September 11, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 9:57 PM

THE QUESTION, ONCE AGAIN...:

Sanborn tells supporters they'll come up short for 1st CD GOP nomination vs. Edwards (KIMBERLY HOUGHTON and KIMBERLEY HAAS, 9/11/18, Union Leader)

Edwards, who was hoping to make history by becoming the first African-American to win the GOP nomination for Congress in the district also remained optimistic.

"There's a lot of people coming to the polls. A lot of people are very concerned about having a candidate that's able to win the general election," Edwards said Tuesday afternoon. 

Edwards said most of the people who talked with him expressed their concern about both the opioid crisis in New Hampshire and the treatment of military veterans.

This race has come down to two rivals -- one with the reputation as a maverick conservative legislator and the other an outspoken former state department head who often clashed with his superiors.

Sanborn, R-Bedford, had more elective experience and parlayed his Concord sports bar business into a massive financial advantage in this race after loaning his own campaign more than $500,000.

Edwards of Dover made a name for himself as head of law enforcement for the New Hampshire Liquor Commission.

...is Chris Sununu's popularity enough to overcome the Donald drag.

Posted by orrinj at 9:35 PM

WINNING THE WoT:

27-year-old refugee defeats life-long Concord resident in Democratic primary for state rep  (CAITLIN ANDREWS, September 11, 2018, Concord Monitor)

At first, Safiya Wazir couldn't believe what she was hearing.

A second later, it sunk in - after a long day on her feet, Wazir, a pregnant 27-year-old refugee from Afghanistan, defeated lifelong Heights resident and four-term District 17 state Rep. incumbent Dick Patten, overcoming an opponent who tried to say her lack of experience and status as a refugee would hurt her campaign. 

Instead, Wazir said those very things - as well as her drive to connect with voters through doorknocking, thank-you notes and election reminders - buoyed her campaign.

"They were very excited there was someone new running for the State House," she said of her supporters. "It gives me so much energy to be backed from the people themselves. It's driven me to be positive."

Wazir will face off against Republican Dennis Soucy, who's lived in Concord longer than Wazir has been alive.

If she wins in November, Wazir stands to make New Hampshire history as the first refugee to ever serve public office in the state, according to Secretary of State Bill Gardner. Wazir's family left Afghanistan as the Taliban continued to gain power and landed in Concord in 2007.

Posted by orrinj at 9:14 PM

HE'S NOT pROGRESSIVE:

The Limits of Obama's Legacy (JAMELLE BOUIE, SEPT 11, 2018, Slate)

[O]bama does believe that these restrictions aren't onerous enough to stop those who truly want to participate. "The notion that somehow voter suppression is keeping you from voting, as systemic as Republicans have tried to make voting more difficult for minorities, for Democrats, for young people, the truth of the matter is, if you actually want to vote, then you can vote," he said in that 2016 interview. He echoed that sentiment in his Illinois address, when he told students that "the biggest threat to our democracy is indifference. The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism." [...]

A more forgiving attitude toward those who don't vote--and a greater recognition of obstacles to the ballot--may not fit with Obama's vision of civic engagement and responsibility. But it does speak to feelings of disenchantment and disengagement that proved ruinous for Democrats in the last two national elections. Democratic apathy in 2014 contributed to Republican Senate gains; Democratic apathy (and voter suppression) in 2016 helped Donald Trump become president, giving Republicans an opportunity to undermine Obama's legislative and regulatory accomplishments. Talking about voter suppression may not energize voters, but downplaying it rings false. Greater engagement with the problem--even using it to center a voting-rights agenda--may have proved more effective this cycle than essentially trying to shame Americans into voting.

You can understand Barack Obama's return to electoral politics as a commentary on the stakes of the moment; control of Congress will have profound implications for democratic accountability and the direction of American governance, to say nothing of President Trump's personal fortunes. Looking beyond the question of the current White House occupant, Obama's return is also an opportunity to think through and even complicate his political legacy and the ways in which he expanded the realm of the possible for candidates of color, and black Democrats in particular.

He did this, in part, by merging a rhetoric of unity with one of responsibility and respectability. He motivated and he moralized. But protest movements like Black Lives Matter and a heightened sense of the limits of moralizing have made "respectability" unfashionable. His political successors have rejected it entirely, absorbing the basic insight of Obama's career--that black candidates can win decisively in white electorates--and pushing beyond the boundaries set by the former president.

That evolution is what's striking about the present moment and why Democrats across the country are watching Georgia and Florida with a close eye. These are black Democrats running unambiguously progressive campaigns in traditionally conservative states, where black politicians have failed to make serious inroads.

His legacy is moderate Republican.

Posted by orrinj at 5:33 PM

YOU'RE LOOKING AT THIS ALL WRONG:

Trump: My Handling of the Hurricane in Puerto Rico Was an 'Unsung Success' (Eric Levitz, 9/11/18, New York)

Weeks later -- after his administration's inaction contributed to a humanitarian crisis that condemned millions of U.S. citizens to a preindustrial existence, and cost thousands of them their lives -- Trump paid Puerto Rico a visit. And in between feuding with the island's elected leadership, Trump told Puerto Ricans that they should be very proud of the government's response -- because it had spared them from suffering a "real catastrophe like Katrina." [...]

On Tuesday, the president spoke with reporters about the White House's preparations for Hurricane Florence. During that conversation, Trump said that his administration's response to Hurricane Maria was "the best job we did," and that the federal government's relief effort was an "incredible, unsung success."

It's Donald and a predominantly Latino island: his complete success would be if they'd all died.

Posted by orrinj at 5:05 PM

THE NOTION THAT SERENA SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXCUSED IS JUST SEXISM:


Posted by orrinj at 4:36 PM

HOW MUCH LIFTING CAN CHRIS SUNUNU DO?:

Texas Troubles Bedevil Republicans' Senate Strategy (Derek Wallbank, September 11, 2018, Bloomberg)

New Hampshire voters head to the polls in the penultimate congressional primaries. Here's a look at what we're watching:

NH-01: Democrats and Republicans choose their candidates today for the race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.

Shea-Porter endorsed former chief of staff Naomi Andrews; Among other Democrats seeking the seat, Maura Sullivan, a Marine Corps veteran and former Veterans Affairs Dept official, and Chris Pappas, an elected member of the state's 
Executive Council, have dominated fundraising and endorsements

Bernie Sanders' son, Levi Sanders, is also among Democratic candidates in the race;  Washington Post reports the elder Sanders hasn't endorsed his son

The five active Republican candidates include state Sen. Andy Sanborn and Eddie Edwards, a Navy veteran and former police chief

NH-02: Republicans pick a challenger to Democratic incumbent Annie Kuster from a field of seven.



Posted by orrinj at 4:27 PM

BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT:

Independent poll asks Americans whether Trump is 'mentally stable' (Steve Benen, 9/11/18, MSNBC)

[T]his was the result from the Quinnipiac report that jumped out at me:

Do you think that President Trump is mentally stable, or not?

Yes, he's stable: 48%
No, he's not: 42%

The fact that a plurality of Americans said yes may seem like fairly good news for the president, but that's a rather generous way of looking at the results. For one thing, Trump couldn't quite crack the 50% mark on this question, which is hardly reassuring.

For another, we've reached the point in American history at which a major independent pollster feels justified asking the public about a sitting president's mental stability.

Posted by Orrin Judd at 4:11 PM

FROM THE ARCHIVES: REMEMBER THE CLUTCHED:

The Falling Man (Tom Junod, September 2003, Esquire)

Do you remember this photograph? In the United States, people have taken pains to banish it from the record of September 11, 2001. The story behind it, though, and the search for the man pictured in it, are our most intimate connection to the horror of that day.

Original photo from Esquire replaced with Wikimedia image (9/12/2013)

In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying. He appears relaxed, hurtling through the air. He appears comfortable in the grip of unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravity's divine suction or by what awaits him. His arms are by his side, only slightly outriggered. His left leg is bent at the knee, almost casually. His white shirt, or jacket, or frock, is billowing free of his black pants. His black high-tops are still on his feet. In all the other pictures, the people who did what he did--who jumped--appear to be struggling against horrific discrepancies of scale. They are made puny by the backdrop of the towers, which loom like colossi, and then by the event itself. Some of them are shirtless; their shoes fly off as they flail and fall; they look confused, as though trying to swim down the side of a mountain. The man in the picture, by contrast, is perfectly vertical, and so is in accord with the lines of the buildings behind him. He splits them, bisects them: Everything to the left of him in the picture is the North Tower; everything to the right, the South. Though oblivious to the geometric balance he has achieved, he is the essential element in the creation of a new flag, a banner composed entirely of steel bars shining in the sun. Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else--something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. There is something almost rebellious in the man's posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death, he decided to get on with it; as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end. He is, fifteen seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST, the moment the picture is taken, in the clutches of pure physics, accelerating at a rate of thirty-two feet per second squared. He will soon be traveling at upwards of 150 miles per hour, and he is upside down. In the picture, he is frozen; in his life outside the frame, he drops and keeps dropping until he disappears. [...]

THEY BEGAN JUMPING NOT LONG after the first plane hit the North Tower, not long after the fire started. They kept jumping until the tower fell. They jumped through windows already broken and then, later, through windows they broke themselves. They jumped to escape the smoke and the fire; they jumped when the ceilings fell and the floors collapsed; they jumped just to breathe once more before they died. They jumped continually, from all four sides of the building, and from all floors above and around the building's fatal wound. They jumped from the offices of Marsh & McLennan, the insurance company; from the offices of Cantor Fitzgerald, the bond-trading company; from Windows on the World, the restaurant on the 106th and 107th floors--the top. For more than an hour and a half, they streamed from the building, one after another, consecutively rather than en masse, as if each individual required the sight of another individual jumping before mustering the courage to jump himself or herself. One photograph, taken at a distance, shows people jumping in perfect sequence, like parachutists, forming an arc composed of three plummeting people, evenly spaced. Indeed, there were reports that some tried parachuting, before the force generated by their fall ripped the drapes, the tablecloths, the desperately gathered fabric, from their hands. They were all, obviously, very much alive on their way down, and their way down lasted an approximate count of ten seconds. They were all, obviously, not just killed when they landed but destroyed, in body though not, one prays, in soul. One hit a fireman on the ground and killed him; the fireman's body was anointed by Father Mychal Judge, whose own death, shortly thereafter, was embraced as an example of martyrdom after the photograph--the redemptive tableau--of firefighters carrying his body from the rubble made its way around the world.

From the beginning, the spectacle of doomed people jumping from the upper floors of the World Trade Center resisted redemption. They were called "jumpers" or "the jumpers," as though they represented a new lemminglike class. The trial that hundreds endured in the building and then in the air became its own kind of trial for the thousands watching them from the ground. No one ever got used to it; no one who saw it wished to see it again, although, of course, many saw it again. Each jumper, no matter how many there were, brought fresh horror, elicited shock, tested the spirit, struck a lasting blow. Those tumbling through the air remained, by all accounts, eerily silent; those on the ground screamed. It was the sight of the jumpers that prompted Rudy Giuliani to say to his police commissioner, "We're in uncharted waters now." It was the sight of the jumpers that prompted a woman to wail, "God! Save their souls! They're jumping! Oh, please God! Save their souls!" And it was, at last, the sight of the jumpers that provided the corrective to those who insisted on saying that what they were witnessing was "like a movie," for this was an ending as unimaginable as it was unbearable: Americans responding to the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world with acts of heroism, with acts of sacrifice, with acts of generosity, with acts of martyrdom, and, by terrible necessity, with one prolonged act of--if these words can be applied to mass murder--mass suicide.

IN MOST AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS, the photograph that Richard Drew took of the Falling Man ran once and never again. Papers all over the country, from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to the Memphis Commercial Appeal to The Denver Post, were forced to defend themselves against charges that they exploited a man's death, stripped him of his dignity, invaded his privacy, turned tragedy into leering pornography.


Four years on it remains the case, as we've said on past anniversaries, that the same fundamental decency that won't allow us to use the horrible images of 9-11 dulls the anger we should still feel afresh and inhibits our determination to pursue Islamicism with the fury we ought. However, it is likewise true that it is because of the kind of society we are that we are Reforming the Middle East far faster and more thoroughly than most dreamed possible those four years ago.

It is the great irony of 9-11 that what rose from the ashes that our fellow citizens fell into was not just a better, more serious, America but a better, more liberal, represenative, and hopeful Islamic world as well. One would not wish ever to seem to be referring to the attacks as "worthwhile," but the ascent of liberty that has followed them at least means that none died in vain that day. Correction: 19 actually did die in vain, their evil actions producing exactly the opposite effect they'd planned on. Those 72 raisins must taste damned bitter.


N.B.: One of the books I keep handy, for the express purpose of recapturing the righteous anger that 9-11 should always provoke, is Face of the Tiger, the collection of Mark Steyn's columns from its aftermath. Mr. Steyn is always worth reading but was never better than in the wake of 9-11.


MORE:

[originally posted: 9/11/05]

Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted by orrinj at 3:03 PM

WINNING THE WAR ON WAGES:

Volkswagen will use 3D printers to mass produce parts (Ivana Kottasová, September 11, 2018, CNN)

The world's largest carmaker unveiled plans Tuesday to start using HP metal printing technology to manufacture select parts including gear knobs and custom tailgate lettering.

Volkswagen said that it wants to mass produce structural parts using the technology within two to three years.

Posted by orrinj at 11:42 AM

INFORMATION WANTS TO BE FREE:

Brett Kavanaugh Exposed As Ken Starr's Designated Leaker (Dan E. Moldea, September 11, 2018, National Memo)

During the lengthy investigation that led to President Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1998, the Office of the Independent Counsel (OIC), led by Kenneth Starr, leaked non-public information -- including grand jury information whose release was allegedly illegal--to a stable of selected journalists, some of whom were identified by the OIC as "confidential informants."

One of the OIC officials tasked to provide this non-public information -- designed, in part, to smear Bill and Hillary Clinton -- was Brett Kavanaugh, an accomplished Republican political operative whom Donald Trump has nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Until we open source all government communications, leakers are how the public gets the information it is entitled to.




MORE:
Trump expected to declassify Carter Page and Bruce Ohr documents (Jonathan Swan, Lauren Meier, Sep 9, 2018, Axios)

President Trump is expected to declassify, as early as this week, documents covering the U.S. government's surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the investigative activities of senior Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr, according to allies of the president.

Declassify everything.

Posted by orrinj at 11:37 AM

KEEP CHUMMING THE WATERS:

Fmr. Trump Adviser Claims To Know Secret Author Behind Anti-Trump NYT Op-Ed (JACOB AIREY, September 11, 2018, Daily wire)

Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo spoke to CNN on Sunday where he told host Fredericka Whitfield that he knows the identity of the person who wrote an anonymous Anti-Trump New York Times op-ed by someone claiming to be a senior staff member at the White House.

"I'm fairly certain I know who it is," he said. "I've been going through this parlor game like everybody else has, and I am also completely 100% certain that the person who wrote this is on the list of people who said they didn't write it."

Posted by orrinj at 11:34 AM

FIRST THE RESULTS, THEN THE "SCIENCE":

The Elasticity of Science (Kyle Myers, 8/22/18, Harvard University)

This paper estimates the degree to which scientists are willing to change the direction of their work in exchange for resources. Novel data from the National Institutes of Health is used to estimate an entry model that accounts for strategic interactions. Inducing a scientist to change their direction by 1 standard deviation, a qualitatively small difference, requires a four-fold increase in funds, an extra $1 million per year.



Posted by orrinj at 11:31 AM

GLOBALIZATION IS ANGLOFICATION:

THE GREATEST CONSTITUTION THE WORLD NEVER SAW (DAN PELESCHUK, SEPT 10 2018, OZY)

Considering the magnitude of the defeat, it was surprising Cossack nobleman Pylyp Orlyk had the energy to even put pen to paper -- let alone conceive of a visionary political idea that would shape Ukrainian thinking for centuries to come. The army of Swedish King Charles XII, along with its local Zaporozhian Cossack allies, had just been routed by Peter I of Russia across what's now central Ukraine, diminishing Sweden's standing as one of the continent's dominant powers and cementing Russia's grip over Eastern Europe.

Thousands died in the June 1709 campaign, and Charles fled southwest to Ottoman-controlled territory, now part of Moldova. With him came Cossack leader Ivan Mazepa, as well as Orlyk, Mazepa's trusted and well-educated counselor. Defeated, Orlyk was not discouraged: Fluent in several languages and conversant in political theory, he threw himself into a political project envisaging a form of democratic rule over the territory the Cossacks had just abandoned -- but had increasingly come to consider their own.

Not only was the resulting document a landmark in Ukrainian political thought, but some believe the Orlyk Constitution, as it's known, was one of the world's first such treatises, empowering the citizenry and introducing the separation of powers long before the American or French constitutions were enacted. Yet because history is written by the winners, it was lost to history, says Frank Sysyn, director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies in Toronto. "The Orlyk Constitution and Orlyk's activity," he says, "becomes to a great degree symbolic in the way that lost causes can be symbolic."



Posted by orrinj at 11:21 AM

WE ARE ALL DESIGNIST NOW:


Posted by orrinj at 8:58 AM


Posted by orrinj at 8:57 AM


Posted by orrinj at 8:14 AM

THE SALIENT FACT OF THE WoT...:

The 1988 meeting that shaped the world we live in (Peter Bergen, 9/11/18, CNN)

Al-Qaeda has not successfully directed a deadly attack inside the United States since that day 17 years ago. Nor has any other jihadist foreign terrorist organization.

That represents a major success for the United States' counterterrorism effort since 9/11. Few analysts in the months and years after the attacks would have predicted that the United States would be so successful in avoiding attacks.
Thanks to the hard work of law enforcement and intelligence agencies and the military, as well as the public's greater awareness, the threat to the homeland today is far more limited than it was on 9/11. This has certainly come at a price -- trillions in spending, unprecedented security measures at airports and public venues, and roiling public debate over immigration and law enforcement.

Yet, the United States still faces a new and different jihadist threat: individuals motivated by jihadist ideology, but with no operational direction from a foreign terrorist organization. Such individuals have carried out 13 lethal attacks and killed 104 people in the United States since the 9/11 attacks, according to research by New America.

The rise of al-Qaeda's breakaway faction, ISIS, took this threat to a new level. Three-quarters of the people killed by jihadist extremists in the United States since 9/11 have been killed since 2014, the year ISIS declared its caliphate. Eight of the 13 lethal attacks in the US since 9/11 occurred in that time period, and seven were motivated in part by ISIS' propaganda. In 2015, an unprecedented 80 Americans were accused of jihadist-terrorism-related crimes, almost all inspired in some way by ISIS, according to New America's research.

Yet even at its height of power in Iraq and Syria, ISIS did not direct a lethal attack inside the United States.
With the territorial collapse of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the threat to the United States has waned further. The number of jihadist terrorism cases involving Americans has declined every year since its peak of the 80 cases in 2015. As of the end of August, only eight Americans had been charged with jihadist-terrorism-related crimes in 2018.

Despite much fear over the threat posed by "foreign fighters" -- those Westerners who joined ISIS and other militant groups abroad -- few Americans succeeded in joining ISIS. Fewer still returned. There is only one known case of an American who fought in Syria or Iraq plotting violence after returning to the United States, and no returnee has actually conducted an attack.
 
...was how easily it was won.  And while our leaders and national security/law enforcement members deserve some significant credit, the ease of the victory was mainly a function of the weakness of the opponent.  Where Left/Right wished to see the Salafi as offering a rival to the End of History, you can not have a clash of civilizations where there is only one.  Al Qaeda, ISIS, etc. offered no coherent alternative to democracy, capitalism, protestantism, so had no way of appealing to a mass audience.  Indeed, rather than make the Arab world more totalitarian, their attacks have made it more democratic.  Indeed, our losses in the WoT have come at our own hands, when we failed to embrace elected Islamist political parties vindicating democratic self-determination: Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt.  Our Realism in these instances has backfired sufficiently that we may, hopefully, have learned our lesson.  

My personal worry at the time of 9-11 was that we might retreat from the field before we had finished toppling the worst regimes, particularly Assad's.  As we saw in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Raqqa, it is extremely simple to destroy an evil regime provided that it is actually functioning as a state.  This is why ISIS and the Taliban are not, and never were, genuine threats.  To precisely the extent that they win--centralize their power--they make themselves easy targets for our military might.   We can decapitate them at virtually no cost to ourselves.  Now that we have used Assad (and Putin and Iran) to fight ISIS for us, it is time to do the same to him.  Just make an offer he can't refuse: elections or Hellfire.



Posted by orrinj at 7:52 AM

ALWAYS BET ON THE dEEP sTATE:

OZY'S EXCLUSIVE ELECTION MODEL: A DEMOCRATIC HOUSE TAKEOVER (Daniel Malloy, 9/11/19, ozy)

[W]e decided to team up with 0ptimus, a data and technology firm based in Washington. Founded in 2013, 0ptimus is a Republican firm -- they once worked on Marco Rubio's presidential campaign -- that aimed to develop an unbiased, nonpartisan prediction model so it could show its clients in the worlds of both politics and finance where the winds were blowing.

Our exclusive first forecast shows blue-friendly skies ahead. The Democrats are almost certain to take over the U.S. House this fall, but that doesn't mean they will have a huge margin to work with in 2019. And the gathering blue wave looks like it will produce a status quo Senate, with Republicans holding onto control by a slim margin.

We find Democrats with an 89.9 percent chance of taking control of the House for the first time since 2010, with the most likely number of Democratic seats at 227, compared with 208 for Republicans.

In the Senate, Republicans have an 82.1 percent chance of capturing at least 50 seats -- which is what they'll need to control the upper chamber, with Vice President Mike Pence acting as a tiebreaker -- and we project them to have 51 seats.


MORE:
"THE HOUSE IS ALREADY LOST": AS THE MIDTERMS APPROACH, G.O.P. INSIDERS PREPARE FOR AN ELECTORAL D-DAY (DAVID M. DRUCKER, SEPTEMBER 10, 2018, Vanity Fair)

"At this stage of the game, losing the House is the most likely proposition. It's just a matter of how bad it gets," said a disconsolate Republican strategist with clients on the ballot, describing the final, desperate scramble to rescue the G.O.P.'s 23-seat majority from an impeachment-happy opposition. In Washington, a familiar sort of fatalism has taken hold. Just weeks until early voting kicks off, a spate of fresh public-opinion polls show Democrats on the precipice of a resounding victory. Time is short; resources are dwindling, and the singular figure with the power to make or break the party--Donald Trump--seems pathologically incapable of standing down and letting a booming job market do the talking. "You have people imploring the president not to put them in a position that will harm them--and therefore harm him," a veteran G.O.P. operative said of Republican congressional leaders.

The pendulum of political power, which historically swings against the White House during the midterms, could be especially savage this year, given the sharp dissatisfaction with Trump in America's usually Republican-leaning suburbs. Washington's high-powered consulting class is betting on it. The lobby shops and advocacy organizations that play both sides and thrive on proximity to power are preparing for a changing of the gavel and moving to forge connections with Democratic committee chairmen in the House beginning in January of 2019, when the 116th Congress is seated. "Downtown, there is a sense that the House is already lost for Republicans," a G.O.P. lobbyist and former senior House aide told me. "There is a hiring spree for plugged-in House Democrats who want to lobby. So, downtown is already planning on the Democratic takeover; the bets are on how big the flip will be."

Posted by orrinj at 7:36 AM

IT'S NOT JUST THE TREASON:

PRESIDENT TRUMP PUTS THE CART BEFORE THE TAXPAYERS (TMZ, 9/10/18)

Taxpayers footed bills totaling $300,675 for golf cart rentals alone, so the Secret Service could follow Trump on the links ... this according to federal documents obtained by TMZ.

Many of the expenses emanate from Trump's Mar-a-Lago excursions. And, get this ... since taking office Trump has reportedly spent 153 days at golf properties, which explains why the golf cart rental is sky high.

Since Trump took office, the total expense of his golf outings cost taxpayers an estimated $77 MILLION. 

Posted by orrinj at 7:25 AM

A JEB-SIZED WHOLE TO FILL:

Boring Is the New Black: It's enough excitement already. (Gail Collins and Bret Stephens, Sept. 11, 2018, NY Times)

Bret: The threat to turn the Justice Department loose on our editorial pages because of the Op-Ed article we published by an anonymous senior administration official is the sort of thuggish tactic Tricky Dick might have fantasized about. (Say what you will about the Pentagon Papers, they were actual secrets being revealed there, not the common knowledge of every sane person in Washington.)

Again, it's depressing that the Republican reaction has been to denounce The Times or accuse the author of treason or cowardice, rather than acknowledge the simple truth of the situation. But anyway ... who do you think it is?

Gail: I'm so glad I don't know because I am terrible with secrets. I do love all the speculation about Mike Pence and "lodestar," though. Do you think the president's going to take Pence up on that lie detector offer? Or tell Jeff Sessions to tap his phones?

By the way, about Jeff Sessions. A lot of people feel that even though he was a weasel throughout his career, they're glad he's attorney general right now. I know you're definitely not a fan, so what's your take?

Bret: I think Sessions should lie in the flea-ridden bed he's made with the president. He was the first senator to endorse Trump and now he's getting exactly what he deserves. What's worse, he's chosen to accept public abuse and humiliation from Trump so that he can make good on his real ambition, which is to abuse and humiliate immigrants in a manner that's a national disgrace.  [...]

Gail: [...] And then finally in 2020, we elect a new president who is hopefully both a Democrat and kind of boring. What say you?

Bret: I say boring is the new black. I envision someone like Tim Kaine without the charisma; Gerald Ford without the malice; George H.W. Bush without the vicious hatred of broccoli. Basically, anyone smart and responsible and good at making you forget he's even there. Or rather, she. It's past time.

Gail: Amen.

In order to give ourselves better odds of electing boring--or merely competent--presidents we need to de-democratize the primaries and return more influence to the party.

Posted by orrinj at 7:13 AM

BEGONE:

CNN Poll: Trump approval down 6 points in a month, hits low among independents (Jennifer Agiesta, 9/10/18, CNN)

The President's favorability rating -- a measure of whether people like him, rather than approve of his job performance -- has also taken a hit in this poll, with 61% saying they have unfavorable views of Trump, up from 55% in June. That unfavorable number is the worst since he won the presidency, and it matches the worst level seen during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump has also lost ground on several personal attributes, most notably perceptions of his honesty: Just 32% say they see the President as honest and trustworthy, the worst read in CNN polling. About a third, 32%, say he's someone they are proud to have as President, down 6 points since March and the lowest since Trump took office. Only 36% say he "cares about people like you," another new low. Just 30% say he'll unite the country and not divide it, matching his previous low on that measure from November 2017. Four in 10 say the President can bring the kind of change the country needs, down 5 points from March and matching a November 2017 low. And 60% say the President does not respect the rule of law, not significantly changed since March.

Posted by orrinj at 6:59 AM

GLOBALIZATION IS ANGLOFICATION:

More English must be taught in French primary schools, government says (The Local, 11 September 2018)

The French government wants to introduce more English lessons in primary schools to boost foreign-language teaching across France and improve the nation's poor language skills.

On Wednesday, France's ministry of education will publish a series of recommendations to achieve this, which will include teaching primary schools pupils subjects like science, history and maths in English and broadcasting cartoons in English and other foreign languages on public television.

The report was co-written by a British journalist.

"The aim is to boost the level of pupils in English, and also in a second foreign language. Being able to express oneself correctly is also crucial," the government said.

Posted by orrinj at 4:07 AM

AND IT'S FREE:

Walking Might Be the Best Exercise There Is (Brad Stulberg, Sep 10, 2018, Outside)

It's easy to get excited about the latest and greatest trends, from high-intensity interval training to ultramarathons to triathlons to powerlifting. But at the end of the day, regular brisk walking gets you most, if not all of the way there--"there" meaning a long and healthy life. This is the main conclusion from the June volume of the prestigious British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), a special edition dedicated exclusively to walking.

"Whether it is a stroll on a sunny day, walking to and from work, or walking down to the local shops, the act of putting one foot in front of the other in a rhythmic manner is as much human nature as breathing, thinking and loving," write researchers Emmanuel Stamatakis, Mark Hamer, and Marie Murphy in an editorial in the journal.

The main study in the BJSM special edition surveyed more than 50,000 walkers in the United Kingdom--a variety of ages, both men and women--and found that regularly walking at an average, brisk, or fast pace was associated with a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality and a 24 percent reduction in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. All the data was self-reported. Participants were asked how frequently they walked and whether they would describe their usual pace as "slow," "average," "fairly brisk," or "fast." Though self-reported data like this is often viewed as a weakness, in this case it may actually be a strength. This is because "slow" versus "brisk" for a 30-year-old is different than "slow" versus "brisk" for a 70-year-old. In other words, what the researchers were really measuring was rate of perceived exertion, or how hard people felt they were walking. This method is proven to be an effective way to gauge effort and intensity during exercise. "A very simple way to grasp what a 'brisk' pace is in terms of exertion is to imagine it as a pace that gets you out of breath when it is sustained for more than a few minutes," says Stamatakis, lead author on the study and professor of physical activity, lifestyle, and population health at the University of Sydney, Australia.

Another study, published earlier this year in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, examined nearly 140,000 men and women in the United States and came to the same conclusion. Engaging in at least 150 minutes per week of brisk walking was linked to a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality.