All entries by this author

What we notice and what we ignore

Jun 19th, 2017 10:20 am | By

Philip Bump at the Post notices Trump’s Twitter silence about Finsbury Park:

Donald Trump tweeted about the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 about 3½ hours after they occurred. The following month, he tweeted about the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., 90 minutes after the violence began. It took fewer than 12 hours from the time an EgyptAir flight went missing in May 2016 for Trump to speculate publicly that the attack was terror-related. More than a year later, it’s still not clear what happened to the plane.

When terrorists drove a van into a crowd on London Bridge earlier this month, Trump tweeted about the need to be “smart, vigilant and tough” even before authorities identified

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A deliberate attack on innocent Londoners

Jun 19th, 2017 9:35 am | By

Finsbury Park.

One man was killed and another nine people are in hospital [after] a van drove into worshippers close to a mosque in north London.

The terror attack happened shortly before 00:20 BST on Monday, 19 June, when the vehicle mounted the pavement outside the Muslim Welfare House on Seven Sisters Road, near Finsbury Park Mosque.

A number of people on the street had just taken part in evening prayers after breaking the Ramadan fast.

A group were helping an elderly man who had fallen down in Whadcoat Street – a short road off Seven Sisters Road – as they waited for their next set of prayers.

It was then that a white van came down the street,

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The yearning for dominance and praise

Jun 18th, 2017 5:37 pm | By

David Remnick on the cesspit that is Trump’s white house.

The yearning in the character of Donald Trump for dominance and praise is bottomless, a hunger that is never satisfied. Last week, the President gathered his Cabinet for a meeting with no other purpose than to praise him, to note the great “honor” and “blessing” of serving such a man as he. Trump nodded with grave self-satisfaction, accepting the serial hosannas as his daily due. But even as the members declared, Pyongyang-style, their everlasting gratitude and fealty to the Great Leader, this concocted dumb show of loyalty only served to suggest how unsustainable it all is.

The reason that this White House staff is so leaky, so prepared to

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The wrong panels

Jun 18th, 2017 4:50 pm | By

Oh guess what, the cladding on Grenfell Tower that went up like a torch wasn’t supposed to be there.

The cladding used on Grenfell Tower, which has been widely blamed for spreading the blaze, is banned in the UK on buildings of that height, Philip Hammond has said.

The chancellor told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “My understanding is the cladding in question, this flammable cladding which is banned in Europe and the US, is also banned here.

“So there are two separate questions. One: are our regulations correct, do they permit the right kind of materials and ban the wrong kind of materials? The second question is: were they correctly complied with?

“That will be a subject that the

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Exciting the unstable

Jun 18th, 2017 3:47 pm | By

Dayum, talk about one-sided…

Peggy Noonan has a think piece at the Wall Street Journal deploring all this uncontrolled rage.

What we are living through in America is not only a division but a great estrangement. It is between those who support Donald Trump and those who despise him, between left and right, between the two parties, and even to some degree between the bases of those parties and their leaders in Washington. It is between the religious and those who laugh at Your Make Believe Friend, between cultural progressives and those who wish not to have progressive ways imposed upon them. It is between the coasts and the center, between those in flyover country and those who decide

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The details of mental capacity

Jun 18th, 2017 12:45 pm | By

What qualities does one need to be a good leader? Prudence Gourguechon discovered that it’s not easy to find definitive answers to that question.

Although there are volumes devoted to outlining criteria for psychiatric disorders, there is surprisingly little psychiatric literature defining mental capacity, even less on the particular abilities required for serving in positions of great responsibility. Despite the thousands of articles and books written on leadership, primarily in the business arena, I have found only one source where the capacities necessary for strategic leadership are clearly and comprehensively laid out: the U.S. Army’s “Field Manual 6-22 Leader Development.”

That makes sense. They really need to know.

The Army’s field manual on leadership is an extraordinarily

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Outta there

Jun 18th, 2017 12:21 pm | By

People are walking away.

Six members of the group that advises the White House on HIV and Aids have quit their posts – claiming that the Trump administration does not care about the issue.

In a letter of resignation that was published on a US news site, the experts claimed the government had no meaningful policy on tackling Aids, failed to listen to advice from those working in the field, and actually promoted legislation that harmed individuals living with the disease.

Other than that, everything’s great.

“We have dedicated our lives to combating this disease and no longer feel we can do so effectively within the confines of an advisory body to a president who simply does not care,”

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Patterns? What patterns?

Jun 18th, 2017 11:45 am | By

Inside Higher Ed reports:

The Department of Education last week outlined changes to civil rights investigations that advocates fear will mean less consistent findings of systemic discrimination at colleges.

Under the Obama administration, certain types of civil rights complaints would trigger broader investigations of whether a pattern of discrimination existed at a school or college.

But Candice Jackson, the acting assistant secretary for civil rights, told regional directors for the Office for Civil Rights in a memo that the Department of Education would no longer follow those guidelines. In detailing the latest civil rights shift under Secretary Betsy DeVos, Jackson wrote that the department was setting aside existing rules and empowering investigators with more discretion to clear case backlogs

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And then stood like this

Jun 17th, 2017 5:23 pm | By

Joe Biden was on Fresh Air the other day. There was this one bit that started with Twitter…

GROSS: So, like, what are the rules for communication? Like, ’cause he – is it OK – did you have social media when you were vice president? And, like, what rules were you expected to follow?

BIDEN: Not that old. Yes, I…


BIDEN: I had social media.

GROSS: I thought they take that stuff away from you.

BIDEN: I have social media – had it. And we have millions of people following us. But there’s a difference between using the modern media and the means of communication than there is being irresponsible or irrational in the way you do it and

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King was sure the letter had come from the FBI

Jun 17th, 2017 4:14 pm | By

Let’s look back at a little history: the FBI and the Kennedy brothers versus Martin Luther King.

Beveryl Gage starts with a typed anonymous letter sent to King in late 1964.

The unnamed author suggests intimate knowledge of his correspondent’s sex life, identifying one possible lover by name and claiming to have specific evidence about others. Another passage hints of an audiotape accompanying the letter, apparently a recording of “immoral conduct” in action. “Lend your sexually psychotic ear to the enclosure,” the letter demands. It concludes with a deadline of 34 days “before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”

“There is only one thing left for you to do,” the author warns vaguely in the

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He is strained by the demanding hours of the job

Jun 17th, 2017 12:17 pm | By

What will happen if Trump runs out of Justice Department people to fire? Will the gears just freeze and everything stop and time come to an end?

Since taking office, the Trump administration has twice rewritten an executive order that outlines the order of succession at the Justice Department — once after President Donald Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend his travel ban, and then again two months later. The executive order outlines a list of who would be elevated to the position of acting attorney general if the person up the food chain recuses himself, resigns, gets fired or is no longer in a position to serve.

In the past, former Justice Department officials

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All he’s gotta do’s fire him

Jun 17th, 2017 11:02 am | By

Newt Gingrich spelled out the core issue while chatting at the National Press Club:

By the way, technically, the president of the United States cannot obstruct justice. President of the United States is the chief executive officer of the United States: if he wants to fire the FBI director, all he’s gotta do’s fire him.

And yet, as many many people rushed to point out, that’s sure as hell not what Gingrich was saying when it was Bill Clinton in the cross-hairs. At that time he said the opposite.

So, is it bullshit, or is it true?

Clearly as a matter of outcome, it depends on who has the votes. As a matter of brute fact, it depends on power, … Read the rest

Congress must unite to stop him – but will it?

Jun 17th, 2017 10:20 am | By

Adam Schiff said a thing yesterday about Trump’s possible plans to fire Mueller.

It has become clear that President Trump believes that he has the power to fire anyone in government he chooses and for any reason, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller. That is not how the rule of law works, and Congress will not allow the President to so egregiously overstep his authority.

If President Trump were to try to replicate Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre by firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in addition to Mueller, Congress must unite to stop him – without respect to party, and for the sake of the nation.

Congress can defend our system of checks and balances by passing an independent counsel law

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Budget cuts in departments that oversee civil rights

Jun 17th, 2017 9:57 am | By

Mueller and the FBI aren’t the only ones investigating Trump.

Not only did he allude through a tweet on Friday that he is the subject of an internal investigation by special counsel, but on the same day, an independent federal agency commissioned under Congress also said “grave concerns” were prompting an investigation into federal civil rights enforcement within his administration.

The United States Commission on Civil Rights, a bipartisan agency charged with advising the president and Congress on civil rights matters, unanimously approved a comprehensive two-year probe into the “degree to which current budgets and staffing levels allow civil rights offices to perform” their functions within the administration, said the agency in a statement.

The federal watchdog group became concerned

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Jun 17th, 2017 7:45 am | By

The political or public relations side of things may be going unsmoothly for Don, but the money-making side is flourishing. More gold-plated bathtubs for Don, and that’s what matters.

President Trump says he’s received tens of millions of dollars in income from the golf courses and resorts whose profile he boosted during frequent visits since taking office, according to filings released Friday by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Being president is turning a big big profit. All he has to do is visit one of his resorts and the cash just pours in. It’s such a brilliant wheeze.

Properties that Trump frequently visited as president saw the largest boost in income. Trump claimed more than $37 million in

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Women will die

Jun 16th, 2017 5:19 pm | By

Via Women’s Liberation Front on Facebook:

Sometimes a pregnancy half fails. The membranes rupture before viability and an infection sets up shop in the uterus. Medically, the pregnancy has to end; whether the fetus is still alive or not does not matter. If an infected uterus is left unevacuated, the bacteria will eventually spread to the blood stream and it will be fatal. This is fact.

At times the body offers a consolation and goes into labor. It doesn’t seem like it at the time but it is more than a small mercy. When the uterus does not start contracting the patient has to choose: drugs to induce labor or a surgical procedure called dilation and evacuation (D&E). It … Read the rest

One in, three out

Jun 16th, 2017 3:23 pm | By

Christine Berry on “deregulation” and Grenfell Tower:

In the wake of the horrifying Grenfell Tower disaster, people are starting to ask questions about why reports on housing safety were sat on and ignored. And the finger is being pointed towards the government’s ‘war on red tape’ – more specifically, towards a little-known policy called ‘one-in, three-out regulation’.

Oh that – the Republicans and Trump have been promoting that here, too. For every new “regulation” aka protection, you have to remove three. Wham, just like that – no questions asked about whether the three removed are actually a life or death necessity or not.

[H]ere’s a quick primer on what people are talking about when they talk about things like

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He believes the rule of law doesn’t apply to him

Jun 16th, 2017 2:55 pm | By

Also…Trump’s lawyer has hired a lawyer. No really.

President Donald Trump’s longtime attorney and adviser Michael Cohen has hired a lawyer to represent him in the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Cohen told CNN on Friday.

Cohen, who serves as Trump’s personal attorney, hired Stephen Ryan, a partner at the DC-based law firm McDermott, Will and Emery, to handle inquiries related to the investigations into Russian meddling in the election. News of the hire comes two weeks after Cohen was subpoenaed by the House intelligence committee as part of the committee’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Next week Trump’s lawyer’s lawyer will hire a lawyer and it will keep on this way … Read the rest

Picking them off

Jun 16th, 2017 2:34 pm | By

But hey, Rosenstein may have to recuse himself anyway.

ABC News is reporting that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “has privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from” his role as Acting Attorney General for the Department’s Russia Investigation. (Recall that Rosenstein assumed that role when Attorney General Sessions recused himself earlier.)  Rosenstein’s involvement in the case has grown untenable for many reasons. Most importantly, the substance of the investigation has apparently developed to include a potential obstruction of justice focus on the President in connection with (among other things) the President’s discussions with and firing of James Comey. In that matter, Rosenstein may be a witness because of his role in the firing, and thus

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Americans should exercise caution before crossing the street

Jun 16th, 2017 2:18 pm | By

Rod Rosenstein issued a strange statement last night.

“Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials,’ particularly when they do not identify the country — let alone the branch or agency of government — with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated,” Mr. Rosenstein said in the statement.

He did not cite specific reports. The Justice Department released Mr. Rosenstein’s statement after 9 p.m., a few hours after The Washington Post reported that the special counsel was investigating the business dealings of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser. That report was attributed to unnamed American officials.

Asked about the impetus for the statement, a Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. Mr. Rosenstein

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