The Wires

Mrs. McCrabbie: This actually seems crazy to me:

New York Times: "A shiny stainless steel sculpture created by Jeff Koons in 1986, inspired by a child’s inflatable toy, sold at Christie’s on Wednesday night for $91.1 million with fees, breaking the record at auction for a work by a living artist, set just last November by David Hockney. Robert E. Mnuchin, an art dealer and the father of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, made the winning bid for Mr. Koons’s 1986 'Rabbit' from an aisle seat near the front of the salesroom."

Might as well just get this -- it's vintage! it's "authentic"! -- and give it pride-of-place in the front hall. Sure, visitors will think you're tasteless & nuts, but in such a vintage, authentic way.

UPDATE: (May 19): New York Times: Mnuchin would not reveal the identity of his client; i.e., the purchaser of Stainless Bunny is. During an NYT interview, "He was near tears when asked about his son Steve and refused to comment about their relationship. But friends said that he is in an impossible predicament, conflicted over his sense of duty about being a loyal father and his concern as a citizen that President Trump is bad for America."

David McCullough Is a Crap Historian. Rebecca Onion of Slate reviews his book on the history -- okay, make that "hagiographic platitudes" -- about the settlement of the Northwest Territory. "Its success (it is No. 10 on Amazon’s best-seller list for books, as of Friday) shows how big the gap between critical history and the “popular history” that makes it to best-seller lists, Costco, and Target remains.” Mrs. McC: Onion doesn't mention it, but I get the impression all the "settling" was done by men; apparently the women's tasks were of no account. Somehow I don't think most of the "ladies" sat around drinking tea & doing needlepoint in their pretty parlors.

Guardian: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have introduced their newborn son to the world and revealed he is to be called Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. The name was announced shortly after the Queen met her eighth great-grandchild for the first time at Windsor Castle, where earlier the couple showed him off to the cameras."

Guardian: “The Duchess of Sussex has given birth to a baby son, weighing 7lbs 3oz. Mother and child were both doing well, Buckingham Palace announced. The Duke of Sussex was present for the birth, which happened at 5.26am on Monday. The child is seventh in line to the throne, and an eighth great-grandchild for the 93-year-old Queen.”

Washington Post: "Cheap Chinese caviar is flooding the U.S. market, causing prices to plummet, and with it, the product’s cachet. Wholesale prices have fallen more than 50 percent since 2012, down 13 percent just in the past year. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the import price has gone from $850,000 per ton in January 2012 to $350,000 per ton in November 2018." Mrs. McC: This makes me very happy. I love caviar (I've only had the cheaper kind), but I seldom buy it because of the expense. I have some in the pantry now, but I'm going to check the price at the grocery store now in hopes it's something I can enjoy more often. Status symbol? I couldn't care less.

New York Times: "Pulitzer Prizes were awarded on Monday [April 15] to news organizations that uncovered instances of malfeasance and outright fraud in President Trump’s financial past, a nod to journalists’ perseverance in the face of the president’s ever-sharper attacks on a free press. The New York Times received the explanatory reporting prize for an 18-month investigation that revealed how the future president and his relatives avoided paying roughly half a billion dollars’ worth of taxes. The Wall Street Journal won the national reporting prize for disclosing clandestine payoffs by the president’s associates to two women who were said to have had affairs with Mr. Trump in the weeks before the 2016 election. The South Florida Sun Sentinel won the prize for public service, considered the most prestigious of the Pulitzers, for documenting the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The paper’s in-depth articles revealed a series of failures by local officials and law enforcement that, the paper wrote, cost children their lives."

Medlar's Sports Report. New York Times: "Tiger Woods’s comeback from personal and professional adversity is complete: He captured his fifth Masters title and his 15th major tournament on Sunday, snapping a championship drought of nearly 11 years. It was a monumental triumph for Woods, a magical, come-from-behind win for a player who had not won a major championship since his personal life began to unravel on Thanksgiving night in 2009, when a marital dispute led to a car accident and a succession of lurid tabloid headlines. On the golf course, he had a series of back and leg injuries that led to an addiction to painkillers and culminated in pain so searing that, before surgery in 2017, he had questioned whether he could play professionally again." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Oh yeah? Trump can beat Tiger any day.

Tom Jones of Poynter picks the top 25 movies ever about journalism.

New York Times: "For 340 days, Scott Kelly circled the Earth aboard the International Space Station, gathering data about himself." His twin brother Mark Kelly, planted on Earth, did the same. "On Thursday..., NASA researchers reported that [Scott Kelly's] body experienced a vast number of changes while in orbit. DNA mutated in some of his cells. His immune system produced a host of new signals. His microbiome gained new species of bacteria. Many of these biological changes seemed harmless, disappearing after he returned to Earth. But others — including genetic mutations and, after his return, declines in cognitive test scores — did not correct themselves, provoking concern among scientists."

Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times: now does his first drafts of columns as well as other traditional writing tasks by speaking into his phone. "I open RecUp, a cloud-connected voice-recording app on my phone.... Every few days, I load the recordings into Descript, an app that bills itself as a “word processor for audio.” Some of my voice memos are more than an hour long, but Descript quickly (and cheaply) transcribes the text, truncates the silences and renders my speech editable and searchable.... New advances — like smarter and more ubiquitous voice assistants; better text-to-speech synthesis; easy-to-use audio and video production apps like Descript and Anchor; and gadgets that burrow the internet into your ears, like Apple’s AirPods and Amazon’s reported forthcoming AirPod clones — point to a profound shift in computing. Soon it might be possible to conduct a large slice of digital life, including work, without being glued to a screen."

New York Times: "In a cave in the Philippines, scientists have discovered a new branch of the human family tree. At least 50,000 years ago, an extinct human species lived on what is now the island of Luzon, researchers reported on Wednesday. It’s possible that Homo luzonensis, as they’re calling the species, stood less than three feet tall. The discovery adds growing complexity to the story of human evolution. It was not a simple march forward, as it once seemed. Instead, our lineage assumed an exuberant burst of strange forms along the way.Our species, Homo sapiens, now inhabits a comparatively lonely world. 'The more fossils that people pull out of the ground, the more we realize that the variation that was present in the past far exceeds what we see in us today,' said Matthew Tocheri, a paleoanthropologist at Lakehead University in Canada, who was not involved in the new discovery."


The Commentariat -- October 12, 2018

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

Anne Gearan & Felicia Sonmez of the Washington Post: "For more than 10 minutes Thursday, President Trump was struck nearly speechless as rapper, activist, entrepreneur and MAGA-hat wearing, Trump-loving, dragon-energy-exuding Kanye West held forth in an Oval Office soliloquy that included an f-bomb, references to male genitalia and a presidential hug that looked more like a mauling. West, slouched in a chair facing the president, called himself a 'crazy other- (expletive)' and rued the 'bull- (expletive)' the president endures. He called the 72-year-old president 'bro.' He wore no tie and he kept the red hat on throughout.... Republicans have long groused that former Democratic president Bill Clinton disrespected the Oval Office with pizza parties and his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky, and complained that former Democratic president Barack Obama was photographed with his feet up on the desk and didn't always wear a coat and tie like his predecessor, George W. Bush." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I suspect Trump invited West to the Oval not so much to garner support from black voters as to try to convince white voters that black people are trashy -- even compared to Trump himself. Of course neither West nor Trump is a person you would invite to Sunday dinner, but Trump would wear a nice suit while misbehaving.

Carlotta Gall of the New York Times: "A Turkish court on Friday ordered the release of the American pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest, a move that will end his 24-month imprisonment and allow him to fly home, and that signaled a truce of sorts in a heated diplomatic dispute between Turkey and the United States. Mr. Brunson was sentenced to three years, one month and 15 days in prison, but the judge lifted all judicial controls -- including a ban on travel -- making him free to leave the country immediately, because of a reduction for good behavior and in view of time served." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: According to Richard Engel of NBC News, Brunson's release would have happened sooner if Trump had not repeatedly insulted Erdogan. Gall concentrates on the economic sticking points, which were sanctions the U.S. placed on Turkey & tariffs Trump imposed on Turkish aluminum & steel, just as the Turkish lira was going into free-fall. ...

... In case you're still wondering how hard the Trump administration plans to come down on Saudi Arabia for the (alleged) brutal assassination of a resident U.S. journalist, you might want to check with Steve Mnuchin:

     ... John Wagner of the Washington Post: "Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that he still plans to attend a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia this month despite mounting evidence that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.... A growing number of media companies, including CNN, have announced that they will no longer participate in the event scheduled to start Oct. 23 in Riyadh. Several business leaders, including Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who announced his withdrawal on Friday, are also backing out.... Mnuchin said Saudi Arabia has been 'a very good partner' to the United States in several respects." ...

     ... Jonah Shepp of New York: "The notion that the Saudi crown prince would have a citizen tortured, killed, and dismembered in a diplomatic outpost abroad may be shocking to the credulous members of the U.S. media and political establishment who have praised him as a modernizing reformer..., but it is entirely consistent with his past patterns of behavior.... At the center of the administration's reaction to this crisis has been ... Jared Kushner, who is known to be a close friend and kindred spirit of Mohammed bin Salman.... If the Saudi regime believes it has carte blanche to commit atrocities on account of these princelings' bromance, well, that's what you get when you conduct foreign policy on the basis of personal affinities rather than rules and institutions.... But failing to punish Saudi Arabia for this outrage, or offering only a cosmetic response, would signal to MBS and every other brutal dictator around the world that as long as they buy American tanks and flatter our president's ego, they need not fear diplomatic repercussions from the U.S. when they disappear, torture, and murder their citizens."

Tara Bahrampour of the Washington Post: "Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recalled talking with former White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon and Attorney General Jeff Sessions about adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, according to a document filed Thursday by the Justice Department, though he testified to Congress that he had not done so. The document, part of a multistate lawsuit against the Trump administration over the question, said Ross recalls Bannon calling him in the spring of 2017 to ask whether Ross would speak to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach about ideas for a possible citizenship question on the census.... When asked at a hearing on March 20 by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y) whether the president or anyone in the White House had discussed the citizenship question with him, Ross said, 'I am not aware of any such.'... The document was released as the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether Ross can be deposed in the case."

Jason Horowitz, et al., of the New York Times: "Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, a moment many victims of clerical sexual abuse had hoped would demonstrate his commitment to holding accountable bishops who have mismanaged cases of sexual misconduct. But instead of making an example of Cardinal Wuerl, who was named in a recent Pennsylvania grand jury report that accused church leaders of covering up abuse, Francis held him up as a model for the future unity of the Roman Catholic Church. The pope cited Cardinal Wuerl's 'nobility' and announced that the 77-year-old prelate would stay on as the archdiocese's caretaker until the appointment of his successor."

Daily Beast: "The teacher who claimed this week that controversial White House aide Stephen Miller ate glue as a kid has been suspended from her job." (See yesterday's Commentariat.) Mrs. McC: I knew it was bad to pick on 8-year-olds.

Mrs. McCrabbie: Safari posted these links the other day & I failed to pick them up. But they're still topical:

     Daniel Costa-Roberts of Mother Jones: "House Speaker Paul Ryan lamented the increasingly personal tone of American politics at a National Press Club event Monday. 'I worry about this a lot,' he said. 'The incentive in politics is invective; it's outrage; it's hysteria.' He ought to know. Ryan's super-PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, has spent the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections churning out attack ads -- some featuring barely disguised racism -- that rely on those exact ingredients." --s

     Juan Cole on the global consequences of the GOP's Islamophobic: "The Trump administration has made Muslims our enemy of the first order and, in its Islamophobia, is reinforced by an ugly resurgence of fascism in Germany, Italy, Hungary, and other European countries.... While the president oscillates between abusing and fawning over the elites of the Muslim world, his true opprobrium is reserved for the poor and helpless...In this no-longer-so-new century, the Republican Party, like the Trump presidency, did ... find the bogeyman it needed and it looks remarkably like a modernized version of the rabidly anti-Communist McCarthyism of the 1950s." --s


Edward Wong, et al., of the New York Times: "The suspected murder of a prominent Saudi journalist exposed a growing rift on Thursday between the White House and Congress over American policy on Saudi Arabia, as Republican lawmakers demanded an investigation of Jamal Khashoggi's whereabouts even as President Trump declared his relations with Riyadh 'excellent.' The Saudi-led, United States-backed bombing campaign of Houthi rebels in Yemen -- which has killed thousands of civilians -- was already a source of tension between Congress and the Trump administration. But last week's disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, a well-connected Saudi columnist for The Washington Post living in Virginia, has incensed Republicans and Democrats in Congress, who accused the White House of moving too slowly in pressing the kingdom for answers. 'The Saudis will keep killing civilians and journalists as long as we keep arming and assisting them,' Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said on Twitter on Thursday. 'The President should immediately halt arms sales and military support to Saudi Arabia.'... 'What good does that do us?' Mr. Trump asked, speaking to reporters midday in the Oval Office. 'I would not be in favor of stopping a country from spending $110 billion -- which is an all-time record -- and letting Russia have that money and letting China have that money,' Mr. Trump said, referring to an arms deal with the Saudis.... Some analysts have ... questioned whether financial ties between Mr. Trump [& Jared Kushner] and Saudi businessmen compromise his policies." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: According to Bruce Reidel of the Brookings Institution, writing in June 2017, "... there is no deal. It's fake news.... Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts." ...

AND It's Still Fake News. Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: "This is an example of a politician believing his own propaganda. The $110 billion-figure is not real and unlikely to come to fruition -- and even if it did, it represents sales far in the future." ...

     ... Mrs. McC BTW: There is nothing in the NYT story to debunk Trump's claim. So this is a good example of "the failing New York Times" serving as Trump's stenographer, leaving the reader in the dark. Even a fairly well-informed citizen should not be expected to know the details of U.S.-Saudi arms proposals. Since the "$110BB deal" is fake, there is no economic or national security reason not to halt the non-existent arms sales & to sanction Saudi Arabia. ...

... Well, No Reason Except This. David Fahrenthold & Jonathan O'Connell of the Washington Post: "Trump's business relationships with the Saudi government -- and rich Saudi business executives -- go back to at least the 1990s. In Trump's hard times, a Saudi prince bought a superyacht and hotel from him. The Saudi government paid him $4.5 million for an apartment near the United Nations. Business from Saudi-connected customers continued to be important after Trump won the presidency. Saudi lobbyists spent $270,000 last year to reserve rooms at Trump's hotel in Washington. Just this year, Trump's hotels in New York and Chicago reported significant upticks in bookings from Saudi visitors [while bookings at those hotels have otherwise declined].... During Trump's presidential campaign, he also seemed to be exploring plans to build a hotel in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia's second-largest city, part of an international expansion plan. In August 2015 ... Trump established eight new shell companies that included the name 'Jeddah.'... Trump dissolved the eight shell companies by the end of 2016." ...

... Shane Harris, et al., of the Washington Post: "The Turkish government has told U.S. officials that it has audio and video recordings that prove Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul this month, according to U.S. and Turkish officials. The recordings show that a Saudi security team detained Khashoggi in the consulate after he walked in Oct. 2 to obtain an official document before his upcoming wedding, then killed him and dismembered his body, the officials said. The audio recording in particular provides some of the most persuasive and gruesome evidence that the Saudi team is responsible for Khashoggi's death, the officials said.... 'You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic, [a] person said. 'You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.' A second person briefed on the recording said men could be heard beating Khashoggi.... It's not clear that U.S. officials have seen the footage or listened to the audio, but Turkish officials have described their contents to their American counterparts." ...

... Fareem Kahim of the Washington Post: "Turkey said Thursday it has agreed to a request by Saudi Arabia to form a joint committee to probe the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who Turkish investigators believe was killed in the Saudi Consulate [in Istanbun] by agents of the Saudi government, according to people familiar with the investigation. The Saudi request to cooperate with Turkey, which was announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's top adviser Thursday, was a possible sign that the Saudi leadership may be searching for an exit from the crisis as it faces growing international pressure to explain Khashoggi's fate.... On Thursday, President Trump told reporters that the White House is looking 'very strongly' [Mrs. McC: whatever that means] at Khashoggi's disappearance. 'What happened is a terrible thing, assuming that happened,' he said. 'Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised, but somehow I tend to doubt it.' 'We intend to get to the bottom of it,' he added." ...

... Murder Okay Because Jobs, Defense Contractor Profits. Jonathan Chait: "Asked about the apparent murder [by Saudis of journalist Jamal Khashoggi] [Wednesday] night on Fox News, President Trump expressed the requisite disapproval he musters for events that do not anger him in any visceral way but which he is expected to condemn ('It would not be a positive. I would not be happy at all.') But when asked if the United States should retaliate by withholding future arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Trump immediately pumped the brakes. 'Well, I think that would be hurting us,' he said. 'We have jobs, we have a lot of things happening in this country. We have a country that's doing probably better economically than it's ever done before. Part of that is what we're doing with our defense systems, and everybody's wanting 'em, and frankly I think that that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country.'... So Trump's case against punishing Saudi Arabia for murdering a journalist is that we can't afford to reduce the profits our defense companies make from selling them weapons. And of course this i perfectly consistent with Trump's conviction that American foreign policy should be run almost literally like a mafia family...." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

John Wagner of the Washington Post: "President Trump said serving in the White House has cost him billions. He called the rhetoric of former attorney general Eric Holder 'dangerous.' He said he could work with Democrats on rebuilding the country's infrastructure if they take control of the House. And he asserted that Hillary Clinton should have been taken off the campaign trail and jailed. All that -- and much more -- came in a freewheeling 45-minute phone interview with the hosts of 'Fox & Friends' on Thursday morning. In a session reminiscent in style of his early days as a presidential candidate, Trump also said he considers it possible that the New York Times actually made up an op-ed that it said was authored by an anonymous senior member of his administration." Mrs. McC: Farther down the page, Wagner explains the Holder reference, which predictably has made Right Wing World crazy but is no big deal. Bullies really can't handle it when their victims fight back. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Danielle Paquette & David Lynch of the Washington Post: "President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have agreed to meet next month at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in hopes of resolving their intensifying trade conflict, according to three people briefed on the arrangement who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. The planned sit-down -- which Beijing sought to forestall further U.S. tariffs -- would represent the first direct talks since August, as well as a temporary victory for administration moderates. Yet with U.S.-China relations fraying on an array of issues, few analysts anticipate a major breakthrough."

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post: "... appallingly but predictably, Trump published a falsehood-riddled article in USA Today about 'Medicare-for-all.' Glenn Kessler of The Post deconstructed Trump's op-ed, writing that 'almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.' The president, he wrote, 'chose to ignore the facts in service of a campaign-style op-ed.' And USA Today let him get away with it.... After Trump's piece created a backlash, the paper's editorial page editor, Bill Sternberg, offered an unsatisfactory and puzzling explanation. 'We see ourselves as America's conversation center, presenting our readers with voices from the right, left and middle,' Sternberg said in a statement.... The statement is nonsensical, because adherence to facts has no right, left or middle." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Greg Sargent: "Incredibly, even though Trump has made more than 5,000 false or misleading statements as president, major news organizations' social media feeds continue to inject his unadulterated lies into the political bloodstream without clearly informing readers that they are just that -- lies.... By broadcasting forth Trump's lies in tweets and headlines -- while declining to inform readers that they are just that, and while burying the truth deep within accompanying articles -- the organizations that Trump regularly derides as 'fake news' are themselves spreading a species of fake news.... 'When people see stuff on social media, what they often see is only the headlines,' [Craig] Silverman[, the media editor of BuzzFeed News,] said. 'If you are restating claims that are false or misleading in headlines, you are spreading misinformation.'... [The media's failure to call out Trump's lies] misleads readers and viewers not just in each particular case.... It also misleads them more broadly about the truly sinister and deliberate nature of Trump's ongoing campaign to obliterate the possibility of shared agreement on facts and on the news media's legitimate institutional role in keeping voters informed." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Dana Bash
, et al., of CNN: "Donald Trump's legal team is preparing answers to written questions provided by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to sources familiar with the matter. The move represents a major development after months of negotiations and signals that the Mueller investigation could be entering a final phase with regard to the President. The questions are focused on matters related to the investigation of possible collusion between Trump associates and Russians seeking to meddle in the 2016 election, the sources said."

Darren Samuelsohn & Josh Gerstein of Politico: "The federal judge in Virginia who oversaw Paul Manafort's criminal trial this summer threw a new obstacle into the former Trump campaign chairman's plea deal Thursday by calling out as 'highly unusual' a plan to seek the dismissal of deadlocked charges only after Manafort has finished cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller. U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis II ordered Manafort, his lawyers and Mueller's prosecutors back to his Alexandria courtroom for a hearing Oct. 19 to resolve the situation and to set a sentencing date for the longtime GOP operative."

Lucien Bruggeman
of ABC News: "... Melania Trump told ABC News ... she believes she is one of the most bullied people in the world." Thanks to Akhilleus for the lead. Also, do see his comment in yesterday's thread to put Melanie's plaint in the context it deserves. Mrs. McC: So Melanie's anti-bullying campaign is really about ... her? Hard to believe, I know. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

She Persisted. Jason Leopold of BuzzFeed News: "White House chief of staff John Kelly called Sen. Elizabeth Warren an 'impolite arrogant woman' in a private email he exchanged last year with his top aide following a telephone conversation with the Massachusetts Democrat about the Trump administration's travel ban. 'Absolutely most insulting conversation I have ever had with anyone,; Kelly, then serving as the secretary of homeland security, wrote to Kevin Carroll, who was then his senior counselor at the Department of Homeland Security, in an email from Feb. 8, 2017. 'What an impolite arrogant woman. She immediately began insulting our people accusing them of not following the court order, insulting and abusive behavior towards those covered by the pause, blah blah blah.'... 'Too bad Senate Majority Leader McConnell couldn't order her to be quiet again! Warren is running for president so early, trying too hard, and chasing bad pitches.'Carroll [responded]."

The White People's Tax Law. Jim Tankersley of the New York Times: "The tax cuts that President Trump signed into law last year are disproportionately helping white Americans over African-Americans and Latinos, a disparity that reflects longstanding racial economic inequality in the United States and the choices that Republicans made in crafting the law. The finding comes from a new analysis of the $1.5 trillion tax cut using an economic model built by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a liberal think tank, and released in a joint report with Prosperity Now, a nonprofit focused on helping low-income Americans attain wealth and financial stability. It is the first detailed analysis of the law to break down its effects by race." Mrs. McC: Man, now I'm so glad I'm white -- except, um, I happen to be one of the blue-state, white-loser people: my taxes are rising this year even tho my income is not. This makes me suspect that the GOP tax cut was intended to benefit red-state white people more than blue-state white people & minorities. Perfect, huh? (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Election 2018

Georgia Voter Suppression. Astead Herndon of the New York Times: "The office of Brian Kemp, Georgia's secretary of state and the Republican nominee for governor in November's election, has stalled more than 53,000 voter applications, according to a recent report from The Associated Press. The list includes a disproportionately high number of black voters, the report said, which is stirring concern among nonpartisan voting rights advocates and supporters of Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate, who is vying to be the first black woman in the country to be elected governor.... 'As he has done for years, Brian Kemp is maliciously wielding the power of his office to suppress the vote for political gain and silence the voices of thousands of eligible voters -- the majority of them people of color,' said Abigail Collazo, a spokeswoman for Ms. Abrams's campaign. 'This isn't incompetence; it's malpractice.' Mr. Kemp's secretary of state office has denied the accusations of intentional voter suppression, and said the reason for the backlog was shoddy voter registration work by liberal groups." ...

... Daniel Strauss of Politico: "The Georgia NAACP is preparing to sue Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee for governor, in response to a report that Kemp's office has put on hold tens of thousands of voter registration applications, most of them from African-Americans, ahead of the election. The injunction would seek to reopen voter registration in Georgia to ensure that 53,000 registrants on hold in Kemp's office -- and possibly others affected by an outage of the Georgia Department of Driver Services and the state's voter registration website -- would be allowed to register for the upcoming election."

Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, the Las Vegas Republicans who have already spent more money on federal races this year than any other donors in either political party, are piling even more of their casino fortune into Republicans' campaign efforts, people with knowledge of their plans said Thursday. The newest donations, made recently to a pair of Republican 'super PACs' that are defending the party's fragile majorities in the House and the Senate, have totaled at least $25 million -- and possibly more -- according to two of the people, who insisted on anonymity to disclose private financial dealings." Mrs. McC: Must be fun to own a political party.

October Is the Cruelest Month. Matt Phillips, et al., of the New York Times: "Stocks on Wall Street tumbled again on Thursday, as choppy early trading gave way to another bout of broad-based selling. The declines were widespread, touching everything from previously high-flying tech shares to usually insulated sectors such as consumer staples and utilities.... Every sector of the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index had dropped, leaving the stock market benchmark down an additional 2.1 percent. That slump followed Wednesday's 3.3 percent decline, which was the market's biggest dive in eight months. So far in October -- which looms large in the minds of investors as the month of the 1929 and 1987 crashes -- stocks are down 6.4 percent. That puts the month on a pace to be the worst October for stocks since 2008, when they fell nearly 17 percent."

Jacey Fortin of the New York Times: "For 20 years, the ashes of Matthew Shepard have not been laid to rest. Mr. Shepard's killing in 1998, when he was a 21-year-old college student, led to national outrage and, almost overnight, turned him into a symbol of deadly violence against gay people. Mourners flocked to his funeral that year in Casper, Wyo., but there were also some protesters, carrying derogatory signs. Mr. Shepard's parents worried that if they chose a final resting place for their son, it would be at risk of desecration. Now they have found a safe place. On Oct. 26, Mr. Shepard will be interred at the Washington National Cathedral, the neo-Gothic, Episcopalian house of worship that is a fixture of American politics and religion." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

News Lede

New York Times: "Hurricane Michael's death toll rose to 16 on Friday and was expected to climb higher as emergency workers searched rubble and the storm's grim consequences stretched from the Florida Panhandle into Virginia. Rescue teams combed a region razed by a Category 4 hurricane that flattened blocks, collapsed buildings and left infrastructure crippled. Some of the hardest-hit communities have yet to report fatalities, and although officials said they hoped they would find survivors, a resigned gloom was setting in throughout the disaster zone."

Reader Comments (6)

Hey–-didn't ya'll know that money is paramount–-is much more up there in importance than some journalist––"he's not an American citizen, right?"––that was abducted, murdered and sliced and diced by orders from the Saudi prince of piss. "Heck, I'll deal with this later...we'll see what happens." Talk about someone like MBS having someone's pecker in their pocket. Yup–-we certainly will see what happens. There is, I understand, a letter from some senators and representatives mandating no more arms selling to the Saudi's that is making its way to the desk of Donald.

And yesterday Trump invited Kanye West and Jim Brown for lunch but it appeared to actually be a photo op–-Did Shine set this up? "Mr. President, let's show the public how much you love black people and how much they love you"–––SO––we had dozens of reporters clicking their cameras clustered around the desk of Donald who sat quietly while Kanye erupted in a primal rant that lasted more than ten minutes–-non stop––much of it rambling nonsense but my favorite was him telling Trump that when he put on the MAGA hat he became the superman he always wished he could be–-even as a child Superman was his favorite. It's no doubt that now Donald is his Daddy–-and the two embraced at the end of these theatrics. Love was in the air, but like lavender mist it disappeared as quickly.

Many in the black community are up in arms about this display. They are furious with Kanye; they should also be furious with Trump.

Stocks are down; hurricane damage is catastrophic; some states are still trying to prevent certain people from voting; and Melanie believes she's the one who has been bullied. Meanwhile....

October 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

I wonder when the Trump Tower will be built in Riyadh?

October 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Here's a story that might be of interest to all you retired educators: Mark Zuckerberg is trying to Transform Education––this town fought back: (and this town, Cheshire,Ct., is the one I taught in for years.)

October 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Is it me or does anyone else find it a tad--oh, I dunno, unreasonable?--that the guy running for governor of Georgia, a white R (is there any other kind?), is also the guy who gets to determine who votes? Especially when you consider that this guy's opponent is a black woman, a Democrat.

And here's what Brian Kemp, the R, had to say back in 2014 about the dangers of allowing African-Americans to vote:

"I just wanted to tell you, real quick, after we get through this runoff, you know the Democrats are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if they can do that, they can win these elections in November."

Heaven forbid that actual democracy should be allowed to go forward. Especially when you're talking about letting nee-groes to vote! Republicans are the mortal enemies of democracy, and Kemp is one of their heroes.

In a tight race, he is denying tens of thousands of black voters to take part in the election by simply sitting on their voter registration information. Easy, in'it?

Just don't let people vote.

Those Republicans, they keep coming up with more and more elementary ways to steal elections. They've tried skullduggery and rigging elections through hinky voting machines, they've tried gerrymandering (a very effective, but time-consuming method), they've employed many flavors of voter suppression tactics, but Kemp has decided to just say "You know what? Fuck it. They can't vote. Simple as that."

You know Trump is watching to see if he can get away with this sort of baldfaced election theft on a national level.

October 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Nice to see that Wilbur Ross lied to Congress when asked whether he spoke to anyone in the Trumpy Blight House about his plan to stick it to immigrants with his new census questions.

Yup. In fact, according to Bloomberg, he spoke with a cabal of Trumpy racists including Steve Bannon, Kris Kobach (called by some the most racist politician in the US), and Confederate Officer wannabe, Jeffbo Sessions before adding a question about citizenship.

The plan, of course, is to frighten immigrants (really, anyone of Hispanic descent) from filling out census forms which will diminish their representation and improve the lot of white supremacists, always a good thing for Trumpbots.

Is it a requirement that Trump appointees lie to Congress and the public on a regular basis? It certainly appears so. And why lie about it if everything is above board? Well, you know the answer to that...

October 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Regarding the Khashoggi murder by Trump and Kushner BFF Mohammed bin Salman (or, to be more exact, the murder carried out by the 15 goons he sent to do the job), we have yet another example of one of the things the little dictator must hate most about his job, having to pretend to be a caring human being.

A weaselly narcissistic sociopath like Trump must find it galling to fake empathy. I'm sure he hated every second of his early brief statement that he found Christine Blasey Ford's testimony compelling, evidenced by his much more natural (for him) assault on her testimony, making fun of her to the raucous joy of his knuckledragging supporters. He could only hold onto that empathy mask for so long, sooner or later (sooner) it had to fall off and reveal the hater, the misogynist, the slimy liar, the creep.

So, to make some half-assed "Gee, this is terrible, we'll look into it" vanilla statement about the murder of a journalist working for an American newspaper must have stuck in his flabby throat.

I'm sure his "looking into it" will be just about as exacting as the "investigation" he "ordered" into the allegations of Bart O'Kavanaugh's sexual assaults, and just as assiduous as the circuit court's appraisal of the charges of ethics violations by the Bartster as referred by Little Johnny Roberts, Chief Justice of the Republican Supreme Court.

October 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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