June 4, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 8:05 PM


A tailor explains Trump's style disaster (Cockburn, June 4, 2019, Spectator USA)

'Those trousers are just wrong,' Chris says. 'They've clearly been bought, and not made. They're about four inches too long. They're perfectly straight, about the same size at the top as they are at the bottom, and they're probably about 20 inches at the ankle. He probably thinks it covers up a certain amount of fatness, that if he has wide-bottomed trousers it'll disguise the width of his hips and waist. If anything, it does the opposite when they're that straight'.

'The white tie is just abysmal,' Chris reflects. 'The trousers are a similar cut to chinos. I suspect they're not high-waisted, so he's had to get an extra-long waistcoat to cover the top of the trousers. So now you've got at least four inches of white showing between the coat and the trousers. Look at Prince Charles. With proper military fashion, you don't see any white in between, and the coat is just covering the waistcoat.'

Chris considers Trump's innovative display of snowy acres of waistcoat. 'That waistcoat must be buttoned around his crotch. He's a big guy, but there's no excuse not to have something that fits. Now, a lot of men these days do wear white tie with about in inch of white showing. It can frame the coat, and it can look nice. If you're Fred Astaire, it'll accentuate the length of your legs. But not four inches.'

If Trump's trousers and waistcoat are too big, his coat is too small. 'That tail coat is appalling. The sleeves are two inches too long, the jacket body is three inches too short. The tails are five inches too short. The whole thing is just short and boxy.'

'The tails are meant to touch the back of your knees, but they're on his mid-thigh,' Chris says, more in sorrow than anger. 'The whole coat is way too short for him. Why would he do this? The whole thing is just so wrong, on so many levels. There's a fellow in the background, looking at him and smirking. I can imagine he's thinking, "What a twit!"'

Chris suspects Trump's chino-like dress trousers are inspired by his golf outfits. 'That's Biff from Back to the Future,' he confirms.

Dressed to distress - fashion statements of the Trumps on tour (Jess Cartner-Morley, 4 Jun 2019, The Guardian)

The Trumps have dressed for this trip with all the nuance and subtlety that is their trademark. After Melania flew to London dressed as Big Ben, Tiffany appears to have typed "Jane Austen World Book Day costume" into the Amazon search bar and came up with an evening gown in a shade of claret that gave her the vibe of a midwestern bridesmaid who is, like, really into Downton Abbey.

In her custom Dior Dancing on Ice dress, Melania looked like white-tie I, Tonya, but it is Ivanka who, as ever, strikes terror into the heart with her replicant-like ability to almost convincingly model modern metropolitan dress. The ghostly image of Ivanka and Jared gazing out from behind a palace curtain had every bit as much cosy warmth as Grant Wood's 1930 American Gothic portrait...

The remake of The Omen is going well.
 The remake of The Omen is going well. Photograph: Tim Rooke/Rex/Shutterstock

Nothing though beats the Queen giving Donald a book and, just in case anyone didn't get the joke, an abridged edition.

Posted by orrinj at 6:04 PM


Stocks Jump as Fed's Powell Suggests Rates Could Come Down (Jeanna Smialek and Matt Phillips, June 4, 2019, NY Times)

The Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome H. Powell, said on Tuesday that the central bank was prepared to act to sustain the economic expansion if President Trump's trade war weakened the economy. His remarks sent stocks soaring as investors predicted a cut in interest rates.

Posted by orrinj at 5:54 PM


Rep. Steve King Was Kicked Off House Committees Over White Nationalism. Now Some In The GOP Want Him Back. (Aiden Pink, 6/04/19, The Forward)

Some Republicans in the House of Representatives are trying to get Rep. Steve King back on congressional committees, months after he was kicked off them for making offensive comments about white nationalism, Politico reported Monday.

Politico named three leaders of the effort, but noted others were involved as well. "It was unfair the way it was quoted," one of the leaders, Rep. Louie Gohmert, told Politico, referring to the January interview King did with The New York Times in which King said, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization -- how did that language become offensive?"

Posted by orrinj at 5:51 PM


Republican Justin Amash stands by position to start impeachment proceedings despite criticism (Leigh Ann Caldwell and Alex Moe, 5/28/19, NBC News)

Cathy Garnaat, a Republican who supported Amash and the president said she was upset about Amash's position but wanted to hear his reasoning. She said that she will definitely support Trump in 2020 but that Tuesday night was the first time she had heard that the Mueller report didn't completely exonerate the president.

"I was surprised to hear there was anything negative in the Mueller report at all about President Trump. I hadn't heard that before," she said. "I've mainly listened to conservative news and I hadn't heard anything negative about that report and President Trump has been exonerated."

Posted by orrinj at 2:13 PM



Posted by orrinj at 4:10 AM


Immoral Conduct and Moral Witness: Does the sexual depravity of Martin Luther King, Jr. negate his work and witness in the cause of racial justice? (REV. EUGENE F. RIVERS AND ROBERT P. GEORGE, 6/03/19, Public Discourse)

Like many Americans, we have long admired the work and witness of Martin Luther King, Jr. His leadership and courage in a supremely just cause have inspired our own work. What, then, are we to make of recent revelations that he exploited his fame and status to have affairs with countless women, treating them as mere sex objects, and perhaps even stood by laughing as a colleague committed a rape in his hotel room?

We will not hide the fact that we have been devastated by these revelations. Nor will we pretend that they have not lowered King in our estimation. Having said that, we have never been under the illusion that he was faultless or sinless. It has long been known that he was sometimes unfaithful to his wife Coretta. While we have not excused his adulteries, we believed that they represented the succumbing to human weakness of a man who was frequently on the road away from his wife and family and who was, for a variety of reasons, attractive to young women. We also believed that when he sinned he knew he was sinning, did not approve of his own conduct or recommend it to others, and was genuinely--if, alas, only temporarily--remorseful about having veered from the path of virtue.

On these latter points, it now seems clear that we were wrong. As he traveled the country, he sought out women to use for nothing more than sexual pleasure; he took advantage of his stature and fame to seduce them; he participated in orgies; and, as we've noted, there is evidence that he allowed a colleague to force himself on an unwilling woman--indeed, a woman who objected to being asked to perform an immoral act.

All of this is to be condemned. It is to be condemned unequivocally--no ifs, ands, or buts. It was against the biblical Christian faith that King presented himself as holding and in whose name he spoke against racial injustice. It was against the natural moral law, which he rightly invoked in denouncing segregation and Jim Crow. It was against the Gospel proclaimed then and now by faithful Christians of all traditions and, with special force, by those of the Black church tradition which King inherited from his father, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr.

As was pointed out by the late historian Eugene D. Genovese, the principal philosophical difference between King, Jr. and King, Sr. was the former's embracing of theological liberalism--especially the denial of the historicity and literal meaning of Christian doctrines such as the Resurrection of Christ. Were King Jr.'s personal moral delinquencies underwritten in part by this theological liberalism? It is, of course, impossible to say with certainty. Yet, if we look at the Christian denominations that over the past several decades have abandoned traditional Christian moral teachings--especially on questions of marriage, sexual morality, and the sanctity of human life--they are the traditions into which theological liberalism made the biggest inroads decades before.

By contrast, Christian traditions that have resisted theological liberalism have remained faithful to traditional Christian moral teachings, including the belief that marriage is the conjugal union of husband and wife and that sex outside the bond of marriage is morally impermissible, and the teaching that the life of the child in the womb and that of the frail elderly person must be protected against the crimes of abortion and euthanasia.

Posted by orrinj at 4:01 AM


Israel's new election highlights tense ties to ultra-Orthodox (ARON HELLER, 6/04/19, Times of Israel)

The trigger for Israel's unprecedented repeat election touches upon one of the major fault lines in Israeli society -- the role of the growing ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in modern life.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's prospective government collapsed last week at least nominally over the issue of military draft exemptions for ultra-Orthodox men, a source of longtime resentment among the secular majority of Jewish Israelis who are required to serve.

The conflict over the draft law is just one of several deep disagreements over the role of religion in Israeli society. While the ultra-Orthodox parties wield significant political influence, experts say their cloistered communities are being left behind by modern society, with long-lasting negative consequences for the future of the country.

Posted by orrinj at 4:00 AM


Trump Offered States Obamacare 'Relief.' They Don't Want It. : Not a single state has applied for a State Relief and Empowerment Waiver that's meant to lower premiums. Why not? (MATTIE QUINN | JUNE 3, 2019, Governing)

In October, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) encouraged states to apply for new "State Relief and Empowerment Waivers," which would allow them to sell health insurance plans that duck Obamacare regulations and use federal subsidies to make them more affordable.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Barack Obama's signature health law, requires health plans to cover "essential health benefits," such as preexisting conditions, mental health care and maternity care. The relief waivers would let people buy plans, with subsidies, that don't include that coverage.

When CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced the waivers, she told reporters it was one way for state lawmakers to "get out from under the onerous rules under Obamacare."

Almost seven months later, not one state has applied. [...]

[A]fter a couple years of trial and error, along with state intervention, "the marketplaces are fairly stable at the moment," says Corlette.

Ideology does not fare well against reality.
Posted by orrinj at 12:01 AM


The Coming G.O.P. Apocalypse: Stumbling blind into the age of diversity. (David Brooks, June 3, 2019, NY Times)

[T]oday's generation gap is not based just on temporary intellectual postures. It is based on concrete, lived experience that is never going to go away.

Unlike the Silent Generation and the boomers, millennials and Gen Z voters live with difference every single day. Only 16 percent of the Silent Generation is minority, but 44 percent of the millennial generation is. If you are a millennial in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona or New Jersey, ethnic minorities make up more than half of your age cohort. In just over two decades, America will be a majority-minority country.

Young voters approve of these trends. Seventy-nine percent of millennials think immigration is good for America. Sixty-one percent think racial diversity is good for America.

They have constructed an ethos that is mostly about dealing with difference. They are much more sympathetic to those who identify as transgender. They are much more likely than other groups to say that racial discrimination is the main barrier to black progress. They are much less likely to say the U.S. is the best country in the world.

These days the Republican Party looks like a direct reaction against this ethos -- against immigration, against diversity, against pluralism. Moreover, conservative thought seems to be getting less relevant to the America that is coming into being.

Matthew Continetti recently identified the key blocs on the new right in an essay in The Washington Free Beacon. These included the Jacksonians (pugilistic populists), the Paleos (Tucker Carlson-style economic nationalists), the Post-Liberals (people who oppose pluralism and seek a return to pre-Enlightenment orthodoxy). To most young adults, these tendencies will look like cloud cuckooland.

The most burning question for conservatives should be: What do we have to say to young adults and about the diverse world they are living in? Instead, conservative intellectuals seem hellbent on taking their 12 percent share among the young and turning it to 3.

Conservatives never processed the Tea Party, which was just older, whiter, wealthier males who were afraid the coloreds would use up the government benefit money they were counting on.  Then we doubled down with Nativism and Birtherism.  Now we confront the monster, late, but not too late.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Botched family reunifications left migrant children waiting in vans overnight (Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley, 6/03/19, NBC News)

Under the blistering Texas sun last July, 37 migrant children boarded vans for what was supposed to be a 30-minute ride. At the end of the road from Harlingen to Los Fresnos lay the promise of hugs, kisses and long overdue reunification with their parents, from whom they were taken when the Trump administration began systematically separating migrant families who crossed the border illegally.

But when the children, all between 5 and 12 years old, arrived at Immigration and Customs Enforcement's adults-only Port Isabel Detention Center, rather than seeing their parents, they saw a parking lot full of vans just like theirs, with children from other facilities who, just like them, were waiting to be processed and reunified with their parents.

It was 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, 2018.

Not until 39 hours later -- after two nights in a van -- did the last child step out of a van to be reunited. Most spent at least 23 hours in the vehicles.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


GOP lawmakers discuss vote to block Trump's new tariffs on Mexico, in what would be a dramatic act of defiance (Erica Werner, Seung Min Kim and Damian Paletta June 3, 2019, Washington Post)

Congressional Republicans have begun discussing whether they may have to vote to block President Trump's planned new tariffs on Mexico, potentially igniting a second standoff this year over Trump's use of executive powers to circumvent Congress, people familiar with the talks said.

The vote, which would be the GOP's most dramatic act of defiance since Trump took office, could also have the effect of blocking billions of dollars in border wall funding that the president had announced in February when he declared a national emergency at the southern border, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are private.

Trump's plans to impose tariffs on Mexico -- with which the United States has a free-trade agreement -- rely on the president's declaration of a national emergency at the border. But the law gives Congress the right to override the national emergency determination by passing a resolution of disapproval.

Someone finally notice the "You break it, you own it" sign?