Hillary Clinton is going to be elected president. The question that remains here, the open question, is the degree of the collateral damage, right? The Republicans are going to lose the US Senate. The question is how many seats can they lose in the House. It is possible but not probable yet that they lose the House majority. So the question is, how far below 40 percent is Trump in the popular vote? Then there’s a long-term implication for the civic life of the country, the vandalism being done, which will culminate for the first time in American history with his refusal to make an ordinary concession where he grants to the winner legitimacy by recognizing the legitimacy of the election. I think it’s very clear he’s going to go out saying it’s a rigged system. I think what you’re gonna see is Steve Bannon monetizing 30 percent of the electorate into a UKIP-style movement and a billion-dollar media business. And I think the Republican Party has an outstanding chance of fracturing. There will be the alt-right party; then there will be a center-right conservative party that has an opportunity to reach out, repair damage, and rebuild the brand over time. America, ideologically right now, is a centrist country — it used to be a center-right country — but it’s by no means a Bernie Sanders country. Not even close. The market will demand a center-right party. The last implication for it behaviorally is it exposes at such a massive scale and at such magnitude the hypocrisy of the Tony Perkinses and the Jerry Falwell Jrs. and the Pat Robertsons. These people are literally the modern-day Pharisees, they are the money changers in the temple, and they will forever be destroyed from a credibility perspective. There are millions of decent, faithful, committed evangelicals in this country who have every right to participate in the political process. But this country doesn’t ever need to hear a lecture from any one of these people [Perkins, Falwell, etc.] again on a values issue, or their denigration of good and decent gay people in this country.
Andrew ProkopSteve Schmidt As a political device, the “war on women” trope was effective. Republicans had an unfortunate series of candidates who were able to caricature the party. But the defense of Trump, the cowardice of so many Republican elected officials who won’t confront this — what it exposes is political cowardice on a massive level. It exposes a political class in the Republican Party that simply is unfit to lead the country. As a conservative Republican, I find anathematic the regulatory and tax policies of liberal Democrats. But there’s no question that Republicans — as an institution and what we’re led by — are unfit to run the country, or to govern the country. You have a massive reckoning coming due that will play out over years on the serially putting party above country. We’ve reached the moment in time that George Washington warned about in his farewell address with the danger of factions. You have basically warring tribes that subordinate the national interest to their tribal interest. There’s no higher value obviously for most — though not all — Republican elected officials than maintaining fidelity to Donald Trump. What’s extraordinary about that is that in America, we don’t take an oath to a strongman leader; we take it to the Constitution of the United States. And Donald Trump is obviously manifestly unfit in every conceivable way to occupy the office of the American head of state.
Andrew Prokop What do you think of this new Trump campaign strategy, reportedly being pushed by Steve Bannon and perhaps Roger Stone, to focus on attacking Bill Clinton for alleged sexual misconduct? Does this line of attack have a chance of actually working, or is it more aimed at satisfying, say, the future audience of the media company Trump is rumored to want to start if he loses?
Steve Schmidt Trump’s surrounded by people who have made a living in the Clinton conspiracy business. What’s the point they’re trying to make? That there’s a double standard in the media about how he’s been covered? There is! But this isn’t a strategy for winning a presidential election. This is a strategy born from the fevered imaginations of people who are living in an alternate reality universe. And it won’t be effective. I made this point the other day on MSNBC, and it’s true. In World War II the Japanese adopted a new tactic, kamikaze missions, manned aircraft, fully fueled missions, to fly into American ships. Twenty percent of the kamikaze missions were effective. They hit their targets, they caused death, they were instruments of terror. It was a tactic born from desperation. But it didn’t change the war’s outcome. Yet as the war neared its end, the desperation and the attacks increased. And that’s what’s happening as this race comes to an end.
Andrew Prokop So what would your advice be for Republican candidates on the ballot this year — let’s say for someone who’s supported Trump so far but hasn’t been all that enthusiastic. Is it too late to unendorse?
Steve Schmidt Winston Churchill was a keen observer of character and he said, Americans will always do the right thing, but they’ll wait till the last possible second to do it. And there’s something to that in our national character. Obviously the decision to jump off the Trump train will have been a late one, and it will be criticized by some people. They’ll say, “What was the last straw that broke the camel’s back?” I don’t know if there’s an answer for that. But people who are straddling the line with absurd propositions, like, “I’m voting for him but I don’t endorse him,” it’s a chickenshit position.
Andrew Prokop From a political perspective, isn’t there a counterargument that Republican officials going too openly against Trump would depress base turnout and lead to a bigger loss, handing over more seats to the Democrats?
Steve Schmidt Candidates for federal office have duties and obligations toward the national interest that supersede tactical calculations. And the question is this — I suppose if you believe that Donald Trump has demonstrated fitness to sit atop the national command authority as commander in chief of the world’s most powerful military and its most sophisticated nuclear arsenal, then you should continue to endorse Donald Trump. But for sure, when the election’s over, you’re locked into that position for all time. And the question is, if we haven’t hit the line where you can say, “I can’t support the nominee of the party” — then where is the line?”
10.14 Daniel Halper in the New York Post: “Donald Trump’s campaign says a British man is countering claims that the GOP presidential nominee groped a woman on a cross-country flight more than three decades ago. The man says he was sitting across from the accuser and contacted the Trump campaign because he was incensed by her account — which is at odds with what he witnessed. “I have only met this accuser once and frankly cannot imagine why she is seeking to make out that Trump made sexual advances on her. Not only did he not do so (and I was present at all times) but it was she that was the one being flirtatious,” Anthony Gilberthorpe said in a note provided to The Post by the Trump campaign. Gilberthorpe made headlines in 2014, when he went public with a claim that as a 17-year-old he procured boys (some who “could have been” underage”) for sex parties with high-ranking British politicians. Gilberthorpe has no evidence to back up his claim — just his self-described excellent memory.”
10.13 Bob Dylan is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
10.13 Michelle Obama: “This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful, it is intolerable, and it doesn’t matter what party you belong to. No woman deserves to be treated this way — none of us deserves this kind of abuse. I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women,” the first lady told several hundred voters at a university here. I can’t stop thinking about this — it has shaken me to my core.”
10.13 The United States is no longer a majority white, Christian country, and that is already beginning to have profound social and political implications. At 45 percent of the population, white Christians are a shrinking demographic—and the backlash from many members of the group against the increasing diversification of America has been swift and bitter. “People fight like that when they are losing a sense of place, a sense of belonging, and a sense of the country that they understand and love,” says Robert P. Jones, the author of The End of White Christian America, in this animated interview. “How do they reengage in public life when they can’t be the majority?”
10.12 Barack Obama in Wired: the truth is, if you had to choose any time in the course of human history to be alive, you’d choose this one. Right here in America, right now.
10.7 On a video taped in 2005, Donald Trump is recorded saying: ““I moved on her [Nancy O’Dell} and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and fuck her. She was married. I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture. I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there, and she was married. And then all of a sudden I see her, she’s not got the big phony tits and everything. Whoa, I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her . . . You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything . . . Grab them by the pussy.”
10.6 Hurricane Matthew skims Florida
img_2200-110.5 Tom Topoussis, Maxwell, Pam Widener
10.5 Mets eliminated by Giants in one game playoff, despite brilliant effort by Noah Syndegaard
10.2 Vin Scully signs off: “Romo out of the stretch, and the 2-2 pitch on the way. Sergio deals a slider hit in the air to left center, coming over is Pagan — he puts it away!
And the Giants are the wild-card team. The city is going wild, appropriately enough, and they are heading for New York. No runs, one hit for the Dodgers, who managed to leave four men on base because they were the only four they got on base. The Giants in the Western division are 45-31, the Dodgers are 43-33, so inside the division, they certainly were the better team. That was awfully nice. The umpire just stood up and said goodbye, as I am saying goodbye. Seven runs, 16 hits for the winning Giants, 1-4-1 for the Dodgers. The winner, Matt Moore, the loser, Kenta Maeda. I have said enough for a lifetime, and for the last time, I wish you all a very pleasant good afternoon.”
10.1 The New York Times: Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show. The 1995 tax records, never before disclosed, reveal the extraordinary tax benefits that Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his ill-fated foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Tax experts hired by The Times to analyze Mr. Trump’s 1995 records said that tax rules especially advantageous to wealthy filers would have allowed Mr. Trump to use his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period.

SEPTEMBER 2016

9.30 Governor Cuomo: “The central plank of my administration has always been about public integrity and zero tolerance for any waste, fraud or abuse. If anything, I hold a friend to a higher standard,” he said in Buffalo on Friday. “It’s the first time since we lost my father that I didn’t miss him being here yesterday, because it would’ve broken his heart.”
9.29 Chris Cilizza in the Washington Post: “Donald Trump is one of two people who will be president next JanuaryMonday night was, inarguably, the most important day of the general election campaign to date. Every person in politics — and not — had circled the first debate as a major moment in the campaign, Trump’s best chance to fight back against the narrative that he lacks the policy chops and the temperament to be president of the United States. The audience for the debate was expected to be somewhere between 80 and 100 million, the largest for a political event ever. All of these things pointed to the absolute necessity for Trump to perform well. And, what happened? His debate prep team couldn’t get him to pay attention. That is, literally, stunning. Put yourself in a comparable situation. You are applying for a job you really want. Your interview is in five days. You hire an interview coach to help you do well. Then you just can’t bring yourself to pay attention to the advice he or she gives you. It’s hard to imagine that happening, right? After all, it’s your dream job. You’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. You know it won’t likely come around again. With all that in the balance, you would be far more likely to overprepare than underprepare, right? Can you imagine simply not being able to bring yourself to pay attention with the most important day of your professional life on the horizon?’’
9.29 Clinton brought up Alicia Machado. Machado alleges that Trump called her names such as “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” when she gained weight after winning the Miss Universe crown in 1996. Trump could have brushed off the question and moved on the next morning, but instead he engaged. “She was the worst we ever had. The worst. The absolute worst. She was impossible,” Trump said of Machado on Fox. “She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem.”
9.29 President Obama‘s statement was poetic: “Shimon Peres was the essence of Israel itself—the courage of Israel’s fight for independence, the optimism he shared with his wife Sonya as they helped make the desert bloom, and the perseverance that led him to serve his nation in virtually every position in government across the entire life of the State of Israel. No one did more over so many years as Shimon Peres to build the alliance between our two countries—an unbreakable alliance that today is closer and stronger than it has ever been.”
9.29 Alyssa Rosenberg in The Washington Post: “During the debate, pollster Frank Luntz shared a text that he said he’d received from a Republican member of Congress saying Clinton “just comes across as my [b—–] wife/mother.” Totally aside from the fact that defining Clinton’s collected, occasionally funny, performance in a debate where she was constantly interrupted and lied about as shrill or unpleasant suggests that there is literally nothing a woman can do that won’t cause some moron offense, this is an astonishingly nasty thing to say about one’s own spouse or mother.”
9.29 Mark Cuban: “You have to realize that this is a country that’s been great to us and you can’t just take, take, take, take, take, take take.”
9.28 Sen. John Warner, endorsing Hillary Clinton: ““We have today the strongest military in the world. No one can compare to us. … It is not in shambles. … No one should have the audacity to stand up and degrade the Purple Heart, degrade military families or talk about the military being in a state of disaster.”
9.28 Michelle Obama at LaSalle University: “There is no “perfect candidate. When I hear folks say they don’t feel inspired, I have to disagree. Either Hillary Clinton or her opponent will be elected president this year. And if you vote for someone other than Hillary or if you don’t vote at all, you are helping to elect Hillary’s opponent.”
9.28 Gary “Aleppo’’ Johnson, with his running mate Bill Weld, being interviewed by Chris Matthews:
Matthews: Who’s your favorite foreign leader?
Johnson: Who’s my favorite?”
Matthews: Anywhere in the continents. Any country. Name one foreign leader that you look up to.
Weld: I’m with Shimon Peres.
Matthews: I’m talking about living, okay? You gotta do this. Any continent. Canada, Mexico?
Johnson: I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment.
Matthews: In the whole world! Anybody in the world.
Johnson: I know, I know.
Matthews: Pick any leader.
Johnson: The former president of Mexico.
Matthews: Which one?
Johnson: I’m having a brain freeze.
Weld: Fox? Zedillo? Calderon?
Johnson: Fox! He was terrific.
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9.28 Mark Teixeira has hit 409 home runs in his career and if he doesn’t hit another over the next four games — the last he will ever play in the big leagues — he says that’s fine with him. After all, he said, No. 409 will be hard to beat.Teixeira hit his first-ever regular season walk-off home run Wednesday night, a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Boston Red Sox 5-3 and keep the Yankees faint playoff hopes alive, a shot deep into the night that cleared the right-center wall at Yankee Stadium helping New York erase a 3-0 deficit heading into the final frame against one of baseball’s best closers, Craig Kimbrel. “That was fun, that’s as good as it gets right there,” said Teixeira. “I guess if you hit one to win the World Series it might be just as much fun, but for the kind of season we’ve had, we’ve been fighting all year
9.28 Justin Barasky, a spokesman for Priorities U.S.A.: “While a majority of our efforts will continue highlighting how divisive and dangerous Donald Trump is, the fact that he didn’t pay any money in federal income taxes is an important issue that could break through among all the other noise about him. Voters don’t like when you cheat on your taxes, and they certainly don’t like when you brag about how smart you are after admitting you did it.”
9.27 The Yankees’ sensational rookie Gary Sanchez hits his 20th home run.
9.27 Ross Douthat in the Times: “Donald Trump won the first 25 minutes of the first presidential debate. He was too bullying and shout-y, too prone to interrupt, but he seized on an issue, trade, where Hillary Clinton was awkward and defensive, and he hammered away at his strongest campaign theme: linking his opponent to every establishment failure and disappointment, and trying to make her experience a liability rather than a strength. In response, Clinton stumbled through a series of politician’s tics — trying out a canned phrase (“trumped-up trickle-down”), urging people to go to her website and read her campaign book, reaching for the wonders of solar panels when the discussion turned to jobs, and urging the fact-checkers to get to work on her opponent rather than filleting him herself. He seemed passionate; she seemed stilted. His message seemed clear (if, yes, demagogic); hers seemed like a career politician’s bob and weave. But then the rest of the debate happened, and Trump simply couldn’t keep it up. As one might have surmised from watching how he handled tough questioning in the primary debates, he lacked the … well, stamina to talk about policy in the sustained way required of a one-on-one presidential tilt. So he ended up serving up word salad more and more as the debate wore on, until Clinton’s stiltedness sounded like eloquence by contrast.”
9.27 Thomas B. Edsall in the Times: “Trump was erratic, inconsistent and incoherent. He did not make a memorable case on any issue except perhaps his call for law and order. His justification for refusing to release his taxes, his claim that “my strongest asset by far is my temperament,” his defense of his bankruptcies, his use of debt and his failure to pay creditors, his support for reducing taxes on the wealthy, and his failure to document such broad claims as “we have the greatest mess you have even seen” all rang weak.
This same pattern became obvious as Trump tried to claim he actually did Obama a favor by pushing for the release of his birth certificate and failed to explain why he continued to make birther claims for years afterward.
9.27 Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol: “I’m not positive Hillary actually won the debate. But I’m sure Trump lost it. He choked.”
9.27 GOP lobbyist Ed Rogers: “Even if you are a Trump supporter, you have to think that he left a lot on the table. He didn’t see the openings and he didn’t swing at the softballs that came his way. He never used the word ‘change,’ he didn’t bore in on Hillary’s email scandal and he never got around to the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s suspect integrity. Trump was inarticulate and rarely hit the bull’s eye.”
9.27 John Podhoretz in the Post: “He was exciting but embarrassingly undisciplined. He began with his strongest argument — that the political class represented by her has failed us and it’s time to look to a successful dealmaker for leadership — and kept to it pretty well for the first 20 minutes. Then due to the vanity and laziness that led him to think he could wing the most important 95 minutes of his life, he lost the thread of his argument, he lost control of his temper and he lost the perspective necessary to correct these mistakes as he went. By the end … Trump was reduced to a sputtering mess blathering about Rosie O’Donnell and about how he hasn’t yet said the mean things about Hillary that he is thinking.”
9.27 David French in National Review: “After the first 20 minutes, it may have been the most lopsided debate I’ve ever seen — and not because Clinton was particularly effective. But you don’t need to be good when your opponent is bad. Why didn’t he have a better answer ready for the birther nonsense? Has he still not done any homework on foreign policy? I felt like I was watching the political Titanic hit the iceberg, back up, and hit it again. Just for fun.”
9.27 EJ Dionee Jr in the Washington Post: “The surprise of the debate was that Clinton put before them a new Trump to dislike. Trump has campaigned as a populist paladin of the working class. But the Trump that Clinton described was a plutocrat who walked away from debts and obligations to his own employees. She pushed the debate into an extended discussion of how Trump had become wealthy and turned what he sees as one of his central assets, his business acumen, into what could become a big liability as the campaign goes forward.”
9.26 Hillary Clinton: “As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”
fox-news-edward-sorel-nov-2016-a9.23 Vanity Fair: “What [Gretchen] Carlson was alleging—outlined in great detail—was much worse. In one meeting in September 2015, when she complained about the discriminatory treatment she said she had suffered, Ailes said to her, according to her suit, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.”
9.25 24 year old Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins dies in a boating accident
9.25 Arnold Palmer dies at 87
9.23 David Brooks in the New York Times: “Clintonworld is a semi-closed system that operates according to its own calendar. Donald Trump is egregious, but at least he’s living in the 21st century, as was Bernie Sanders. Clintonworld operates according to its own time-space continuum that is slightly akilter from our own. In the 21st century, politics operates around a different axis. It’s not left/right, big government/small government. It’s openness and dynamism versus closedness and security. It’s between those who see opportunity and excitement in the emerging globalized, multiethnic meritocracy against those who see their lives and communities threatened by it. In the 21st century, the parties are amassing different coalitions. People are dividing along human capital lines, with the college educated flocking to the Democrats and the non-college educated whites flocking to the G.O.P. Democrats do great in America’s 100 most crowded counties, but they struggle in the 3,000 less crowded ones. Clintonworld is a decades-old interlocking network of donors and friends that hasn’t quite caught up to these fundamental shifts. That’s because Clintonworld, in the Hillary iteration, is often defensive, distrusting and oriented around avoiding errors. In each of her national campaigns, Clinton has run against in-touch-with-the-times men who were more charismatic and generated more passion than she did. She’s always been the duller, unfashionable foil. Her donor base and fund-raising style is out of another era. Obama and Sanders tapped into the energized populist base, but Clinton has Barbra Streisand, Cher and a cast of Wall Street plutocrats. Her campaign proposals sidestep the cutting issues that have driven Trump, Sanders, Brexit and the other key movements of modern politics. Her ideas for reducing poverty are fine, but they are circa Ed Muskie: more public works jobs, housing tax credits, more money for Head Start. Her out-of-time style costs her big with millennials. If she loses this election it will be because younger voters just don’t relate to her and flock to Gary Johnson instead. It also leads to a weird imbalance in the national debate. We have an emerging global system, with relatively open trade, immigration, multilateral institutions and ethnic diversity. The critics of that system are screaming at full roar. The champions of that system — and Hillary Clinton is naturally one — are off in another world. There is a strong case to be made for an open world order, and a huge majority coalition to be built in support of it. But she is disengaged.’’
9.23 When it comes to foreplay and vaginal sex a woman takes between 10 and 20 minutes to climax while a man takes 7-14 minutes and typically ejaculates two to three minutes after entering the vagina.
9.23 Jessica Bennett in The Times: Mrs. Clinton has lots of experience in speaking in crowds of men, but for the rest of us, it can be tricky: Women are less likely to speak up, and less likely to be heard, in groups that are mostly men — which is why gender equality in places where people are required to speak is so important. That might explain why even the women of the Obama White House have employed a method they call “amplification”: making sure at meetings that other women are present, then repeating one another’s ideas — with credit to the author. With this method, not only are they less likely to be interrupted, they’re also less likely to have their ideas stolen; in mixed settings, research has shown, women are less likely to have their own ideas attributed to them — in many cases because male credit is simply inferred.”
9.23 Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post: “If you are a black man in America, exercising your constitutional right to keep and bear arms can be fatal. You might think the National Rifle Association and its amen chorus would be outraged, but apparently they believe Second Amendment rights are for whites only.’’
9.23 Profesor Allan Lichtman: “We’ve never before seen a candidate who’s spent his life enriching himself at the expense of others. He’s the first candidate in our history to be a serial fabricator, making up things as he goes along. Even when he tells the truth, such as, “Barack Obama really was born in the U.S.,” he adds two lines, that Hillary Clinton started the birther movement, and that he finished it, even though when Barack Obama put out his birth certificate, he didn’t believe it. We’ve never had a candidate before who not just once, but twice in a thinly disguised way, has incited violence against an opponent. We’ve never had a candidate before who’s invited a hostile foreign power to meddle in American elections. We’ve never had a candidate before who’s threatened to start a war by blowing ships out of the water in the Persian Gulf if they come too close to us. We’ve never had a candidate before who has embraced as a role model a murderous, hostile foreign dictator. Given all of these exceptions that Donald Trump represents, he may well shatter patterns of history that have held for more than 150 years, lose this election even if the historical circumstances favor it.’’
9.22 G: “I was sick to my stomach all night.’’
9.22 North Carolina congressman Robert Pittenger: “The grievance in their mind is the animus, the anger. They hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not. I mean, yes, it is a welfare state. We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare—we have put people in bondage, so that they can’t be all that they are capable of being. You know America is a country of freedom and liberty. It didn’t become that way because of a great government who provided everything for everyone.”
9.22 Nicholas Kristoff in the Times: “Evidence suggests that we are at an inflection point for the ages. The number of people living in extreme poverty ($1.90 per person per day) has tumbled by half in two decades, and the number of small children dying has dropped by a similar proportion — that’s six million lives a year saved by vaccines, breast-feeding promotion, pneumonia medicine and diarrhea treatments! Historians may conclude that the most important thing going on in the world in the early 21st century was a stunning decline in human suffering.
■ As recently as 1981, 44 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty, according to the World Bank. Now the share is believed to be less than 10 percent and falling. “This is the best story in the world today,” says Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank.
■ For the entire history of the human species until the 1960s, a majority of adults were illiterate. Now 85 percent of adults worldwide are literate and the share is rising.
■ Although inequality has risen in America, the global trend is more encouraging: Internationally, inequality is on the decline because of gains by the poor in places like China and India.
The U.N. aims to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, and experts believe it is possible to get quite close. Yet the public thinks the opposite, that poverty is getting worse. A poll to be released Thursday by Motivaction, a Dutch firm, finds that only 1 percent of Americans surveyed realized that global extreme poverty had fallen by half over 20 years.
9.22 Daniel Drezner in The Washington Post: the very tightening of the race prevents Trump from winning. There is a bevy of voters who are not jazzed by Clinton but are petrified by a Trump presidency. Once polls start to show that it’s close, they will decide to vote for Clinton or say so in a poll. When the lead expands, they get more complacent and disaffected by Clinton’s flaws. Given the good recent economic news, and the failure of terrorism threats to benefit Trump, my baseline of the 2016 election is that any tightening of the race creates endogenous effects that prevent Trump from taking the lead.
9.21Never seen otherwise-smart people in so much denial about something as they are about Trump’s chances. Same mistake as primaries— Nate Silver
9.21 Thomas Friedman in the Times: how exactly is Trump going to enlist Arab Gulf nations against ISIS or to counterbalance Iran, having stated that their Muslim citizens should be banned from entering the U.S.? Who will want to work with him? Trump is constantly saying extreme things and then taking them back or claiming to be misunderstood. Consider the havoc that will wreak with our diplomacy. That’s why the cynical Putin admires Trump. Trump, narcissist that he is, thinks it’s because Putin really admires his leadership qualities. No, Donald. It’s because Putin knows a mess-maker when he sees one, and the thought of America being led by a man who would be wildly unpopular simultaneously in Europe, Beijing, Mexico, South America and the Muslim world is for Putin a dream come true. The old K.G.B. could never make that happen.
9.20 “Have you returned one nickel of the money that you earned while this scandal was going on? Have you fired any senior management, the people who actually oversaw this fraud?” Senator Warren asked.
“No,” [Wells Fargo CEO John] Stumpf said.
“Evidently your definition of accountable is to push the blame to your low-level employees who don’t have the money for a fancy PR firm to defend themselves,” Warren said. “It is gutless leadership. You should resign; you should give back the money.”
9.20 Donald Trump: “”We’re going to rebuild our inner cities because our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before. Ever. Ever. Ever. You take a look at the inner cities, you get no education, you get no jobs, you get shot walking down the street. They’re worse — I mean, honestly, places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities. And I think it’s resonating.”
9.20 Angelina Jolie sues Brad Pitt for divorce. His purported affair with Marian Cotillard has been cited as the proximate cause
9.19 Donald Trump: “She goes around with armed bodyguards like you have never seen before. I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm. Right? Right? I think they should disarm immediately. What do you think? Yes? Yes. Yeah. Take their guns away. She doesn’t want guns. … Let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away, okay? It would be very dangerous.
9.19 Governor Cuomo: “This is one of the nightmare scenarios. We really were very lucky that there were no fatalities.”
9.19 Authorities said they apprehended Ahmad Khan Rahami, the 28-year-old wanted in connection with weekend bombings in Manhattan and Seaside Park, N.J., after a shootout Monday with police officers.9.19 Colbert concluded: “You don’t get to flog this issue for five years and then act like you’re correcting everybody else. We’re not crazy. We were there. We all saw you do it. Even the people who support you saw you do it. It’s why they support you.”
9.18 Donavan in Peekskill.
9.18 Giants beat Saints.
9.18 Jimmy Kimmel at the Emmys: “If it weren’t for television, would Donald Trump be running for president? No, He would be at home right now quietly rubbing up against his wife, Malaria, while she pretends to be asleep.” Kimmel then wondered aloud about who exactly should be blamed for the Trump phenomenon. In fact, Kimmel said, that person was sitting in the audience. “That’s right. That guy. Mark Burnett, the man who brought us ‘Celebrity Apprentice,'” Kimmel said. “Thanks to Mark Burnett, we don’t have to watch reality shows anymore, because we’re living in one. Thank-you, Mark.”
9.17 Just read a quote from Witold Waszczykowski, Foreign Minister of the Polish Government, spoken last January in an interview with a German newspaper: “The previous government implemented a left-wing concept, as if the world had to move using a Marxist model in only one direction: towards a mixture of cultures and races, a world of cyclists and vegetarians, who only use renewable energy sources and combat all forms of religion. This has nothing in common with traditional Polish values. This is against what most Poles have at heart: tradition, historical consciousness, love of the country, faith in God and a normal family life run by a man and a woman.”
9/17 A bomb explodes in a dumpster in Chelsea
9.16 Cigars on the roof with Tom, Max and G.
9.16 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday acknowledged for the first time that President Obama was born in the United States, ending his long history of stoking unfounded doubts about the nation’s first African-American president but also seeking to falsely blame Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for starting the rumors.
9.15 Peter Beinart in The Atlantic: “`The Americans who dislike her most are those who most fear emasculation. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, Americans who “completely agree” that society is becoming “too soft and feminine” were more than four times as likely to have a “very unfavorable” view of Clinton as those who “completely disagree.” And the presidential-primary candidate whose supporters were most likely to believe that America is becoming feminized—more likely by double digits than supporters of Ted Cruz—was Donald Trump. The gender backlash against Clinton’s candidacy may not defeat her. But neither is it likely to subside if she wins. Jennifer Lawless, the director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University, suggested to me that Clinton has generally grown more popular when she stops seeking an office and begins occupying it. This accords with the research showing public hostility toward overt displays of female ambition. On the other hand, the pollster Anna Greenberg notes that Clinton has generally been most popular when conforming to traditional gender roles (working on women’s issues as first lady, sticking by her husband during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, loyally serving Barack Obama as secretary of state) and least popular when violating them (heading the health-care task force, serving in the Senate, running for president). Being the first female president, needless to say, violates traditional gender roles.
9.15 The Atlantic: the AFL-CIO’s calculations grossly understate just how much money executives make. While the AFL-CIO’s calculations are for CEOs at S&P 500 companies, our analysis of data for the 500 highest-paid senior executives (not all of whom are CEOs) from the ExecuComp database, which is maintained by Standard & Poor’s, suggests that the Executive Paywatch ratios are far too low. Data on these executives’ actual take-home pay, which is published, as required by law, in companies’ annual filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), show that in 2014, senior executives made 949 times as much money as the average worker, far higher than the AFL-CIO’s ratio of 373:1.
9.15 “Right now, 92 million Americans are on the sideline outside of the workforce, and they’re not a part of our economy. It’s a silent nation of jobless Americans.”
Donald Trump, speech to the Economic Club of New York, Sept. 15, 2016. Trump is grabbing onto a GOP talking point that first emerged in 2014 when the official unemployment rate starting falling below 7 percent. (It is now 4.9 percent.) Republicans started citing a decline in the labor participation rate, which has occurred largely because the baby boom generation has begun to retire. But here, Trump expresses the rate as a raw number (“92 million Americans”) and then amps up the rhetoric by referring to a “nation of jobless Americans.” But this is rhetorical poppycock, as we will demonstrate. The Facts: Trump is actually using an out-of-date figure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, relying on a monthly survey known as the Current Population Survey (CPS), shows that, as of August 2016, 94.4 million Americans 16 years and older were “not in labor force.” How is this number developed? Well, there is a civilian noninstitutional population of 253.9 million people, and 159.5 million are in the labor force. The difference yields the 94.4 million figure. But the unemployment rate is only 4.9 percent because just 7.8 million people actively are looking for a job and cannot find one.
9.14 Kurt Eichenwald in Newsweek: “A close examination by Newsweek of the Trump Organization, including confidential interviews with business executives and some of its international partners, reveals an enterprise with deep ties to global financiers, foreign politicians and even criminals, although there is no evidence the Trump Organization has engaged in any illegal activities. It also reveals a web of contractual entanglements that could not be just canceled. If Trump moves into the White House and his family continues to receive any benefit from the company, during or even after his presidency, almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise serious conflicts of interest and ethical quagmires.
9.14 Donald Trump Jr: “The media has been her number-one surrogate in this,” Trump said in a Wednesday interview with a Philadelphia radio station, referring to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “Without the media, this wouldn’t even be a contest. But the media has built her up. They’ve let her slide on every indiscrepancy [sic], on every lie, on every DNC game trying to get Bernie Sanders out of this thing.” Then he added: “If Republicans were doing that, they’d be warming up the gas chamber right now.”
9.13 The libertarian (and Koch brothers-backed) think tank Cato Institute published a report last week assessingthe risk posed by refugees. That report stated that, each year, the risk to an American of being killed by a refugee in a terror attack is 1 in 3.64 billion, as Huffington Post’s Elise Foley noted on Twitter. From the report: From 1975 through 2015, the annual chance that an American would be murdered in a terrorist attack carried out by a foreign-born terrorist was 1 in 3,609,709. Foreigners on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks, whereas those on other tourist visas killed 1 in 3.9 million a year. The chance that an American would be killed in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee was 1 in 3.64 billion a year. In other words, for every 10.92 billion years that Americans live — one Skittle, if you will — refugees will kill an American in a terror attack in three.

9.17 She goes around with armed bodyguards like you have never seen before. I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm. Right? Right? I think they should disarm immediately. What do you think? Yes? Yes. Yeah. Take their guns away. She doesn’t want guns. … Let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away, okay? It would be very dangerous.

AUGUST 2016

8.31 Visited Rose in Maryland
8.30 New York Post: “A team of scientists that investigated extraterrestrial signals from deep space may have found signs of an advanced civilization in the solar system of a sun-sized star 95 light-years away. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) researchers believe that a strong signal detected from a 6.3-billion-year-old star could be an indication that something out there is trying to contact us. “The signal conceivably fits the profile for an intentional transmission from an extraterrestrial source,” Alan Boyle wrote about the discovery in Geekwire.”
8.29 Gene Wilder dies at 83.
IMG_18798.28 Dave Jensen and I went to the Met game (Phils 5, Mets 1)–and mirable dictu! We each caught T-shirts!
8.27 Jason Bourne. Happy to see Paul Greengrass made another nunch of millions, but enough already. With an uninteresting Alice Vikander playing an uninteresting character, the film just goes to show how important Joan Allen, Julia Stiles, Rachel Weisz, and Franka Potente were to the success of the series.
8.26 “He hasn’t changed his position on immigration. He changed the words that he is saying.”–Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson on CNN
8.25 Maine Governor Paul LePage to Democratic RepDrew Gattine, whom he believed to be among the people calling him a racist. “I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist,” LePage said in a voicemail obtained by the Portland Press Herald. “I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people, and you little son of a bitch, socialist cocksucker — I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.”
IMG_21008.25 Grand Central Terminal, 6:02 PM
8.24 A. Whitney Brown: “And now, to my Redneck American Community, where are my Rednecks? There they are, there’s my Redneck American, okay… For generations, you have been giving your vote to the Republicans, and what has it gotten you? Nothing! Your lives are a catastrophe, believe me. You have no health care, your children are all dying of meth and heroin, you have no education, you are shooting yourselves with your own guns on accident every day. So sad. Just a disaster. You have been losing, losing, losing. The big banks are buying all your farms, you have nothing to eat but junk food, you all have diabetes, and your water is totally poisoned from all the fracking going on. Absolutely horrendous. A complete waste. And what do you get for it? Nothing! Even the gays are better off than you. They’re taking all your marriages. Your homes are totally broken, I can tell you.The Republicans have totally taken you for granted. They think you’re stupid! They are taking advantage of you and it’s got to end, believe me. The Democrats will straighten this out so fast it will make your head spin. We will give you Medicaid, if you will just vote in a Democrat governor, believe me. It will happen. I guarantee it. What the hell do you have to lose? We will fix your environment, we will clean up your water, we will help you get educated, and we will take the guns away from your crazy neighbor. It’s going to be beautiful, believe me. We will give you Obamacare, we will give you an Obamaphone, and we will help your children go to college if they are smart enough. We will fix your roads and and bridges and we will stock lunker bass in all your fishing holes. We are going to build bridges and roads, and send your kids to college. And who is going to pay for it? The billionaires, that’s right. They are going to pay their fair share once and for all. You are going to start winning again, and it is going to be beautiful. You are going to win so much you’re going to get tired of winning. You’ll say, Democrats, stop with the winning all the time, I can’t take it, and we will say, no, we are going to keep on winning for all the Redneck Americans. We will be your voice! What the hell do you have to lose, I ask you? And after 4 years, I guarantee you we will have 95 percent of the Redneck American vote. I guarantee it. Believe me. Just give us a chance.”
8.20 Washington Post: “Clutching Confederate flags, white supremacist signs and, in several cases, assault rifles, roughly 20 White Lives Matter members stood on the sidewalk of a historically black neighborhood to denounce the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.”
8.20 Trump’s new mouthpiece, Kellyanne Conway, nee Fitzpatrick, once told a big fat lie about me. In 1999, when I was freelancing, Playboy asked me to write an article about all the new conservative female pundits who had flooded the airwaves: Arianna Huffington, Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Barbara Olson. I had a fun interview with Arianna, then called Fitzpatrick, who agreed to talk to me the following week. Before that happened, however, she called Page Six, and told them I had asked her to pose nude for Playboy, and that she, more virtuous than Caesar’s wife, had refused. So instead of just saying no, she figured out a way to make herself look good in front of her conservative clients. That’s the Kellyanne I know: a self-serving liar.
bolt Wired_Olympics_Week2_17-1024x6518.19 Usain Bolt complete his triple triple. “He’s equally lovable to his fans and soul crushing to his opponents.”
8.18 David Ignatius in the Washington Post: “A glimpse of what could lie ahead, if the next president continues the projects begun by the Obama Pentagon, came in a provocative 2014 study, “Toward a New Offset Strategy,” by Robert Martinage of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Martinage recommended a dizzying new arsenal that would include a fleet of unmanned subs; an array of undersea sensors; “seabed payload pods” that could hide drones underwater until they were needed in a conflict; electromagnetic rail guns and directed-energy weapons; high-energy lasers that could blind enemy sensors; and a range of other new technologies.
3758C50800000578-3746374-image-a-5_14714918619708.18 Photo of five year old Omran Daqneesh, a five year old boy wounded in air strikes in Aleppo, shocks the world.
8.17 Greg Sargent in The Washington Post: “This appears to confirm, as I have argued, that Trump remains trapped in the mental universe he inhabited during the primaries. That was a place where the size of his crowds at rallies actually did portend victories over less colorful and entertaining opponents who failed to create a mystique to rival his. It was a place where he really could win through sheer media dominance alone, because the bigotry, xenophobia, and all around depravity and wretchedness that drove that dominance — and with it, the name recognition that allowed him to blot out his rivals — did not alienate large numbers of Republican voters in the manner he is currently repulsing key general election constituencies. Trump now appears determined to prove that the same formula — which basically constitutes whipping up white backlash through rousing rallies and a continued emphasis on ethno-nationalism (leavened a bit by pretend minority outreach gestures) — can work in the general.”
8.14 The New York Times: — “Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Trump Aide.” “Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Paul Manafort from (Viktor) Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials,” Andrew E. Kramer, Mike McIntire and Barry Meier report from Kiev. “In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Mr. Yanukovych’s inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles … Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.”
8.13 Ross Douthat in the Times: “This election was supposed to be a referendum on Hillary Clinton, long a polarizing figure because she seemed to embody the cultural transformations of the 1960s — the liberal, feminist, working-mother spouse of the first boomer president. But in the year of Donald Trump, the religious conservatives who fought many of those transformations find themselves reduced to a hapless rump. The best have retreated to rebuild; the worst have abased themselves before a sybaritic, irreligious presidential nominee. So in word, deed and his wife’s “artistic” shots, it’s Trump rather than Clinton who has confirmed the full triumph of the sexual revolutions. I say revolutions, plural, because Trump is a reminder that the 1960s happened in stages, with different figures and worldviews shaping its social shifts. As John Podhoretz wrote, Trump and Hillary are both children of the ’60s — but of its opposite ends, the Rat Pack era in Trump’s case and the flowering of boomer liberalism in Hillary’s. Much of what seems strange and reactionary about Trump is tied to what was normal to a certain kind of Sinatra and Mad Men-era man — the casual sexism, the odd mix of sleaziness and formality, even the insult-comic style. But while that male culture was “conservative” in its exploitative attitudes toward women, it was itself in rebellion against bourgeois norms and Middle-American Christianity. And if Hillary is a (partial, given her complicated marriage) avatar of Gloria Steinem-era feminism, her opponent is an heir of the male revolutionary in whose club Steinem once went undercover: Hugh Hefner. It was Hefner who fully embodied the male sexual revolt. Today he’s just a sleazy oldster, but in the beginning he was a faux philosopher, preaching a gospel cribbed from bohemia and various Freudian enemies of repression, in which the blessed pursuit of promiscuity was the human birthright. But really a male birthright, for a certain kind of man: The sort of hep cat who loved inviting the ladies back to his pad “for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex.” That was the ideal, at least. Trump, the thrice-married ubermensch who jokes about Megyn Kelly’s period, is the more usual reality.”
8.13 Michael Phelps wins his 23rd gold medal
8.13 “This is the US women’s eight.’’
8.13 Yankees Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge become the first team mates to go yard in their first at bats. They hit their homers back-to-back.
8.12 Vaunted Ambition, by Nathaniel Philbrick.
8.12 Alex Rodriguez ends tumultuous Yankee career by going 1 for 4 (an RHI double), in a 6-3 victory.
Phelps-death-stare-e1470709756915
8.10 Frank Bruni in the Times: “I fear that with the Olympics, as with so much else, we’ve let the language of complaint supplant the language of wonder, and there’s wonder aplenty here.’
8.9 Donald Trump in Wilmington NC: “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. It would be a horrible day.”
8.9 Joe Sheehan in SI.com: “For some, Alex Rodriguez’s numbers won’t matter. “Cheater!” they’ll cry, minimizing his accomplishments due to his confessions of drug use. Perhaps they’re right to decide that Rodriguez is somehow different from generations of players who chased every edge before we cared how they did it. Perhaps they’re right to dismiss Rodriguez’s career in the same week that Ken Caminiti—whose steroids admission in 2002 helped expose baseball’s PED problem—is posthumously inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame, and when Dee Gordon, who served an 80-game suspension this year, pushes the Marlins toward a playoff spot. Perhaps they’re right to ignore the specifics of Rodriguez’s case, to not ruminate about the issues of promised anonymity or stolen evidence or the financial support of criminals that are all a part of his story. Where they’re wrong is this: You don’t find greatness in a pill, or a syringe or a cream. There’s never been a substance created that will give you 696 home runs and 3,114 hits. Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest players who ever lived, and neither the mistakes he made nor our particular generation’s obsession with them will change that.”
8.8 Leonard Cohen, to his onetime lover Marianne Ihlen, inspiration for songs “So Long Marianne” and “Bird On a Wire.” as she lay dying in July: “Well Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and for your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.’’
8.8 Paul Krugman in the Times: “The most important thing we need is sharply increased public investment in everything from energy to transportation to wastewater treatment. How should we pay for this investment? We shouldn’t — not now, or any time soon. Right now there is an overwhelming case for more government borrowing. Investing more in infrastructure would clearly make us richer. Meanwhile, the federal government can borrow at incredibly low interest rates: 10-year, inflation-protected bonds yielded just 0.09 percent on Friday. . . .this investment might well pay for itself even in purely fiscal terms. How so? Spending more now would mean a bigger economy later, which would mean more tax revenue. This additional revenue would probably be larger than any rise in future interest payments.”
8.8 Daniel Drezner in the Post: “Hillary Clinton might be a good leader, but she is not a conventionally great politician. When she has to lie — which, again, is not all that often — she doesn’t look good doing it. In contrast to Trump, she’s painfully aware of her relationship with the truth. Between Clinton and Trump, Clinton is the bigger and badder liar — but that’s because Clinton cares enough about the truth to know a lie when she tells one.’’
8.8 Ibtihaj Muhammad, female American Muslim Olympic fencer, on CNN: “I think Trump’s words are very dangerous. When these types of comments are made, no one thinks about how they really affect people. I’m African-American. I don’t have another home to go to. My family was born here. I was born here. I’ve grown up in Jersey. All my family’s from Jersey. It’s like, well, where do we go?”
8.8 James Hamblin in The Atlantic: “To suggest that straight, stereotypically masculine men are in any way marginalized in American society—much less to compare their perceived plight to that of homosexual Americans a decade ago—is, by objective measures, absurd. Still the foundation of Trump’s base is white men without a degree. The dominance of white men is being challenged on many fronts, including the code by which they fraternized with and identified one another. If their dominance is shrinking, it is a regression toward parity, an undoing of entrenched inequality, but not an outright attack. Not oppression. The fact that Trumps impetuousness and thoughtlessness are rewarded rather than punished only further evidence the boys-will-be-boys system. His weakness is not in “speaking without thinking,” as apologists have offered, but in being unable not to speak when challenged. Trump is both a product of a masculine culture and a beneficiary of its musky tenets. Rather than criticize him or lose faith, his fans forgive and apologize for his words.
8.7 Donald Trump, speaking about Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, as reported by The Washington Post: “She is a totally unhinged person. She’s unbalanced. And all you have to do is watch her, see her, read about her. She will cause — if she wins, which hopefully she won’t — the destruction of our country from within.” The GOP presidential nominee called Clinton unstable and incompetent several times throughout the rally. At one point, he also called her “Hillary Rotten Clinton. “I think the people of this country don’t want somebody that’s going to short-circuit up here. Not as your president, not as your president. Now you tell me she looks presidential, folks. I look presidential.”
8.5 Michael Morell, former CIA official, in The New York Times: “The dangers that flow from Mr. Trump’s character are not just risks that would emerge if he became president. It is already damaging our national security. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated. Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin. Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States. In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.
8.4 David Ignatius in The Washington Post: “People will resist abandoning a false belief unless they have a compelling alternative explanation. That point was made in an article called “The Debunking Handbook,” by Australian researchers John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. They wrote: “Unless great care is taken, any effort to debunk misinformation can inadvertently reinforce the very myths one seeks to correct.” Screaming back at Trump for these past 12 months may have been satisfying for his critics, but it hasn’t dented his support much. What seems to be hurting Trump in the polls now are self-destructive comments that trouble even his most passionate supporters. Attempts to aggressively “correct” his remaining fans may only deepen their attachment.’’
8.4 Charles Krauthammer in the Post: “This is beyond narcissism. I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully. I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied. He lives in a cocoon of solipsism where the world outside himself has value — indeed exists — only insofar as it sustains and inflates him. Most politicians seek approval. But Trump lives for the adoration. He doesn’t even try to hide it, boasting incessantly about his crowds, his standing ovations, his TV ratings, his poll numbers, his primary victories. The latter are most prized because they offer empirical evidence of how loved and admired he is. Prized also because, in our politics, success is self-validating. A candidacy that started out as a joke, as a self-aggrandizing exercise in xenophobia, struck a chord in a certain constituency and took off. The joke was on those who believed that he was not a serious man and therefore would not be taken seriously. They — myself emphatically included — were wrong.’’
8.4 Fareed Zakaria in the Post: “Trump is many things, some of them dark and dangerous, but at his core, he is a B.S. artist.’’
8.3 Liz Mair on CNN: ““This is his message. His message is being a loudmouthed dick, basically, and going out there and offending people and then engaging in an airing of grievances.”
8.3 Clint Eastwood in Esquire: “ He’s onto something, because secretly everybody’s getting tired of political correctness, kissing up. That’s the kiss-ass generation we’re in right now. We’re really in a pussy generation. Everybody’s walking on eggshells. We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist.’’
8.3 Greg Sargent in the Post: “Republicans are in a full scale panic today because Donald Trump’s candidacy appears to be in chaos. There is talk of an “intervention,” inspired in part by Trump’s continuing attacks on the Khan family. RNC chair Reince Priebus is described as “very frustrated” and “stressed,” because he is “running out of excuses” to offer party bigwigs about Trump’s political incompetence and indifference to basic political norms. Republicans are panicking because Trump is frittering away a chance to defeat Hillary Clinton amid “self inflicted mistakes” and “missed opportunities.”In other words, if only Trump were not acting in such a crazy manner right now, he’d be on track to having a real shot to beat Clinton, and if Trump just gets a handle on his fleeting bout of bad behavior, he’ll be right back in the position of having a good chance to win. An “intervention” just might set that right.But let’s entertain another interpretation of what’s going on here. Republicans have shifted into a much higher state of Red Alert because Trump’s erratic antics are revealing just how reckless their decision to nominate him really was, and how reckless their continued support for him really is. In other words, Trump is now threatening to damage the party in far worse ways than Republicans had bargained for, because he’s revealing in inescapably clear terms the real character and qualifications of the person they knowingly nominated to run the country and continue to support for the presidency.’’
8.2 Donald Trump: “I’m afraid the election’s going to be rigged. I have to be honest.”
8.2 Roger Stone: “ “I think we have widespread voter fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly. [Trump should start saying this:] “If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.” I think he’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath.”
8.2 Washington Post: “A study published Tuesday in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior finds that younger millennials — born in the 1990s — are more than twice as likely to be sexually inactive in their early 20s as the previous generation was. Even older millennials are more sexually active than this younger group is. Recent research also shows that, overall, millennials — people born between the early 1980s and 2000 — have fewer sexual partners than baby boomers and those in Generation X, the group immediately preceding them.’’
melania_-_copie_28.1 Photos of a nude Melania Trump published in the New York Post
8.1 Donald Trump on Fox News: “The New York Times is so unfair. I mean they write three, four articles about me a day. No matter how good I do on something, they’ll never write good. They don’t write good. They have people over there, like Maggie Haberman and others, they don’t — they don’t write good. They don’t know how to write good.”
8.1 Derek Thompson in The Atlantic: But the private sector is shifting toward work that has historically been done by women. There are four occupations expected to add more than 100,000 jobs in the next decade: personal care aides, home health aides, medical secretaries, and marketing specialists. All of them currently have more female workers than male. “Some of the decline in work among young men is a mismatch between aspirations and identity,” Lawrence Katz, a professor of economics at Harvard University, told me last year. “Taking a job as a health technician has the connotation as a feminized job. The growth has been in jobs that have been considered women’s jobs—education, health.
8.1 Gov: “That was a top echelon speech.”

MARCH 2016

3.31 State budget passes, nearly on time, and with provisions for Paid Family Leave and a path to $15 an hour minimum wage.
3.31 The New York Times: “Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that women who seek abortions should be subject to “some form of punishment” if the procedure is banned in the United States, further elevating Republican concerns that his explosive remarks about women could doom the party in the fall. The comment, which Mr. Trump later recanted, attracted instant, bipartisan criticism — the latest in a series of high-profile episodes that have shined a light on Mr. Trump’s feeble approval ratings among women nationally. In this case, Mr. Trump also ran afoul of conservative doctrine, with opponents of abortion rights immediately castigating him for suggesting that those who receive abortions — and not merely those who perform them — should be punished if the practice is outlawed.” This shows the idiocy and hypocrisy of the conservative position. If abortion is murder, shouldn’t the murderer be punished? Yes, of course–but that is a completely unelectable position. Conservatives–and let’s call them what they are, supporters of religious law–want to have the cake of outlawing abortion, while being able to eat it, if necessary.
3.31 The New York Times: For half a century, climate scientists have seen the West Antarctic ice sheet, a remnant of the last ice age, as a sword of Damocles hanging over human civilization. The great ice sheet, larger than Mexico, is thought to be potentially vulnerable to disintegration from a relatively small amount of global warming, and capable of raising the sea level by 12 feet or more should it break up. But researchers long assumed the worst effects would take hundreds — if not thousands — of years to occur.
Now, new research suggests the disaster scenario could play out much sooner. Continued high emissions of heat-trapping gases could launch a disintegration of the ice sheet within decades, according to a studypublished Wednesday, heaving enough water into the ocean to raise the sea level as much as three feet by the end of this century. With ice melting in other regions, too, the total rise of the sea could reach five or six feet by 2100, the researchers found. That is roughly twice the increase reported as a plausible worst-case scenario by a United Nations panel just three years ago, and so high it would likely provoke a profound crisis within the lifetimes of children being born today.
bobobama3.26 I don’t how this escaped me for six years, but in 2010, Bob Dylan played the White House, and this was President Obama’s wonderful reaction: “ Here’s what I love about Dylan: He was exactly as you’d expect he would be. He wouldn’t come to the rehearsal; usually, all these guys are practicing before the set in the evening. He didn’t want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn’t show up to that. He came in and played “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” A beautiful rendition. The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different. Finishes the song, steps off the stage… comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves… That was our only interaction with him. And I thought: That’s how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don’t want him to be all cheesin’ and grinnin’ with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise.’’
3.22 Timothy Egan in the Times: “Now imagine the Republican Party gathering for its convention in Cleveland and hammering out a vanity platform in Donald Trump’s image. It’s all walls and no bridges. Free trade is gone. Taxes? Who knows. There will be a call for more government, through a bloated military, and untouched benefits for seniors who must be pandered to. Most significantly, it’s a party of grudges and grievances, of anger and fear by that formerly detested class — victims. It’ll be a personality cult, without a hint of optimism, and certainly no overarching governing philosophy. If you’re young, nonwhite, science-based and civil, there will be nothing in it for you. And it will be rejected in every precinct of the United States where hope still beats hate, which is a majority, albeit a shrinking one. Given that scenario, the party cannot hold together. As Marco Rubio said in his exit speech, the politics of resentment will “leave us as a nation where people literally hate each other.” The Republican Party, under Trump, is headed for a combustive breakup. Ronald Reagan envisioned a shining city on a hill. Trump represents nothing more than a thug with money. Can the man who shouts “I’d like to punch him in face!” and “Knock the crap out of them!” about protesters possibly quote Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower or Reagan in his acceptance speech? He could, but it would be no more plausible than a fish doing a tap dance.”
3.22 The Washington Post editorial board interviews Trump.
HIATT: You are smart and you went to a good school. Yet you are up there and talking about your hands and the size of private …
TRUMP: No …
HIATT: … your private parts.
TRUMP: No, no. No, no. I am not doing that.
HIATT: Do you regret having engaged in that?
TRUMP: No, I had to do it. Look, this guy. Here’s my hands. Now I have my hands, I hear, on the New Yorker, a picture of my hands.
MARCUS: You’re on the cover.
TRUMP: A hand with little fingers coming out of a stem. Like, little. Look at my hands. They’re fine. Nobody other than Graydon Carter years ago used to use that. My hands are normal hands. During a debate, he was losing, and he said, “Oh, he has small hands and therefore, you know what that means.” This was not me. This was Rubio that said, “He has small hands and you know what that means.” Okay? So, he started it. So, what I said a couple of days later … and what happened is I was on line shaking hands with supporters, and one of supporters got up and he said, “Mr. Trump, you have strong hands. You have good-sized hands.” And then another one would say, “You have great hands, Mr. Trump, I had no idea.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I thought you were like deformed, and I thought you had small hands.” I had fifty people … Is that a correct statement? I mean people were writing, “How are Mr. Trump’s hands?” My hands are fine. You know, my hands are normal. Slightly large, actually. In fact, I buy a slightly smaller than large glove, okay? No, but I did this because everybody was saying to me, “Oh, your hands are very nice. They are normal.” So Rubio, in a debate, said, because he had nothing else to say … now I was hitting him pretty hard. He wanted to do his Don Rickles stuff and it didn’t work out. Obviously, it didn’t work too well. But one of the things he said was “He has small hands and therefore, you know what that means, he has small something else.” You can look it up. I didn’t say it.
MARCUS: You chose to raise it …
TRUMP: No, I chose to respond.
MARUS: You chose to respond.
TRUMP: I had no choice.
MARCUS: You chose to raise it during a debate. Can you explain why you had no choice?
TRUMP: I don’t want people to go around thinking that I have a problem. I’m telling you, Ruth, I had so many people. I would say 25, 30 people would tell me … every time I’d shake people’s hand, “Oh, you have nice hands.” Why shouldn’t I? And, by the way, by saying that I solved the problem. Nobody questions … I even held up my hands, and said, “Look, take a look at that hand.”
MARCUS: You told us in the debate ….
TRUMP: And by saying that, I solved the problem. Nobody questions. Everyone held my hand. I said look. Take a look at that hand.
MARCUS: You told us in the debate that you guaranteed there was not another problem. Was that presidential? And why did you decide to do that?
TRUMP: I don’t know if it was presidential, honestly, whether it is or not. He said, ‘Donald Trump has small hands and therefore he has small something else.’ I didn’t say that. And all I did is when he failed, when he was failing, when he was, when Christie made him look bad, I gave him the– a little recap and I said, and I said, and I had this big strong powerful hand ready to grab him, because I thought he was going to faint. And everybody took it fine. Whether it was presidential or not I can’t tell you. I can just say that what he said was a lie. And everybody, they wanted to do stories on my hands; after I said that, they never did. And then I held up the hand, I showed people the hand. You know, when I’ve got a big audience. So yeah, I think it’s not a question of presidential …
MARCUS: He said he regrets …
HIATT: Okay, let’s move on here. Let’s move on.
TRUMP: I did feel I should respond. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. But I felt I should respond because everybody was talking about it.
3.22 A proposal by a British government agency to let the Internet suggest a name for a $287 million polar research ship probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
Now, the agency is the latest group to see what happens when web users are asked to unleash their creative energy: R.R.S. Boaty McBoatface is a clear front-runner.
People quickly disregarded the more dignified names suggested by the Natural Environment Research Council — Shackleton, Endeavour, Falcon. Instead the contest became the latest in the Internet’s long, storied history to end up with social media users gleefully offering ridiculous names to government-funded projects.
IMG_02783.18 A visit the the Albany Rural Cemetery to pay respects at the grave of Landsman Robert King, one of Cushing’s Raiders. Captured after the explosion that sank the Albemarle, King spent four months as a POW, and died within days of his release. He received the Medal of Honor. He was twenty years old.
3.18 A six person jury in St. Petersburg, Florida awarded Hulk Hogan $55 million for economic injuries and $60 million for emotional distress because Gawker published a two minute portion of a sex tape Hogan made.
3.18 David Brooks in the Times: “And yet reality is reality. Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa. Trump is perhaps the most dishonest person to run for high office in our lifetimes. All politicians stretch the truth, but Trump has a steady obliviousness to accuracy. This week, the Politico reporters Daniel Lippman, Darren Samuelsohn and Isaac Arnsdorf fact-checked 4.6 hours of Trump speeches and press conferences. They found more than five dozen untrue statements, or one every five minutes. “His remarks represent an extraordinary mix of inaccurate claims about domestic and foreign policy and personal and professional boasts that rarely measure up when checked against primary sources,” they wrote. He is a childish man running for a job that requires maturity. He is an insecure boasting little boy whose desires were somehow arrested at age 12. He surrounds himself with sycophants. “You can always tell when the king is here,” Trump’s butler told Jason Horowitz in a recent Times profile. He brags incessantly about his alleged prowess, like how far he can hit a golf ball. “Do I hit it long? Is Trump strong?” he asks. In some rare cases, political victors do not deserve our respect. George Wallace won elections, but to endorse those outcomes would be a moral failure. And so it is with Trump. History is a long record of men like him temporarily rising, stretching back to biblical times. Psalm 73 describes them: “Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. … They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.” And yet their success is fragile: “Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly they are destroyed.” The psalmist reminds us that the proper thing to do in the face of demagogy is to go the other way — to make an extra effort to put on decency, graciousness, patience and humility, to seek a purity of heart that is stable and everlasting. The Republicans who coalesce around Trump are making a political error. They are selling their integrity for a candidate who will probably lose. About 60 percent of Americans disapprove of him, and that number has been steady since he began his campaign.
Worse, there are certain standards more important than one year’s election. There are certain codes that if you betray them, you suffer something much worse than a political defeat.
Donald Trump is an affront to basic standards of honesty, virtue and citizenship. He pollutes the atmosphere in which our children are raised. He has already shredded the unspoken rules of political civility that make conversation possible. In his savage regime, public life is just a dog-eat-dog war of all against all. As the founders would have understood, he is a threat to the long and glorious experiment of American self-government. He is precisely the kind of scapegoating, promise-making, fear-driving and deceiving demagogue they feared. Trump’s supporters deserve respect. They are left out of this economy. But Trump himself? No, not Trump, not ever.”
3.15 During his SXSW appearance earlier today, President Obama said the following: “We’re the only advanced democracy in the world that makes it harder for people to vote …you laugh but it’s bad…we systematically put up barriers and make it as hard as possible for our citizens to vote.” Excuse me but “we” don’t do this — rightwing governors and their bureaucratic minions do this. And they don’t make it hard for “people” in general to vote butpeople of color. Why put it vaguely? There are no liberal governors in this country who do this.
3.15 Ben Carson: “Even if Donald Trump turns out not to be such a great president, which I don’t think is the case — I think he’s going to surround himself with really good people — but even if he didn’t, we’re only looking at four years, as opposed to multiple generations and perhaps the loss of the American dream forever,” Carson said.
3.15 Rubio: “It’s called chaos, anarchy and that’s what we’re careening toward,” Rubio said. “We are being ripped apart at the seams now, and it’s disturbing. I am sad for this country. This country is supposed to be an example to the world.”
3.14 Wesley Pruden in the Washington Times: “om survives in the Donald Trump phenomenon that puzzles the highly paid wise men. Pat Caddell, the pollster and sometime strategist, calls it “economic nationalism.” The voter, he says, has figured out that he has been played for a sucker, played by foolish trade deals, runaway illegal immigration and lots of big talk. Jobs lost to Mexico or Southeast Asia by employers looking for bigger profits aren’t important, the economists explain, because the profits will be invested and create new and different jobs here. That sounds good to the man who still has a job, not so good to the man who doesn’t. You have to be sophisticated to understand economics, and it’s easier to be sophisticated when you’re still working. The unsophisticated man picks up the nearest club to hit someone with, and this year the club is Donald Trump. The result is playing out now in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. The smart guys, who never have difficulty seeing what they don’t want to see, were stunned by the returns in Michigan. Hillary Clinton was well and truly thrashed by Bernie Sanders, if only by 2 points. She was supposed to win by 20. The Donald’s critique of free trade, repeated over and over since last summer, was the break from the way it’s supposed to be that can happen in a campaign dominated by outsiders and insurgents. “Trump is the populist outsider,” Pat Caddell tells Breitbart News Daily, “and Ted Cruz is the ideological insurgent.” The polling stunned the pollsters because it reveals Republicans and independents, even more than Democrats, as anti-free trade. “[Voters] have had it with trade deals, just as they have had it with the Washington establishment.” The economy is always crucial; if a man doesn’t have a job he doesn’t have time to worry about anything else. His children have to eat and he has to keep a roof over their heads. Foreign affairs have always been a concern left to the experts, but Mr. Trump’s talk about how the establishment has sent American jobs to China and Mexico and bringing illegal aliens from Mexico to take what’s left, makes “foreign affairs” important to voters whose interests in things foreign was limited to French toast, Szechuan chicken, Brazil nuts and Canadian bacon. In the past, the politicians could count on ignorance and indifference to make their games of three-card Monte work as planned. Not now. Marco Rubio, whose fading prospects depend on what happens Tuesday in Florida, guessed wrong early on immigration — becoming a member of the infamous Gang of Eight — and guessed wrong on trade, too. He’s in a panic now. So is John Kasich, who supported the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, which is not the adornment of his record he once thought it would be. He told NBC News last summer that “I think we have, in some ways, been saps.”
3.13 Dinner with the Lindstroms at Morton’s
3.12 Obama certainly can boast about the unemployment rate. From his Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration until last month that figure has fallen from 7.8 percent to 4.9 — down 37.2 percent. But: The labor force participation rate over that period has slid from 65.7 percent to 62.9 (the lowest reading since March 1978) — down 4.3 percent; On Obama’s watch, the percentage of Americans below the poverty line has grown, according to the most recent Census data, from 14.3 percent to 14.8 percent in 2014 — up 3.5 percent; Real median household income across that interval sank from $54,925 to $53,657 — down 2.3 percent; Food Stamp participants soared in that time frame from 32,889,000 to 45,874,000 — up 39.5 percent; Meanwhile, from Obama’s arrival through the fourth quarter of 2015, the percentage of Americans who own homes sagged from 67.3 percent to 63.8 — down 5.2 percent. Gallup CEO Jim Clifton laments this chilling trend: “For the first time in 35 years, American business deaths now outnumber business births.” As he observed in January, “Business startups outpaced business failures by about 100,000 per year until 2008. But in the past six years, that number suddenly reversed, and the net number of US startups versus closures is minus 70,000.” Clifton worries gravely that “entrepreneurship is now in decline for the first time since the US government started measuring it . . . Small and medium-sized businesses are dying faster than they’re being born. So is free enterprise. And when free enterprise dies, America dies with it.” Something else is missing these days: robust economic growth. “Over the 6 ½ years since the recession ended in the second quarter of 2009, real GDP has grown by a total of 14.5 percent, or at an annual rate of 2.1 percent,” according to Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, a former senior adviser to the congressional Joint Economic Committee. “Other post-1960 recoveries averaged total growth of 28.4 percent (annual rate of 3.9 percent) over the comparable 26 quarters. The Reagan recovery of the 1980s saw real GDP grow a total of 35 percent, or at an annual rate of 4.7 percent.”
imgres3.9 Mike Piazza Day at the Executive Mansion.
3.8 Jeffrey Goldfarb in The Atlantic: “Obama was]made to step back from air strikes, and to allow the violation of a red line he himself had drawn to go unpunished, will be interrogated mercilessly by historians. But today that decision is a source of deep satisfaction for him. “I’m very proud of this moment,” he told me. “The overwhelming weight of conventional wisdom and the machinery of our national-security apparatus had gone fairly far. The perception was that my credibility was at stake, that America’s credibility was at stake. And so for me to press the pause button at that moment, I knew, would cost me politically. And the fact that I was able to pull back from the immediate pressures and think through in my own mind what was in America’s interest, not only with respect to Syria but also with respect to our democracy, was as tough a decision as I’ve made—and I believe ultimately it was the right decision to make.” This was the moment the president believes he finally broke with what he calls, derisively, the “Washington playbook.” “Where am I controversial? When it comes to the use of military power,” he said. “That is the source of the controversy. There’s a playbook in Washington that presidents are supposed to follow. It’s a playbook that comes out of the foreign-policy establishment. And the playbook prescribes responses to different events, and these responses tend to be militarized responses. Where America is directly threatened, the playbook works. But the playbook can also be a trap that can lead to bad decisions. In the midst of an international challenge like Syria, you get judged harshly if you don’t follow the playbook, even if there are good reasons why it does not apply.” I have come to believe that, in Obama’s mind, August 30, 2013, was his liberation day, the day he defied not only the foreign-policy establishment and its cruise-missile playbook, but also the demands of America’s frustrating, high-maintenance allies in the Middle East—countries, he complains privately to friends and advisers, that seek to exploit American “muscle” for their own narrow and sectarian ends. By 2013, Obama’s resentments were well developed. He resented military leaders who believed they could fix any problem if the commander in chief would simply give them what they wanted, and he resented the foreign-policy think-tank complex. A widely held sentiment inside the White House is that many of the most prominent foreign-policy think tanks in Washington are doing the bidding of their Arab and pro-Israel funders. I’ve heard one administration official refer to Massachusetts Avenue, the home of many of these think tanks, as “Arab-occupied territory.” For some foreign-policy experts, even within his own administration, Obama’s about-face on enforcing the red line was a dispiriting moment in which he displayed irresolution and naïveté, and did lasting damage to America’s standing in the world. “Once the commander in chief draws that red line,” Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director and then as secretary of defense in Obama’s first term, told me recently, “then I think the credibility of the commander in chief and this nation is at stake if he doesn’t enforce it.” Right after Obama’s reversal, Hillary Clinton said privately, “If you say you’re going to strike, you have to strike. There’s no choice.” “Assad is effectively being rewarded for the use of chemical weapons, rather than ‘punished’ as originally planned.” Shadi Hamid, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, wrote for The Atlantic at the time. “He has managed to remove the threat of U.S. military action while giving very little up in return.”
3.8 George Martin dies
beatles
3.10 Keith Emerson dies
3.5 Louis CK asks fans not to vote for Donald Trump. “It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.”Louis assured his readers that he is “not advocating for Hillary or Bernie,”. . .but described Trump as “dangerous” and as “an insane bigot.” “Please pick someone else,” he said. “Trump has nothing to do with politics or ideology. He has to do with himself. Trump is a messed up guy with a hole in his heart that he tries to fill with money and attention. He can never ever have enough of either and he’ll never stop trying. He’s sick. Which makes him really really interesting. And he pulls you towards him which somehow feels good or fascinatingly bad. He’s not a monster. He’s a sad man. But all this makes him horribly dangerous if he becomes president. Give him another TV show. Let him pay to put his name on buildings. But please stop voting for him.”
3.2 “One of the things I’m going to do if I win,” Donald Trump said on Friday, “I’m going to open up our libel law so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” Come and get me, asshole.
3.1 Trump wins 7 states on Super Tuesday