All entries by this author

Possess your own SoHo

Oct 4th, 2017 8:58 am | By

Pro Publica, the New Yorker, and WNYC have collaborated on an investigation of that time a few years ago when New York prosecutors were considering bringing a felony fraud case against Ivanka and Donald Junior Trump, but didn’t.

In the spring of 2012, Donald Trump’s two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., found themselves in a precarious legal position. For two years, prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had been building a criminal case against them for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was failing to sell.

Oh surely not. Real estate grifters never mislead prospective buyers.

By which I mean, they do that routinely; I’m surprised to … Read the rest

Pattern detection

Oct 4th, 2017 8:15 am | By

Polanski is in the news again.

Renate Langer, a 61-year-old former German actress, has reported to the Swiss police that the film director Roman Polanski raped her at a house in Gstaad in February 1972, when she was 15.

Ms. Langer is the fourth woman to publicly accuse Mr. Polanski of sexual assaulting her when she was a teenager.

You might say it’s a pattern with this guy. You might say he seems to have had a taste for sexually assaulting barely pubescent girls.

Ms. Langer said in the interview that she had not previously reported anything to the police — and did not confide in friends and family at the time — largely out of concern for her

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Guest post: The lies and condemnation never, ever stop

Oct 4th, 2017 8:06 am | By

Originally a comment by Freemage on Forced childbearing.

Fuck, these guys just don’t quit, do they?

I do greeter volunteering at PP. Since we own the property the clinic is on, women are able to drive past protestors and park in the lot, so it’s a clear walk to the door, so our main job is 50/50 between giving the women someone to talk to on the way in so they don’t have to listen to the shouts, and standing near the edge of the property to give the protestors someone else to yell at instead of women seeking health care.

It veers between rage-inducing blather and low comedy (such as the guy who struggled to put on his … Read the rest

Forced childbearing

Oct 3rd, 2017 5:05 pm | By

Here we go.

The House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday that would criminalize abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for instances where the life of the mother is at risk and in cases involving rape or incest.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 237 for and 189 against, largely on party lines.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which is similar to legislation that failed in 2013 and 2015, has support from the White House this time around.

The divisive issue of abortion has once again been brought to the forefront of national conversations since President Donald Trump assumed office. Trump issued support for the bill even before he won the election. In a

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Oct 3rd, 2017 3:34 pm | By

It’s a grotesque fact of life here that commenting on mass shootings is one of the duties of the head of state. ABC compares the two most recent.

Former President Obama addressed mass shootings roughly 18 times during his administration, with some of his most damning comments coming exactly two years before this weekend’s deadly shooting in Las Vegas.

For Obama, it was the shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon, where nine people were killed Oct. 1, 2015. And for President Trump, it was the Sunday shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas, where at least 59 people were killed and 527 others injured.

One responded like an adult who thinks and feels, the … Read the rest

Behold the canned chicken

Oct 3rd, 2017 11:57 am | By

CBS is doing live updates of Trump’s jaunt to Puerto Rico. The most recent item is that he’s throwing paper towels to a crowd of people. Yes really: paper towels. “Here, Puerto Rico people, mop up the hurricane.”

The president — in what the White House press pooler described as a Stephen Curry impersonation — softly shot paper towels into the crowd. He also held up canned chicken breast for the crowd to see.

Reuters got a snap:

Score!… Read the rest

Trump spots a miracle

Oct 3rd, 2017 11:51 am | By

Trump says what happened in Las Vegas was a miracle.

“Look, we have a tragedy. What happened is, in many ways, a miracle,” Trump said as he departed the White House for a trip to Puerto Rico on Tuesday morning. “The police department, they’ve done such an incredible job. And we’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes on. But I do have to say, how quickly the police department was able to get in was really very much of a miracle. They’ve done an amazing job.”

But if you’re going to go for a miracle, it would have been a better miracle to jam all the guy’s guns, or swap the bullets for blanks. It’s not much … Read the rest

Not a real catastrophe

Oct 3rd, 2017 10:51 am | By

Oh goddddddd. Bozo is in Puerto Rico. Bozo is talking.

President Trump on Tuesday told Puerto Rico officials they should feel “very proud” they haven’t lost thousands of lives like in “a real catastrophe like Katrina,” while adding that the devastated island territory has thrown the nation’s budget “a little out of whack.”

Silly silly silly Puerto Rico, inviting a hurricane to visit them without checking the nation’s budget first.

Trump’s remarks came as he touched down in San Juan amid harsh criticism of the slow federal response to the natural disaster and after he praised himself earlier in the day for the “great job” and “A-plus” performance he said his administration deserved for its response to Hurricane Maria.

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How not to write a speech for Trump to read

Oct 3rd, 2017 9:01 am | By

We should not have to hear Donald Trump talking like this:

Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one, a parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you. And we ask God to help see you through this very dark period.

Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words, for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve. To the wounded who are now recovering in

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Not right now, children

Oct 2nd, 2017 4:23 pm | By

Yet another iteration of the “now right after a mass shooting is not the time to talk about gun control” bromide – the one that makes absolutely no sense. Why isn’t right after yet another mass shooting very much the time to talk about gun control? It’s like saying “now right after a horrific multi-car crash caused by a driver texting is not the time to talk about not texting while driving.” Yes it is, it’s exactly the time to talk about it, when the dire consequences are right on the front page.

This one of course is the strikingly out of her depth Huckabee Junior.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday repeatedly deflected reporters’

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Prayers and $$$

Oct 2nd, 2017 3:27 pm | By

Rafi Schwartz at Splinternews lists some Congressional people who offered thoughtsandprayers on the Las Vegas slaughter and have taken money from the NRA.

So who is sending their NRA-sponsored well wishes to the victims of the Las Vegas massacre today? Let’s take a look, with a little help from the campaign contribution database at

Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt received $11,900 from the NRA during the 2016 election cycle.

Virginia Congresswoman Barbara Comstock received $10,400 from the NRA during the 2016 election cycle.

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War, homicide, suicide, guns

Oct 2nd, 2017 11:38 am | By

I saw a tweet that staggered me.


Apparently so, yes. Politifact investigated and confirmed.

In a column published shortly after the on-air slayings of two TV journalists in southwestern Virginia, the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof offered some “data points” about the pervasiveness of gun violence in the United States.

One of them was: “More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history.”

That sounded familiar. Really familiar. As it turns out, the web version

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From a great height

Oct 2nd, 2017 10:38 am | By

Another day in Crazyland.

A gunman on a high floor of a Las Vegas hotel rained a rapid-fire barrage on an outdoor concert festival on Sunday night, killing at least 58 people, injuring hundreds of others, and sending thousands of terrified survivors fleeing for cover, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.

Online video of the attack near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino showed the singer Jason Aldean’s performance at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event, being interrupted by the sound of gunfire. The music stopped, and as victims fell bleeding, concertgoers screamed, ducked for cover, or ran.

The video clips show what a massive advantage the shooter had given himself … Read the rest

Trump says he won’t fail, doesn’t explain why

Oct 1st, 2017 5:40 pm | By

The Post on Trump’s gruesome undermining of his own Secretary of State.

“Humiliating for Tillerson, but worse, renders him useless. He’ll resign, today or after a brief face-saving interval,” predicted former Obama administration ambassador and National Security Council official Dan Shapiro, one of many foreign policy experts who tweeted about Trump’s Sunday comments, sent from his New Jersey golf club.

So I went to look at Shapiro’s Twitter and that was valuable. I decided to look at all this as an interesting learning opportunity until the moment the nukes burst overhead. Might as well, right?

Later in the day Trump expanded on his point.

“Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton

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Carl Benjamin aka Sargon of Akkad

Oct 1st, 2017 1:09 pm | By

Yesterday there was an atheoskeptic or skeptoatheist conference in Milwaukee that was the subject of a lot of ginned-up “controversy” beforehand because that’s what the organizers went for. They invited several notorious Twitter abusers, because Let All the Voices Be Heard; some people who didn’t want to share a stage with notorious Twitter abusers dropped out, and others went ahead anyway.

One who went ahead was Thomas Smith of Serious Inquiries Only, who did a conversation with one of the worst notorious Twitter abusers, Carl Benjamin who tweets as Sargon of Akkad. Friends of mine were talking about how badly that went yesterday.

Charone Frankel posted a clip of the worst moment on Facebook.

Editing to add: Here is … Read the rest

Not a joke

Oct 1st, 2017 10:58 am | By

Tillerson is trying to talk to North Korea, which admittedly is not a project full of promise but when the alternative is nuclear war you kind of have to try, mk? But Trump doesn’t think so, and Trump also doesn’t think it’s a bad idea for a president to undercut his own Secretary of State on Twitter. Yes I said on Twitter. The history books of the future, if there is any future, will be full of lines like “war broke out on Snapchat in the autumn of that year…”

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It is what it looks like

Sep 30th, 2017 3:12 pm | By

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight tells the media to quit rationalizing the monster.

I’m happy to acknowledge that Trump’s responses to the news are sometimes thought-out and deliberate. His criticisms of the media often seem to fall into this category, for example, since they’re sure to get widespread coverage and Republican voters have overwhelmingly lost faith in the media.

But at many other times, journalists come up with overly convoluted explanations for Trump’s behavior (“this seemingly self-destructive emotional outburst is actually a clever political strategy!”) when simpler ones will suffice (“this is a self-destructive emotional outburst.”). In doing so, they violate both Ockham’s razor and Hanlon’s razor — the latter of which can be stated as “never attribute

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Sep 30th, 2017 2:57 pm | By

Speaking of people who want everything done for them…

Meanwhile the mayor of San Juan has been working around the clock.

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He’s back

Sep 30th, 2017 2:40 pm | By

Six hours later the monster returns.

“Never mind about the lives of three million people in Puerto Rico, rant about “Fake News” and Democrats instead.”

“I like him but I don’t like her, she can’t come to my party.”

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A significant step downward

Sep 30th, 2017 10:31 am | By

James Fallows is scathing – and James Fallows is not a guy who scathes easily.

[Trump’s] Twitter outburst this morning — as he has left Washington on another trip to one of his golf courses, as millions of U.S. citizens are without water or electricity after the historic devastation of Hurricane Maria, as by chance it is also Yom Kippur — deserves note. It is a significant step downward for him, and perhaps the first thing he has done in office that, in its coarseness, has actually surprised me. (I explained the difference, for me, between shock and surprise when it comes to Trump, in this item last week.) Temperamentally, intellectually, and in terms of civic and moral imagination,

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