All entries by this author

When the line gets crossed

Nov 9th, 2017 12:46 pm | By

Louis C. K.’s turn.

In 2002, a Chicago comedy duo, Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, landed their big break: a chance to perform at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. When Louis C.K. invited them to hang out in his hotel room for a nightcap after their late-night show, they did not think twice. The bars were closed and they wanted to celebrate. He was a comedian they admired. The women would be together. His intentions seemed collegial.

As soon as they sat down in his room, still wrapped in their winter jackets and hats, Louis C.K. asked if he could take out his penis, the women said.

They thought it was a joke and laughed

Read the rest

There aren’t enough Americans

Nov 9th, 2017 11:04 am | By

Of course they are.

President Donald Trump’s upscale Mar-a-Lago club received permission from the federal government to temporarily hire 70 foreign housekeepers, waiters and cooks to fill out its staff during its upcoming busy season, with its managers attesting there aren’t enough Americans qualified, willing and available to do the work.

Liars. When Americans apply to do the work Mar-a-Lago doesn’t hire them.

The president’s hiring of foreign workers at the Florida resort over several years was criticized by his opponents during the 2016 campaign after he slammed companies for moving jobs out of the U.S. and others for hiring immigrants in the country illegally. During the Republican primary debates, Trump defended Mar-a-Lago’s hiring practices, saying not enough Americans

Read the rest

Into an eternity of righteousness and peace

Nov 9th, 2017 10:17 am | By

Hans Fiene at the Federalist comes right out and says it – God did those people killed in Sutherland Springs a favor.

For those with little understanding of and less regard for the Christian faith, there may be no greater image of prayer’s futility than Christians being gunned down mid-supplication. But for those familiar with the Bible’s promises concerning prayer and violence, nothing could be further from the truth. When those saints of First Baptist Church were murdered yesterday, God wasn’t ignoring their prayers. He was answering them.

“Deliver us from evil.” Millions of Christians throughout the world pray these words every Sunday morning. While it doesn’t appear that the Lord’s Prayer is formally a part of the worship services

Read the rest

Basil in China

Nov 9th, 2017 8:27 am | By

Trump in China sounds like Basil Fawlty meeting Lord Melbury (who in fact is a conman).

President Trump heaped praise on President Xi Jinping of China on Thursday, blaming Mr. Trump’s own predecessors for China’s yawning trade surplus with the United States and saying he was confident that Mr. Xi could defuse the threat from North Korea.

Mr. Trump’s warm words, on a state visit to China replete with ceremony but short of tangible results, showed a president doubling down on his gamble that by cultivating a personal connection with Mr. Xi, he can push the Chinese leader to take meaningful steps on North Korea and trade.

In public, Mr. Trump projected an air of deference to China that was

Read the rest

Illegitimate retaliation against the press

Nov 8th, 2017 5:09 pm | By

Corrupt much?

On Monday, November 6, AT&T C.E.O. Randall Stephenson was in Washington, D.C., for a meeting with Makan Delrahim, the Justice Department’s new anti-trust chief, who was confirmed by the Senate in late September. They were there to discuss AT&T’s long-awaited purchase of Time Warner, which has been in the final stages of a protracted regulatory review. According to three people briefed on the conversation, Delrahim told Stephenson that if AT&T wanted the D.O.J. to green-light the $85 billion mega merger, he would have have to either sell Turner Broadcasting, the parent entity of CNN, which AT&T would acquire as part of the deal, or sell DirecTV, the satellite provider AT&T acquired in 2015.

To Stephenson, both

Read the rest

Mount Samalas

Nov 8th, 2017 3:11 pm | By

There was a big die-off in Northern Europe in 1258.

When archaeologists discovered thousands of medieval skeletons in a mass burial pit in east London in the 1990s, they assumed they were 14th-century victims of the Black Death or the Great Famine of 1315-17. Now they have been astonished by a more explosive explanation – a cataclysmic volcano that had erupted a century earlier, thousands of miles away in the tropics, and wrought havoc on medieval Britons.

Scientific evidence – including radiocarbon dating of the bones and geological data from across the globe – shows for the first time that mass fatalities in the 13th century were caused by one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the past 10,000

Read the rest

Maine’s governor says No

Nov 8th, 2017 12:03 pm | By

Maine voters approved Medicaid expansion but the governor says they have to pay for it first.

Voters in Maine approved a ballot measure on Tuesday to allow many more low-income residents to qualify for Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, The Associated Press said. The vote was a rebuke of Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who has repeatedly vetoed legislation to expand Medicaid.

At least 80,000 additional Maine residents will become eligible for Medicaid as a result of the referendum. Maine will be the 32nd state to expand the program under the health law, but the first where voters, not governors or legislators, decided the issue. Other states whose leaders have resisted expanding the program were closely watching the

Read the rest

Barak confirms

Nov 8th, 2017 11:20 am | By

Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker story is dated two days ago; today the Guardian adds a bit of confirmation:

The former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak has said he introduced the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein to a Tel Aviv-based investigations firm made up of former spies reportedly hired by the producer to suppress sexual abuse allegations against him.

Weinstein allegedly hired an “army of spies” in an attempt to stop accusers from going public with sexual misconduct claims against him, according to a report in the New Yorker this week.

The magazine claims that among the private security agencies hired by Weinstein, starting from around autumn 2016, was Black Cube, which is largely run by former officers of Israeli

Read the rest

One of the spies pretended to be a women’s-rights advocate

Nov 8th, 2017 10:56 am | By

Here’s another jaw-dropper from Ronan Farrow.

In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives “highly experienced and trained in

Read the rest

Unclear what they can do

Nov 8th, 2017 10:14 am | By

Let’s hope this is spoiling Trump’s fun adventure in Chy-nah: voters said a big Nope.

Republicans awoke Wednesday to a series of aftershocks following Democratic victories across Virginia and other local elections that far exceeded either side’s expectations.

That performance, particularly in key suburban battlegrounds across the nation, validates a strategy that Democrats on Capitol Hill had embraced earlier this year: trying to win back the majority by riding a wave of liberal resentment toward President Trump while also promising rational governance to centrist swing voters.

The resounding victory by Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (D) tells only part of the story of Tuesday’s “old-fashioned thumping,” as former Virginia congressman Tom Davis called it. Beneath the top-of-the-ticket races, in many fundamental

Read the rest

No one showed up to be briefed

Nov 7th, 2017 5:13 pm | By

Michael Lewis on Fresh Air yesterday on how Trump appointees in the departments of Energy and Agriculture are “ill-prepared for the jobs they have and uninterested in the work of the departments they’re running” and how bad and dangerous that is.

MICHAEL LEWIS: Well, my mind when Trump was elected was on the subject of risk because I just finished a book, “The Undoing Project,” about people’s – the difficulty people had processing risk, in evaluating risk. And I was wondering what risks Trump brought with him. I then saw that the transition from the Obama administration to the Trump administration basically didn’t happen, (laughter) that – what normally happens after a new president comes in is that the day

Read the rest

Bad poll numbers

Nov 7th, 2017 11:35 am | By

There was this:

But now there isn’t.

It is with regret that we advise that the 2018 Global Atheist Convention has been cancelled. More details at

Thank you to all ticket purchasers and supporters.

They didn’t sell enough tickets so they canceled.… Read the rest

The deep rot of bad faith

Nov 7th, 2017 10:41 am | By

Greg Sargent at the Post on Trump’s nonsense about the Texas slaughter:

(I know, I’m harping on it, but Trump’s disgusting cynical frivolity about this cries out for obsessive finger-pointing.)

It has become an Internet meme that Donald Trump favors extreme vetting for arriving immigrants, but not for would-be gun buyers, and today in South Korea, Trump was confronted by a question about this contrast. It produced a useful answer — one that once again illustrated the deep rot of bad faith at the core of his approach to difficult policy questions.

You can see that bad faith when he closes his eyes. He’s taking a second to think up a way to sell the lies.

It’s being widely

Read the rest


Nov 7th, 2017 10:13 am | By

Trump said if there had been “extreme vetting” of the guy who slaughtered all those people in Texas, “you would have had hundreds more dead.” You can watch him close his eyes while he pretends to think. You can see him end triumphantly with his cherished cliché “the great state of” Texas.

Read the rest

We could let a little time go by

Nov 7th, 2017 10:01 am | By

Trump, today, at a press conference in South Korea:

Reporter: You’ve talked about wanting to put extreme vetting on people trying to come into the United States, but I wonder if you would consider extreme vetting for people trying to buy a gun.

Trump: Well…you know you’re bringing up a situation that probably shouldn’t be discussed too much right now, we could let a little time go by, but it’s ok if you feel that that’s an appropriate question.

Trump a week ago, immediately after a perp in a truck killed eight people and injured more in lower Manhattan:

Read the rest

Prominent intellectual

Nov 6th, 2017 4:22 pm | By

Oxford is apparently making a dog’s breakfast of the Tariq Ramadan situation. Tendance Coatesy gathered some reporting:

Here is the Telegraph’s report on the latest developments.

Oxford professor accused of sexual misconduct with Swiss minors

An Oxford University professor and government adviser on tackling extremism is facing new allegations ​including sexual misconduct with minors.

Prof Tariq Ramadan was accused of rape last month by a French feminist author. He has denied the allegation and said he will sue for libel.

He is now facing new accusations from four Swiss women who say he made sexual advances to them when they were studying under him as teenagers in Geneva.

One of the women told Tribune de Geneve newspaper Prof

Read the rest

An ongoing “domestic situation”

Nov 6th, 2017 3:51 pm | By

So maybe it wasn’t that the guy with the big gun wasn’t cray cray after all, despite Trump’s confident assertion that it was. (Where did he get that, by the way? Law enforcement wasn’t saying that, the media wasn’t saying that. Did Trump have Special Inside Presidential Intelligence about it? Or was he just talking at random as usual because he wanted us to shut up about guns.) It maybe was that he had a big mad for his mother-in-law. Angry domineering men often do, I think. Sheds a whole new light on all those mother-in-law jokes, doesn’t it. (Actually no, it doesn’t – it sheds the same old light. Mother-in-law jokes are classic misogyny. Why mother-in-law and not … Read the rest

At the highest level

Nov 6th, 2017 2:23 pm | By

Trump says it’s not a guns situation. Nope nope nope. Not at all. It’s a bats in the belfry situation. It’s a MenTal HeAlth SituAtion. That’s what it is. The guy was cray cray. Nothing to do with guns at all. Could just as well have been a poisoned amuse-bouche. Could have been flung rocks. Could have been a rabid dog smuggled in under his coat. It just happened to be a semi-automatic rifle. Totally random.

Asked at a press conference in Tokyo what policies he might support in response to the shooting, Mr Trump said preliminary reports suggested the gunman was “a very deranged individual, [with] a lot of problems.”

Actually he said “a lot of problems over … Read the rest

Ruger AR-15

Nov 6th, 2017 8:14 am | By

The Times on Devin Patrick Kelley, the guy who murdered 26 people in a small town church in Texas:

Mr. Kelley was clad in all black, with a ballistic vest strapped to his chest and a military-style rifle in his hands, when he opened fire on parishioners, turning this tiny town east of San Antonio into the scene of the country’s newest mass horror.

He had served in the Air Force at a base in New Mexico but was court-martialed in 2012 on charges of assaulting his wife and child. He was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement and received a “bad conduct” discharge in 2014, according to Ann Stefanek, the chief of Air Force media operations.

What a coincidence … Read the rest

Unless you’ve agreed to confidentiality, it ain’t confidential

Nov 5th, 2017 4:45 pm | By

What was that we were saying about how it doesn’t work to send someone a furious abusive email and then announce that it’s confidential? How you can’t just send people shit they didn’t ask for and then order them to keep it secret? Behold Marc Randazza in 2014 saying exactly that, and unlike me he’s a lawyer.

This happens to all of us, from time to time. A lawyer sends you a letter with some threatening language on it that he thinks accomplishes his goal of making it “confidential.” You know, like this:


The correct legal response is “suck my ass” or whatever you want to say. Ok, fine, how about

Read the rest