“WHY DON’T I JUST FIRE MUELLER?”

4.18 Robert Kagan to Jonathan Capehart: My argument is that the liberal world order is an incredible achievement. It, in fact, is sort of an aberration from history,” Kagan told me during an interview for the latest episode of “Cape Up” recorded in Brussels on March 9. “We need to understand that this liberal world order is an artificial construction. It isn’t just an evolution of mankind, humankind, and it won’t stay. And that the forces of nature, human nature, and the forces of history going back centuries, inclines to overrun this order, unless it’s actively protected.” That jungle regrowth, Kagan said, can be seen already. “You could see it in the upheaval against liberal democracy in Europe, all the populist nationalist movements,” he said. The election of President Trump is part of this upheaval. But because of the United States’ role in the world, it has tremendous consequences. “The remarkable thing that the United States did after World War II, which no country in history had ever done before, was in a way to define our national interest so broadly that they became international responsibilities,” Kagan explained. “Normal nations don’t have international responsibilities. They look out for their own. The United States basically made itself an onshore power in Europe and in Asia, in a way to create zones of peace there, putting an end to German and Japanese ambition, steering Germany and Japan toward economic ambition, economic success, which then made it possible for the neighboring countries in those regions to worry less about being attacked.” As a result, Kagan argues, “The United States basically provided the underpinning which allowed this great economic growth that we’ve seen over the past five decades to take placeBut after the end of the Cold War, Kagan says, “A lot of Americans increasingly [began] asking, ‘Why are we doing this?’” The question got louder as the United States began ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early part of the last decade and as the economy collapsed in 2008. “Trump came in and really ran on the premise, insofar as he talked about foreign policy, that this liberal world order was bad for us, that we were getting screwed in the liberal order,” Kagan told me. “There’s no way in the world that an American public that was concerned about America’s role in the world could have voted for Donald Trump.”
4.18 David von Drehle in the Post: President Trump 2.0, and versions beyond, will take the Trumpian tools of hype, novelty and shock that are so compelling on social media and deploy them with less frenzy, heat and bluster. They’ll resemble Elon Musk — with the proper birth certificate.
4.16 Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize In Music For ‘Damn’
4.15 James Comey on ABC: on impeaching Trump: “I think impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office would let the American people off the hook and have something happen indirectly that I believe they’re duty bound to do directly. People in this country need to stand up and go to the voting booth and vote their values.” On Charlottesville: “A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds. On Trump’s intelligence: “I don’t buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia. He strikes me as a person of above average intelligence who’s tracking conversations and knows what’s going on.” On the most salacious allegations in the Steele dossier: “I honestly never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013. It’s possible, but I don’t know.” On Trump’s reluctance to criticize Vladimir Putin: “I can understand the arguments why the president of the United States might not want to criticize the leader of another country…But you would think that in private– talking to the F.B.I. director, whose job it is to thwart Russian attacks, you might acknowledge that this enemy of ours is an enemy of ours. But I never saw. And so I don’t know the reason.”
4.15 Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on 60 Minutes: “CEOs with one button on one computer can pay every man and every woman equally. We have the data.”i
4.13 Trump bombs chem weapons stronghold in Syria. Trump tweet: “A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!” Trump speech: Assad‘s “evil and the despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead.” Perhaps his most consequential line: “We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.” Mattis: strikes are a “one-time shot”: “Right now, we have no additional attacks planned.”
4.13 Albany


4.13 William Nack dies at 77. “Oh, I knew all the stories, knew them well, had crushed and rolled them in my hand until their quaint musk lay in the saddle of my palm. Knew them as I knew the stories of my children. Knew them as I knew the stories of my own life. Told them at dinner parties, swapped them with horseplayers as if they were trading cards, argued over them with old men and blind fools who had seen the show but missed the message. Dreamed them and turned them over like pillows in my rubbery sleep. Woke up with them, brushed my aging teeth with them, grinned at them in the mirror.”
4.13 Michael Steel, a former senior aide to John Boehner: “Speaker Ryan is an embodiment of a particular kind of optimistic, pro-growth, pro-free market inclusive conservatism, and that is a very different feel and tone of where the party is going under President Trump.”
4.12 James Comey in A Higher Loyalty: “This president is unethical, and untethered to the truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven, and about personal loyalty.” In a discussion of a White House meeting with Trump and then chief of staff Reince Priebus in February 2017, Comey says that “because he never stops talking”, Trump “pulls all those present into a silent circle of assent”. “The encounter left me shaken,” he writes. “I had never seen anything like it in the Oval Office. As I found myself thrust into the Trump orbit, I once again was having flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the mob. The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and the truth.” Of Trump’s now famous demand over dinner at the White House in January 2017, “I need loyalty”, Comey writes: “To my mind, the demand was like Sammy the Bull’s Cosa Nostra induction ceremony – with Trump in the role of the family boss, asking me if I have what it takes to be a ‘made man’.”
4.11 Yankees, Red Sox brawl
4.11 Paul Krugman tweets: Ryan failed at both his pretended goals and his real goals. He pretended to be a champion of fiscal responsibility, convincing naive centrists that he really meant it; but his legacy is one of bigger deficits. That’s not a surprise, because anyone who actually looked at his plans realized that the alleged deficit reduction was all magic asterisks; take those out and his plans were actually deficit-increasing, because of tax cuts. His real goal was to eviscerate the social safety net, under the pretense of doing it in the name of fiscal responsibility. In particular, his signature proposal was to voucherize, privatize, and defund Medicare. But that’s not happening. Meanwhile, as Speaker, his main achievement, if you can call it that, has been as enabler of corruption and contempt for rule of law. It’s unclear whether the end game will be Democratic takeover of the House or autocracy, American style. But either way, what a legacy
4.11 The Washington Post: “The lesson of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s (R-Wis.) retirement announcement Wednesday, after less than three years in the position and at the relatively young age of 48, is that no such party exists. Today’s Republican Party is in thrall to President Trump and the 40 percent of the electorate that supports him — and for whose favor candidates in Republican primaries are now competing. That is to say, Republicans are decreasingly conservative and increasingly reactionary.”
4.11 Paul Waldman in the Post: Paul Ryan was always a fraud. He pretended to be a wonk’s wonk, but his budget and policy plans were full of sleight-of-hand and magic asterisks that fell apart on the most superficial examination. He pretended to be terribly worried about the deficit, but he happily jacked it up when he got the chance. He pretended to care deeply about the poor, but would have made their lives impossibly more miserable had doing so been politically tenable. And he pretended to be scandalized by Trump’s repugnant words and actions but, after a few regretful words and a furrowing of his brow, would always go right back to supporting the president. So while he will surely be remembered as one of the least effective speakers we’ve ever had, you can’t say Ryan didn’t faithfully represent his party.


4.10 “Why don’t I just fire Mueller?”
4.10 Speaker Paul Ryan announced he will not seek reelection. “I intend to full my serve term,” he announced.
4.9 Trump: “I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys — a good man. And it’s a disgraceful situation. It’s a total witch hunt. I’ve been saying it for a long time. I’ve wanted to keep it down. We’ve given, I believe, over a million pages worth of documents to the Special Counsel. They continue to just go forward. And here we are talking about Syria and we’re talking about a lot of serious things. We’re the greatest fighting force ever. And I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now — and actually, much more than that. You could say it was right after I won the nomination, it started. And it’s a disgrace. It’s, frankly, a real disgrace. It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for.”
4.9 According to Doug Cruetz, the managing director and senior research analyst covering media and entertainment for the financial services company Cowen, “Grand Theft Auto 5” has made more money than any film, book or game ever.
4.9 The Washington Post: “Let us not understate how extraordinary a development this is. The standard of proof required to raid any attorney’s office is exceptionally high. To authorize a raid on the president’s lawyer’s office, a federal judge or magistrate must have seen highly credible evidence of serious crimes and/or evidence Cohen was hiding or destroying evidence, according to legal experts. “The FBI raid was the result of an ongoing criminal investigation *not* by Mueller but by the interim US Attorney personally interviewed and selected by Trump himself, pursuant to a warrant issued under strict standards by a federal judge, subject to approval by the head of the Criminal Division,” said constitutional scholar Larry Tribe. He warns that “firing Sessions or Rosenstein (or reining in Mueller) would trigger a crisis for the Constitution and our national security but wouldn’t even extricate Trump from criminal investigation of his innermost circle.” In short, Tribe concludes, “This is every bit as shattering as many have surmised.”
4.7 Great Lectures near Bryant Park. Prof. Charles Dewof Williams was only OK; gave a nice talk about “Making of a Racist,” but didn’t speak to his assigned topic; Prof. James Oakes of CUNY was better on subject “Did Lincoln Really Want to Free the Slaves?”
4.4 The high school I attended wasn’t segregated, strictly speaking–there were about dozen African-American boys among the 1200 students. And there was also a black man on the faculty–a French teacher named Paul Robertson. He was tall and lean and young, surely under 25. This may have been his first job. He was my teacher for first year French, and we got along well. And, may I say, he taught me well. La plume de ma tante est STILL sur la table, if you know what I mean. In April 1968, Dr. King‘s assassination was hugely disturbing. Not only the murder, but the riots that followed, where I lived in Baltimore, but all around the country. In the first class after the assassination, Mr. Robertson did an unusual thing. Instead of conjugating verbs, he led us in a discussion about King, and race. It was the first time I had ever talked to a black person about race, and if one my classmates had more experience, he wasn’t showing it. I wish I remembered what any of us said; part of me fears that the whole effort petered out, and we returned to lessons. But over the years, I became more aware of the courage that Mr. Robertson’s effort entailed, of his sense of responsibility in trying to engage the adolescent half-apes in his charge. That took great commitment. Merci beaucoup, Monsieur, wherever you are.
4.4 David Brooks in the New York Times: “Putin has established himself as one pole in the great global debate of the era, the debate between authoritarianism and democracy. All over the world political regimes are adjusting, becoming either a little more authoritarian or a little more democratic. [T]he momentum is clearly in the authoritarian direction. [W]hen you pause to ask who is the global leader of the liberal democratic camp, you come up with no name at all.”
4.3 DiDi Gregorius‘ 2 HRs, 8 RBIs lead Yanks over Rays in home opener
4.3 Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention: “Conservative Christians must be careful to remember the ways in which our cultural anthropology perverted our soteriology and ecclesiology. It is to our shame that we ignored our own doctrines to advance something as clearly demonic as racial pride. So, regardless of our backgrounds, it is appropriate that we pause and consider not only Dr. King’s life and legacy, but also our own past and future. As we do so, we are reminding ourselves of how far we have to go as Americans to see the promise of racial justice realized.”
4.3 The study from Ohio State University finds that fake news probably played a significant role in depressing Hillary Clinton‘s support on Election Day. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed but which may be the first look at how fake news affected voter choices, suggests that about 4 percent of President Barack Obama‘s 2012 supporters were dissuaded from voting for Clinton in 2016 by belief in fake news stories.
4.3 Bloomberg: “Elon Musk, in a testy Twitter exchange, said he is ‘back to sleeping at the factory’ while trying to fix production delays with the Model 3 electric car.”
4.2 Villanova beats Michigan for the men’s NCAA basketball title


4.1 Ginny and Molly spend a few days in New Orleans
4.1 Notre Dame wins the women’s NCAA basketball title.

MARCH 2018: “THIS IS A MAJOR BREACH OF TRUST, AND I’M REALLY SORRY”


3.29 Scott Foster, a 36-year-old accountant and rec league goalie, entered the Blackhawks game agains the Jets, played as an emergency goalie, made seven saves, and was named player of the game.
3.29 Rusty Staub dies
3.26 Washington Post: “Why are white Christians sticking so closely to President Trump, despite these claims of sexual indiscretions? And why are religious individuals and groups that previously decried sexual impropriety among political leaders suddenly willing to give Trump a “mulligan” on his infidelity?
Our new study points to . . . Christian nationalism — their view of the United States as a fundamentally Christian nation.”
3.26 Roger Cossack in the New York Times: “He is looking for the guy who can say, ‘I know how to handle Mueller. I know you think he is bad, and we’ll take care of it.’ Problem is, you can’t find that lawyer, because no one will be able to do that.”
3.26 Blitt in The New Yorker
3.25 Stormy Daniels discusses her affair with Trump on 60 Minutes. She says she was threatened.
3.25 New York Post: “Oy vey! Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday made fun of the “rhythm” of “our Jewish brothers and sisters” during a speech at a predominantly black church in Harlem. Cuomo strayed onto the risky terrain of religious humor and stereotypes while thanking the congregation at Mount Neboh Baptist Church for the invitation to speak. “I want you to know as a matter of full disclosure, I am a Catholic. Catholics basically believe the same teachings that Baptists believe,” he said. “We just do it without the rhythm. But we try. We are not as without rhythm as some of our Jewish brothers and sisters.” Cuomo even singled out the off-beat swaying of Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf, a former campaign adviser who is Jewish, who was sitting in the front row wearing a yarmulke. “I was watching Mr. Sheinkopf here in the front row moving to the music,” Cuomo said of the politico, who was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi in 2011. “It was ugly, I’ll tell you the truth,” the governor added.
3.24 Author Philip Kerr dies
3.24 Dinner at Living Social in Mt. Kisco with Greg and Susan and Cathy and Ginny
3.24 Kansas State and Loyola Chicago become the first 9 vs. 11 teams to complete in an Elite Eight game in an NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Loyola Chicago wins, becoming the fourth No. 11 seed to move into the Final Four
3.24 Rick Santorum on CNN: “How about kids, instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations where there is a violent shooter and you can actually respond to that? They took action to ask someone to pass a law. They didn’t take action to say, ‘How do I as an individual deal with this problem? How am I gonna do something about stopping bullying in my community? What am I gonna do to actually help respond to a shooter?’ ”
3.24 800,000 people march against guns
3.24 David Helsel, superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District in Schuylkill County, announced a plan to stop school shooters: “Every classroom has been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stone. If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full of students armed with rocks, and they will be stoned.”
3.23 Trump names John Bolton National Security AdvisorGeorge Will in the Post: “Because John Bolton is five things President Trump is not — intelligent, educated, principled, articulate and experienced — and because of Bolton’s West Wing proximity to a president responsive to the most recent thought he has heard emanating from cable television or an employee, Bolton will soon be the second-most dangerous American. On April 9, he will be the first national security adviser who, upon taking up residence down the hall from the Oval Office, will be suggesting that the United States should seriously consider embarking on war crimes.”
3.23 Congress passes $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill
3.22 Samantha Bee: “Hope Hicks, thanks to your force field of bland, pretty whiteness, you’ll probably escape this nightmare presidency unscathed. You’ll disappear into the nice, wealthy anonymity in a nice town somewhere and someday you’ll go to the gates of the nice, white Protestant heaven where St. Peter will laugh in your face and say, ‘You think you’re getting in here? You helped burn down democracy, bitch. Get your ass downstairs.’”
3.22 Carl Sagan in 1995: “I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.”
3.22 Cheri Jacobus, a Republican PR/political consultant, compared “Hicks’s role as White House communications director to that of a ” ‘comfort goat’ placed in the stall of Secretariat to keep him calm. ”
3.22 Edward Stack, chief executive of Dick’s: “The kids in Florida and across the nation have taken a stand and been brave enough to make their voices heard. The majority of Americans are demanding that members of Congress take a stand and be brave enough to do their jobs.”
3.22 Charles Lane in the Post, on Vaclev Havel‘s Power and the Powerless: Havel memorably asked his readers to imagine a greengrocer who obediently posts a hackneyed slogan — “workers of the world, unite!” — in the window of his shop. He asks us to imagine as well all the people who unthinkingly pass by each day. Everyone takes the slogan for granted; it’s part of the “panorama.” Havel defined the panorama as an ideologically manipulated urban landscape that communicates to people “where they are living and what is expected of them,” and what they must do, lest they lose “their peace and tranquility and security.” The panorama included not only shop-window slogans but also statues of Joseph Stalin, Vladi­mir Lenin and other Soviet heroes. What would happen, Havel asked, if one fine day that greengrocer stopped going along to get along? If he started thinking about the panorama, instead of accepting it? Suppose he takes down the sign and begins “to say what he really thinks at political meetings,” or “even finds the strength in himself to express solidarity with those whom his conscience commands him to support.”
3.21 Mark Zuckerberg: “‘This is a major breach of trust, and I’m really sorry that this happened.’
3.21 John Brennan on Morning Joe: “I think he’s afraid of the president of Russia.”
3.21 Peter King ran a letter from me in SI’s Monday Morning Quarterback’s Tuesday Mailbag! Says Pete: “Great email, Jamie.”
3.21 Another nor-easter.
3.21 Texas bombing suspect blows self up during police chase
3.21 Washington Post: Republicans in Congress are hesitant to antagonize President Trump ahead of ahead of difficult midterm elections, wary of sparking a backlash from a committed grassroots base more loyal to the White House. Amid sky-high Democratic enthusiasm and a developing “blue wave,” Republicans can’t afford a war with Trump that depresses GOP turnout. Republicans might be worried about Trump’s attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller, but they are reluctant to push back, much less support legislation to curtail the president’s ability to fire Mueller and sideline the federal probe . “The president is, as you know — you’ve seen his numbers among the Republican base — it’s very strong. It’s more than strong, it’s tribal in nature,” said Sen. Bob Corker, who decided to retire when his second term concludes at year’s end, after periodically sparring with Trump. “People who tell me, who are out on trail, say, look, people don’t ask about issues anymore. They don’t care about issues. They want to know if you’re with Trump or not,” Corker added.
3.21 Fox commentator Ralph Peters: “[Fox is] “a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration.”
3.21 Sen. Lindsey Graham: “Well, I think what the president will have done is stopped an investigation in whether or not his campaign colluded with the Russians, what effect the Russians had on the 2016 campaign. I can’t see it being anything other than a corrupt purpose.”
3.20 Student gunman in Maryland dies after shooting two others
3.20 Bomb in Austin explodes, apparantly fifth in a series
3.20 “Disturbing undercover interviews with executives from U.K.-based political research firm Cambridge Analytica have revealed admissions of bribery, entrapment and the use of sex workers to sway political elections around the world, according to an investigative series airing Monday.” U.K. authorities have taken over the investigation into Cambridge Analytica.
3.19 Cynthia Nixon announces her bid for governor
3.19 Olivia Nuzzi in New York: ““Hope!” he’d scream. “Hopey!” “Hopester!” “Get in here!” Many requests were mundane. “He doesn’t write anything down,” one source close to the White House told me. “He doesn’t type, he dictates. ‘Take this down, take this down: Trump: richest man on Earth.’ ” A second source who meets regularly with the president told me that Hicks acted almost as an embodiment of the faculties the Trump lacked — like memory. “He’ll be talking, and then right in the middle he’ll be like, ‘Hope, what was that … thing?’ ” When the name of a senator or congressman or journalist came up, Trump would prompt Hicks to provide a history of their interactions, asking, “Do we like him?” “And she fucking remembers!” (Trump has said his own memory is “one of the greatest memories of all time.”) “She’s the only person he trusts,” the second source continued. “He doesn’t trust any men and never has. He doesn’t like men, you see. He has no male friends. I was just with one of them the other day, someone who’s described as one of his closest friends, and he doesn’t know him very well. But a small number of women, including his longtime assistant back in New York, he really listens to them — especially if he’s not banging them. Because, like a lot of men but more so, Trump really does compartmentalize the sex and the emotional part.”
3.19 Finland topped last year’s winner Norway in the annual World Happiness Report. Finland placed well across all indicators – income, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, trust and generosity – in the United Nations report, which ranked 156 countries on happiness levels using data from Gallup World Poll Surveys from 2015 to 2017. The US fell four places to 18th.
3.18 Elizabeth Bruenig in the Washington Post: “Sanders pointed out that the top 1 percent of earners would rake in roughly 83 percent of the benefits of President Trump’s tax cuts, a series of policies for which Koch-led groups spent more than $20 million. As Yale University political scientist Jacob Hacker pointed out in The Post, the decision to supply a generous tax cut to the rich — greatly encouraged by the vast wealth of billionaire donors — is a de facto decision to reduce expenditures that help ordinary Americans, “like public investments in infrastructure, education, research and development, and the regulation of labor and financial markets.” Put simply, inequality allows the wealthiest Americans to exert undue control over politics, thereby maintaining the conditions that made them rich in the first place, and hamstringing government efforts that could increase opportunities for the rest of us.”
3.17 The New York Times and The Observer of London say that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm founded by Stephen K. Bannon and Robert Mercer, had used the Facebook data to develop methods that it claimed could identify the personalities of individual American voters and influence their behavior. The firm’s so-called psychographic modeling underpinned its work for the Trump campaign in 2016, though many have questioned the effectiveness of its techniques. Facebook did not inform users whose data had been harvested, however. The lack of disclosure could violate laws in Britain and in many American states.
3.17 Former CIA director John Brennan on Twitter: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”
3.17 Howard Dean on Twitter:: “Based on what Brennan has said and what the Mercers did, I am thinking there will be treason charges before we are done with all this.”
3.16 The Economist: “America is rattled. An investigation is under way that is expected to conclude that China’s theft of intellectual property has cost American companies around $1trn; stinging tariffs may follow.”
3.16 Elevator
3.15 Max Boot in the Washington Post: “What would the West do if it were to get serious about Russian aggression? Putin and his cronies have billions of dollars stashed in the West. London is a particular favorite of Russian exiles. Freeze the money. Seize the properties. Hurt them where it counts. The United States can also designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, just like North Korea, which also used a nerve agent for an assassination abroad. Stop treating Russia like a legitimate state: Putin has already been kicked out of the Group of 8 gatherings; he can be removed from the G-20, too. Kick Russia out of the SWIFT system, denying Russian banks access to international monetary transfers. Invoke NATO’s Article 5 collective-defense clause.”
3.14 British Prime Minister Theresa May ordered Wednesday the immediate expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats believed to be involved in espionage, in the first reprisals against Moscow for a chemical attack against a former double agent.
3.13 Stephen Hawking dies at 76. Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York: “Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world.”
3.13 James Hohmann in the Washington Post: Republicans tried to run on the tax cuts, which they’ve promised for months will be the centerpiece of their 2018 messaging. Commercials highlighted Lamb’s opposition to reform and relief for the middle class. When these spots didn’t move the needle, GOP groups stopped talking about them. Politico’s Kevin Robillard pulled the data to show what was on the airwaves: “For the weeks of Feb. 4 and Feb. 11, roughly two-thirds of the broadcast television ads from Saccone’s campaign, the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC and the National Republican Congressional Committee mentioned taxes … For the week of Feb. 18, that dropped to 36 percent, and to 14 percent the week after. … Since the beginning of March, tax ads have been essentially nonexistent.” These groups then hammered Lamb, a Marine Corps veteran and former prosecutor, as pro-sanctuary cities. Then they accused him of letting dangerous drug dealers get off the hook for their crimes with lenient sentences. (The dark turn the ads took in the final weeks foreshadows a particularly nasty fall campaign. If you live in a battleground and have young children, you might want to keep them away from the tube.) Something similar happened in last year’s Virginia governor’s race.Republican Ed Gillespie initially made a proposal for tax cuts the centerpiece of his campaign. When that failed to excite conservatives, he embraced divisive wedge issues. Gillespie defended Confederate monuments, attacked his opponent on sanctuary cities and called him weak on the MS-13 street gang. Democrat

3.15 At Spoken Interludes in Hastings, the reading authors included my pal Bruce Handy (Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult); James Hamblin (If Our Bodies Could Talk: Operating and Maintaining a Human Body)and Amy Bass (One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together)
Ralph Northam won anyway.
3.13 Democrat Conor Lamb narrowly elected to Congress in solid Republican district in Western Pennsylvania, a further indication of the coming blue wave. Washington Post: “Lamb stressed the importance of organized labor to the future of the Democratic Party, spoke up for the value of unions and work, and emphasized the importance of maintaining bedrock programs such as Medicare and Social Security. He had also campaigned against the GOP tax cuts as a giveaway to the rich — and, importantly, blasted the tax cuts for creating deficits that would require deep cuts to entitlements, harming the middle class.”
3.13 President Trump‘s fires-via-tweet of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Axios: White House officials say that it’s getting ever more difficult for aides to disagree with Trump, or stand up to him about the consequences of decisions great and small. . . .Trump trusts his own instincts and counsel more than he did a year ago.” New York Times: “Tillerson’s dismissal, on the heels of Gary D. Cohn’s resignation, pulls the Trump administration further out of the economic and foreign policy mainstream and closer to the nationalist ideas that animated Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.”
3.13 Albany
3.12 Albany
3.12 Tim Berners-Lee: “What’s more, the fact that power is concentrated among so few companies has made it possible to weaponise the web at scale. In recent years, we’ve seen conspiracy theories trend on social media platforms, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts stoke social tensions, external actors interfere in elections, and criminals steal troves of personal data. We’ve looked to the platforms themselves for answers. Companies are aware of the problems and are making efforts to fix them — with each change they make affecting millions of people. The responsibility — and sometimes burden — of making these decisions falls on companies that have been built to maximise profit more than to maximise social good. A legal or regulatory framework that accounts for social objectives may help ease those tensions.”
3.9 Three weeks after a school shooting claimed 17 lives in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott (R) defied his longtime allies at the National Rifle Association on Friday to sign into law a new set of gun regulations
3.6 Took the Push the Cush Tour to the Stamford Historical Society. First Nutmeg State Appearance! Thanks to all.
3.8 Trump said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May in an effort to achieve permanent denuclearization.
3.7 Yascha Mounk, in The Washington Post: “The evidence of the past years seems to suggest that popular support for democracy has always depended on what political scientists call “performance legitimacy”–the ability of a political system to deliver the goods–to a much greater extent than we realized. So as people have grown frustrated with the ability of the democratic system to give them what they want, they have rapidly changed their attitudes about the system.”
3.5 Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez: “This isn’t Red vs. Blue. This is Death vs. Money.”
3.4 E.J. Dionne Jr. in the Post: “How did we get a government of this sort? For decades, our country has been witness to a war on public life. Legitimate dissatisfaction with government has turned into contempt for government itself and a denial of the indispensability of politics. We value expertise from our doctors, nurses, engineers and scientists. But when it comes to government, there is a popular assumption that those who spend their lives mastering the arts of administration, politics and policymaking must be up to no good. This inclination, by the way, is prevalent in other democracies, too. It is an attitude that leads voters to mistake inexperience for purity and outsider status (often, as in Trump’s case, a feigned outsiderism) for an exceptional understanding of the people’s wishes. It has turned the word “politician” into an epithet, even though most of our best presidents (Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt especially) have been politicians through and through. The cliched and supposedly high-minded distinction between “a politician” and “a statesman” was always wrong. It’s coming back to haunt us.”
3.4 The Shape of Water, Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney win Oscars
3.4 Jeffrey Fleishman in the LA Times: “There has been a shift … in the cult of celebrity. Selfies, Instagram and YouTube have made us our own celebrities; the real ones posing beside us at film premieres and restaurants have become extras in our videoed romans à clef. They don’t seem as otherworldly as they once did. Notions of fame have been reinvented, and the audience has become the star in an endless loop of blurred lines.”
3.4 Optimum out
3.3 Optimum out
3.3 Alex Baldwin as Trump on SNL: “I said I was going to run this country like a business; that business is a Waffle House at 2 a.m. Crazies everywhere, staff walking out in the middle of their shift, managers taking money out of the cash register to pay off the Russian mob.”
3.3 Sen Tom Cotton at the Gridiron Club: “More than a few reporters have strained to find the sources of the electrifying personality that’s carried me so far in politics … This is what you get when you combine the common touch of Harvard, the sensitivity of the Army, and the personal mentoring of Dick Cheney.”
3.3 Washington Post: Inside the White House, aides over the past week have described an air of anxiety and volatility — with an uncontrollable commander in chief at its center. These are the darkest days in at least half a year, they say, and they worry just how much farther President Trump and his administration may plunge into unrest and malaise before they start to recover. As one official put it: “We haven’t bottomed out.” Trump is now a president in transition, at times angry and increasingly isolated. He fumes in private that just about every time he looks up at a television screen, the cable news headlines are trumpeting yet another scandal. He voices frustration that son-in-law Jared Kushner has few on-air defenders. He revives old grudges. And he confides to friends that he is uncertain about whom to trust.
3.2 Robert Kagan in the Washington Post: “It is impossible to imagine Trump and his repeated big lies that go viral except in the digital-video age. It is impossible to imagine our present political polarization except in the age of the Internet, which drives people to sites of extreme views that validate their preexisting prejudices. And, in the spirit of Hollywood, it is impossible to imagine the degree and intensity of emotional and sensory manipulation, false rumors, exaggerations and character assassination that decay our public dialogue except in this new and terrifying age of technology which has only just begun. Digital-video technology, precisely because it is given to manipulation, is inherently controlling. Think of how the great film directors of the 20th century were able to take over your mind for a few hours: a new experience for audiences that previous generations had never known. Theater may be as old as the ancient Greeks, but the technology of film lent a new and powerful force to the theatrical experience. Moreover, it was contained within a limited time period, and afterward you came back to the real world. In the 21st century, dictators may have the capability to be the equivalent of film directors, and the show never stops. Indeed, Joseph Goebbels would undoubtedly thrive in today’s world. As for warfare itself, it will be increasingly about dividing and demoralizing enemy populations through disinformation campaigns whose techniques are still in their infancy. The Chinese, eventually with the help of big data, are working on following the Internet searches of their citizens, and then determining who needs to be singled out for further observation. If a government or a company knows the destination and sequence of all of your searches, it is virtually inside your mind. The possibilities are frightening, and the vistas for oppression unbounded. The digital age, originally sold to us as empowering, could yet become the greatest threat to free thought and democracy in history. The very idea of something going viral is an expression of the mob more than of the individual. The fact that Google partially ranks search results in terms of how many other sites have linked to them reinforces groupthink, not individuality. The entire logic of the Web works toward popularity, not quality, and certainly not toward truth. Never before have we had to fight for democracy and individual rights as now in this new and — in some sense — dark age of technology. We must realize that the fight for democracy is synonymous with the fight for objectivity, which lies at the core of professional journalism — a calling whose foundational spirit was forged in the print-and-typewriter age, when mainly the movies were fake. We will fight best by thinking tragically to avoid tragedy. This means learning to think like the tyrants who feed and prosper on misinformation so we can keep several steps ahead of them. Only in that way can we build safeguards against the specific dangers of the digital experience. The pioneers of Silicon Valley were inherent optimists who simply believed in connecting the world. But it is precisely such integration that provides our authoritarian enemies with access into our own democratic systems. The future will be about wars of integration rather than wars of geographic separation. So now constructive pessimism is called for. The innocent days when illusions were the province of movie stage sets are way behind us.”
3.2 Nor’easter strikes. Bombogenesis is expected
3.1 Steve Bannon: “In the modern digital age — and [Obama chief strategist David] Axelrod saw this very early on, and we a little bit copied it — there’s three things that are important: It’s authenticity of candidate. The one thing the Internet has done is blown through phonies. Number two is the importance of actionable ideas. Obama had a series of actionable ideas. Donald Trump had a series of actionable ideas. It’s the reason my office was called the war room. Number three is — and this is also an Obama and Trump [characteristic] — a volunteer army of dedicated people.”

FEBRUARY 2018: “TAKE THE GUNS FIRST, GO THROUGH DUE PROCESS SECOND”

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

2.7 Nancy Pelosi speaks on the floor of the House for eight hours, the longest speech there in a century, She used the time to tell the stories of more than 300 DACA kids.
2.6 SpaceX’s 27-engine Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched, and two of its three boosters successfully returned to earth

2.4 Philadelphia 41, New England 33. The Eagles win their first Super Bowl, and first NFL championship since 1960. Tom Brady: “The Eagles played a better game. They deserved to win. That’s why we’re not world champs. It sucks. But no one is going to feel sorry for us.’’
2.2 Heather Timmons on the risks of dismissing the FBI’s Russia memo: “For the country and its people, the system that apportions specific powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches stands as a guarantee of the rule of law and a bulwark against authoritarian rule. When the intended balance is disturbed by one branch failing to follow the law or even long-standing standard protocol, the very idea of a representative democracy is threatened.”
2.1 Albany

JANUARY 2018

1.25 Frank Bruni in the Times, on the bro vibe among Trump, Tom Brady, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick: “These titans stick together in the way that many titans do, not because they share some special affection or particular philosophy but because each sees in the others’ stature an affirmation of his own. They’re a cluster strut.”
1.25 Wall Street Journal: “The New Dating No-No: Asking for a Last Name — Now that smartphone apps are the primary way people meet, some things have become too awkward to ask” Why it matters: “Asking for a last name ‘is definitely a modern social cue’ that trust is building in a relationship.”
1.24 George Will in the Washington Post: It cannot be a sign of social health that the number of tweets per day worldwide exploded from 5,000 in 2007 to 500 million six years later. And this might be related, by a few degrees of separation, to the fact that whereas in the 1992 presidential election more than one-third of America’s 3,113 counties or their equivalents had a single-digit margin of victory, in the 2016 presidential election, fewer than 10 percent did. And to the fact that in 2016, 1,196 counties — about 2.5 times the average over the preceding 20 years — were decided by margins larger than 50 percent. All of which are perhaps related to rising skepticism, without scientific warrant, about the safety of vaccinations and genetically modified foods. And to the fact that newspaper subscriptions have declined about 38 percent in the past 20 years. And that between 1974 and 2016, the percentage of Americans who said they spent significant time with a neighbor declined from 30 percent to 19 percent.”
1.24 Washington Post: There’s growing cohesion among executives — cutting across industry and even geography — that Trump‘s tax plan is going to deliver massive new investment in the United States, which should, in turn, boost growth and employment.”
1.24 The Big Apple Circus clown Grandma stepped down after being accused of coercing a teen acrobat into taking sexual photos
1.24 NBC: Researchers say remains of a wooden ship found embedded in mud in a river delta in the southern US may be the Clotilda, the last-known vessel to bring slaves to the US nearly 160 years ago.
1.24 Disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar gets 175 years in prison for sex assaults. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina: “I’ve just signed your death warrant,”
1.23 Washington Post:“ Google for the first time spent more than any other company in 2017 to influence Washington, highlighting both the sprawling reach of the country’s thriving tech industry and the rising concern by regulators and lawmakers of its ascendance.”
1.22 Simona Mangiante, fiancee of George Papadopoulos: “I believe history will remember him like John Dean.”
1.21 Stormy Daniels: “It’s crazy how one moment can overshadow 15 years of work.”
1.21 Sen. Tammy Duckworth: “I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger. And I have a message for ‘Cadet Bone Spurs.’ If you cared about our military, you’d stop baiting Kim Jong Un into a war that could put 85,000 American troops, and millions of innocent civilians, in danger.”
1.21 Pats overtake Jags, Eagles clobber Vikings
1.20 Ginny, Molly and Cara go to the Women’s March in NYC
1.20 Government shut down
1.19 Paul Waldman in the Post: “For every American who really loves Donald Trump, there are about two Americans who really hate him.”
1.19 Elizabeth Bruenig in the Washington Post: “When it’s time for dessert, Trump gets two scoops of ice cream and everyone else gets one, and if, after all that and a sack of McDonald’s, he still decides he has the height and weight of an athlete, then he does. There’s the greed, the hoarding of wealth and gold objects, with vanishingly little given to charity, even just to add a touch of decorum. Decorum doesn’t exist in isolation; it’s something you undertake with regard to other people, and Trump does not regard other people. Unseemliness is a kind of liberty, and Trump has perfected that, too.”
1.19 Albany
1.18 Albany; Melissa: “insanely condescending”
1.18 2017 was Earth’s second-hottest year since 1880.

JANUARY 2018: “SHIT HOLE COUNTRIES”


1.14 In a thriller, the Vikings upset the Saints with a desperate pass for a touchdown on the last play of the game.
1.13 Dinner at Pete’s Tavern with Ginny, Greg, Susan and Margaret, followed by The Post. A very good film. I particularly liked how Meryl Streep‘s Katherine Graham found her way to her position of principle by feeling personally betrayed by Robert McNamara.

1.13 A fake text warns Hawaii of imminent nuclear destruction.
1.11 Trump: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
1.10 Shepard Smith on Fox News: “All of that about libel laws, that was just a word salad of nothingness, because none of that means anything, except ‘look over here.’” He couldn’t change the libel laws if he wanted to change the libel laws, he couldn’t change them if he got the Congress in there. These are state laws, and that was nothing. He’s not a dictator. He’s not a king, He can’t change the libel laws. That’s preposterous.”
1.10 NJ.com: Christie “leaves office in a week as the state’s most unpopular governor in modern times, a once-rising star whose presidential ambitions were dashed by the Bridgegate scandal and the rise of Donald Trump.”
1.9 Bannon out at Breitbart
1.9 The reliably entertaining Major Crimes ends a much-appreciated run.
1.8 Bill Gates in Time: “In 1990, more than a third of the global population lived in extreme poverty; today only about a tenth do. A century ago, it was legal to be gay in about 20 countries; today it’s legal in over 100 countries. Women are gaining political power and now make up more than a fifth of members of national parliaments—and the world is finally starting to listen when women speak up about sexual assault. More than 90% of all children in the world attend primary school. In the U.S., you are far less likely to die on the job or in a car than your grandparents were. And so on.”
1.8 An 18 year old freshman quarterback named Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench at halftime with his team trailing 13-0, and led Alabama to an overtime victory that gave the school its fifth national championship under head coach Nick Saban.

1.8 Cornell Belcher, a Democratic strategist and former Obama pollster: “Running for president is . . . an ugly, nasty, grueling slog through all of these multiple states. It’s going to unglamorous places and showing up at fish fries. To successfully run, you need several things: money, infrastructure and a niche. That said, I think in this current environment — and I cannot believe I am saying this — but if Oprah would throw her hat in the ring, she would be the front-runner.”
1.7 Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes: “I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me too” again.”
1.6 On a frigid night, a heart-warming show. With Ginny, Cara, Molly and Shawn. Preceded by dinner at Joe Allen’s.
1.5 Steve Schmidt on MSNBC: “When you look at their comportment, they couldn’t be more vile than if they were a group of monkeys throwing their excrement at each other in a cage.”

1.4 “Bomb cyclone” hits east coast.from Floida to New England/ Polar vortex to follow
1.3 Trump “When (Steve Bannon) was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
1.3 Charlie Sykes: “I can’t help thinking of Bannon as the Robespierre of this Trumpian revolution, ultimately devoured by the forces he helped release. He helped create a pro-Trump media ecosystem that demanded loyalty, not ideological consistency. Now that he is perceived as disloyal (and perhaps dangerous), he is going to get the same treatment he used to give the globalist, establishment types.”
1.3 Bannon: “The three senior guys in the campaign … thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the twenty-fifth floor — with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
1.3 Steve Bannon: “They’re going to crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV. They’re sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five.”


1.3 Albany today for the State of the State. The New York Times: “With a re-election campaign and potentially treacherous political terrain ahead, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo laid out his 2018 agenda on Wednesday, painting a portrait of a state battling the effects of terrorism, sexual harassment and opioid addiction, and under siege from the Trump administration. In his 90-minute State of the State speech, Mr. Cuomo said the state would challenge the new Republican-led federal tax plan in court — earning a standing ovation from the crowd — and asked the Legislature to restructure the state’s tax code by adding a statewide payroll tax and to counter the effects of the so-called carried interest loophole. . . .with New York facing billions of dollars in budget gaps, and swaths of suburban voters possibly looking at tax increases as a result of the new cap on income and property tax deductibility, the initial reaction in Albany suggested the idea had a puncher’s chance, including among some State Senate Republicans representing moderate districts.”
1.2 Trump tweet: “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
1.2 Albany
1.1 New Year’s Day brunch with Greg and Susan and Cathy and Tim

JANUARY 3, 2018: STATE OF THE STATE

An overall less grueling experience than last year ended with a near marathon in Albany (six days between December 26th and January 3rd.) But all’s well that ends well.) The speech was good, but the Governor’s delivery was even better–he showed a new dimension. Reaction was tempered–approving in goals, but possibly too ambitious. Time will tell.

DECEMBER 2017: “THE PRESIDENT CANNOT OBSTRUCT JUSTICE”


12.30 Miscellaneous workers. John Paul Jones
In late December, an electrical engineer in Tennessee named Jonathan Pace, participating in the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, used a church computer to discover the largest known prime number ever. Large primes are very difficult to identify. And Mersenne primes, named after a 17th-century French monk, are a special breed:They’re prime numbers that are one less than a power of two—making them even more rare. Since 1996, GIMPS volunteers have discovered 16 new numbers. Pace had been hunting for one for more than 14 years. The prime he discovered (notated as 2^77,232,917-1) contains 23,249,425 digits—nearly a million digits longer than the previous record holder.
12.29 Mike Allen in Axios: Trump keeps asking for tariffs — on steel and aluminum, in particular. He wants a trade war, and has for many years. His economic and diplomatic advisers persuaded him to delay trade actions in 2017. Those advisers recognize that the day of reckoning will come in 2018, regardless of whether economic adviser Gary Cohn and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — who advocated restraint — stay or go. . . .Trump still wants his wall, and tighter restrictions on legal immigration. He’s a true believer on this stuff, and knows intuitively that it keeps his base stoked. Trump seems most interested in discussing military options on North Korea in these meetings.
12.29 A four-story mural of a purple penis at 303-305 Broome Street in Lower Manhattan was painted over.
12.29 Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development, a Washington, D.C. think tank: “Very recently, economists have been looking at a different kind of policy that helps people move to where opportunity is. If you want to help somebody in poverty, by far the most effective thing you can do is to assist them in moving.”


12.29 Donald Trump in an interview with the New York Times: “We’re going to win another four years for a lot of reasons, most importantly because our country is starting to do well again and we’re being respected again. But another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, the New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, “Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.”
12.29 Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post: The political philosopher Jan-Werner Müller suggests “anti-pluralist,” and although that’s a bit antiseptic, it’s probably closest to the truth. What we are really talking about, after all, are political parties that do not acknowledge the right of anyone else to hold or share power. They seek to establish themselves as the only legitimate spokesman for “the people” or “the nation,” as opposed to the voters, and they seek to weaken any civic or political institutions that might restrict them. It’s not an accident that Hungary’s Fidesz party or Poland’s Law and Justice party have packed their courts; nor is it a coincidence that Trump’s Republican Party seeks to undermine the FBI. France’s National Front and Germany’s Alternative for Germany aren’t in power, but even so, they treat the media with the same disdain as the American president does.
12.28 Albany, in the pool house. Minus 4 degrees
12.27 Albany. Dinner at the Old English Pub.
12.26 Albany
12.25 Christmas brunch with the Kelleys
12.23 Saw The Darkest Hour yesterday, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Still, it’s odd that of the three movies this year that dealt with the rescue operation at Dunkirk, the one that best reached the emotional essence of that great citizen action was `Their Finest,’ which was the one that expressly aimed to hold the event at arm’s length. Still, Darkest Hour tells a great story about leadership and language, and it manages to quote Macauley’s Lays of Ancient Rome:
Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods…”
12.22 Trump signs $1.5 million tax overhaul into law
12.21 Tom Brokaw on MSNBC: “[Trump] watches [F&F] because it reinforces what he believes,” Brokaw said. “Fox News…is on a jihad right now” against institutions of the government. “Newt Gingrigh looking into the camera and saying the FBI is a corrupt organization – three months earlier he’d said Bob Mueller is one of the great, distinguished public servants we have. So, we’re at war here.”
12.21 Life expectancy for Americans declined for a second year in a row in 2016, fueled by a staggering 21 percent increase in deaths from drug overdoses. The CDC reported this was the first time since 1961 and 1962 the country had seen a two-year decline, after a severe bout of influenza caused an outsize number of deaths. (Lenny Bernstein and Christopher Ingraham)
12.20 Memphis removes statues of Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest
12.20 Penske Media Corp., owner of Variety, buys a controlling interest in Wenner Media, parent of Rolling Stone,
12.20 As he stood outside the White House on Wednesday, President Trump basked in the praise of Republican lawmakers assembled around him. He was lauded for his “exquisite presidential leadership.” He was touted as “one heck of a leader” and as a “man of action.”

12.19 Kristen Roupenian, the author of the online sensation short story “Cat Person, ” has a seven-figure book deal with Scout Press, an imprint of Simon & Shuster.
12.19 Charles Mathewes in the Post: When we’ve reached a place where good Christian folk think it’s a matter of major theological principle not to sell pastries to gay people but are willing to give pedophiles a pass, I think it’s safe to say that American Christianity today — white American Christianity in particular — is in a pretty sorry state.
12.19 House approves tax bill. Joe Crowley: ““It’s a scam and the American people know it. Is this bill going to bring back jobs and lift up the middle class? Hell no! Is this bill going to make life better for cops, firefighters, nurses, truck drivers, students, veterans, teachers and shift workers? Hell no!”
12.18 Senator John Kennedy of Lousiana: “Just because you’ve seen ‘My Cousin Vinny’ doesn’t qualify you to be a federal judge.”
12.18 Mike Allen in Axios: “There are only two people who can change Trump: Trump himself, and Robert Mueller.”
12.18 David Brooks: Democracy, Mann continues, is the only system built on respect for the infinite dignity of each individual man and woman, on each person’s moral striving for freedom, justice and truth. It would be a great error to think of and teach democracy as a procedural or political system, or as the principle of majority rule.It is a “spiritual and moral possession.” It is not just rules; it is a way of life. It encourages everybody to make the best of their capacities — holds that we have a moral responsibility to do so. It encourages the artist to seek beauty, the neighbor to seek community, the psychologist to seek perception, the scientist to seek truth.
12.18 In 2017, officials at the Centers for Disease Control have been given a list of seven words — not remotely dirty — that they must not use in the documents they’re preparing as part of next year’s budget proposals. The Washington Post first reported on Friday that the seven banned terms are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
12.17 The Washington Post: The officials were escorted into a spacious conference room on the 14th floor of Trump Tower. Trump took a seat at one end of a large table, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence at the other. Among the others present were Priebus, Pompeo and designated national security adviser Michael Flynn. Following a rehearsed plan, Clapper functioned as moderator, yielding to Brennan and others on key points in the briefing, which covered the most highly classified information U.S. spy agencies had assembled, including an extraordinary CIA stream of intelligence that had captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation.

12.16 Finished The Crown, Season 2
12.15 Finished The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
12.15 Michael Gerson in The Post: “In the end, the restoration of the Republican Party will require Republicans to lose elections. It will require Republican voters — as in Alabama and (to some extent) Virginia — to sit out, write in or even vote Democratic in races involving pro-Trump Republicans. It may require Republicans to lose control of the House (now very plausible) and to lose control of the Senate (still unlikely). It will certainly require Trump to lose control of the presidency. In the near term, this is what victory for Republicans will look like: strategic defeat. Recovery will be found only on the other side of loss.”
12.15 Washington Post: Many veteran operatives and elder statesmen in the Democratic firmament worry that engaging in this fight is not the way to win in 2018. They think Hillary Clinton blundered by trying to turn last year’s election into a referendum on Trump’s baggage and boorish behavior. They worry that Democrats won’t fully capitalize on Trump’s unpopularity if they’re perceived as overplaying their hand. They’re nervous that the conversation over whether Trump should step down has sucked up too much political oxygen, possibly at the expense of the tax debate — which a lot of these Democrats believe they can win since so many voters already see the GOP bill as a giveaway to the rich at the expense of the middle class.”
12.14 Harry Enten on FiveThirtyEight: “There have been more than 70 special elections for state and federal legislative seats in 2017 so far. … Democrats have outperformed the partisan lean in 74 percent of these races.”
12.14 In one of the largest media mergers in history, Disney will pay $52.4 billion for assets from 21st Century Fox, including TV and film properties and its stake in streaming giant Hulu
12.14 Morgan Spurlock: “I am part of the problem.”
12.14 The FCC repeals net neutrality.
12.13 Salma Hayek on Harvey Weinstein in the Times: “I was so excited to work with him and that company. In my naïveté, I thought my dream had come true. He had validated the last 14 years of my life. He had taken a chance on me — a nobody. He had said yes. Little did I know it would become my turn to say no. No to opening the door to him at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location, where he would show up unexpectedly, including one location where I was doing a movie he wasn’t even involved with. No to me taking a shower with him. No to letting him watch me take a shower. No to letting him give me a massage. No to letting a naked friend of his give me a massage.No to letting him give me oral sex. No to my getting naked with another woman. No, no, no, no, no … And with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage. I don’t think he hated anything more than the word “no.” The absurdity of his demands went from getting a furious call in the middle of the night asking me to fire my agent for a fight he was having with him about a different movie with a different client to physically dragging me out of the opening gala of the Venice Film Festival, which was in honor of “Frida,” so I could hang out at his private party with him and some women I thought were models but I was told later were high-priced prostitutesThe range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, “I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.” When he was finally convinced that I was not going to earn the movie the way he had expected, he told me he had offered my role and my script with my years of research to another actress. In his eyes, I was not an artist. I wasn’t even a person. I was a thing: not a nobody, but a body.”
12.13 Ross Douthat in the Times: “No, there will be no course correction — only the Trump we’ve seen so far, the Trump who would rather have the G.O.P. fall in ruins around him than give up on his feuds and insults and absurd behavior, the Trump who made Senator Doug Jones our strange reality, and the Trump who is also responsible for the larger wave that’s building, building, for next fall.”
12.13 Writing about President Trump‘s sexually suggestive statement that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand “would do anything” for campaign contributions, USA Today declared that “a president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.”
12.12 Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York called on President Trump to step down in light of the multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him, prompting the president to lash out at her in a tweet charged with sexual innuendo.
12.12 Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore in the Senate race in Alabama
12.11 Peter King on SI.com: You exist in the world you’re given. Cashman excels in his. It’s easier to excel when you have Cashman’s advantages, obviously. But you’ve still go to do it.”
12.11 Yanks acquire Giancarlo Stanton
12.11 CNN reports that Roy Moore told an extremist radio station in 2011 that getting rid of all the constitutional amendments after the 10th would “eliminate many problems” with our “form of government.”
12.10 Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy has a spectacular day in the snow
12.10 The percentage of people who identify as or lean Republican has fallen 5 points from 42 percent of the population to 37 percent, according to the poll comparing November 2016 with November 2017, which was released last week. The percentage of voters identifying as Democratic has remained at 44 percent.
12.10 California Gov. Jerry Brown: “We’re facing a new reality in this state. This is the new normal, and this could be something that happens every year or every few years. We’re about to have a firefighting Christmas.”
12.10 Bono on the NFL Network: “America is not just a country. It’s an idea. It’s a great idea. It’s the best idea the world has ever had. And that’s why it’s okay for people to get carried away … and on that subject, if people want to show their patriotism a different way, you know, taking a knee and all that—I think people who care about their country can never be a problem. They want to make it better. The way they’re respecting their country,
12.10 Rep. Adam Schiff on CNN’s “State of the Union”: “We do know this. The Russians offered help. The campaign accepted help. The Russians gave help. And the president made full use of that help. And that’s pretty damming, whether it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of conspiracy, or not.”
12.10 New York Times: “Before taking office, Mr. Trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals.”
12.09 The New York Times: “Midge is like a sardonic Hulk; she gets hurt, she gets angry and her superpower bursts forth. Now, she has to learn to control it. Seen in this light, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is not simply a period piece. It’s a superhero story. Only this time, the protagonist’s object is not to save the world but to find a place in it: to stand up for herself by doing standup for herself.”

12.8 Albany Times-Union: “The FBI is investigating the Cuomo administration’s practice of hiring employees to work in the governor’s office, while actually paying them through various state agencies and public authorities, the Times Union has learned. The practice of hiring pricey political appointees to work for the Executive Chamber – but paying them through other entities – has allowed Cuomo and prior governors to increase the size of their staffs while escaping criticism for inflating the Executive Chamber budget. . . Under Cuomo, in some instances the positions held by Executive Chamber officials have had a correlation with the entity paying them. In other instances there seems have been little link between the work being done and an employee’s source of income. Take well-paid Cuomo speechwriters, Tom Topousis and Jamie Malanowski. Although paid to pen speeches for the governor, Topousis was hired in 2015 at a $125,000 salary as a “special assistant” at the Office of Children and Family Services, a child protective services agency.”
12.8 Bella DePaola in the Post: “In Trump’s first 298 days in office, however, he made 1,628 false or misleading claims or flip-flops, by The Post’s tally. That’s about six per day, far higher than the average rate in our studies. And of course, reporters have access to only a subset of Trump’s false statements — the ones he makes publicly — so unless he never stretches the truth in private, his actual rate of lying is almost certainly higher. That rate has been accelerating. Starting in early October, The Post’s tracking showed that Trump told a remarkable nine lies a day, outpacing even the biggest liars in our research. But the flood of deceit isn’t the most surprising finding about Trump. . . Nearly two-thirds of Trump’s lies (65 percent) were self-serving. Examples included: “They’re big tax cuts — the biggest cuts in the history of our country, actually” and, about the people who came to see him on a presidential visit to Vietnam last month: “They were really lined up in the streets by the tens of thousands.” Slightly less than 10 percent of Trump’s lies were kind ones, told to advantage, flatter or protect someone else. . . .Trump told 6.6 times as many self-serving lies as kind ones. That’s a much higher ratio than we found for our study participants, who told about double the number of self-centered lies compared with kind ones. The most stunning way Trump’s lies differed from our participants’, though, was in their cruelty. An astonishing 50 percent of Trump’s lies were hurtful or disparaging. ”
12.7 Legislators in Quebec passed a resolution (paywall) requiring shopkeepers to greet customers with just “Bonjour” rather than the common “Bonjour hi.”
12.7 Financial Times: “Apple will see as much as $47bn slashed from its expected tax liability if Republicans push through their current tax plan, making it the biggest beneficiary of the legislation. The potential windfall for the world’s most valuable company stems from the reduced tax rate that would be applied to foreign earnings that it currently holds outside the US.”
12.7 Corinne Purtill on Quartz: “This moment is the result of the collective labor of women of color who turned private agonies into public battles on behalf of justice. As overdue and welcome as this reckoning feels, there’s also the unsettling reality that a movement built largely on the labor of women of color has been co-opted by a discussion that prioritizes the experiences of victims who are white, wealthy, and privileged over those who are not.”
12.7 Sen. Al Franken says he will resign
12.6 Albany
12.6 Quartz: “American historians see a titanic clash on the horizon. What’s coming next is a battle between “the very idea of democracy, and that human beings are created equal” against the notion that power in America should be concentrated in the hands of a very few, very wealthy people, just as it once was in medieval Europe, predicts Heather Richardson, a history professor at Boston College.”
12.5 Steve Bannon: on Mitt RomneyJudge Roy Moore has more honor and integrity in that pinkie finger than your entire family has in its whole DNA. You hid behind your religion. You went to France to be a missionary while guys were dying in rice paddies in Vietnam. Do not talk to me about honor and integrity.”
12.5 Johnny Hallyday, the French Elvis, dies at 74
12.5 Christine Keeler dies at 75.
12.5 Facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) resigned as Congress’s longest-serving member
12.4 Catherine Rampell in the Post: “What did the populists win, really? Did they get the great economic de-rigging they demanded? A fair shake for good, wholesome folk like themselves? The draining, at last, of the swamp? No. Instead, a week ago, the Trump administration began dismantling the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a post-financial crisis creation designed specifically to protect the little guy from scam artists and swamp creatures. And then, in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the Senate passed the most plutocratic, regressive, system-rigging piece of tax legislation in decades. A bill that allows multimillionaires to pass on their estates tax-free. That offers one special break to owners of private jets and another to those who send their kids to private school. A bill that literally takes from the poor to give to the rich. These are not policies that either left-wing or right-wing populists clamored for, and you can see as much in the poll data. The Republican tax plan is the most unpopular piece of major tax legislation in five decades, less popular even than the Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush tax hikes. Republicans know how unpopular it is, and they just don’t care.
Instead, they expect the populist right to be satisfied with some race-baiting tweets. Some mean-spirited, occasionally unconstitutional immigration policies. The satisfaction of having a president who makes liberals angry. Instead of bread, the populists are told to be grateful for their circuses.”
12.4 Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker: “On the basis of the publicly available evidence, the case against Trump for obstruction of justice is more than plausible. Most perilously for the President, Flynn may know what Trump has to hide.”
12.4 Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese fired by Giants
12.4 John Locke described executive prerogative as necessary in any system that separated the executive and legislative powers, and defined it as the “power to act according to discretion, for the public good, without the prescription of the law, and sometimes even against it.”…
12.4 John Dowd, President Trump‘s outside lawyer: “A president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice. The “President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case.”
12.3 Dinner with the Kellys
12.3 In Let Trump Be Trump, Corey Lewandowski describes a helicopter ride where Trump rants at Paul Manafort, who had said that Trump shouldn’t be on television anymore, and that Manafort should appear instead. Trump was angrier than Lewandowski had ever seen him, ordering the pilot to lower the altitude so he could make a cellphone call. “Did you say I shouldn’t be on TV on Sunday? I’ll go on TV anytime I g–dam f—ing want and you won’t say another f—ing word about me!” Trump yelled at Manafort, according to Lewandowski. “Tone it down? I wanna turn it up! . . . You’re a political pro? Let me tell you something. I’m a pro at life. I’ve been around a time or two. I know guys like you, with your hair and skin . . .” The book also describes a typical Trump order includes a typical Trump order from McDonald’s: “two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted,” which is good for 2,430 calories and 111 grams of fat.
12.3 Washington Post: “Right now, the first $5.5 million of any estate is not subject to the tax. Because of that, fewer than one in 500 estates owes any tax at all. So Grassley is saying that 99.8 percent of Americans lead contemptible lives of waste and folly, while only that remaining sliver of the extra-wealthy have shown the virtue that should win their heirs the ability not to pay taxes on the fortunes bequeathed to them.”
12.3 Jared Bernstein: “The tax plan is written in such a way as to favor asset-based incomes, passive business investments and inherited wealth, and to penalize, once it’s fully phased in, those foolish enough to depend on their paychecks.”
12.3 Sen. Charles Grassley to The Des Moines Register: “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”
12.3 Sen. Mitch McConnell on ABC’s “This Week.”“We think this will produce results, results we will certainly be able to talk to the American people about in the fall of 2018 and 2020 as well.”

12.2 Larry and Teresa with the Lindstroms at the Colony in Woodstock
12.2 The Atlantic: “A foreclosure is a one-time event, but for many families it’s something that never ends, wrecking years of their lives and the hopes they once had. The . . . recession changed the American economy, and for millions of Americans, forever changed their lives. Some nine million families lost their homes to foreclosure or short sale between 2006 and 2014. But many lost more than that: They lost their momentum, too. Families like the Santillans had been moving up a ladder towards the American Dream, and fell off into a deep pit. They’re still at the bottom of the ladder a decade later, trying to get back to where they had been.”
12.2 Barron’s: Bitcoin “shot past $11,000 [this] week just hours after eclipsing $10,000, which itself was mere days after pushing past $9,000. It then slid sharply before surging yet again.”
12.2 Senate passes tax reform bill, including handwritten portions faxed to Senators
12.1 Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI
12.1 The Atlantic: “Manhattan has two genetically distinguishable groups of rats: the uptown rats and the downtown rats, separated by the geographic barrier that is midtown. It’s not that midtown is rat-free—such a notion is inconceivable—but the commercial district lacks the household trash (aka food) and backyards (aka shelter) that rats like. Since rats tend to move only a few blocks in their lifetimes, the uptown rats and downtown rats don’t mix much. When the researchers drilled down even deeper, they found that different neighborhoods have their own distinct rats. “If you gave us a rat, we could tell whether it came from the West Village or the East Village,” says Combs. “They’re actually unique little rat neighborhoods.” And the boundaries of rat neighborhoods can fit surprisingly well with human ones.”
12.1 Jimmy Kimmel: “Maybe when you say, “Come to Alabama and we’ll do it man to man,” maybe that means you’re challenging me to a fight, which is kind of what it sounds like. And if you are, I accept, by the way. I accept that invitation. There is no one I would love to fight more than you. I will put my Christian values aside just for you and for that fight.So if you are challenging me to a fight, here’s what we’ll do. Let’s find a place to do it. I’ll wear a Girl Scout uniform so you can have something to get excited about. And the winner, whoever wins the fight, will give all the money we charge for the tickets to charity. My charity will be the women who came forward to say you molested them, okay? All right, tough guy, with your little pistol? Roy Moore is never — he’s too scared to even debate the guy he’s running against, Doug Jones. With me he wants to go man to man. Maybe if he went man to man instead of man to little girl, you wouldn’t be in this situation. Allegedly. Allegedly!”
12.1 USA Today: “For many firms, paying fines for sexual harassment has been treated as a cost of doing business. In the past seven years, U.S. companies paid more than $295 million in public penalties over sexual harassment claims, according to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission records. That sum does not count all the private settlements.”
12.1 Bejamin Wittes in a tweet: #IBelieve in a temporary truce on all such questions, an agreement to maintain the status quo on major areas of policy dispute while Americans of good faith collectively band together to face a national emergency. #IBelieve that facing that national emergency requires unity
12.1 Ej Dionne in the Post: We’d like to think that the United States is also a nation of decency, tolerance and respect. We can’t make this claim while Trump is president.”

NOVEMBER 2017: “THE REASON THE STOCK MARKET IS SO SUCCESSFUL IS BECAUSE OF ME”

11.8 Brad Paisley and Carrie Undewood at the Country Music Awards: “Maybe next time he’ll think before he tweets.”

Quintana Roo Dunne with parents John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion in Malibu 1976

11.8 Bob Costas on the NFL: “The cracks in the foundation are there,” Costas said. “The day-to-day issues, as serious as they may be, they may come and go. But you cannot change the nature of the game. I certainly would not let, if I had an athletically gifted 12- or 13-year-old son, I would not let him play football. The reality is that this game destroys people’s brains.”
11.8 E.J. Dionne Jr.in the Post: “Tuesday’s Democratic sweep obliterated a series of outdated story lines in American politics and opened a new era.Forget those repetitious tales about some piece of President Trump’s base still sticking with him. It’s now clear, from Virginia and New Jersey to Washington state, Georgia, New York, Connecticut and Maine, that the energy Trump has unleashed among those who loathe him has the potential to realign the country.In droves, voters rebuked his leadership, his party and the divisive white-nationalist politics that was supposed to save Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor’s race, the centerpiece of the GOP catastrophe. . . .Widespread reports of new organizing and activism on the progressive side of politics were often written off before Tuesday because earlier this year Democrats lost four special congressional elections in very Republican constituencies. Typically overlooked were sharp shifts away from the GOP in all these districts. It’s now clear that the backlash against Trump is the most consequential fact of American politics.”
11.8 Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post: “The mood of the country a year after Trump’s victory may not be as anti-government as some thought. Instead of unrelenting hostility toward government, verging on nihilism, we see voters going for pro-government candidates, even ones seeking to expand health care. You never know what you stand to lose until you look into the abyss and see the loss of a politically sane and functional government. In sum, maybe the 2016 race was about a very, very bad Democratic candidate, not primarily or only a rejection of government. Maybe the road back to political normalcy goes through the suburbs and educated voters, especially women. It could be that Democrats just need a centrist candidate without baggage, not a democratic socialist, to lead them to victory. And perhaps #NeverTrumpers, cut loose from the GOP, become the new, sought-after voting contingent (like soccer moms!), who will look for rational, knowledgeable candidates whatever the party designation, so long as the candidates are committed to good government and restoration of American democratic institutions.
11.7 Big Dem wins in Virginia, New Jersey, elsewhere. Axios: “On a day that set the opening tone for the midterm elections of 2018, voters rejected President Trump, handed Democrats a big win in a swing state in a racially charged moment, and provided hope that they can win back power in Washington.” Washington Post: “34 percent of voters said expressing opposition to Trump was a reason for their vote, with almost all of this group favoring Northam. . . 17 percent sought to express support for the president. . . .Women made the difference. White women with college degrees — a group that split evenly in the 2013 Virginia governor’s election – favored Northam by 16 points over Gillespie in preliminary exit polling, 58 percent to 42 percent. . . . Married women voted for Northam by 10 points. . . . In the 2016 presidential election, Trump eked out a one-point lead with this group, 48 percent to 47 percent.
11.7 Roy Halladay dies in a plane crash at 40.
11.7 Trump in South Korea: “I say to the North: Do not underestimate us, and do not try us.”
11.7 Albany
11.7 Peter Beinart in The Atlantic:“Conservatives need liberals to stop abusing their cultural power. Although conservatives dominate America’s elected offices, liberals wield the greater power to stigmatize. In the 1950s, conservatives could exile liberals from polite company by calling them Communists. Being called anti-American can still sting. . . But in most elite institutions, being accused of bigotry is now more dangerous than being accused of insufficient patriotism. In 2014, Brendan Eich was forced out as the head of the tech company Mozilla for having donated to an anti-gay-marriage initiative. He probably would not have been forced out for donating to, say, a campaign to eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance from California’s schools. Conservatives feel their cultural vulnerability acutely. In 2011, researchers at Tufts University observed that conservatives consume more “outrage-based” political radio and television than liberals do. One reason, they suggested in a follow-up paper, is that conservatives are more fearful than liberals of discussing politics with people with whom they disagree, because they dread being called a bigot. “When asked how they feel about talking politics,” the researchers noted, “every single conservative respondent raised the issue of being called racist.” Liberals expressed no comparable fear. As a result, they felt less need to take refuge in the “safe political environs provided by outrage-based programs.”
11.6 Michael Gerson in the Post: Where does this leave us at Year One of the Trump era? With two very sick political parties that have a monopoly on political power and little prospect for reform and recovery. The stakes are quite high. If America really develops a political competition between ethno-nationalism and identity socialism, it will mean we are a nation in decline — likely to leave pressing problems (educational failure, unconstrained debt, a flawed criminal-justice system) unconfronted. Likely to forfeit global leadership, undermine world markets and cede to others the mantle of stability and firm purpose. There is a serious prospect that the president will truly crash and burn in a colossal fiasco so disastrous as to be undeniable proof against all things Trump. But that would be so bad for the country that it is hard to wish for.
11.6 Albany
11.5 Lawrence Summers in the Washington Post: Unfortunately, the proposal on offer by House Republicans may well retard growth, reward the wealthy, add complexity to the code and cheat the future, even as it raises burdens on the middle class and the poor. There are three aspects of the proposal that I find almost inexplicable, except as an expression of the power of entrenched interests. First, what is the rationale for passing tax cuts that increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion in this decade and potentially more in the future, instead of pursuing the kind of revenue-neutral reform adopted in 1986? There is no present need for fiscal stimulus. The national debt is already on an explosive path, even without taking into account large spending needs that are almost certain to arise in areas ranging from national security to infrastructure to addressing those left behind by globalization and technology. Borrowing to pay for tax cuts is a way to defer pain, not avoid it. Ultimately, the power of compound interest makes necessary tax increases or spending cuts that are even larger than those tax reductions. But in the meantime, debt-financed tax cuts would raise the trade deficit and reduce investment, thereby cheating the future. Second, what is the case for cutting the corporate tax rate to 20 percent? For at least five years under the GOP proposal, businesses would be able to write off investments in new equipment entirely in the year that those investments are made. So the government would be sharing to an equal extent in the costs of and returns from investment, eliminating any tax-induced disincentive to invest. The effective tax rate on new investment would be reduced to zero, or less, even before considering the corporate rate reduction. A corporate rate reduction serves only to reward monopoly profits, other rents or past investments. Given the trends of the past few years, are shareholders really the most worthy recipients of such a windfall?
11.5 Gun kills 26 at a church in Texas. It was 307th mass shooting in America this year.
11.5 Trump: “[T]he reason our stock market is so successful is because of me. I’ve always been great with money, I’ve always been great with jobs, that’s what I do. And I’ve done it well, I’ve done it really well, much better than people understand and they understand I’ve done well. But we have a tremendous amount of strength because of what’s happened. You know, think of it — $5.5 trillion worth of value.”


11.3 Andrew Sullivan in New York: Northam seems to me almost a classic Democratic politician of our time. I have no idea what his core message is (and neither, it seems, does he); on paper, he’s close to perfect; his personality is anodyne; his skills as a campaigner are risible; and he has negative charisma. More to the point, he is running against an amphibian swamp creature, Ed Gillespie, and yet the Washington lobbyist is outflanking him on populism. Northam’s ads are super lame, and have lately been largely on the defensive, especially on crime, culture, and immigration. He hasn’t galvanized minority voters, has alienated many white voters, and has failed to consolidate a broader anti-Trump coalition. In Virginia, Trump’s approval rating is 38/59, but Northam is winning only 81 percent of the disapprovers, while Gillespie is winning 95 percent of the approvers. Northam’s early double-digit lead has now collapsed to within the margin of error….go to Northam’s website and you see a near-copy of Clinton’s agenda last year. Drenched in wonky micro-policies, one of its exhausted themes is actually “Working Together.” If you plumb the message, behind various poll-tested good-government bromides, he even has policy proposals on concussions and STEM curricula, and a smoking ban. This is Establishment Democratic boilerplate. And Democratic turnout, in response, looks wobbly, especially among minority voters.
11.1 Quartz: Stanford’s Siegel, who was a manager at GE and Intel between 1994 and 2007, says Amazon’s unique strength (control over customer data and logistics infrastructure) means the parallels with GE may not apply. “We’ve never seen anything like this,” he says. “Amazon is combining the digital and physical in a way that we’ve never seen before.” Because Amazon controls household consumption data, competitive intelligence about sellers, as well as a vast logistics infrastructure, it has unparalleled insights into what people want, and how to deliver it most efficiently. New features like the Alexa home assistant and Amazon Key(allowing Amazon to monitor and grant access to people entering your house) will make the company virtually omniscient. Amazon sports a sky-high valuation because investors are banking that every customer gained today will pay off handsomely in the future. . . . “You want to put off profitability in certain businesses because you aggregate more data, and you can monetize it down the road,” says Siegel. “You can argue that is what Amazon is doing. The old GE had no data.” Soon, Amazon will be able to anticipate, suggest, and deliver almost any of the physical goods people routinely buy elsewhere (clothes, stores, supermarkets, boutiques, online retailers), making it the path of least resistance for everything people purchase. That’s been the plan for years. The patent for “anticipatory package shipping,” to ship people goods before they even order them, was filed in 2012 (a feature that could save 10% to 40% on logistics costs, say researchers). Now it’s coming to fruition.
11.4 George Will: The political philosopher Harvey Mansfield, Harvard’s conservative, says education should teach how to praise. How, that is, to recognize excellence of character when it is entwined, as it always is, with flaws. And how to acknowledge excellence of achievement amid the contingencies that always partially defeat good intentions.”
11.4 Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia tightened his grip on power. He detained 38 of the nation’s wealthiest and most prominent citizens over the weekend. The extraordinary weekend roundup against alleged corruption included arrests of high-profile Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Bakr bin Laden of the Saudi Binladen construction company. Additionally, a senior Saudi prince and seven other officials have been killed in a helicopter crash near the country’s border with Yemen. No official explanation has been issued. One fifth of the world’s oil reserves are in Saudi Arabia.
11.4 Saw Thor: Ragnorak qith Molly, Shawn and Ginny. Loved it! Fabulous use The Immigrant Song.
11.2 Pope Francis: “When I pray, sometimes I fall asleep.”
11.2 Bloomberg Businessweek: “The world economy should grow nicely again in 2018. (Unless someone does something dumb.) After several disappointing years, all the major economies are expanding at the same time … Healthy growth makes it easier to deal with the next downturn We’ve gotten so used to complaining about sluggishness that it’s a shock to realize the global economy has quietly accelerated to a respectable and sustainable cruising speed. Market volatility is historically low. The big story for 2018 is likely to be how to manage the continued expansion. A turning point may come at the end of September, when the European Central Bank might stop or curtail monthly bond purchases. Bloomberg economists predict the U.S. will grow 2.5 percent in 2018; China, 6.4 percent; Japan, 0.9 percent; and Germany, 1.6 percent. In most cases those numbers are in line with the growth expected for 2017, which has turned out to be a better year than many forecasters expected.


11.1 In Biology Letters coined a new word: Kleptropredation, a previously unknown behavior which occurs when a predator eats prey that has just hunted and has a full belly—such that the predator ends up eating its prey’s prey as well.
11.1 Trump to the Times: “I’m not under investigation, as you know. And even if you look at that, there’s not even a mention of Trump in there. It has nothing to do with us,” Mr. Trump said.
11.1 The Astros beat the Dodgers 4 games to 3, and win their first World Series

OCTOBER 2017: “HE’S A MORON”


10.31 Truck driver gunman from ISIS kills eight in Manhattan; the Halloween Parade goes on.
10.31 Anne Applebaum in the Post: “If this indictment is correct, Manafort is the living embodiment of this Russian-American convergence. And Trump, of course, is its apotheosis.”
10.31 Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes in Lawfare.com: “[Mueller’s] opening bid is a remarkable show of strength. He has a cooperating witness from inside the campaign’s interactions with the Russians. And he is alleging not mere technical infractions of law but astonishing criminality on the part of Trump’s campaign manager, a man who also attended the Trump Tower meeting. Any hope the White House may have had that the Mueller investigation might be fading away vanished . . . Things are only going to get worse from here.”
10.31 The Washington Post: “The charges are striking for their breadth, touching all levels of the Trump campaign and exploring the possible personal, financial wrongdoing of those involved, as well as what appeared to be a concerted effort by one campaign official to arrange a meeting with Russian officials.”
10.30 Michelle Goldberg in the Times: “Trump, more gangster than entrepreneur, has long surrounded himself with bottom-feeding scum, and for all his nationalist bluster, his campaign was a vehicle for Russian subversion.
10.30 David Leonhardt in the Times: “Having lavished so much money on the wealthy, the tax package — or at least the vague framework that the administration has released — doesn’t have much remaining to spend on middle class and poor families. For them, the package is a mix of pluses and minuses. Many face a lower tax rate, but some face a higher one, and many families lose deductions. The combination creates a lot of losers. Reduced deductions for children, for example, hurt large families, notes N.Y.U.’s Lily Batchelder. And the deduction for state and local taxes — also a target for cuts — now benefits 30 percent of households nationwide. It was the main reason for last week’s House defections, and the tensions over it haven’t been resolved. hen there are the long-term problems I mentioned earlier. First, Trump’s plan takes a skimpy approach to inflation adjustments, which will push many families into higher tax brackets over time. Second, the plan would radically increase the federal deficit, and when it comes to the deficit, what goes up must eventually come down. At some point, the government will need to pay its bills, through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. Virtually any future deficit-reduction plan — except for a repeal of the Trump tax plan — would hurt most families more than his plan helps them. This chain of events has happened before. The Reagan and George W. Bush tax cuts may have at first seemed to help the middle class and poor. But the deficits led to later cuts in education, medical research, transportation and anti-poverty programs that almost surely erased the benefits of a modest tax cut. Already, today’s congressional leaders are talking about sizable cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.
10.30 Jennifer Rubin in the Post: The intensity of Trump’s frenzy underscores the peril in which the president now finds himself. Beyond the indictments unsealed this morning, Trump does not know what special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has uncovered; which witnesses are flippable; what financial documents have revealed about the Trump business empire; and whether, for example, Mueller finds support for an obstruction of justice charge from Trump’s own public dissembling (e.g., hinting at non-existent tapes of former FBI director James B. Comey). For someone who insists on holding all the cards and intimidating others, Trump finds himself in a uniquely powerless position.
10.30 Manafort indicted
10.28 Albany. Saw the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Washington Park
10.27 Albany
10.24 Sen. Jeff Flake: When we remain silent and fail to act when we know that that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do – because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseum – when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations and imperatives in defense of the institutions of our liberty, then we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations. Those things are far more important than politics.
10.24 Jennifer Rubin in the Post: Whether it is a pregnant Gold Star widow such as Myeshia Johnson or a powerful U.S. senator whose help Trump needs both on Iran and the do-or-die tax plan, Trump is incapable of disengaging from a fight that he is obviously losing. He cannot cede the field to anyone, no matter how destructive the prolonged fight is to his own goals. Everything comes back to a personal battle of wills in which Trump cannot stand to be seen on the losing side. For Trump, all human and personal interactions are reduced to a test of his ego; any perceived defeat is intolerable for him. Extending these exchanges, of course, leads to bigger and more serious defeats, but those he can justify as the result of “fake media” or hapless Republicans. Corker is demonstrating that the GOP sycophants who feed Trump’s ego have it all wrong. The president cannot be cajoled into being a responsible, effective president. He cannot be pinned down to any specific position. No loyalty can be expected from him. Rather than lose one’s political soul and waste endless time trying to placate the impulsive, irrational president, the best course of action is to expose his craziness, minimize his influence and then ignore him.
10.24 Greg Sargent in The Washington Post: When Corker told the New York Times this month that he worries Trump might trigger World War III and that most Senate Republicans know Trump must be regularly constrained by his inner circle from unleashing large-scale global damage, Corker revealed two things. Corker didn’t just unmask the fact that Trump’s temperament and character pose an ongoing danger to the country and the world. Corker also revealed that Republicans are fully aware of this threat and that their failure to testify to it constitutes a massive abdication that could have unthinkable consequences.
10.24 A Montreal man received a $117 traffic ticket for singing in his car. In September, Taofik Moalla was driving home and singing along to “Gonna Make You Sweat,” a 1990 dance music smash by C+C Music Factory. Y’know, the one that goes, “Everybody dance now!”
10.24 Steve Bannon: “There’s nobody in the United States that wants to be engaged in combat operations, special forces operations, drone operations (for multiple generations.) That’s just not where the American people are. It’s not the way our country was founded or formed. … We’re prepared to be allies. What we don’t want is these countries to be protectorates. It’s not our fight.” He said Petraeus was too focused on “nation building.” “We have to build a nation called the United States of America. The way you can have Pax Americana is if we’re a robust and strong society ourselves, not trying to impose our way of life and our beliefs on other people. . . .In Afghanistan, I believe . . . I believe we’re trying to impose a liberal democratic system on a society that clearly to me doesn’t seem to want it. … We’re not looking to transform the world into our values. The world has got to come to its own conclusions about how it wants to govern themselves.”
10.24 Within the next three decades, floods that used to strike the New York City area only once every 500 years could occur every five years, according to a new scientific study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “[R]ising sea levels could mean that floods of 7.4 feet … or more that struck the New York city area roughly once every 500 years before 1800, and which occur roughly every 25 years now, could happen once every five years between 2030 and 2045.”
10.24 Michael Gerson in the Washington Post: Thirty years ago, University of Chicago professor Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind” began with the words: “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: Almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.” Bloom found this deeply problematic, because the ability to determine truth from falsehood, right from wrong, is essential to personal flourishing and civic health. I wonder what Bloom would make of a political philosophy in which truth is determined by 25,000 screaming partisans and reality is a function of fabulism. Conservatives were supposed to be the protectors of objective truth from various forms of postmodernism. Now they generally defend our thoroughly post-truth president. Evidently we are all relativists now.Not quite all. Some of us still think this attack on truth is a dangerous form of political corruption. The problem is not just the constant lies. It is the dismissal of reason and objectivity as inherently elitist and partisan. It is the invitation to supporters to live entirely within Trump’s dark, divisive, dystopian version of reality. It is the attempt to destroy or subvert any source of informed judgment other than Trump himself. This is the construction of a pernicious form of tyranny: a tyranny over the mind.
10.23 Dinner with Chris Napolitano at Cafe Centro
10.23 An annual survey published last month by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center found that 37 percent of Americans cannot name even one of the five rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. About half of those surveyed got freedom of speech but couldn’t get any of the others.
10.23 John McCain: “One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we’re going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”
10.22 Reuters: Zookeepers at Berlin’s main animal park are hoping to cure a young female panda’s habit of walking backwards by introducing her to sex.
10.22 New York Times: “Last January, six months after Fox News ousted [Roger Ailes], … Bill O’Reilly, struck a $32 million agreement with a longtime network analyst [Lis Wiehl] to settle new sexual harassment allegations. The next month, 21st Century Fox “granted him a four-year extension that paid $25 million a year.
10.21 Washington Post: “[A]nalysts … see signs that Mount Mantap, the 7,200-foot-high peak under which North Korea detonates its nuclear bombs, is suffering from ‘tired mountain syndrome. Chinese scientists … have warned that further nuclear tests [by North Korea] could cause the mountain to collapse and release the radiation from the blast.”
10.21 The Astros eliminate the Yankees, four games to three
10.21 The 37th Annual Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival
10.19 George W. Bush: “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism – forgetting the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism. We have seen the return of isolationist sentiments – forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places, where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge. In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity.”
10.19 Barack Obama: “Why are we deliberately trying to misunderstand each other and be cruel to each other and put each other down? That’s not who we are!”
10.19 George W. Bush: “We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. . . . .Bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.”
10.18 New York Law Journal: Paul Feinman on Wednesday was sworn in as an associate judge on the state’s highest court, making him the first openly gay member of the Court of Appeals. Feinman, a former appellate justice in Manhattan, was nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in June . . . “Our judiciary was built to help us navigate tumultuous times. When our ship is battered by storms of controversy, when waves of fear and anger and anxiety send us off course. When tides of emotion drives us from paths of reason, the Constitution of New York and the Constitution of the United states are the compasses that steer us forward,” said Cuomo’s top counsel Alphonso David.
10.18 Forbes: “America’s richest are richer than ever” Forbes releases its list of the 400 richest Americans … The minimum net worth hit a record high of $2 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 2015 and 2016 … 169 billionaires who did not make the cut … Average net worth of a Forbes 400 member hit $6.7 billion, also a record high, up from $6 billion last year.
10.17 David von Drehle in the Washington Post: “I don’t think we’ve ever been led by a person with such a low opinion of America. . . .The president insists that football players show respect for the national anthem, yet he has no respect for the good faith of those who served before him. He complains that critics are unfair to him even as he unfairly maligns his predecessors. At 71, Trump is experiencing public service for the very first time. We can but hope that the value of it will eventually dawn on him.”
10.17 Tom Verducci in si.com: “Stop for a moment and appreciate it, the way you might by pulling your car over to the side of the road to dwell on the majesty of a mountain or the expanse of a river. We’ve never seen anything like it. The largest position player to ever play Major League Baseball heaved his 6’ 7”, 282-pound body at the culmination of sprints into a wall and into the turf to make catches of hard-hit line drives. In between, he smashed a high-and-tight 93-mph cutter into the first row in leftfield for a three-run homer. Aaron Judge is, in the manner of the highest complement to athleticism, a freak. The Yankees rightfielder played an astounding game in an 8–1 New York win over Houston in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. He is a natural wonder.”
10.17 The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 23,000 for the first time today.
10.16 Michael Gerson in the Washington Post: Do religious right leaders have any clue how foolish they appear? Rather than confidently and persistently representing a set of distinctive beliefs, they pant and beg to be a part of someone else’s movement. In this case, it is a movement that takes advantage of racial and ethnic divisions and dehumanizes Muslims, migrants and refugees. A movement that has cultivated ties to alt-right leaders and flirted with white identity politics. A movement that will eventually soil and discredit all who are associated with it.”
10.17 Trump: “There’s no such thing as Obamacare anymore.”
10.17 Steve Bannon: “McConnell and the GOP Establishment have sown the wind — now be prepared the reap the whirlwind.”
10.17 Trump: “I’m not going to blame myself, I’ll be honest.”
10.17 David Jolley, ex GOP congressman: “We do know that we have a president who very well might put this nation at risk and this Republican Congress has done nothing to check his power,” he added. “Democrats could, and we might be better off as a republic if they take the House in 2018.”
10.16 Trump: “The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents ― most of them didn’t make calls. A lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it,” Trump said. “They have made the ultimate sacrifice, so generally I would say that I like to call. I’m going to be calling them. I want a little time to pass.”
10.16 Washington Post: Scientists detect gravitational waves from a new kind of nova, sparking a new era in astronomy
10.16 Rep. Ro Khanna in the Washington Post: “ This is a defining moment for the valley — a chance to respond to the challenges facing our country. Techies are no longer the iconoclasts or the math whizzes who didn’t quite fit in at homecoming. They are now the largest winners in a 21st-century global economy. Their platforms are used by the vast majority of citizens. The hope is that they will answer the nation’s call to advance the common good, from expanding job opportunity to communities across the country to ensuring that online platforms do not contribute to polarization or misinformation. Tech companies must offer an aspirational vision of how all Americans, regardless of geography, can benefit from a tech-driven economy. This means making investments not just in California, Massachusetts and New York, but also in start-ups and entrepreneurs in cities and rural communities across the nation. It means offering apprenticeships to help build tech capability in the heartland.”
10.16 John McCain: “To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history. We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to. I am the luckiest guy on earth. I have served America’s cause – the cause of our security and the security of our friends, the cause of freedom and equal justice – all my adult life. I haven’t always served it well. I haven’t even always appreciated what I was serving. But among the few compensations of old age is the acuity of hindsight. I see now that I was part of something important that drew me along in its wake even when I was diverted by other interests. I was, knowingly or not, along for the ride as America made the future better than the past.”
10.16 Trump on Obamacare: “It’s dead. It’s gone. It’s no longer — you shouldn’t even mention. It’s gone.”
10.14 Blade Runner 2049. Yecch.
10.14 Axios: Jaw-dropper from NBC News, on Paul Manafort‘s “$60 million relationship with a Russian oligarch”: “Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, … released a statement … saying, in part, ‘Mr. Manafort is not indebted to former clients today, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign.’ He later revised the statement, removing that sentence entirely.”
10.13 31 dead in California fires
10.13 85 percent of Puerto Rico without power
10.13 Karen Attiah in the Washington Post: “With Pence’s stunt, Trump’s tweets, Jones’s edict and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement saying players should stand, the debate about players standing for the national anthem is no longer about the flag. This is not about the anthem. This is not about supporting the troops. This is about putting outspoken black people back in their place in America — subordinate, and silent about the racism, police brutality and white supremacy that affect our lives everyday. This is about controlling what are considered “acceptable” ways for black people to protest. ”
10.12 Trump: “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. And people should look into it.”
10.12 Trump twice threatened to shut down media outlets. After posturing to pull NBC’s broadcast license on Monday, the president sent another tweet saying network news licenses “must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked.” An NBC report about Trump reportedly wanting a tenfold increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal was what provoked his ire.
10.12 Trump signs executive order to unravel ObamaCare, bypassing Congress
10.11 Eminem wows BET Awards with “The Storm”: “That’s an awfully hot coffee pot Should I drop it on Donald Trump? Probably not But that’s all I got ’til I come up with a solid plot Got a plan, and now I gotta hatch it Like a damn Apache with a tomahawk I’ma walk inside a mosque on Ramadan And say a prayer that every time Melania talks She gets a mop–ahh, I’ma stop But we better give Obama props ‘Cause what we got in office now’s a kamikaze That’ll probably cause a nuclear holocaust And while the drama pops and he waits for shit to quiet down He’ll just gas his plane up and fly around ’til the bombing stops Intensities heightened, tensions are rising Trump, when it comes to giving a shit, you’re stingy as I am Except when it comes to having the balls to go against me, you hide ’em ‘Cause you don’t got the fucking nuts like an empty asylum Racism’s the only thing he’s fantastic for ‘Cause that’s how he gets his fucking rocks off and he’s orange Yeah, sick tan, that’s why he wants us to disband ‘Cause he can not withstand The fact we’re not afraid of Trump Fuck walkin’ on eggshells, I came to stomp That’s why he keeps screamin’, ‘Drain the swamp’ ‘Cause he’s in quicksand It’s like we take a step forwards, then backwards But this is his form of distraction Plus, he gets an enormous reaction When he attacks the NFL so we focus on that Instead of talking Puerto Rico or gun reform for Nevada All these horrible tragedies and he’s bored and would rather Cause a Twitter storm with the Packers Then says he wants to lower our taxes Then who’s gonna pay for his extravagant trips Back and forth with his fam to his golf resorts and his mansions? Same shit that he tormented Hillary for and he slandered Then does it more From his endorsement of Bannon Support from the Klansmen Tiki torches in hand for the soldier that’s black And comes home from Iraq And is still told to go back to Africa Fork and a dagger in this racist 94-year-old grandpa Who keeps ignoring our past historical, deplorable factors Now, if you’re a black athlete You’re a spoiled little brat for tryna use your platform or your stature To try to give those a voice who don’t have one He says, ‘You’re spittin’ in the face of vets who fought for us, you bastards’ Unless you’re a POW who’s tortured and battered ‘Cause to him, you’re zeros ‘Cause he don’t like his war heroes captured That’s not disrespecting the military Fuck that, this is for Colin, ball up a fist And keep that shit balled like Donald the bitch ‘He’s gonna get rid of all immigrants’ ‘He’s gonna build that thing up taller than this’ Well, if he does build it, I hope it’s rock solid with bricks ‘Cause like him in politics, I’m using all of his tricks ‘Cause I’m throwing that piece of shit against the wall ’til it sticks And any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his I’m drawing, in the sand, a line You’re either for or against And if you can’t decide who you like more and you’re split On who you should stand beside I’ll do it for you with this: ‘Fuck you!’ The rest of America stand up We love our military, and we love our country But we fucking hate Trump”
10.11 Robert Kagan in the Washington Post: “Rarely has a political party more deserved the destruction the Republican Party may be about to suffer at the hands of President Trump’s former strategist, ideological guru and onetime puppeteer Steve Bannon. It was obvious during the earliest days of the campaign that Trump never intended to be either the leader or the protector of the Republican Party. He had contempt for the party. For one thing, it was a proven loser. For another, it crumpled like stick figures under his steamroller. Who could respect people who fell so easily, and so willingly? Party leaders were especially contemptible in Trump’s eyes. They couldn’t even see what he was doing to them, or if they did, they were too cowardly to stop him. He had contempt for them when they tried to distance themselves from his racist, sexist and all around antisocial behavior. But he had even more contempt for them when they nevertheless came crawling back to him, again and again, pledging their fealty. He knew they came back not because they approved of him but because they feared him and the political following he commanded. He had stolen the hearts of their constituents, and therefore he owned them. He would use them as needed, and dispose of them when he could, knowing they could do nothing about it. “I saw them at Munich,” Hitler said of his British and French counterparts, whom he dubbed “little worms.”
10.11 Behind stout pitching from Sabathia, Robertson and Chapman, two homers from Gregorius, and Gardner‘s two epic 12 pitch at bats, the Yanks defeat Cleveland 5-2 and win the series. Nxt stop: Houston. Tom Verducci of SI: “The modern game is a brutally simple one. Home runs and power arms have knocked out subtlety, lessened the impact of our hallowed “little things” that for generations we liked to believe made the difference between winning and losing. It’s smashmouth baseball now. And nobody plays it better than the New York Yankees.”
10.10 His net approval (approval minus disapproval) on health care (-24 points), the economy (-10 points), national unity (-13 points) and immigration (-17 points) have dropped precipitously since he was elected. T
10.10 Charlie Cook: Given their current disarray, Republicans will need to fight hard to gain any new [Senate] seats, and losing one or two of their own seats would put their majority in jeopardy. The stakes are even higher in the House where their majority status is in real danger. The party needs to sublimate its divisions, get mainstream Republicans to the polls, and persuade the Trump base to cast ballot for non-Trump Republicans. That’s a tall order.
10.10 Weinstein allegations now include rape
10.10 “I think it’s fake news,” Trump said, “but if [Tillerson] did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”


10.9 New York Times: “The Russian campaign … appears to have been tailored to exploit the companies’ own strategies for keeping users engaged. Facebook, for example, pushed people to interact more in Groups like the ones set up by the Russians. The Russians appear to have insinuated themselves across American social media platforms and used the same promotional tools that people employ to share cat videos, airline complaints and personal rants. Boosted by Russian accounts, the material was quickly picked up by other American users of Facebook, spreading the posts to an even bigger audience. The Russian presence appeared to be layered throughout different platforms:
10.9 Steve Selenfriend: i can’t tell you how wonderful and engaging you biography of william b cushing is. i was just amazed by the depth of your research and your writing skill. you made it as if i was reading a novel or a movie script.
10.8 At Trump’s behest, Pence leave Colts-49ers game when players kneel during national anthem. Cost to tapayers tops a million
10.8 Senator Bob Corker: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.”
10.8 The Weinstein Company board fired Harvey Weinstein
10.8 Harvey Weinstein: “My board is thinking of firing me. All I’m asking, is let me take a leave of absence and get into heavy therapy and counseling. Whether it be in a facility or somewhere else, allow me to resurrect myself with a second chance. A lot of the allegations are false as you know but given therapy and counseling as other people have done, I think I’d be able to get there.”
10.7 Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals recorded his second-consecutive hat trick and a total of 7 goals, becoming the first player to score hat tricks in the first two games of the season.
10.6 Princeton professor J. Richard Gott projects that the human race will go extinct: between 5,100 and 7.8 million years from now.
10.6 Trump: “You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”.
10.5 Amid allegations stretching over three decades, Harvey Weinstein has settled sexual harassment claims with at least eight women.
10.4 NBC: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on the verge of resigning this past summer amid mounting policy disputes and clashes with the White House, according to senior administration officials who were aware of the situation at the time. The tensions came to a head around the time President Donald Trump delivered a politicized speech in late July to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization Tillerson once led, the officials said. Just days earlier, Tillerson had openly disparaged the president, referring to him as a “moron,” after a July 20 meeting
10.8 Ginny and I had a lovely if humid weekend in south central Pennsylvania. In more-lively-than-we-remembered Gettysburg, we stayed at the grandish hotel right on Lincoln Square. In Hanover, we saw the home of the best potato chips on earth, and the product of a great Mad Men episode.
10.7 Tanaka twirls a gem, Bird homers, Yanks win 1-0.
10.6 An excruciating Yankee loss. After going up 8-3 against Cleveland’s ace Kluber, New York loses 9-8 in extra innings. Key moment: a hit-batter that loads the bases is revealed on replay to be a foul tip that would have ended the inning. But Girardi doesn’t call for a review. Lindor then hits a grand slam, turning the whole game around.
10.6 Times publishes expose revealing Harvey Weinstein as a serial harrasser who has engaged in at least eight settlements. Weinstein apologizes, claims to be making amends, announces that he will sue the Times anyway. “It’s gross, yeah,” says a lawyer.
10.5 “Do you know what this represents?” President Donald Trump asks photographers taking a group portait. “Could be the calm before the storm.” When asked to elaborate, he said: “You’ll find out.”
10.5 English author Kazuo Ishiguro wins the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature.
10.5 Vanity Fair: Haberman’s signature is her preternatural ability to get lots of people telling her lots of things they probably shouldn’t be telling her. She’s regarded as the best-sourced reporter in Washington, the irony being that she only spends part of her time there, working largely out of her home turf in New York. She’s able not only to get inside the room with Trump, but to seemingly get inside his brain—to translate for the masses what he and the people around him at any given moment are thinking about the crisis or controversy du jour. That skill has made her incredibly valuable at a time when juicy, granular, inside-the-room dish has gained massive journalistic currency—Trump watching cable news in his bathrobe, Trump in a foul mood for this reason or that, and so on. “The larger story,” one of Haberman’s colleagues told me, “is the increasingly tabloid-y evolution of the mainstream political press. These stories are fun to read, they’re very of-the-moment, they’re made for Twitter. So I think Maggie’s success is very much part of that tabloid, Twitter-fied sensibility bleeding into the Times, entering the Times’s metabolism.”
10.5 EJ Dionne: “The United States is now a non-majoritarian democracy. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, that’s because it is. Claims that our republic is democratic are undermined by a system that vastly overrepresents the interests of rural areas and small states. This leaves the large share of Americans in metropolitan areas with limited influence over national policy. Nowhere is the imbalance more dramatic or destructive than on the issue of gun control.”
10.4 Washington Post: Former ambassador Eric S. Edelman concurs. “The press appearance was the most humiliating, degrading performance by a secretary of state that I have seen in my lifetime. He was clearly ordered by the White House to go out and lavish slavish praise on the president.” He points out that “Trump’s comment that Tillerson has refuted the story and NBC owes an apology is evidence” that Tillerson was ordered by the White House to go out there. Edelman adds, “His statement was actually the quintessence of the non-denial denial.”
10.4 NBC: Tillerson reportedly called Trump a “moron” after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials, according to three officials familiar with the incident.
10.4 Washington Post: New York gets 56 cents back for every dollar and California gets 64 cents. But states such as North Dakota, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana get more than two dollars back in federal spending for every dollar in taxes. (There are some outliers: New Mexico, which votes for Democrats, gets nearly $2.50 back for every dollar, while Nebraska and Ohio, both Republican, get back only about a half-dollar.)
10.4 Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal: “There is a sense that society is collapsing — the culture is collapsing. We’re collapsing in crime. The world is collapsing. Crazy people with bad haircuts have nukes. Everything is going bad — terrorism, etc. They want to be fully armed on their hill, at home. … They’re Americans, and they want to go down fighting.”
10.4 Joe Scarborough: “A lot of things brought us Trump. Maybe this is the net result of people … over the past 15 to 17 years … seeing one failure after the other: 1999, impeachment; 2000, the recount, where we can’t even elect a president the right way; 2001, 9/11; … 2002, WMDs; 2003, Iraq; 2005, Katrina; 2006, the meltdown in Iraq; 2008, the meltdown of the stock market. . . .Where confidence in this government has been shattered, … perhaps that’s what leads to the paranoia that you’re talking about. ‘They’re not going to protect me. … They’re not going to defend me. I’ve got to defend myself and my family.'”
10.3 Sen. John Thune on the prevalence of gun violence: “I think people are going to have to take steps in their own lives to take precautions to protect themselves. And in situations like that, you know, try to stay safe. As somebody said — get small.”
10.3 Yankees bet Twins 8-4 in the American League wild card game, New York’s first post-season win in five years. Sports Illustrated: “Before the game the Twins spoke in hypotheticals—“hopefully,” they said over and over. They talked about enjoying the experience and how proud they were to have come this far. “We’ll see what happens,” second baseman Brian Dozier said 30 hours before first pitch. The Yankees were considerably less impressed. “I do plan on winning the game,” Gardner said. And in the end, that was the difference. The Twins wanted to win on Tuesday. The Yankees expected to.”
10.3 Trump in Puerto Rico yesterday: “Every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe, like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overpowering, nobody’s sever seen anything like this. … You can be very proud.” The death toll in Puerto Rico is 36; Florida 26; Houston 50; Katrina, 1833
10.2 Spoke at the Robert E. Lee Civil War Round Table in Woodbridge NJ. An alert, book-buying crowd!
10.2 Jimmy Kimmel:
“The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip also sent their thoughts and their prayers today which is good,” Kimmel said. “They should be praying. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country because it is — it is so crazy.”
10.2 Tom Petty dies at 66. Bob Dylan: “It’s shocking, crushing news. I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”
10.1 59 killed, more than 500 injured in mass shooting in Las Vegas
10.1 Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook: “Tonight concludes Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews when we reflect on the past year and ask forgiveness for our mistakes. For those I hurt this year, I ask forgiveness and I will try to be better. For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better. May we all be better in the year ahead, and may you all be inscribed in the book of life.”