July 10, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 1:21 PM


GOP Congressional Nominee Seth Grossman Shared White Nationalist Articles (Aiden Pink, 7/09/18, The Forward)

New Jersey Republican congressional nominee Seth Grossman used his Facebook account to share articles from well-known white nationalist websites, Media Matters reported Monday.

One article, published on the white nationalist website American Renaissance and shared in 2014, claimed that black people "are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike."

Posted by orrinj at 11:20 AM


Secret tape recordings rock Georgia governor race (Associated Press, Jul.09.2018)

Another secret recording is shaking up Georgia's Republican primary runoff in the governor's race.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's campaign was already rocked last month by the release of a secretly recorded conversation in which Cagle said he backed what he called "bad public policy" for political gain. Cagle's runoff opponent, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, released another snippet of that conversation Monday.

In this 50-second piece , Cagle can be heard candidly discussing the GOP primary's sharp turn to the right, saying the five-man race came down to "who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck and who could be the craziest."

...that these guys are contemptuous of the voters who push them to take such positions?  

Posted by orrinj at 4:36 AM


Israel 'not ruling out' eventual ties with Syria's Assad (Dan Williams, 7/10/18, Reuters) 

Israel held out the prospect on Tuesday of eventual contacts with Syria under President Bashar al-Assad, in a nod to his regime-consolidating advances in a seven-year-old civil war that Israeli officials had initially predicted would topple him.

What quarrel can Israel have with a religious state occupying a Sunni majority?

Posted by orrinj at 4:33 AM


George W. Bush Praises Nomination of Kavanaugh for Supreme Court: 'Outstanding Decision'
(David Rutz, July 9, 2018, Free Beacon)

"President Trump has made an outstanding decision in nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court," Bush said in a statement. "Brett is a brilliant jurist who has faithfully applied the Constitution and laws throughout his 12 years on the D.C. Circuit. He is a fine husband, father, and friend--and a man of the highest integrity. He will make a superb Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States."

Posted by orrinj at 4:33 AM


NOT EVERYONE LOVES PROUST (Emily Temple, 7/10/18, LitHub)

Kazuo Ishiguro, in an interview with HuffPo:

To be absolutely honest, apart from the opening volume of Proust, I find him crushingly dull. The trouble with Proust is that sometimes you go through an absolutely wonderful passage, but then you have to go about 200 pages of intense French snobbery, high-society maneuverings and pure self-indulgence. It goes on and on and on and on. But every now and again, I suppose around memory, he can be beautiful.

Evelyn Waugh, in a 1948 letter to Nancy Mitford:

I am reading Proust for the first time--in English of course--and am surprised to find him a mental defective. No one warned me of that. He has absolutely no sense of time. He can't remember anyone's age. In the same summer as Gilberte gives him a marble & Francoise takes him to the public lavatory in the Champs-Elysees, Bloch takes him to a brothel. And as for the jokes--the boredom of Bloch and Cottard.

D. H. Lawrence, in his essay "The Future of the Novel":

Let us just for the moment feel the pulses of Ulysses and of Miss Dorothy Richardson and M. Marcel Proust . . . Is Ulysses in his cradle? Oh, dear! What a grey face! . . . And M. Proust? Alas! You can hear the death-rattle in their throats. They can hear it themselves. They are listening to it with acute interest, trying to discover whether the intervals are minor thirds of major fourths. Which is rather infantile, really.

So there you have the "serious" novel, dying in a very long-drawn-out fourteen-volume death-agony, and absorbedly, childishly interested in the phenomenon "Did I feel a twinge in my little toe, or didn't I?" asks every character of Mr. Joyce or of Miss Richardson or M. Proust. Is my aura a blend of frankincense and orange pekoe and boot-blacking, or is it myrrh and bacon-fat and Shetland tweed? The audience round the death-bed gapes for the answer. And when, in a sepulchral tone, the answer comes and length, after hundreds of pages: "It is none of these, it is abysmal chloro-coryambasis," the audience quivers all over, and murmurs: "That's just how I feel myself."

Which is the dismal, long-drawn-out comedy of the death-bed of the serious novel. It is self-consciousness picked into such fine bits that the bits are most of them invisible, and you have to go by smell.

Germaine Greer, writing in The Guardian:

If you haven't read Proust, don't worry. This lacuna in your cultural development you do not need to fill. On the other hand, if you have read all of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, you should be very worried about yourself. As Proust very well knew, reading his work for as long as it takes is temps perdu, time wasted, time that would be better spent visiting a demented relative, meditating, walking the dog or learning ancient Greek.

The point of such writing is not to entertain the reader but to dominate him.

Posted by orrinj at 4:28 AM


Democrats' little tent on abortion is holding them back (David Von Drehle, July 6, 2018, Washington Post)

Democrats at the national level have been debating for years over the precise dimensions of the party's tent and whether it has room for abortion dissenters. In 1992, the party drew a line by refusing to allow Pennsylvania's then-governor, Robert P. Casey -- who had recently lost the landmark abortion rights case Planned Parenthood v. Casey in the Supreme Court -- to deliver an antiabortion speech at the national convention. Years later, in what was widely viewed as a fence-mending moment, Casey's son, Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr., was given a featured slot at the 2008 convention.

But to let the issue flare up in the Midwest so close to Election Day suggests a lack of focus on the task at hand. Many voters are looking for alternatives to the increasingly harsh and frantic Republicanism of President Trump, and might be willing to take a fresh look at a Democratic Party comfortable with all types of diversity -- including diversity of ideas and beliefs.

There's no question that the wedge of abortion divides Democrats from Republicans in a general sense. But what do Democrats gain by sharpening the wedge? It won't help them win back the working-class Catholic voters of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan who were so central to Trump's electoral college victory. Nor will it help them hold key Senate seats in otherwise red states such as Missouri, North Dakota and Montana.

Posted by orrinj at 4:24 AM


A Liberal's Case for Brett Kavanaugh (Akhil Reed Amar, July 9, 2018, NY Times)

The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice is President Trump's finest hour, his classiest move. Last week the president promised to select "someone with impeccable credentials, great intellect, unbiased judgment, and deep reverence for the laws and Constitution of the United States." In picking Judge Kavanaugh, he has done just that.

In 2016, I strongly supported Hillary Clinton for president as well as President Barack Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland. But today, with the exception of the current justices and Judge Garland, it is hard to name anyone with judicial credentials as strong as those of Judge Kavanaugh. He sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (the most influential circuit court) and commands wide and deep respect among scholars, lawyers and jurists.

Judge Kavanaugh, who is 53, has already helped decide hundreds of cases concerning a broad range of difficult issues. Good appellate judges faithfully follow the Supreme Court; great ones influence and help steer it. Several of Judge Kavanaugh's most important ideas and arguments -- such as his powerful defense of presidential authority to oversee federal bureaucrats and his skepticism about newfangled attacks on the property rights of criminal defendants -- have found their way into Supreme Court opinions.

Except for Judge Garland, no one has sent more of his law clerks to clerk for the justices of the Supreme Court than Judge Kavanaugh has. And his clerks have clerked for justices across the ideological spectrum.

Posted by orrinj at 4:17 AM


The Deadliest Drug (J.B. WOGAN | JULY 2018, Governing)

The total number of alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities actually rose in both 2015 and 2016. "Drunk driving has been around since the automobile was invented and it's still the biggest killer on the highway," says J.T. Griffin, the chief government affairs officer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Indeed, alcohol causes more traffic deaths per year than either speeding or driving without a seatbelt. 

In January, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine issued a report about the causes of the problem and potential solutions. "Yes, we made progress. No, we didn't get rid of it," says David Jernigan, a Boston University public health researcher who helped write the report. "Ten thousand deaths are too many."

The report provided a package of policy recommendations, one of which was for every state to lower the legal BAC limit from .08 to .05. In practical terms, that would mean most women couldn't drive after two glasses of wine in an hour; most men couldn't drive after three. The report is only the latest to call for a more stringent BAC limit: The National Transportation Safety Board has also called for a lower level. 

Up to now, no state has imposed a limit of .05, but that's about to change. Utah will go to .05 in December. In the past year, Delaware, Hawaii, New York and Washington state have also considered legislation to lower the limit. "It will change the conversation from, 'If you have been drinking too much, you shouldn't drive,' to, 'If you've been drinking, you shouldn't drive,'" says Utah Rep. Norm Thurston, who sponsored the .05 legislation. The new message -- that driving shouldn't occur after even moderate drinking -- "is probably what it should have been all along," he says. 

We can't automate fast enough.

Posted by orrinj at 4:11 AM


GET READY FOR THE BUSH COURT (Daniel Malloy, JUL 10 2018, OZY)

Few people in his position know the space so well. Brett Kavanaugh learned the nooks and crannies of the White House when he was working in the counsel's office, helping select conservatives to fill the federal judiciary, and then as George W. Bush's staff secretary -- an immensely important position that manages the paper crossing the president's desk. [...]

[I]f Kavanaugh does join the court, the conservative majority will be composed of the following:

A George H.W. Bush SCOTUS and appeals court nominee (Clarence Thomas)

A George W. Bush SCOTUS nominee who advised Gov. Jeb Bush during the 2000 Florida recount (John Roberts)

A George W. Bush SCOTUS nominee who was nominated to an appeals seat by George H.W. Bush (Samuel Alito)

A deputy attorney general in George W. Bush's Justice Department, later nominated by Bush to an appeals judgeship (Neil Gorsuch)

Brett Kavanaugh

Posted by orrinj at 4:05 AM


Did North Korea's Kim put potatoes over Pompeo? (AFP, 7/10/18)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have been too busy visiting a potato farm to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Pyongyang's state media implied Tuesday.

Posted by orrinj at 4:03 AM



The announcement of Trump's Supreme Court nominee pick is merely days away -- yet one name on the list has some influential conservatives cringing behind the scenes.

That name is Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. [...]

Kavanaugh drew the ire of multiple influential conservative movement staffers and judicial activist who spoke with The Daily Caller, some on background due to their positions within the White House and decision-making judicial circles. Insiders say that the base criticism of Kavanaugh are beginning to reach Trump. "The White House Counsel's Office is reeling today on Kavanaugh," says one GOP judicial insider with direct knowledge of the selection process. "Kavanaugh is crashing and burning today. I cannot figure out how this happened in one day."

"The conservative grassroots I speak with are terrified that this will be another Harriet Miers," says Terry Schilling, executive director, American Principles Project referencing the ill-fated George W. Bush selection for SCOTUS, citing Bush family nepotism and lack of enthusiasm with the base as Kavanaugh weaknesses.

"Kavanaugh is Jeb Bush's pick for the Supreme Court," one senior administration official lamented. "This is the low-energy Jeb Bush pick. No one in the base will be animated by [Kavanaugh] -- especially Trump supporters who rejected the Bush legacy." [...]

Kavanaugh was a Bush campaign official and White House aide who married George W.'s personal secretary. Bush nominated Kavanaugh to the D.C. Circuit in 2003 where he has presided in the minority ever since. Kavanaugh's confirmation was held up for three years on partisan lines by Democrats objection to his party ties.

Posted by orrinj at 3:50 AM


Colorado's strong jobs performance yet another sign of state's robust economy (DAVE LEMERY, JUL 9, 2018, Pueblo Chieftain)

WalletHub assembled rankings from 29 different categories to devise its ultimate scores for the 50 states. They were sorted into two main subcategories, "economic environment," where Colorado was only 19th best, and "job market," where Colorado finished first. [...]

The forecast noted that the state is still seeing strong employment growth, but the lack of workers could begin to drag on the state's economy. [...]

WalletHub reached out to experts in the field of employment to provide more context to their findings. They asked Bruce Sacerdote, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College, what the government could do to encourage manufacturing growth in the years to come.

"The corporate tax cuts are a sensible way to stimulate business investment," Sacerdote said. "But the onshoring of manufacturing will look quite different than the manufacturing jobs that left. Coal mining is also heavily subject to substitution of sophisticated capital equipment to save labor. But given the greener and cleaner ways to produce energy [including fracked natural gas], perhaps we should not have policies to encourage additional coal production."

Sacerdote also suggested that there was no particular reason to expect that the strong growth in jobs in Colorado and nationwide is necessarily going to come to an end in the near term.

"Expansions do not die of old age," he said. "There is still ample room for labor force participation to grow. I am looking forward to at least another couple of years of robust job growth, but my random guess is no better than anyone else's."

Source: WalletHub