All entries by this author

If you cut the funding, the disasters will stop

Sep 10th, 2017 4:51 pm | By

Hey, here’s an idea – let’s cut the budgets of disaster relief agencies. Disasters don’t happen, so why budget money to relieve them?

Numerous federal agencies targeted for major budget cuts or even elimination by the Trump administration are playing important roles in helping people recover from Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast. Many agencies in the budget crosshairs also are closely monitoring the path and intensity of Hurricane Irma and making preparations if the storm strikes the United States.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies have been responding to Harvey and could be sending staff to Florida later this week if Irma strikes the state. These same employees, as they provide vital services

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I’m independent, you’re eccentric, he’s a raging psychopath

Sep 10th, 2017 11:11 am | By

Ah yes, let’s pretend Trump is an “independent” – as opposed to a ruthless self-serving shit.

President Trump demonstrated this past week that he still imagines himself a solitary cowboy as he abandoned Republican congressional leaders to forge a short-term fiscal deal with Democrats. Although elected as a Republican last year, Mr. Trump has shown in the nearly eight months in office that he is, in many ways, the first independent to hold the presidency since the advent of the current two-party system around the time of the Civil War.

Oh bollocks. All presidents quarrel with their own parties at times. What Trump does isn’t “independence” in that political sense, it’s just a mix of childish self-will and incoherence and … Read the rest



There’s a principle at stake

Sep 10th, 2017 9:19 am | By

Yes Irma is creating the predicted havoc in the Florida Keys and will go on to chew up the rest of Florida today and tonight and tomorrow, but never mind, Trump and his goons are still intent on destroying all federal efforts to deal with climate change, because hey, immediate profit for a few is far more important and valuable than the long-term survival of the environment we all depend on.

The news was hard to digest until one realized it was part of a much larger and increasingly disturbing pattern in the Trump administration. On Aug. 18, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine received an order from the Interior Department that it stop work on what

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Don’t put money on that bet

Sep 9th, 2017 4:34 pm | By

Erm…

Do you think the New York Times hasn’t been told?

Everybody has the same risk of dying. Everybody without exception. The risk is 100% for every single person. No matter how few the carbs you eat…immortality is not an option.… Read the rest



Firepower cannot replace diplomacy

Sep 9th, 2017 4:18 pm | By

The Senate Appropriations Committee has issued a report criticizing the Trump administration’s proposed State Department budget for being too damn low.

The unusually harsh language appeared in the report attached to spending legislation for the State Department and foreign operations that totals $51 billion, roughly $11 billion more in funding than the administration had requested. The Trump administration had proposed a budget that slashed State Department spending for fiscal year 2018 by about 30 percent from the previous year.

Because Trump and his buddies are so thick they think we can do everything by shooting and bombing.

“On May 23, 2017, President Donald Trump submitted to the Congress the fiscal year 2018 budget of the United States government entitled,

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Racing backwards

Sep 9th, 2017 11:53 am | By

People at the CIA say the agency is becoming more white, male, and Jesus.

For those who have worked inside the agency, the backtracking on diversity represents a threat to the workforce and national security, according to Nada Bakos, a former CIA analyst who helped track high-level terrorist targets like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The agency needs employees from different backgrounds and orientations to effectively recruit agents abroad. “What if you have to recruit someone who’s gay and that’s the only reason they’re talking to you?” she asked.

“This isn’t just about today’s diversity issue. It’s about tomorrow’s lack of diversity that will erode the agency,” Bakos told FP. “You can’t hire someone who’s typically white American to walk

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Dark posts

Sep 9th, 2017 11:14 am | By

Siva Vaidhyanathan explains why that story about the bot ads on Facebook is so worrying.

On Wednesday, Facebook revealed that hundreds of Russia-based accounts had run anti-Hillary Clinton ads precisely aimed at Facebook users whose demographic profiles implied a vulnerability to political propaganda. It will take time to prove whether the account owners had any relationship with the Russian government, but one thing is clear: Facebook has contributed to, and profited from, the erosion of democratic norms in the United States and elsewhere.

The audacity of a hostile foreign power trying to influence American voters rightly troubles us. But it should trouble us more that Facebook makes such manipulation so easy, and renders political ads exempt from the basic accountability

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Surprise: a backstabber stabs backs

Sep 9th, 2017 10:40 am | By

The Republicans have learned what everyone else already knew – that Trump is a narcissistic psychopath who has no scruples of any kind. Trump does what Trump sees as good for Trump, period, end of story.

In agreeing to tie Harvey aid to a three-month extension of the debt ceiling and government funding, Trump burned the people who are ostensibly his allies. The president was an unpredictable — and, some would say, untrustworthy — negotiating partner with not only congressional Republicans but also with his Cabinet members and top aides. Trump saw a deal that he thought was good for him — and he seized it.

The move should come as no surprise to students of Trump’s long history of

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Wrong but so cuddly

Sep 8th, 2017 5:56 pm | By

The Guardian hosted an email discussion of Freud and psychoanalysis between Frederick Crews and a psychoanalyst, Susie Orbach. The Guardian intro isn’t very cogent:

For a century or more, Sigmund Freud has cast a long shadow not just over the field of psychoanalysis but over the entire way we think of ourselves as human beings. His theory of the unconscious and his work on dreams, in particular, retain a firm grip on the western imagination, shaping the realms of literature and art, politics and everyday conversation, as well as the way patients are analysed in the consulting room. Since Freud’s death in 1939, however, a growing number of dissenting voices have questioned his legacy and distanced themselves from his ideas.

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Priorities

Sep 8th, 2017 10:52 am | By

Josh Jackman at Pink News is outraged by the Daily Mail’s reporting on a prison rape.

The Mail is under fire after coverage of a transgender rapist.

(Note that very typical passive locution – “under fire” – without saying by whom. Could just mean by the author, but leaves the impression that the fire is general. Very sleazy.)

What happened was that a convicted rapist made unwanted sexual advances on fellow prisoners.

What the Mail Online did was mention her deadname, call her “a father,” and implied that her actions were down to the fact she has a penis.

Or to put it much less evasively than Josh Jackman does – a convicted rapist was housed with women prisoners … Read the rest



Because of the security nature of things

Sep 8th, 2017 10:14 am | By

Rush Limbaugh is leaving Palm Beach for Parts Unknown.

With his comments mocking Hurricane Irma as a liberal conspiracy theory still fresh, radio host Rush Limbaugh on Thursday appeared to surrender to reality, informing listeners that his program would no longer be able to air from his studio’s Palm Beach location, which is currently in Irma’s direct path.

“I’m not going to get into details because of the security nature of things, but it turns out that we will not be able to do the program here tomorrow,” Limbaugh said in a segment recorded by ThinkProgress. “That will be in the hands of Mark Stein tomorrow. We’ll be on the air next week, folks, from parts unknown.”

“It’s

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Graduates of Arpaio University

Sep 8th, 2017 9:52 am | By

Well, this takes a lot of gall.

On Thursday, a day after Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett claimed that he was the victim of excessive force and racial profiling by the Las Vegas Police Department late last month, the police department asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league to investigate the incident for “obviously false allegations” from Bennett.

Sadly for the Las Vegas PD, video of the excessive force exists, yet they still have the gall to demand that Bennett’s employers “investigate” him for saying it happened.

Why would that even be anything to do with the NFL if it were true? Employers aren’t responsible for what their employees do outside work.

So the demand is nonsensical as … Read the rest



The Billy Bush thing is locker room talk

Sep 8th, 2017 9:28 am | By

Bros before hos.

In his first extensive interview since leaving the Trump administration, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon tells “60 Minutes” about the fallout after the leaked “Access Hollywood” tape.

Steve Bannon: And – and Trump went around the room and asked people the percentages he thought of – of still winning and what the recommendation. And Reince started off and Reince said, “You have – you have two choices. You either drop out right now, or you lose by the biggest landslide in American political history.” And Trump, with his humor goes, “That’s a great way – that’s a great way to start our – start our conversation.” We went around the room. And you

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No kangaroos

Sep 8th, 2017 8:48 am | By

Robert Reich on Betsy DeVos’s plan to get rid of Obama’s Title IX guidelines.

Today Education Secretary Betsy DeVos vowed to roll back Obama era guidelines for how colleges and universities should handle sexual harassment and sexual violence cases under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. She said students accused of perpetrating sexual assault have been deprived of due process in “kangaroo courts,” and that the Obama standard of “preponderance of the evidence” isn’t high enough.

Rubbish. I’ve been a professor on campuses for decades and I know this:

1. Only a small fraction of instances of sexual assault are reported, and, when they are, a very small fraction rape reports are found to be false.

2. Before the

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An escalating pattern of threats and harassment

Sep 8th, 2017 8:40 am | By

It turns out that Martin Shkreli isn’t just the kind of asshole who buys the rights to patented meds in order to inflate the price by 5000%, he’s also the kind of asshole who harasses and threatens women in public.

Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager awaiting sentencing for defrauding his investors, should have his bail revoked after offering his Facebook followers $5,000 to grab a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair during her book tour, federal prosecutors say.

I saw that yesterday, via Twitter. I wanted to post about it but decided it might look too trivial or random. But the Secret Service doesn’t think so and the Post doesn’t think so, so ok then.

Shkreli’s conduct since

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Guest post: Then and now

Sep 7th, 2017 4:46 pm | By

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey on He seemed super upbeat.

Politico:

Many Republicans were furious with President Donald Trump’s budget deal Wednesday

On just his first day in office, President Trump blatantly lied to the American people about the size of his inaugural crowd.

Republican leaders shrugged off criticism of the President, saying that nobody really expects Trump to literally mean what he says.

President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and admitted in a subsequent interview that the reasons given in the termination letter were pretextual, and the real reason was Trump’s frustration with the investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russian intelligence.

Republican leaders described themselves as “concerned.”

After neo-Nazi violence claimed the life of … Read the rest



A different relationship

Sep 7th, 2017 12:44 pm | By

In fact Trump is so manic that he’s turned himself inside out.

Mr. Trump told reporters after the calls that the deal may signal a new era of bipartisanship. “I think we will have a different relationship than we’ve been watching over the last number of years. I hope so,” he said. “I think that’s a great thing for our country. And I think that’s what the people of the United States want to see. They want to see some dialogue. They want to see coming together to an extent.”

Oh. Really? That’s what the people of the United States want to see? I thought they wanted to see lots and lots of name-calling and wild accusations. I thought … Read the rest



He seemed super upbeat

Sep 7th, 2017 12:08 pm | By

Trump is jumping up and down with glee at how he stuck it to the…er…Republicans yesterday. He gloated about it in North Dakota last night and then this morning he called up Pelosi and Schumer to gloat with them. Which is hilarious, in a nauseating kind of way.

Many Republicans were furious with President Donald Trump’s budget deal Wednesday, stunned that the president quickly gave in to Democratic demands to pair hurricane relief with a three-month debt limit hike — though getting nothing in return.

But in calls with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Thursday morning, Trump raved about the positive news coverage it had received, according to people familiar with the calls,

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Guess what? You have them.

Sep 7th, 2017 11:00 am | By

Trump was unaware that North Dakota is subject to drought. Now that he knows, though, he moved to console the people of North Dakota by telling them they’re better off than the people of coastal Texas.

Prior to leaving the White House, I had a great bipartisan meeting with Democrat and Republican leaders in Congress, and I’m committed to working with both parties to deliver for our wonderful, wonderful citizens. It’s about time. We had a great meeting with Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and the whole Republican leadership group. And I’ll tell you what, we walked out of there — Mitch and Paul, and everybody, Kevin — and we walked out and everybody was happy. Not too happy —

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Daddy, can I go with you?

Sep 7th, 2017 10:48 am | By

Ick.

Donald Trump has revealed that his daughter Ivanka asked to join him on his North Dakota trip, telling crowds she said: “Daddy, can I go with you?”

Beckoning her up to the stage, he said: “Come up, honey”. Then he shared an anecdote about how Ms Trump asked her father if she could join him.

“She said, ‘Dad, can I come with you. Actually she said ‘Daddy, can I go with you?’ I like that,” he said. “I said, ‘Yes, you can.'”

Aww. Cute story. Is she five? Six?

Oh that’s right, she’s 35. She has children of her own. She’s a grown-ass adult.

Also, presidents don’t in fact make it a habit to bring their small … Read the rest