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Safety/Irony Alert. CNBC (December 25): Your new home security system may be an open invitation to hackers to make you, and perhaps many others, unsafe.” -- CW

New York Times: "Prehistoric humans — perhaps Neanderthals or another lost species — occupied what is now California some 130,000 years ago, a team of scientists reported on Wednesday. The bold and fiercely disputed claim, published in the journal Nature, is based on a study of mastodon bones discovered near San Diego. If the scientists are right, they would significantly alter our understanding of how humans spread around the planet." -- CW 

If you're curious as to how realistic the New York City apartments of TV sitcom characters are -- in terms of what the characters could reasonably afford -- the Washington Post checks out several of the hovels & dream rentals of a number of shows. Kinda fun. CW: My husband & I (he paid the rent) had a fairly spacious two-bedroom with a galley kitchen (dishwasher included!) & dining room plus teensy closets on Washington Square in the 1980s & '90s. NYU owned the building & helped considerably with the rent.

Politico: "Comedian Hasan Minhaj will be this year's entertainer for the White House Correspondents' Dinner later this month, the association's president announced on Tuesday. Minhaj is a stand up comedian and senior correspondent on 'The Daily Show,' where he has performed caustic bits on ... Donald Trump, liberals and others in between. Minhaj has Washington experience already, having performed as host of last year's Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner." -- CW 

AFP: "After months of uncertainty and controversy, Bob Dylan finally accepted the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature at a jovial, champagne-laced ceremony on Saturday, [April 1,] the Swedish Academy announced. The academy, which awards the coveted prize, ended prolonged speculation as to whether the 75-year-old troubadour would use a concert stopover in Stockholm to accept the gold medal and diploma awarded to him back in October." -- CW 

 


The Hill: "Arnold Schwarzeneggar says his first season as host of NBC's 'Celebrity Apprentice' is also his last. In remarks Friday, the former California governor cited President Trump, who has repeatedly mocked the ratings of his reality TV replacement, as his reason. 'Even if asked [to do it again] I would decline,' Schwarzenegger told Empire magazine.... 'With Trump being involved in the show people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or sponsor or in any other way support the show. It’s a very divisive period right now and I think the show got caught up in all that division.'" -- CW 

New York Times: "Penguin Random House will publish coming books by former President Barack Obama and the former first lady Michelle Obama, the publishing company announced Tuesday night, concluding a heated auction among multiple publishers. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but publishing industry executives with knowledge of the bidding process said it probably stretched well into eight figures." -- CW ...

Guardian: A statement by the Academy of Motion Pictures said "that PwC – formerly Price Waterhouse Coopers, the accounting firm that has been used by the Academy to handle the voting process for 83 years – had taken full responsibility for 'breaches of established protocols' that led to the error.... On Monday afternoon, the Wall Street Journal reported that ... Brian Cullinan, one of two accountants whose job it was to hand out the winners’ envelopes..., had tweeted a behind-the-scenes photo of [best female actor winner Emma] Stone holding her statuette. The tweet, sent moments before the best picture announcement, raised the question of whether the accountant was distracted, handing Beatty the duplicate envelope." -- CW ...

... Actually, No, It Was Donald Trump's Fault. The Hill: "President Trump is calling Sunday’s Oscar ceremony 'sad,' saying the awards show was 'focused so hard on politics' it led to the epic mix-up over the best picture winner. 'I think they were focused so hard on politics that they didn’t get the act together at the end,' Trump said Monday in an interview with Breitbart News." CW: Because everything is about Drumpf. 

Los Angeles Times: "In one of the most surprising upsets and shocking moments in Oscar history, the poetic coming-of-age drama 'Moonlight' took home the top prize for best picture at the 89th Academy Awards, beating out the heavily favored 'La La Land,' which was actually announced as the winner. The win for 'Moonlight' came in a chaotic and confused moment that played out live in front of an audience of millions, as presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway initially presented the evening’s final award to 'La La Land,' only to have one of the film’s producers announce that 'Moonlight' had, in fact, won." -- CW 

Here's the LA Times' "live coverage" page.

CW: It would have been way better for the world if the Electoral College had admitted, as a body, that "There's been a mistake." Unfortunately, actors & film producers have more integrity than electors.

The New York Times embeds the February 23 late-nite's show responses to the latest political news.

Washington Post: "A newfound solar system just 39 light-years away contains seven warm, rocky planets, scientists say. The discovery, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, represents the first time astronomers have detected so many terrestrial planets orbiting a single star. Researchers say the system is an ideal laboratory for studying distant worlds and could be the best place in the galaxy to search for life beyond Earth.... The newly discovered solar system resembles a scaled-down version of our own. The star at its center, an ultra-cool dwarf called TRAPPIST-1, is less than a tenth the size of our sun and about a quarter as warm. Its planets circle tightly around it; the closest takes just a day and a half to complete an orbit and the most distant takes about 20 days.... TRAPPIST-1 is so cool that all seven of the bodies are bathed in just the right amount of warmth to hold liquid water. And three of them receive the same amount of heat as Venus, Earth and Mars, putting them in 'the habitable zone,' that Goldilocks region where it's thought life can thrive." -- CW 

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Tuesday
Apr182017

The Commentariat -- April 19, 2017

Afternoonish Update:

"After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel," 21st Century Fox said in a statement." Thanks to Patrick forth the lead.

Choe Sang-Hun of the New York Times: "Just 10 days ago, when news broke that the Trump administration was sending the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson to the Korean Peninsula, many South Koreans feared a possible war with North Korea. Others ... call[ed] the deployment a powerful symbol of its commitment to deterring the North. On Wednesday, after it was revealed that the carrier strike group was actually thousands of miles away and had been sailing in the opposite direction, toward the Indian Ocean, it left South Koreans feeling bewildered, cheated and even manipulated by the United States, their country's most important ally. 'Trump's lie over the Carl Vinson,' read a headline on the website of the newspaper JoongAng Ilbo on Wednesday. 'Xi Jinping and Putin must have had a good jeer over this one.'... The episode raised questions about whether major allies of the United States, like South Korea and Japan, had been informed of the carrier's whereabouts, and whether the misinformation undercut America's strategy to contain North Korea's nuclear ambitions by using empty threats." -- CW ...

... Joshua Keating of Slate has the tick-tock on how the false story developed -- and got busted. "It seems like this was a case of the Pentagon not communicating very clearly (Did the strike group's orders actually change on April 8? If so, where was it actually headed?), the media getting a bit overexcited, and the White House just taking a narrative it liked and running with it." CW: Say what? The White House liked the narrative & ran with it? I like the narrative that I'm a candidate for the Nobel Prize in chemistry, the next Mother Teresa & a deadringer for Scarlett Johansson. But I'm not running with it, even tho there's no chance my risible "narrative" could have dire global consequences.

Washington Post: Jason Chaffetz will not run for re-election in 2018. "The Republican congressman from Utah, who became chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2015, has been criticized for a lack of action in investigating the Trump administration and President Trump's potential conflicts of interest. He reversed his position on Trump's candidacy several times in 2016, and recently faced an angry crowd at a town-hall meeting that criticized his tenure as Oversight chairman.... This is a developing story." -- CW

Brooke Siepel of the Hill: "Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford (R) is joining calls for President Trump to release his tax returns, saying Trump should 'keep his promise.'" Lankford made his remark in response to a question at a townhall meeting Tuesday night in Claremore, Oklahoma. -- CW

Paul Kane of the Washington Post: "Democrats believe that [Democrat Jon] Ossoff's performance [in the Georgia special Congressional election], coming up less than two points shy of the 50 percent threshold he needed to win outright, validated their emerging strategy of focusing on dozens of GOP seats in diverse, well-educated suburbs across the country in advance of next year's elections. Price regularly won this seat north of Atlanta without breaking a sweat, but Trump won the region by just 1.5 percentage points last year." -- CW ...

... CW BTW: Trump viewed Ostoff's narrow loss of the majority against a field of 4 other Democrats & 11 Republicans as a big win for ... Trump: "Despite major outside money, FAKE media support and eleven Republican candidates, BIG 'R' win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help! -- Donald J. Trump April 19, 2017." As Greg Sargent points out, "For all of Trump's 'help,' the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the GOP runner-up, Karen Handel, who will face Ossoff in the runoff, never mentioned Trump in her speech last night." ...

... Alex Shephard of the New Republic: "... Trump did not help; in fact, he almost certainly hurt. Every race in the country is now a referendum on his presidency, evidenced by the huge swings we've seen toward the Democrats in special elections in Kansas and Georgia.... Any Republican trying to argue that a twenty point swing toward Democrats in Georgia and Kansas is a good thing is selling something." -- CW

*****

Jonathan Martin & Richard Fausset of the New York Times: "Jon Ossoff, a Democrat making his first bid for elective office, narrowly missed winning a heavily conservative House district in Georgia outright on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. It threw a scare into Republicans in a special congressional election that was seen as an early referendum on President Trump. Mr. Ossoff received 48.1 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win the seat, and he will face Karen Handel, the top Republican vote-getter, in a June runoff." -- CW ...

... The New York Times is liveblogging the results of the Georgia special election to replace Tom Price, now Secretary of No Health & Human Services.

** Everything Donald Trump Says Is a Lie. When He Says North, Think South. Mark Landler & Eric Schmitt of the New York Times: "A week ago, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal to North Korea and give President Trump more options in responding to the North's provocative behavior. 'We're sending an armada,' Mr. Trump said to Fox News that afternoon. The problem was that the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the three other warships in its strike force were that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula. White House officials said Tuesday that they had been relying on guidance from the Defense Department. Officials there described a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from an ill-timed announcement of the deployment by the military's Pacific Command to an erroneous explanation by the defense secretary, Jim Mattis -- all of which perpetuated the false narrative that a flotilla was racing toward the waters off North Korea. By the time the White House was asked about the Carl Vinson, its imminent arrival had been emblazoned on front pages across East Asia, fanning fears that Mr. Trump was considering a pre-emptive military strike.... With Mr. Trump himself playing up the show of force, Pentagon officials said, rolling back the story became difficult." -- CW ...

     ... Update: "... officials expressed bewilderment that the Pentagon did not correct its timeline, particularly given the tensions in the region and the fact that Mr. Spicer, as well as the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, were publicly answering questions about it. 'The ship is now moving north to the Western Pacific,' the Pentagon's chief spokeswoman, Dana White, said Tuesday. 'This should have been communicated more clearly at the time.'" ...

... Aaron Rupar of Think Progress: "Press Secretary Sean Spicer also seemed to confirm the strike group was on the way to North Korea, saying during a news conference [last week] that..., '... when you see a carrier group steaming into an area like that, the forward presence of that is clearly, through almost every instance, a huge deterrence.'" -- CW ...

... Simon Dennis & Emily Rauhala of the Washington Post: "As tensions mounted on the Korean Peninsula, Adm. Harry Harris made a dramatic announcement: An aircraft carrier had been ordered to sail north from Singapore on April 8 toward the Western Pacific. A spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Command, which Harris heads, linked the deployment directly to the 'number one threat in the region,' North Korea, and its 'reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.' Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on April 11 that the Carl Vinson was 'on her way up there.' Asked about the deployment in an interview with Fox Business Network that aired April 12, President Trump said: 'We are sending an armada, very powerful.'... Instead of steaming toward the Korea Peninsula, the carrier strike group was actually headed in the opposite direction to take part in 'scheduled exercises with Australian forces in the Indian Ocean,' according to Defense News, which first reported the story.... The carrier strike force may indeed be finally heading north now." -- CW ...

... Matthew Weaver of the Guardian: "The Carl Vinson and its strike force will not reach the seas off the Korean peninsula until next month." -- CW ...

... David Graham of the Atlantic: "The boat blunder is only the latest example of how failure to communicate between units is undermining the Trump administration's ability to articulate and execute a policy. In this case, the White House blames the Pentagon for providing misleading information and a premature press release, though a fuller story will probably emerge over time. (It's important to remember that Mattis, a decorated and respected Marine general, was supposed to be one of the more competent figures in an administration full of thin government resumes.)... These are ... the sign of an administration that cannot effectively communicate within its constituent parts.... They are, perhaps most importantly, an indication of how Trump is trying to employ his 'fake it 'til you make it' campaigning style as a governing technique, too." -- CW

You are going to have a few people who have nothing better to do than to sit behind a computer and send a mean tweet. It's unfortunate, but it's the nature of the game. -- Eric Trump, in an interview with the U.K. Independent

... Trump Took Time out from Easter Egg Roll to Diss Obama & Bill Clinton. Joe Concha of the Hill: "President Trump said his predecessors Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were 'outplayed' by North Korea and that he won't be broadcasting his plans to deal with the isolated and increasingly aggressive country.... 'You read Clinton's book. and he said, "Oh, we made such a great peace deal," and it was a joke,' Trump said. 'You look at different things over the years with President Obama. Everybody has been outplayed.[]... They've all been outplayed by this gentleman,' he continued, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 'And we'll see what happens. I just don't telegraph my moves.'" CW: Trump repeatedly referred to the thug Kim as a "gentleman," no doubt because Trump couldn't remember or couldn't pronounce Kim's name. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

Spencer Ackerman> & Justin McCurry of the Guardian: "The US military is considering shooting down North Korean missile tests as a show of strength to Pyongyang, two sources briefed on the planning have told the Guardian. Amid heightened tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, the Pentagon is looking for ways short of war to pressure the country into denuclearization, particularly if Pyongyang goes forward with a sixth nuclear test." CW: So sorry if I don't believe it. ...

... Antony Blinken in a New York Times op-ed: "As President Trump confronts the twin challenges of North Korea and Syria, he must overcome a credibility gap of his own making. His insistence on remaining the most prominent consumer and purveyor of fake news and conspiracy theories is not only corrosive of our democracy -- it's dangerous to our national security. Every fact-averse tweet devalues his credibility at home and around the world. This matters more than ever when misinformation is a weapon of choice for our most dangerous adversaries.... A series of sophomoric presidential missives -- 'North Korea is behaving very badly'; 'North Korea is looking for trouble'; if China won't help, 'we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.'; North Korea's quest for a nuclear-tipped ICBM 'won't happen!' -- has given Pyongyang a rare chance to take the high road.... Equally problematic is Mr. Trump's challenged relationship with veracity, documented almost daily by independent fact-checking organizations.... If Mr. Trump continues to spread his own misinformation on matters large and small, he will cede that advantage and America will be seen like any other country -- which is just what our adversaries want. This will complicate his administration's ability to rally others against threats to our national security." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Daniel Drezner of the Washington Post: "Trump actually congratulated Erdogan on the outcome [of the Turkish election]. Trump apparently thought it was a good thing that, despite all the flaws in the process, a bare majority of Turkey's citizens voted to strengthen their populist leader. I don't think any other post-Cold War president would have congratulated a democratic ally that held a flawed referendum leading to a less democratic outcome.... For all the talk about Trump's moderation, for all the talk about an Axis of Adults, it's time that American foreign policy-watchers craving normality acknowledge three brute facts: 1. Donald Trump is the president of the United States; 2. Trump has little comprehension of how foreign policy actually works; 3.The few instincts that Trump applies to foreign policy are antithetical to American values." -- CW (Also linked yesterday.)

Glenn Thrush, et al., of the New York Times: "President Trump, hammering his 'America First' campaign theme, signed an order on Tuesday that he said would favor American companies for federal contracts and reform the visa program for foreign technical workers. After recent policy reversals that have angered his populist base, Mr. Trump described the visa program as an initiative gone awry that has driven down wages for Americans.... Yet the order calls for a series of relatively modest steps..., under which the government admits 85,000 foreign workers annually, many of them in the high-tech, industrial, medical and science fields. Collectively, the efforts outlined in the order could take years to carry out.... 'This does nothing,' said Senator Charles Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. 'Like all the other executive orders, it's just words -- he's calling for new studies. It's not going to fix the problem. It's not going to create a single job.'" -- CW ...

... Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "... Donald Trump on Tuesday promised big wins in the next stretch of his administration, glossing past the reality that the political newcomer will celebrate his first 100 days without a major legislative victory. In a speech that could be seen as a messaging test for that milestone, Trump hailed the opening days of his administration as a wild success and pledged to quickly deliver on health care, tax reform and infrastructure. 'No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days,' Trump declared in Kenosha, Wisconsin.... 'That includes on military, on the border, on trade, on regulation, on law enforcement -- we love our law enforcement -- and on government reform.'" -- CW"

Greg Miller of the Washington Post: "'Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia,' President Trump declared on his Twitter account last week. 'At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!' Trump's interest in achieving warm relations with Moscow has been a consistent theme since the earliest days of his campaign, and it stands now as one of the few major foreign policy positions that he has not discarded or revised since taking office. But in his devotion to this outcome, Trump appears increasingly isolated within his own administration. Over the past several weeks, senior members of Trump's national security team have issued blistering critiques of Moscow, using harsh terms that have led to escalating tensions between the countries and seem at odds with the president.... The statements have created confusion about the Trump administration's posture toward Russia and put senior officials ... in the awkward position of having to explain why Trump has yet to echo any of their harsh words." -- CW ...

... The Russia Connection, Ctd. Evan Perez, et al., of CNN: The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification to win approval to secretly monitor a Trump associate [Carter Page], according to US officials briefed on the investigation.... Officials familiar with the process say even if the application to monitor Page included information from the dossier, it would only be after the FBI had corroborated the information through its own investigation. The officials would not say what or how much was corroborated." -- CW ...

** Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker: "It is now clear that the scandal was not [Susan] Rice's normal review of the intelligence reports but the coördinated effort between the Trump Administration and [Rep. Devin] Nunes to sift through classified information and computer logs that recorded Rice's unmasking requests, and then leak a highly misleading characterization of those documents, all in an apparent effort to turn Rice, a longtime target of Republicans, into the face of alleged spying against Trump. It was a series of lies to manufacture a fake scandal.... [An] intelligence source told me that he knows, 'from talking to people in the intelligence community,' that 'the White House said, "We are going to mobilize to find something to justify the President's tweet that he was being surveilled." They put out an all-points bulletin' -- a call to sift through intelligence reports -- 'and said, "We need to find something that justifies the President's crazy tweet about surveillance at Trump Tower."' The fallout from Trump's tweet could have grave consequences for national security.... Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are still preparing to focus on Obama's national-security team, rather than on Vladimir Putin's." -- CW

Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "President Trump raised twice as much money for his inauguration festivities as any previous president-elect in history.... Disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday showed the contributions from corporate executives, lobbyists and businesses, as well as small donors, totaled $107 million. The previous record was held by President Barack Obama, who raised $53 million for his 2009 inauguration. Mr. Trump's inaugural committee is not required to report how it spent the money on his inauguration festivities, which included more than 20 events and drew modest crowds in January. In a statement on Tuesday, the committee said it was still identifying charities toward which it would direct leftover money, although it did not detail how much was left." -- CW

Matt O'Brien of the Washington Post: "Winning ... is Trump's real ideology. Which is to say that his populism was never about the ideas themselves, but about what he thought they projected: strength. He wasn't opposed to free trade, for example, because he had reservations about the logic of comparative advantage. He was opposed to it, because he thought other countries were bending the rules to take advantage of us. It was about being tough. There's nothing less tough, though, than having your plans blocked by Congress. In that case, populism becomes the very weakness it was supposed to get rid of -- so Trump gets rid of it instead. And then he turns to anyone who seems like they can get things done, which, in his administration, are the generals and the Goldman guys. That's how the people you ran your campaign against end up in charge, just like they have been in every Republican government going back to time immemorial." ...

... CW: AND there's the crux of the problem. Trump has zero commitment to do what's good for the country. All he cares about is what's good for him. So it's golfing at Mar-a-Lago; it's dropping the MOAB; it's tax breaks for billionaires; it's getting a legislative "win," no matter the content of the bill; it's scrawling his name on the bottom of some executive order; it's criticizing everybody who is not Donald J. Trump. And so forth.

The Most Unethical Administration Ever, Ctd. Danny Hakim & Rachel Abrams of the New York Times: "While [Ivanka Trump] has stepped down from both her own fashion company and from the Trump Organization and put her brand in a trust, she has not given up her financial control, an unusual situation to navigate now that she is subject to federal ethics rules on conflicts of interest. Even though many of her trademark applications were filed long before she took her government job, they could be decided on by foreign governments while she works in the White House, creating ethical issues with little precedent.... Earlier this month, China approved three new trademarks for Ms. Trump's brand on the same day she met China's president, Xi Jinping.... Helping steady her father's presidency could be critical to preserving the appeal of both her brand and her father's. Certainly, his scorching rhetoric has led to a complicated period for Ms. Trump's brand, both at home and abroad." -- CW

... CW: If you were all surprised that Trump was cool with Kellyanne Conway's violation of ethics laws when she made "a commercial" on Fox "News" for Ivanka Trump's clothing lines, Kevin Drum provides a chart that explains why.

The Most Dysfunctional Administration Ever. Sari Horwitz of the Washington Post: "Attorney General Jeff Sessions is making aggressive law enforcement a top priority, directing his federal prosecutors across the country to crack down on illegal immigrants and 'use every tool' they have to go after violent criminals and drug traffickers. But the attorney general does not have a single U.S. attorney in place to lead his tough-on-crime efforts across the country. Last month, Sessions abruptly told the dozens of remaining Obama administration U.S. attorneys to submit their resignations immediately -- and none of them, or the 47 who had already left, have been replaced.... The 93 unfilled U.S. attorney positions are among the hundreds of critical Trump administration jobs that remain open. Sessions is also without the heads of his top units, including the civil rights, criminal and national security divisions, as he tries to reshape the Justice Department." -- CW ...

... Maria Sachetti of the Washington Post: "After Trump threatened in January to strip federal money from cities that refuse to help deport immigrants, Miami-Dade County was the first to retreat. The mayor halted the policy, the council made it official, and now stunned advocates in a county where 51.7 percent of the residents are immigrants are considering their next move. 'People are really angry,' said María Rodriguez, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. 'People in Miami-Dade are outraged that we would buckle so quickly to the administration's intimidation.' Across the country, in city halls and statehouses, elected leaders are debating whether to follow Miami-Dade's lead. Emotions are rippling across more than 100 other sanctuary communities as they weigh whether to defend policies that shield undocumented immigrants and other noncitizens from deportation -- including those who have been arrested for crimes -- or risk losing their share of $4.1 billion in Justice Department grants this year." -- CW ...

... Jonathan Blitzer of the New Yorker: 'Ever since Donald Trump became President, mayors and city council members in 'sanctuary cities' -- places where local law-enforcement officials limit their coöperation with immigration agents -- have promised to resist the federal government's crackdown on immigrants.... But Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) answers to the federal government, not to local officeholders, and as it continues to expand the scope and reach of its activity, the limits of city power are becoming increasingly clear. Consider New York City.... Lately, ICE agents have been showing up at locations where the city is powerless to stop them: the courts. Since January, there have been seventeen reports of ICE agents making arrests at courthouses in the city, compared to nineteen such reports made in the previous two years combined.... As President, Trump has removed almost all of ICE's arrest and deportation guidelines.... Agents appear emboldened by their new latitude." -- CW ...

... Say, Here's a Good Example of "Latitude." Alan Gomez & David Agren of USA Today: "Federal agents ignored President Trump's pledge to protect from deportation undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children by sending a young man back to his native Mexico, the first such documented case.... After spending an evening with his girlfriend in Calexico, Calif., on Feb. 17, Juan Manuel Montes, 23, who has lived in the U.S. since age 9, grabbed a bite and was waiting for a ride when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer approached.... Montes was twice granted deportation protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by President Barack Obama and left intact by President Trump. Montes had left his wallet in a friend's car, so he couldn't produce his ID or proof of his DACA status and was told by agents he couldn't retrieve them. Within three hours, he was back in Mexico, becoming the first undocumented immigrant with active DACA status deported by the Trump administration's stepped-up deportation policy." -- CW ...

... CW: Let's ask Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly about that:

If lawmakers do not like the laws that we enforce, that we are charged to enforce, that we are sworn to enforce, then they should have the courage and the skill to change those laws. Otherwise, they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines. -- DHS Secretary John Kelly, at the George Washington University event, Tuesday ...

... Madeline Conway of Politico: "Kelly's remarks at the event ... laid out a bleak worldview similar to what ... Donald Trump has articulated. The country is continuously 'under attack' by drug smugglers, terrorists and other criminals who hate America and try to cross its borders, Kelly said, arguing that law enforcement officials do not always get the respect they deserve for protecting Americans. But, he asserted, that is changing. 'It stopped with President Trump and it stopped with me,' Kelly said." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Looks as if JeffBo Sent Kelly the Weed-Is-Evil Memo. Katie Williams of the Hill: "Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly course-corrected recent comments on marijuana Tuesday, in his first major public speech since being sworn in. Kelly vowed that Department of Homeland Security staff would continue to investigate and arrest those involved in illegal trade of the drug, and called marijuana 'a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs.' The apparent reversal comes two days after he told 'Meet the Press' that marijuana is not 'a factor in the drug war.'" -- CW

Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post: "Despite the rise of the tea party and unified Republican control of government, one decidedly anti-free-market idea appears ascendant: single-payer health care.... A recent survey from the Economist/YouGov found that a majority of Americans support 'expanding Medicare to provide health insurance to every American.' Similarly, a poll from Morning Consult/Politico showed that a plurality of voters support 'a single payer health care system, where all Americans would get their health insurance from one government plan.'... In ... [the two] polls..., the age group most opposed to single payer was the only one that basically already has it: those 65 and up. In other words, single payer for me but not for thee.... Often what ... Trump voters say they want is not a return to pre-Obamacare days; rather, they want in on the great insurance deal that they think their lazy, less-deserving neighbors are getting.... Somewhere out there, Bernie Sanders is smiling." -- CW

Jeff Toobin of the New Yorker: "Neil Gorsuch ... will immediately have a chance to make his mark with a case that involves one of the top priorities for the conservative movement: lowering the barriers between church and state.... The complexion of the controversy has changed in recent years, as those on the right have become more aggressive in pressing constitutional arguments. At one point, the issues in this area were fairly straightforward, if largely symbolic.... The current cases before the Supreme Court are more consequential because they concern government policy and, more often, government money. In some of the cases, religious individuals seek to be excused from obligations that the law imposes on the rest of society; in other cases, including Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, the one to be argued this week, religious institutions seek government money, notwithstanding the Constitution's prohibition on the establishment of a state religion." -- CW

Julie Zauzmer of the Washington Post: "Dozens of men and women whose ancestors were once sold as slaves to fund the nascent Georgetown University gathered at that university Tuesday for an emotional worship service of remembrance and repentance. Maryland's Jesuit priests sold 272 slaves in 1838, and used the proceeds of the sale to secure the future of the floundering new college. That sale only became well-known last year, through the research of genealogists and then widespread publicity. Now, the university is grappling with how to respond to the new knowledge of its own history -- as are dozens of people who have learned their ancestors were once enslaved by men of God and sold by those priests to even more brutal slavery in Louisiana." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Mark Hensch of the Hill: "United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz says his company will not fire any employees following backlash over the forced removal of a passenger aboard a recent flight. 'The buck stops here,' he said on United's earnings call Tuesday, according to CNBC. 'And I'm sure there was lots of conjecture about me personally. Again, it was a system failure across various areas, so no, there was never a consideration for firing an employee.' Munoz's remarks came as shares of United Continental reportedly dropped 4.4 percent Tuesday despite the company reporting earnings that exceeded expectations Monday." CW: The security guards who removed & injured Dr. Dao are not United employees; they work for the City of Chicago. According to a couple of reports I read, one of them was suspended or put on leave. (Also linked yesterday.)

Annals of "Journalism," Ha Ha Ha. Gabriel Sherman of New York: "With only six days remaining in Bill O'Reilly's vacation, the pressure on the Murdoch family to decide the embattled commentator's fate is intensifying. Three sources with knowledge of the discussions said that, while no final decision has been made, the Murdochs are leaning toward announcing that O'Reilly will not return to the air. Sons James and Lachlan have been arguing that O'Reilly needs to go, say these sources, though their father, Rupert, has resisted that outcome. The prospect of dumping O'Reilly -- once unimaginable -- has gained steam this week due in part to street protests outside Fox News headquarters and advertiser boycotts on O'Reilly's air. One network insider said Fox executives are alarmed by the severity of the ad-revenue decline." -- CW ...

... Brian Stelter: "A well-placed source said Tuesday afternoon that representatives for Fox and O'Reilly have begun talking about an exit. But this prompted a denial from sources in O'Reilly's camp. Even one person close to O'Reilly, however, said he will probably not be back on 'The O'Reilly Factor.'" -- CW ...

... Annals of "Journalism," Ctd., Sock Puppets Edition. Matthew Sheffield of Salon: "During the Ailes era, [Fox 'News']... employed a team of 'black room' operators who allegedly obtained phone records and credit reports of reporters disliked by Ailes.... Fox News employees and contractors were dispatched to do battle against not just mainstream media reporters but also against small-time bloggers and even website commenters. Fox News even went so far as to create at least two anonymous websites that attacked the competition. This strategy of online fakery -- a practice known as creating 'sock puppet' accounts, in internet parlance -- was an outgrowth of the corporate culture established by Ailes.... The network also retained the services of a now-defunct public relations firm ... to create and operate a series of homespun-looking websites designed to market women who worked as hosts or correspondents [at Fox] in a manner that can only be described as overtly sexist. " -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

Lindsey Bever, et al., of the Washington Post: "The suspect accused of killing a 74-year-old man in Cleveland and then posting a video of the coldblooded slaying on Facebook shot and killed himself Tuesday in Pennsylvania as police were closing in, authorities said. Steve W. Stephens, the subject of a rapidly expanding nationwide manhunt following the horrific slaying Sunday in Ohio, was spotted by Pennsylvania State Police troopers in Erie County on Tuesday morning, the agency announced. 'A traffic stop was attempted, there was a brief pursuit, at which time Stephens shot and killed himself,' Pennsylvania State Police communications director Ryan Tarkowski said." -- CW (Also linked yesterday.)

Way Beyond

Anushka Asthana, et al., of the Guardian: British Prime Minister "Theresa May has said she wants to hold a snap general election on 8 June, despite repeatedly claiming that she was against the idea of an early vote. In a surprise statement outside Downing Street on Tuesday morning, the prime minister claimed that opposition parties were jeopardising her government's preparations for Brexit." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

News Ledes

Boston Globe: Former New England Patriots tight end "Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in prison Wednesday morning, the Department of Correction said." At 7am ET, this is a breaking news story. CW: Hernandez was serving a life sentence for murder. -- CW ...

... TMZ: "... attorney Jose Baez -- who just got a not guilty verdict for Aaron last week in the double murder case -- has launched an investigation on behalf of Hernandez' family and they are not buying the suicide story." -- CW

Reader Comments (27)

Maddow also did a story tonight on the misplacement of the Carl Vinson (NYT linked above). She had clips of both Mattis and McMasters from several days ago. Both the "adults" in the room stated the carrier was steaming toward North Korea at which point it was not steaming toward N.Korea. In fact Mattis answered a reporter who questioned why the information of ship movement was made public. He stated that there were questions about why the Vinson had left military exercises. Remember, these clips were from several days ago. According to Maddow, no one was questioning Vinson's imagined movement.

Like I said a few days ago, "adults in the room", Jeebus you lost a f-in carrier or you chose to lie. That's more than a little frightening either way. Lets drop all the faux respect for the military men and look at their actions and words as the true yardstick of performance, instead of uniforms and rank. They hold the fate of our nation, lets not give them a learning curve bye.

April 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Diane,

Only in a Trump Administration is there a need for a bye on learning how to tell the truth. Hell, they need a bye on learning how to be decent human beings.

April 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Geez! Diane & Ak: I dunno...
About the reverse directional navigation, perhaps it was DFT's plan all along to throw everyone off. After all, how many times has he complained that Obama telegraphed every military move weeks in advance. Instead, DFT's strategy of announcing the fleet movement streaming toward the North Korean Sea to challenge that 'gentleman,' which while appearing to do exactly what he always criticized Obama for in the past was apparently his grand scheme all along. ...having the fleet heading in the opposite direction was simply to confuse those bad dudes, the North Koreans!

Brilliant! Yeah, that'll show'em. 'Cause Trump is always smarter.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

I have a prediction. The Trumpcare plan will kill more babies than Syria's Assad did with his chemical bomb.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Well, our young lad, Jon Ossoff, from Georgia almost cinched it. Keep fingers crossed for the run-off in June.

Back in 1914 another 30 yr. old democrat from Georgia was sworn in as the youngest member of Congress at the time. He served in the House until 1965 and became a champion for national defense, especially the U.S. Navy. He was also a staunch segregationist and was one of the writers of "The Southern Manifesto"––the 1956 opposition to racial integration. (he was one of many southern democrats that LBJ lost). His name––Carl Vinson––whose namesake ship is now front and center heading we hope in the right direction.

One can only hope there are a goodly number of seamen of color coloring the population on that ship. In your eye, Carl Vinson, in your bloody eye!

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Feldmarschall Drumpf in Charge!

So let me get this straight. Drumpf orders a carrier strike group to the Korean peninsula but days later they're still thousands of miles away because they were going in the opposite direction and no one seemed to know that?

Here's what I think. I think President* Daft never even spoke to the navy. I think he ran just as fast as his fat ass could move to Fox and squealed in that whiny, bully-boy voice ("You better give me your lunch four-eyes, or I.will.punch.you.in.the.face!") "We are sending.....an ARMADA! Okay? Right?" as if things he says don't have to be communicated to anyone but Foxbots.

Just boil it all down to the simplest sort of communication. You call your brother to ask him if he can come over and help you carry some furniture out to the garage. How does that conversation go?

"Hey, it's me. Are you busy? Can you help me move some stuff? What? You're on the road? Really. Where are you? Okay. When can you get here? Okay, great. Thanks."

Had anyone in Trump's circle bothered to call the Pentagon, they'd find out that the Vinson was headed to Australia and turning back toward Korea would take x number of days. Instead, Drumpf races over to Fox to promise "an ARMADA!!" and days later the Vinson is still headed to Australia.

Kids, these sorts of screw-ups aren't bread crumbs leading to a conclusion, they're fucking boulders.

We are in BIG trouble with this idiot.

But you already knew that.

Well, I gotta call my brother. See if he can help me move an orange headed fat ass out of the White House.

See ya.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

The lede is: Why Are Republicans Making Tax Reform So Hard? (In very fine, invisible print:) Just give us the tax cuts. (For the rich!)

Sometimes you just know it's better not to click on a commentary/article, even one appearing in the esteemed NYTimes...especially when you see it's a writers' fourfecta comprised of such 'knowledgeable" authorities as: STEVE FORBES, LARRY KUDLOW, ARTHUR B. LAFFER and STEPHEN MOORE. However, if you'd like to put yourself through some inane loser economists proposals, just go to: " the usual crap."

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

NYT:
Casino Magnate Gave $5 Million for Trump Inauguration
The gift by Sheldon Adelson was the largest single contribution ever given to a presidential inauguration.

Yes, but it's not a 'contribution', it's a bribe!

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Have only recently read a long standard biography of Alexander Hamilton, written in the 1950's which I picked up in college fifty years ago.

Not the Chernow hagiography that inspired the musical, it fairly presents Hamilton and his cohorts, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Monroe, Washington and Burr, the whole panoply of Founders as the brilliant men and consummate politicians they were, their heroic words and actions, their missteps, their occasional self-serving deviousness and jealousies, it's all there in fascinating detail.

Their world was complicated, too. They didn't have North Korea and Syria with the Russian Bear looming over all. But they did have Britain and France beating one another over the head in a series of conflicts that both eased the United States into the world and came near to smashing it in its infancy. We also had the interests of North and South, the tussle between the states and a unified national government, differences with deep enough roots that they are still with us more than two centuries later.

My point? As I said to my wife the other day. Reading "Alexander Hamilton and the Birth of a Nation," it's easy to come away with the impression that little has changed. The personal and political complications, the domestic and international struggles for power, the sectional differences, the seesaw balance between public and private interests, the mixed motives and complicated psychologies of even the best of us, all of it smacks of Nothing New.

Her point? None of those men, imperfect as they might have been was a Pretender.

And they didn't have nuclear weapons.

I immediately conceded her points, shut my yap and looked for another book.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

@AK: I so enjoyed your discourse on the Greeks and lessons we should be learning from them. You mentioned Robert Kennedy who I understand carried around a copy of Edith Hamilton's "The Greek Way" because he felt strongly, as Hamilton did, that "the passion for truth, beauty, simplicity and freedom developed in a rocky little seaport in the midst of barbarian superstition, despotism and splendor." And given that, isn't it queer that for time immemorial the Bible has become, for many, the sine qua non of moral and ethical ways and means whose ways and means include brutality unsurpassed and a god whose vengeance knows no bounds. The inclusion of the character of Jesus in the next edition was meant to surpass the father and become the redeeming son but that story becomes just as contradictory.

When you run into people like the one on the bus who was delighted with your reading Homer, it becomes one of those warm moments.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Okay, the warship heading to Australia-oops-NK-oops-no is just a little teensy thing...coulda happened to anyone... ????WTF? This should be a lead story EVERYWHERE, not just with Rachel! And is this just another SQUIRREL moment to herd everyone (read gullible press--) in the opposite direction from the absolutely factual issue of the Russians handing him the election?? And I read the Rolling Stone article last week about the presidunce's mental state, and holy crap-- TRUE TRUE TRUE. He is, as Marvin has been insisting since day one, batsh*t.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

Thanks, PD, for the reminder.

Should have given a nod to Akhilleus in the post above. It was his ruminations on Homer, Sophocles, and the absence and ignorance of ancient wisdom's applications to the present that prompted it.

Today most ignore the old ones simply because they are old, tragically enough because even cursory acquaintance with what they said tells us they surely weren't stupid.

Some of the new ones, though....

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

What a colossal fuck-up. Don't tell me the lost Carl Vinson was some kind of bluff on Trump's part. My guess is the only countries who didn't know where the U.S. carrier was were the U.S. & South Korea.

In case Trump doesn't know it, it isn't Obama who is spying on him, it's the Chinese & Russians, for two, & no doubt four of the "Five Eyes" -- Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U. K. (& the U. S.) -- were keeping tabs on the Carl Vinson, too -- after all, it was headed for Australia! The Japanese probably knew, too. Our friends should have told Trump, Mattis & McMaster, who were -- along with Spicer -- dishing out a complete menu of lies about how they were all "keeping us safe," thanks to the armada, which was ready to launch ABMs or something at North Korea's missiles.

This is nuts! Nobody, nobody, is minding the store.

Marie

April 19, 2017 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

The real Carl Vinson story: the president* was in his bathtub playing
with his armada of toy boats pretending to be the leader of the fleet.
After his caretaker tucked him in, he dreamed about it and thought
it had actually happened. He jumped up and immediately started
tweeting, then called Fox Noise to report the latest trumptruth (lie).

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterForrest Morris

Marie,

Here's another theory about the Vinson cluster fuck.

It wasn't a mistake. Nope. Remember, Trumpy doesn't make mistakes. OTHER people make mistakes. Not The Donald.

And because one of his consistent complaints has been that the "other side" knows when we're coming, and we should be, ya know, surprising the shit out of 'em, Trump's plan was to tell everyone the Vinson was "ON THE WAY!" but, psssst.....secretly, he was sending them around the back way. Get it? Instead of going directly to North Korea, he was going to send the Vinson all the way around the world so they could come in through the back door. Cool, huh? And by the time they got there, no one would remember a thing. Genius, in'it?

Now, I know what you're thinkin'. "Back door? There's no oceanic 'back door' to North Korea." But then you're not Trump. He checked with Advisor on Everything, Young Jared, and was assured that that was a better plan. Besides, going in the back way, they could scout out new locations for Trump Hotels. Wouldn't that guy....er...the, er.....the gentleman, wouldn't he like a nice big fancy Trump Emporium to show off to the other commie dictators when they come calling? Suuuuure he would. Eric, make a note of that. You're on the next plane to Pyongyang.

But anyway, isn't that a much better idea? And even better....no one would KNOW!

The Idiocy of Trump is so frightening on so many levels, and so also the idiocy of those who voted for him and agreed that it was terrible that Obama didn't try any, like, sneak attacks, because it insulates against all contact with reality such as discounting the very real likelihood of things like, oh....I dunno, radar and SATELLITE communications.

Sure, a sneak attack can work in very specific situations (see Killing, Bin Laden), but the idea that any nation can hide movements of troops and materiel (is the Vinson bigger than a bread box?) today is ludicrous. But it's completely on a par with the level of knowledge and belief systems of a moron like Trump.

Christ.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Agree with you, Ak on the Vinson screwup. In fact, my snide first post of the day was meant to suggest that it was " intentional misinformation" all along. It was the Trump plan!
You are right, he doesn't make mistakes!

But, Mattis...well,

That Trump screwed up on the fleet position is just the usual unverified bombast coming from him, but why (according to CNBC ...and other reports) did Mattis blow it? " wrong-way-Vinnie."Last Tuesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters that the ship was "on her way up there because that's where we thought it was most prudent to have her at this time."

Someone on his staff is not having a good week!

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Forrest!

Wow. How did you know?

This just in from a secret planning session between Drumpf and Mad Dog for the naval assault on North Korea by the ARMADA.

A scarier duo cannot be imagined.

Seriously.

(Trump is the one with little hands.)

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

In keeping with the classical vein of the last day or so, it might be useful to recall that Trumpy Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, is a fan of Marcus Aurelius, or so they say.

If that's so, he should recall the emperor's advice about getting involved with bad people who have a tendency toward destruction and chaos. And, he warned that trying to change such people is a fool's errand. Moreover, you may see such people sticking it to others and think that they will exempt you from their havoc raising and nihilism because of your relationship with them. But, he clearly states, they won't.

Also, I seem to recall Marcus warning would be leaders to remember that most mistakes are the result of ignorance.

Hmmm....must'a forgot those parts.

It's also slightly hysterical that a guy who takes Marcus Aurelius as his model of a good life, the stoic who preached moderation, good manners, circumspection, clear thinking, and kindness toward others, now works for an ignorant, buffoonish, spiteful, immoderate, discombobulated dolt.

I guess you can lead a mad dog to the classics, but you can't make him do much more than sniff them.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

WaPo "Breaking News" banner says O'Reilly is out, to leave Fox.

Sorry, no link.

He should get picked up by CNN any minute now :)

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

I hate to be negative Nancy here today (no offense to any Nancys out there), but I'm still really lukewarm about the Democratic "near wins" or "vast electoral improvements". Granted, Kansas and Georgia are about as red as it gets in the US these days, although it seems like those areas are popping up like fever blisters all across our map these days.

But that's exactly the problem, we've been looking for this Confederate fever to break for a few election cycles, and on the average it still seems to be boiling over still further.

Despite completely obvious, overt attempts to fuck over their own voters, Republicans still manage to rally the sheeples and get out the vote to victory. It's amazing how dedicated they are in their disdain for everyone else but their own fantastical bottom lines, fantastical because they fantasize about burgeoning bank accounts under Republican leadership when we all know the reality here of who better stewards the national economy.

Even with a dedicated and mobilized Resistance movement, the GOP voters are going to rally their like-minded ignoramuses and flood the country in dire efforts to screw the Others and horde whatever perceived privileges still pertain to them. Insane commander in chief or not.

We justifiably rail about Trump and his cohorts of corruption and indecency, but for the average GOP voter, burning bridges everywhere isn't a disqualifying factor, as long as some colored folks get it worse than them.

Until I actually see electoral fortunes changing, I'm not getting on the Democratic Revival train. We have enormous obstacles to overcome, and the opposition has an army of lemmings ready to jump at the sound of abortion or guns. They won't admit Trump's a disaster, but they'll damn well pull that trusty lever when they're called. No (second) thoughts.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersafari

I wonder how bigly Brillo's golden shower handshake will be.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

Interesting that NYT has avoided jumping on bandwagon to report on the one paparazzi shot of Barak and Michelle on the aft deck of the 454ft David Griffen Yacht, while vacationing with Winfrey, Hanks and Springsteen. Can't say the optics are good, even if the photo isn't verified. Where is that principled man; that constitutional scholar and community organizer in this troublesome time? Where is that logical, temperate, and at times impassioned voice that could ignite (again) a sense of hope and unity among 'working folks'? Right. Writing his memoir from a chaise lounge on the beach and hobnobbing with the socially conscious 0.1%. Damn...way to tarnish a legacy. Good luck on the book sales.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeriscope

Recall that Karen Handel was the self serving idiot behind the Komen Foundation cut-off of money to Planned Parenthood. Supposedly, she was "pressured" by anti-abortion sentiments. She was ousted but, Planned Parenthood lost money for her wing-nut views. This piece, published 1/14, after the 1/12 debacle estimates PP lost $77M in 2013.
http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-susan-g-komen-20140108-story.htm

In the wake of Georgia 6th election, Handel doesn't want to talk much about damaging the Komen foundation and the $s available for women's health, Planned Parenthood has no such compunction:

"Planned Parenthood is still holding Handel — who would be the first female Republican Congresswoman from Georgia — responsible for the imbroglio, calling her an "anti-health care extremist" in a statement following the results of the first round of the election."
http://fortune.com/2017/04/19/karen-handel-planned-parenthood-georgia/

These righteous white women with no compassion for anything except a broken nail or uncomfortable "misting" on a hot summer day, make my ass work buttonholes (as my Marine daddy used to say).

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

@ Diane: and your Daddy be right as rain. Thanks for reminding us about Handel's mishandling of the Komen foundation.

@Periscope: Really? After eight years the man and his family need a breather–-it is not his responsibility to "fix the fuck-up." Imagine how the Trumpies would rally round and make an opera out of it. We'll hear from Obama in good time. Meanwhile let him breathe some good salt air.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Thanks, Diane. Knew that name had a familiar ring but that's all it had. Now the memories of her unconscionable behavior flood back.

Nothing like these True Believers to cast a pall on civilization.

Speaking of which, this from the NYTimes on chipping at the wall (the good one, the one that needs to be longer, higher and stronger):

www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/us/politics/supreme-court-church-state.html?

Catch myself wondering if I'd have as big a problem with sending public money a church's way, if churches couldn't hide behind religious or non-profit status to avoid taxes. Pay up, I say.

Even as it is, whenever I drive by a big one, and there are many in our neighborhood, even larger ones in nearby cities, all I hear is Ross Perot's giant sucking sound, and it ain't going to those bad hombres down south.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

@Periscope. Maybe you meant that as snark? I see it differently. The Obamas gave heart and soul during the campaign as well as President Obama being the brunt of 8 years of relentless vicious and racist attacks, mostly because he dared to be President while black. Every achievement was excruciating. I can well imagine the well is pretty dry at this point.

Trump's obsessed with Obama and he'd like nothing more than for Obama to respond to his impotent insults. I am heartened to see an actual President refuse to engage in a demeaning vendetta with a buffoon. Obama's plan to work with Holder on redistricting, candidate development and voter engagement is much more productive than reality show snipe with an idiot. I don't think Obama owes this country anything. Clearly, he left everything on the table when he left. I'm grateful for what he can give us going forward.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Optics are important. Had Hillary returned her speaking fees to the Wall Street banks as a demonstration of non-alliance with moneyed interests our history might be different. If Obama plans to return to public office and fight for social justice issues I suspect he will have to answer for these extravagant vacations. I should probably leave it at that.

Do I think Obama owes the country anything? Of course not. But if (?) Obama recognizes his unique gifts and the power they bring to a national leader; if he is aware of his place in this critical point in American history and his potential to help counter the influence the billionaire class that has taken over the cabinet and the presidency, then one might think that he would more carefully consider the optics of his "recuperation". One would only hope.

April 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeriscope
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