March 7, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 5:49 PM


Vladimir Putin's candidate ratings have started to slip in Russia's biggest cities (home to a quarter of all voters) (Meduza, 7 march 2018)

The newspaper Vedomosti has noticed a curious trend in voter polling released by the state-run sociological institute VTsIOM: Vladimir Putin's presidential candidate ratings slipped 12 percentage points in Moscow and St. Petersburg between mid-January and mid-February, falling from almost 70 percent to just above 57 percent.

Posted by orrinj at 2:42 PM


Uber's Self-Driving Trucks Hit the Highway, but Not Local Roads (Daisuke Wakabayashi, March 6, 2018, NY Times)

More than a year after Uber's self-driving trucks made their first commercial delivery -- 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer on a 120-mile hop in Colorado -- the company says it has taken its robot big rigs to the highways of Arizona.

Uber said on Tuesday that its self-driving trucks had been carrying cargo on highways in Arizona for commercial freight customers over the past few months.  [...]

At the heart of Uber's vision are transfer hubs where trucks can pick up and drop off trailers. At those locations, autonomous trucks would grab trailers for long-haul drives, while human drivers would grab ones earmarked for closer delivery -- with Uber's network meshing the supply and demand of both behind the scenes.

Posted by orrinj at 4:22 AM


Trumpism Is a Psychology, Not an Ideology (JONAH GOLDBERG, March 7, 2018, National Review)

The intellectual effort to craft or divine a coherent Trumpist ideology didn't fare much better. Just over a year ago, Julius Krein launched a new journal called American Affairs to "give the Trump movement some intellectual heft," as Politico put it. As I wrote at the time, American Affairs' dilemma was that by associating itself with Trump, it would be forced to either defend the incoherence of his behavior or break with him to defend its own consistency.

Six months later, after the debacle of Trump's response to the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va., Krein recanted his support for the president.

On the left, there's an enormous investment in the idea that Trump isn't a break with conservatism but the apotheosis of it. This is a defensible, or at least understandable, claim if you believe conservatism has always been an intellectually vacuous bundle of racial and cultural resentments. But if that were the case, Commentary magazine's Noah Rothman recently noted, you would not see so many mainstream and consistent conservatives objecting to Trump's behavior.

Intellectuals and ideologically committed journalists on the left and right have a natural tendency to see events through the prism of ideas. Trump presents an insurmountable challenge to such approaches because, by his own admission, he doesn't consult any serious and coherent body of ideas for his decisions. He trusts his instincts.

Trump has said countless times that he thinks his gut is a better guide than the brains of his advisers. He routinely argues that the presidents and policymakers who came before him were all fools and weaklings. That's narcissism, not ideology, talking.

He's our first female president.

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Posted by orrinj at 3:42 AM


Trump's Intelligence Chief Says Country Is 'Protected' From Kushner (Tommy Christopher, March 7, 2018, ShareBlue)

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) asked National Intelligence Director Dan Coats if he knew that at least four foreign countries discussed their ability to manipulate Kushner.

"I've seen that leak," Coats replied.

"Can you assure us that you are taking effective action to protect our national security against that manipulation?" Blumenthal asked.

"We are doing everything we can to protect the United States' citizens from harm from abroad, including what you have just described," Coats replied.