All entries by this author

Winners need to win

Sep 21st, 2017 12:46 pm | By

Thomas Frank at Comment is Free in June 2016:

It felt so right, this Democratic infatuation with the triumphant young global professional. So right, and for a certain class of successful Americans, so very, very obvious. What you do with winners like these is you celebrate them. Winners need to win. Winners need to have their loan payments deferred, to have venture capital directed their way by a former president. That all these gestures might actually represent self-serving behavior by an insular elite does not appear to have crossed our leaders’ minds in those complacent days of June 2016.

But by the time of Hillary Clinton’s speech the happy, complacent mood was already beginning to crumble. Just a few

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Too busy attending TED talks

Sep 21st, 2017 11:22 am | By

I’m reading Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal. The Times ran a review in April 2016, while liberals were cheerfully watching the Republicans destroy themselves…

At the same time, many liberals have expressed a grim satisfaction in watching the Republican Party tear itself apart. Whatever terrible fate might soon befall the nation, the thinking goes, it’s their fault, not ours. They are the ones stirring up the base prejudices and epic resentments of America’s disaffected white working class, and they must now reap the whirlwind.

In his new book, the social critic Thomas Frank ­poses another possibility: that liberals in general — and the Democratic Party in particular — should look inward to understand the sorry state of American politics. Too

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By our own example we must teach children

Sep 21st, 2017 10:32 am | By


Melania Trump gave a speech at the UN “on the dangers of cyber-bullying.”

That’s nice, I guess, but she is after all married to the biggest cyber bully on the planet.

Now, she doesn’t make him do that, obviously, and she’s not exactly responsible for him, not quite so obviously…but she does live with him and stay married to him and appear by his side at intervals. She’s not exactly responsible for him but she is implicated in his bad behavior, because she stays. Is that unfair? No, I don’t think so, not really – not given the highly visible nature of his bullying, and how extreme it is. There’s something ethically wrong with someone who condones that level … Read the rest

Someone steals your idea

Sep 20th, 2017 4:04 pm | By

Nine non-threatening leadership strategies for women, by Sarah Cooper.

If a male coworker steals your idea in a meeting, thank him for it. Give him kudos for how he explained your idea so clearly. And let’s face it, no one might’ve ever heard it if he hadn’t repeated it.

There are eight more. They’re great.

 … Read the rest

To pick up a city and move it inland 20 miles

Sep 20th, 2017 3:21 pm | By

It could be too late already.

Scientist and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said Sunday that, in the wake of devastating floods and damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, climate change had become so severe that the country “might not be able to recover.”

In an interview on CNN’s “GPS,” Tyson got emotional when Fareed Zakaria asked what he made of Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert’s refusal to say whether climate change had been a factor in Hurricanes Harvey or Irma’s strength — despite scientific evidence pointing to the fact that it had made the storms more destructive.

“Fifty inches of rain in Houston!” Tyson exclaimed, adding, “This is a shot across our bow, a hurricane the width of

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He congratulates them

Sep 20th, 2017 11:47 am | By

Trump exercising his diplomatic skillz again.

At a United Nations lunch Wednesday with African leaders, President Trump marveled at Africa’s “tremendous business potential.” “I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich,” he said. “I congratulate you, they’re spending a lot of money.”

Oh yes, Africa has done so well from all those rich business dudes buying up natural resources. It’s super nice of Trump to congratulate the heads of state on their good fortune, and not at all creepy and patronizing.

There’s a video clip of him saying it, so you can watch his bizarro gestures while he says that stupid thing.… Read the rest

You expect him to take the bus?

Sep 20th, 2017 10:54 am | By

Typical hypocrisy coupled with greedy self-indulgence.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is taking an unprecedented number if privately chartered flights to conduct official business, taking a substantial financial toll compared to traveling commercially.

Politico reported Monday that Price opted for private travel as many as five times last week, including a stop in Philadelphia on a private jet from Virginia’s Dulles airport, which is just a 135-mile trip.

The trips also included a privately chartered jet to New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and a resort in Maine.

A resort…hmm…well maybe he needed to inspect how healthy the resort is, or how good its services are, or both.

The cost of such travel can amount to tens of thousands

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Off to Threadneedle Street

Sep 20th, 2017 9:57 am | By

The Guardian last week:

A campaigner who forced the Bank of England to have female representation on banknotes has pledged to donate her first Jane Austen tenner to a women’s shelter as the new plastic currency enters circulation.

Caroline Criado-Perez threatened to take the Bank to court for discrimination when the former governor Mervyn King announced that it was phasing out paper fivers featuring the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, the only woman other than the Queen to feature on legal tender at that time.

They were replaced last year by the new £5 featuring Winston Churchill.

But on the new £10 note the bank backed down and on Thursday more than 1bn new tenners featuring Austen begin entering

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41 minutes of hell

Sep 19th, 2017 4:32 pm | By

The Guardian did an “as it happens” of the UN meeting, including Trump’s speech. It’s quite funny in places. Trump starts on page 3.

Trump speaks about protecting the rights given by God, emphasizing the word “God” and pausing before he continues.

“In America, we do not seek to impose our life on anyone,” he says but the US wants to shine as an example.

He says he was elected to give power to the people “where it belongs”.

“As president of the United States” he will always put America first, he says. He gets louder, saying that’s what all countries should do. He gets some claps for that remark.

“He gets louder” – of course he does. It’s … Read the rest

The “righteous many” against the “wicked few”

Sep 19th, 2017 4:11 pm | By

Let’s see what they’re saying about Trump’s horrific speech outside the US. Let’s read the Guardian.

Donald Trump’s maiden address to the UN general assembly was unlike any ever delivered in the chamber by a US president.

There are precedents for such fulminations, but not from US leaders. In tone, the speech was more reminiscent of Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro or Hugo Chávez.

And going back to pre-UN days it was reminiscent of Hitler. Yes, Hitler.

Like Bush, Trump offered the world a black-and-white choice between the “righteous many” against the “wicked few” – but his choice of language was far blunter than his predecessor. There can not have been many, if any, threats to “totally destroy” another nation

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In a better world

Sep 19th, 2017 11:30 am | By

I hear we need some furry beasts again.

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Not the Templars again

Sep 19th, 2017 11:21 am | By

There’s a quirk in the white supremacist movement that I was unaware of: it likes to play Medieval.

White supremacists explicitly celebrate Europe in the Middle Ages because they imagine that it was a pure, white, Christian place organized wholesomely around military resistance to outside, non-white, non-Christian, forces. Marchers in Charlottesville held symbols of the medieval Holy Roman Empire and of the Knights Templar. The Portland murderer praised “Vinland,” a medieval Viking name for North America, in order to assert historical white ownership over the landmass: Vinlander racists like to claim that whites are “indigenous” here on the basis of medieval Scandinavian lore. Similarly, European anti-Islamic bigots dress up in medieval costumes and share the “crying

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And a little child shall barf on them

Sep 19th, 2017 10:08 am | By

Of course he does. Trump makes his debut at the UN by threatening to destroy North Korea while at the same time calling Kim Jong Un by a ridiculous childish nickname. We’re living in a serial titled The Giant Toddler Who Destroyed the Earth.

“We meet at a time of immense promise and great peril,” Trump said in his maiden address to more than 150 international delegations at the annual U.N. General Assembly. “It is up to us whether we will lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.”

Oops. That was “despair,” Don. Do more rehearsals. The world is not a car that needs repair; it’s a little more complicated than that.… Read the rest

You grab the eyeballs however you can

Sep 18th, 2017 4:53 pm | By

Frank Bruni is not amused by Sean Spicer’s gig at the Emmys.

[W]hat I and anyone else who tuned in to Hollywood’s latest self-congratulatory orgy on Sunday saw wasn’t good fun. It was bad news — a ringing, stinging confirmation that fame truly is its own reward and celebrity really does trump everything and redeem everyone.

Object of ridicule or object of reverence: Is there a difference? Not if you’re a household name, not if you’re a proven agent of ratings and not if you’re likely to deliver more of them. Our commander in chief took that crude philosophy to heart and rode it all the way to the White House. Sean Spicer took a page from the president and

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Confidence is high

Sep 18th, 2017 4:04 pm | By

Republicans are hoping to be able finally at long last to take health insurance away from millions of people. They’re wetting themselves with excitement, because it’s looking good!

Democratic leaders in the U.S. Congress on Monday demanded that lawmakers wait to find out the budgetary and healthcare impacts of a new, last-ditch legislative effort by Republicans to repeal Obamacare before voting on it.

In their long-running war on former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, Senate Republicans are now proposing to replace it with a system that would give states money in block grants to run their own healthcare programs.

The Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan fiscal analysis unit of Congress, said Monday it will make a preliminary

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Lunch break

Sep 18th, 2017 12:31 pm | By

So that’s hilarious.

It is every Washington reporter’s dream to sit down at a restaurant, overhear secret stuff and get a scoop. It rarely happens.

Still, everyone in town important enough to have secrets worth keeping knows that secrets are not safe on the Acela train and in Washington restaurants.

This is especially true in eateries next door to a major newspaper.

Yes, Ty Cobb and John Dowd, lawyers for President Trump, we’re talking to you.

But it’s too late now.

*stops reading in order to laugh*

Really? Really? Trump’s lawyers went out for munchies and talked loudly enough to be overheard? Really?

Together, they went for what appears to have been a working lunch at BLT Steak, 1625

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Shut up and laugh

Sep 18th, 2017 10:37 am | By

Oh, good, now we’re supposed to see Sean Spicer as a funny guy and his lying for Trump as just normal business.

When opponents of the president talk about “normalizing” an abnormal administration, they are talking about the sort of thing that took place onstage Sunday night at the Emmys: Sean Spicer, Donald Trump’s first White House press secretary, showed up and made a joke about one of his false claims.

The night otherwise had been a showcase of Hollywood’s liberal leanings as applied to 2017. Stephen Colbert’s intro song and monologue sounded the alarm about global warming, Russian meddling in American politics, and police violence in cute but cutting fashion. “I’d like to vote for Selina Meyer, she’s

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Gauland’s German “we”

Sep 17th, 2017 6:14 pm | By

Stewart at Gnu Atheism on Facebook:

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Sep 17th, 2017 4:11 pm | By

If we wanted to have a white supremacy museum, where would we put it? Montgomery, Alabama would be a good choice.

It was at the statehouse in Montgomery that Jefferson Davis was first inaugurated as the president of the Confederacy in a bid to preserve the institution of slavery and in defense of the inferiority of the black race. It was here too, nearly a century later, that Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat, and a young Martin Luther King launched his first direct action campaign: The Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Indeed the official city seal tells some of this story in ironic juxtaposition, nesting its claim as “Cradle of the Confederacy” inside that of “Birthplace of

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Putting on his big boy global pants

Sep 17th, 2017 12:31 pm | By

Trump is off to the UN in the morning, because it’s General Assembly time.

…when Mr. Trump attends the first United Nations session of his presidency this coming week, all eyes will be on him as counterparts from around the globe crane their necks and slide through the crowd to snatch a handshake — and, in the process, try to figure out this most unusual of American leaders.

“The world is still trying to take the measure of this president,” said Jon B. Alterman, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and author of the speed-dating analogy. “For a number of leaders, this is going to be their first chance to see

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