[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]
Belly up to the bar,
and be in this space together.
"Bernie marched with Dr. King!" was up in my mentions on Twitter again today. For the eleventy-seventh time.
It's interesting, ahem, to me that the same people who tell me over and over and over that Bernie Sanders marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s don't seem to give a single shit that Hillary Clinton stood in front of the world thirty years more recently and said: "If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights, once and for all. And among those rights are the right to speak freely, and the right to be heard."
I'm just saying. If history matters, it matters.
And, not for nothing, but no one is remembered for being in attendance at her landmark speech.
This blogaround brought to you by soccer balls.
Sarah: The Tale of the Dictator's Daughter and Her Prince
Jordie: Private Prison Company Gets Contract for Immigrant Detention Center
Mikki: [Content Note: White supremacy; colonialism; abuse] Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Historian LaDonna Brave Bull Allard on DAPL Protests and Seventh Generation Activists
Rae: Nine Hideous Creatures That Deserve Your Unconditional Love
Michael: [CN: Animal harm] As Whales Die in Record Numbers Along the Atlantic Coast, the Mystery Deepens
Celebitchy: The New Heineken 'Worlds Apart' Commercial Doesn't Need Pepsi to Hold Its Beer
Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!
Note:This post was updated at 7.30 blog time to reflect new information suggesting Jane Sanders is under direct investigation.
Yesterday, the Vermont Digger broke the news that Burlington College has been under investigation in the last year by both the Department of Justice and the FBI. The investigations appear to be related to financial misdoings which occurred while Jane Sanders was president of the institution. The Vermont Digger filed a public records request to see emails related to the probe, and has also interviewed several people familiar with the investigations. As Morgan True writes:
The land purchase in question is the purchase of 33 acres on Lake Champlain, formerly owned by the Archdiocese of Burlington. As president of Burlington College, Jane Sanders spearheaded a push to buy the property via a $6.7 million dollar loan. In September of 2015, the Vermont Digger brought to light that Sanders obtained this loan by seriously misrepresenting the college’s finances. Morgan True again:
[Yves] Bradley, the board chair, said Thursday that he was aware of an FBI investigation into Burlington College for more than a year. He said he and other board members were informed of the inquiry by Coralee Holm, who was at that time dean of operations and advancement.
Holm and others connected to the college were subpoenaed by the FBI, according to Bradley. Agents told Holm she could inform the board of trustees that an investigation was taking place, but she was directed not to provide any further information, Bradley said.
Bradley, the board chair, said he has no information about what the FBI is investigating. Still, he speculated that the probe indeed relates to the school’s purchase of its former North Avenue campus. “At the end of the day, it’s got to relate back to the purchase of the land by the college,” he said.
[Board Member Tom] Torti said he too suspected, based on “rumors” he had heard, that the investigation related to the 2010 purchase of the Burlington College campus.
Asked to describe the rumors, Torti said they related to “the purchase of Burlington College and how the money came about, going back to what a lot of us scratched our heads about who came to the board after (the purchase), which was what were they thinking and how did this all make sense financially.”
Sanders told People’s United Bank that the college had $2.6 million in pledged donations to support the purchase of the former Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington property on North Avenue. The college, however, received only $676,000 in actual donations from 2010 through 2014, according to figures provided by Burlington College.
That’s far less than the $5 million Sanders listed as likely pledges in the loan agreement, and less than a third of the $2.14 million Sanders had promised People’s Bank the college would collect in cash during the four-year period.
Two people whose pledges are listed as confirmed in the loan agreement told VTDigger that their personal financial records show their pledges were overstated. Neither were aware that the pledges were used to secure the loan.
This reporting helped prompt a complaint by Vermont Republican Party Vice-Chair Brady Toensing, who in January 2016 demanded a federal investigation into the finances of the college. When Burlington College closed its doors suddenly in May of 2016, a good deal of blame swirled around Jane Sanders and the misrepresentations in the loan arrangements.
I have, as you can imagine, a few thoughts about this.
First, none of this unfolding story has been a surprise to me. In June of 2015, as I was writing Looking For Bernie, I ran across lots of local newspaper stuff about Burlington College and Jane. I didn’t include any of it, for the simple reason that husbands and wives are different people. While Bernie and Jane have collaborated in his political life, I couldn’t see that he played any role in her professional life as an academic administrator. Had Jane Sanders emerged as his major advisor on higher education policy, or if she’d written his free college plan, things would be different. As far as I could tell, that was never the case. Furthermore, until the story came out in January 2016 about her misrepresentation of financial records, this looked to me more like a case of poor judgement, not any wrongdoing.
My goal was an intersectional feminist critique of Bernie Sanders’ record, not a smear of his family, or a vetting of his overall political viability. The latter was the job of professional journalists, very few of whom evinced interest in a deep investigation into Bernie Sanders and his family’s background. So be it.
As time went on, I saw plenty of signs that the GOP was preparing to attack Jane Sanders over her time at Burlington College. Had Bernie won the nomination, they were laying the groundwork for a major scandal, especially after it had been run through the Breitbart/InfoWars propaganda machines.
The White House has so far declined requests from both congressional Republicans and Democrats to provide the House Oversight Committee with internal documents related to Mr. Flynn.The White House knew, or should have known. Their excuses are bullshit. Their excuses on Flynn have always been bullshit.
White House officials argued that they did not have all the documents, and that those they did have were too sensitive and were irrelevant to congressional investigators.
"I honestly don't understand why the White House is covering up for Michael Flynn," Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House panel, said at a news conference on Thursday.
Mr. Cummings released both the Pentagon inspector general's letter to the committee and the October 2014 letter from the Pentagon instructing Mr. Flynn to seek approval before taking any payments from a foreign government.
What if they gave a probe, and nobody probed?Brazile is spot-on: It's even worse that there is a pretense of investigation when behind it is no meaningful investigation whatsoever. We must get to bottom of this. But we probably never will, because the Republicans are fucking cowards without an ounce of genuine patriotism.
During the 2016 elections, America was subjected to the most serious cyberattack in our nation's history: a methodical assault by a hostile foreign power on the legitimacy of our elections, our government, our institutions, and even the very concept of Western democracy.
And the attacks have continued since Election Day—both in this country and against our European allies, who are currently conducting their own elections under the constant threat of Russian meddling.
It seems like nobody is doing anything about it. Worse—they're pretending that they are. There are currently multiple investigations into the Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible involvement by the Trump campaign. But all of them are compromised to one degree or another by incompetence, listlessness, and deliberate foot-dragging. Congress is completely failing to live up to its responsibilities for oversight and to function as a separate and co-equal branch of government. Partisan politics has poisoned inquiries on both the House and Senate side.
Donald Trump on Friday announced that he will appoint Charmaine Yoest, the former president of the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life, as the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.Terrific. Let me say once more: This is why some of us continue to insist on "playing identity politics." Because the fucking president insistently obliges us to.
In her position, which does not require confirmation in the Senate, Yoest would help shape the department's communications strategy.
Yoest is currently a fellow at American Values, a conservative group that opposes abortion and supports "traditional marriage." She got her start in politics during the Reagan administration. From there she moved to the ultra-conservative Family Research Council and later served on Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign.
While she served as president of Americans United for Life, one of the most well-known anti-abortion groups in the country, Yoest was a prominent leader for the anti-abortion movement. As the New York Times noted in a 2012 profile of Yoest, AUL was responsible for one-third of state legislatures' anti-abortion bills between 2011 and 2012.
here's a pic from reuters of Trump with the electoral maps he showed to reporters yesterday pic.twitter.com/1X3edpeJDQ— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) April 28, 2017
Sandrine Ceurstemont at New Scientist: Female Dragonflies Fake Sudden Death to Avoid Male Advances.
Female dragonflies use an extreme tactic to get rid of unwanted suitors: they drop out the sky and then pretend to be dead."You can't harass me! I'm dead!"
Rassim Khelifa from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, witnessed the behaviour for the first time in the moorland hawker dragonfly (Aeshna juncea). While collecting their larvae in the Swiss Alps, he watched a female crash-dive to the ground while being pursued by a male.
The female then lay motionless on her back. Her suitor soon flew away, and the female took off once the coast was clear.
"I was surprised," says Khelifa, who had never previously seen this in 10 years of studying dragonflies.
Female moorland hawkers are vulnerable to harassment when they lay their eggs since, unlike some other dragonflies, they aren't guarded by their male mates. A single sexual encounter with another male is enough to fertilise all eggs and copulating again could damage their reproductive tract.
...He observed 27 out of 31 females plummeting and playing dead to avoid males, with 21 of these ploys successful. Plunging at high speed is risky though, and according to Adolfo Cordero-Rivera at the University of Vigo in Spain, it may be a strategy that they use only in areas with lots of dragonflies. "Females may only behave in this way if male harassment is intense," he says.
Few animals have been caught feigning death to trick suitors. The behaviour has been seen in a species of spider (the males use it to improve their chances of mating), two species of robber fly, and a type of mantis.
Playing dead to avoid predators, however, is more common and has been observed in dragonflies. "It's likely that females expanded its use to overcome male coercion," says Khelifa.
In his book A Primate's Memoir, Sapolsky studied the activities and lifestyle of the Forest Troop to explore the relationship between stress and disease. In typical baboon fashion, the males behaved badly, angling either to assume or maintain dominance with higher ranking males or engaging in bloody battles with lower ranking males, which often tried to overthrow the top baboon by striking tentative alliances with fellow underlings.Not a metaphor and definitely not a cautionary tale warning that a steady diet of poisoned garbage may eventually oblige the lady baboons to take over.
Females were often harassed and attacked. Internecine feuds were routine.
Through a heartbreaking twist of fate, the most aggressive males in the Forest Troop were wiped out. The males, which had taken to foraging in an open garbage pit adjacent to a tourist lodge, had contracted bovine tuberculosis, and most died between 1983 and 1986. Their deaths drastically changed the gender composition of the troop, more than doubling the ratio of females to males, and by 1986 troop behavior had changed considerably as well; males were significantly less aggressive.
After the deaths, Sapolsky stopped observing the Forest Troop until 1993. Surprisingly, even though no adult males from the 1983–1986 period remained in the Forest Troop in 1993 (males migrate after puberty), the new males exhibited the less aggressive behavior of their predecessors.
Speaking of the president who is utterly unprepared and has no idea what the fuck he's doing, these are the opening paragraphs of a piece for Reuters by Stephen J. Adler, Jeff Mason, and Steve Holland:
He misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is.Rage. Seethe. Boil.
[Donald] Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.
"I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," Trump told Reuters in an interview. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."
I am so bloody tired of listening to this ass talk about how difficult it is to be president. https://t.co/scsN71k105— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 28, 2017
Following days of criticism, from both conservatives and progressives, of President Barack Obama for getting a reported $400,000 speaking fee to speak to a health conference, Senator Bernie Sanders weighed in last night.
I think it just speaks to the power of Wall Street and the influence of big money in the political process.That is not a coherent argument. That is a vague aspersion cast via insinuation, made by comparing very unlike things.
I think it's unfortunate. President Obama is now a private citizen and he can do anything he wants to, but I think it's unfortunate.
You have the former president of Goldman Sachs, is now the chief financial advisor for President Trump, and then you have this, so I think it's unfortunate.
Suggested by Shaker FloraFlora: "What is something you do all the time that you sometimes forget whether you have done yet and so you have to check in some way? (e.g., Did I brush my teeth yet this morning? When I now have coffee so I can't just taste minty mouth and so I have to go check is my toothbrush wet)."
I am terrible about remembering whether I took my thyroid pill in the morning. This would be solved, of course, if I just got into the habit of using a daily pill dispenser. But because I haven't, for literally no good reason at all, I end up counting the remaining pills and figuring out how many there should be based on when I picked up the prescription. (Which, naturally, is always on the last day the previous month ran out, because procrastination.)
I don't think any Dems need to be conceding that optics is the only metric that matters right now. In fact, they need to resist that frame. https://t.co/vyxCm14osv— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 27, 2017
I spend every day covering a pres who won b/c of "optics," only cares abt "optics," & leverages emphasis on "optics" to destroy this nation.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 27, 2017
I'm getting a little testy w/ Dems & the supposedly serious media abandoning any & all pretense of meaningful analysis in favor of "optics."— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 27, 2017
And if "optics" do matter, how about the "optics" of President Obama using his personal wealth to help people? https://t.co/wefHFkNZ42— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 27, 2017
How about the "optics" of only starting to care about speaking fees when the fees set by WM are being earned by women & Black men?— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 27, 2017
So, the new progressive paradigm is defending Ann Coulter's right to speak, but shitting all over President Obama for getting paid to speak?— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 27, 2017
No thanks to those "optics."— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 27, 2017
Here is your semi-regular make-up thread, to discuss all things make-up and make-up adjacent.
Do you have a make-up product you'd recommend? Are you looking for the perfect foundation which has remained frustratingly elusive? Need or want to offer make-up tips? Searching for hypoallergenic products? Want to grouse about how you hate make-up? Want to gush about how you love it?
Whatever you like—have at it!
* * *
Another make-up adjacent item from me this time: Bed Head's "A Wave We Go" Adjustable Deep Waver. (As always, I'm not affiliated with Bed Head in any way, nor am I getting anything in exchange for this recommendation. I just like the product!)
The Pentagon needs to consider deploying new anti-ballistic missile systems and a defensive radar to Hawaii to protect against a growing threat from North Korea, the top U.S. military officer in the Pacific told Congress on Wednesday.This may be true, in which case it's scary, or it may not be true, in which case it's scary for a different reason.
"Kim Jong-Un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawaii today, in my opinion," Adm. Harry Harris, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, told the House Armed Services Committee. "I have suggested that we consider putting interceptors in Hawaii that...defend (it) directly, and that we look at a defensive Hawaii radar."
...Harris was repeatedly questioned by lawmakers from Hawaii on the threat posed to their state.
The current defense architecture "is sufficient to protect Hawaii today, but it can be overwhelmed," he cautioned. "Somewhere, we would have to make a decision about which missiles to take out, and that's a hard decision."
Harris warned that North Korea's testing is picking up speed and becoming more aggressive; the country conducted more than 20 ballistic missile tests last year.
"North Korea vigorously pursued a strategic strike capability in 2016," he told lawmakers on Wednesday. "Kim's strategic capabilities are not yet an existential threat to the U.S., but if left unchecked, he will gain the capability to match his rhetoric."
A statement on Thursday from the South Korean president's office said Seoul and Washington had agreed "to swiftly take punitive measures" against North Korea in the event of more provocation, following a telephone conversation between the US national security adviser, HR McMaster, and his South Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan-jin.Translation: We're going to try the diplomacy we have repeatedly said and keep saying was a failed policy, except we're going to do it much worse, so then when it fails, we can blame former presidents for forcing us to take military action we definitely totally for sure are so sad to take.
"The two sides pledged that in the event of additional strategic provocation by the North to swiftly take punitive measures, including a new UN security council resolution, that are unbearable for the North," the statement said.
It followed Wednesday's joint statement from the US secretary of state Rex Tillerson, secretary of defence James Mattis, and director of national intelligence Dan Coats, that said [Donald] Trump would pressure Pyongyang "by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners" – an approach adopted by the past three US administrations.
It also said past efforts had failed to stop the advance of Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes.
The first 100 days of Trump's presidency have been pocked with disappointment for various constituencies: Immigration hawks haven't seen funding for a border wall; Obamacare haters haven't seen a repeal-and-replace bill pass either chamber of Congress; Wall Streeters haven't seen a realistic plan for overhauling the tax code; protectionists haven't seen China tagged a currency manipulator; and America-Firsters have seen neither NATO pushed aside nor the Middle East placed on the presidential back-burner.This is why people like me continue to insist on "playing identity politics." Because the fucking president still is.
The one group Trump has paid outsized attention to—and consistently delivered for—is the social conservative movement. He reinstated and even toughened the Mexico City Policy, which eliminates U.S. funding for international NGOs that perform abortions. He rescinded President Barack Obama's protections for transgender students to use preferred bathrooms in public schools. He signed legislation that routs federal money away from Planned Parenthood. He cut off funding to the U.N. Population Fund, which critics say has long supported coercive abortions in China and other countries. He stockpiled his administration with pro-life evangelical Christians in critical roles, including Tom Price as secretary of Health and Human Services, Betsy DeVos as education secretary, and Mike Pence as vice president. And, most significantly, he appointed Neil Gorsuch, a conservative originalist in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, to the United States Supreme Court.
Once a punch line in conservative circles and a walking worst-case-scenario for many on the religious right, Donald Trump has emerged in the early days of his administration as something else entirely: a crusader for traditional social values.
Hey, my favorite assortment of feminist bats! It's me, Butch Pornstache, here with some more pearls of wisdom for ya!
Except this time, they aren't coming from my brain, but the brains of a bunch of ladies!
See, since that dipshit Trump is closing in on his first 100 days of ruining the country and probably the whole damn world, a bunch of media outlets are sending reporters to interview Trump voters in places like where I live, to see how they think he's doing.
SPOILER ALERT: They think he's doing great because their thinkers are broken!
And since Liss is too busy writing TL;DR essays about Hillary Clinton and attending to other ladynerd business, she dispatched me to talk to some Clinton voters to get their take (HOT LADY HOT TAKES) on how Trump has been doing, since no one in the real media seems to give a dog fart about their opinions.
So I took my trusty tape recorder, which I keep on hand at all times to record my best thoughts, like "Handlebar BEARD" and "Pickles?" (they're not all winners), and I journeyed out to find some local femifarts to interview.
I found one in my living room. Once I'd convinced my ex-wife/fiancée Tammy that was I not trying to record her to relaunch my old late-'90s radio show, "Butch's BMX Hour and Tammy Getting on My Nerves," she agreed to an interview.
I asked her the question I asked every confirmed Clinton voter I found: "How do you think that asshole Donald Trump's presidency has gone his first fumblefucked 100 days?"
Tammy Pornstache, 48: "You remember that time you spilled motor oil all over the garage and then for some godforsaken reason thought that peanut butter would soak up the oil, and you just smeared it all around and made an even huger mess, then gave up and fucked off to O'Tooterly's for a beer, and the dog licked it up, because you know how he loves peanut butter, and barfed all over the entire house, and I had to take him to the vet and spend the $3,000 I wanted to use on a vacation to Branson getting his guts fixed, and another $450 getting industrial cleaners to deal with the garage, and I couldn't even send you to your mom's because she was still pissed about your setting fire to her shed with a blowtorch, so I was just stuck with your dumb ass even though I was madder than all hell? Pretty much that."
I found my next subject (JOURNALISM) in the kitchen. My stepmom Cheryl gave the same answer Tammy did, though, and I ain't gonna transcribe that shit twice.
Then I headed over the YWCA, where I interviewed some ladies who were just leaving their Zumba swim class, whatever that is.
Peggy Lorpus, 52: "How do I think he's doing?! What kind of question is that?! I think he's doing a terrible job, like anyone with any goddamned sense! Jesus Christ! Is this what journalism has come to—just asking a bunch of random people what they think about how Trump is doing?! Christ on a stick, no wonder this country is a goddamned dumpster fire!"
Abby Dooley, 39: "Fuck him! Can I say fuck? Fuck him! FUUUUUUUCK! We are so fucked! FUCK!"
Shondra Reeves, 47: "I miss Obama. We were supposed to have to have President Hillary." [Quiet sobbing.]
I then headed over to a bar called "Chicks," where, back in my single days (LADIES), I never had any luck picking up girls, even though I was usually the only guy in the joint.
Latisha Dunbar, 38: "Do you want a long answer, or a short one?" [I assured her I preferred a short answer.] "Fuck, man. That's what I think of his first 100 days. Just fuck, man. We're fucked."
Rose O'Keefe, 29: "The best thing I can say is that he hasn't blown us all to shit yet. But I expect that he will sooner rather than later."
Sadie Winkle, 52: "Maybe he'll die soon." [I gotta be honest: I didn't catch everything she said, because I was PRETTY STOKED to be in the presence of local royalty. I mean WINKLE FUCKING CREEK was named after her family, man!]
Cathy Lorde, 67: "Maybe he'll die soon. If not, hopefully I will."
That shit was getting pretty depressing, so I headed over to the urgent care clinic, where I found a bunch of nurses smoking out back.
Tina Sanchez, 59: "Shit shit, fuck, shit, I hate his face, I can't even stand to look at him. He's ruining everything. I will never see a woman president in my lifetime. Shit."
Janet Dwibble, 41: "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeggghhhhrrreeeee!" [Best transcription of the sound she made at the mention of Trump's name. SORRY.]
Barb Dengleback, 62: "The whole lot of 'em—Trump, Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, all those creepy kids—should be flushed down the toilet! Get ridda all of 'em! We barely survived 100 days; I don't even know how we'll survive four years. Hillary, take the wheel!"
By this time, the nurse ladies were clutching each other and crying, so I took that as my cue to leave.
I forgot to turn off my recorder, so there was one more quote, but I couldn't tell who said it, since I was walking back to my bike at the time.
Readers, this journalist finds it hard to disagree! Partly because of all the pictures of dudes and zero ladies calling the shots at the White House, but mostly because I have detected through my investigative work that lots of women are very angry about Donald Trump, and I am not about to cross them.
You're welcome, CNN.
[Content Note: Nativism.]
Last month, I wrote about White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon rhetorically asking "Don't we have a problem with legal immigration?" before answering his own question: "Twenty percent of this country is immigrants. Is that not the beating heart of this problem?"
I noted that the Trump administration's war on immigrants would not stop with people who are undocumented, nor with a ban on Muslim refugees; that it was only the start of their nativist assault on immigrants, and that it would only be a matter of time before they started coming after people who are documented immigrants and refugees.
In the interim, the Department of Justice "has taken the rare step of seeking to strip a convicted terrorist of his U.S. citizenship as he serves the last several years of a 20-year prison sentence for plotting to destroy New York's Brooklyn Bridge."
And now, the Trump administration is before the Supreme Court arguing that a U.S. citizen, Divna Maslenjak, an ethnic Serb who was granted refugee status after being persecuted in Bosnia, should have her citizenship revoked because she she lied about her husband's military service.
So here we are. Adam Liptak at the New York Times: Justices Alarmed by Government's Hard-Line Stance in Citizenship Case.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. tried to test the limits of the government's position at a Supreme Court argument on Wednesday by confessing to a criminal offense.Emphasis mine.
"Some time ago, outside the statute of limitations, I drove 60 miles an hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone," the chief justice said, adding that he had not been caught.
The form that people seeking American citizenship must complete, he added, asks whether the applicant had ever committed a criminal offense, however minor, even if there was no arrest.
"If I answer that question no, 20 years after I was naturalized as a citizen, you can knock on my door and say, 'Guess what, you're not an American citizen after all'?" Chief Justice Roberts asked.
Robert A. Parker, a Justice Department lawyer, said the offense had to be disclosed. Chief Justice Roberts seemed shocked. "Oh, come on," he said.
The chief justice asked again whether someone's citizenship could turn on such an omission.
Mr. Parker did not back down. "If we can prove that you deliberately lied in answering that question, then yes," he said.
The exchange was among several moments of indignation and incredulity during the argument in Maslenjak v. United States, No. 16-309. Several justices seemed taken aback by Mr. Parker's unyielding position that the government may revoke the citizenship of Americans who made even trivial misstatements in their naturalization proceedings.
...Chief Justice Roberts added that the government's position would give prosecutors extraordinary power. "If you take the position that not answering about the speeding ticket or the nickname is enough to subject that person to denaturalization," he said, "the government will have the opportunity to denaturalize anyone they want."
There is a dynamic in lots of public schools so common that it's a pop culture fixture: Students get assigned a group project, and they're jumbled into groups they don't choose themselves. Everyone hopes to get put into the group with the Smart Girl—a real Leslie Knope—because they know she'll just do all the work herself and do it better than anyone else in the class.
If you're reading this blog, there's a pretty good chance that you were that girl. (Or her male counterpart.) And, if you weren't, you were probably one of the kids who would hope to be in her group, or do your best in whatever group with which you got stuck.
You almost certainly weren't the self-aggrandizing bully who insisted on leading his group, despite the fact that he hasn't cracked open a book all semester and doesn't want to do any of the work—just wants to boss everyone else around and intimidate them into doing all the work while he flirts with someone who isn't even his girlfriend.
In the last election, U.S. voters decided to give the bully a chance and told the Smart Girl to get lost. Except the project wasn't a multimedia presentation on The Old Man and the Sea. It was running the country.
And it turns out that wasn't a very good idea. What a shock.
Earlier this week, I wrote a piece titled "Trump Was and Remains Catastrophically Unprepared for the Presidency," which opened with a tweet quoting Hillary Clinton, that I fear I will have occasion to repost a million times over the next four years.
"The U.S. presidency isn't an entry-level job."--Hillary Clinton. https://t.co/T47GlAWu1Z— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 14, 2017
It was classic Trump: Confident, hyperbolic, and insistent on asserting control.Repeatedly, we've heard how Trump didn't imagine that being president was all that difficult. It is an unfathomable admission, reported as fact without alarm, by a political press who, like anyone with sense, could see plain as day that Trump was catastrophically unprepared before the election, but chose to abet his rise anyway.
But interviews with nearly two dozen aides, allies, and others close to the president paint a different picture—one of a White House on a collision course between Trump's fixed habits and his growing realization that this job is harder than he imagined when he won the election on Nov. 8.
As president, Trump has repeatedly reminded his audiences, both public and private, about his longshot electoral victory. That unexpected win gave him and his closest advisers the false sense that governing would be as easy to master as running a successful campaign turned out to be. It was a rookie mistake.Ahem.
From the indignity of judges halting multiple executive orders on immigration-related matters—most recently this week—to his responses to repeated episodes of North Korean belligerence, it's all been more complicated than Trump had been prepared to believe.People withholding criticism of a president who obviously and ominously has no idea what he is doing, just because that president won, is not an "old-fashioned American idea." It's an idea born of the belligerent egotism of authoritarian despots.
"I think he's much more aware how complicated the world is," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who serves as an informal administration adviser. "This will all be more uphill than he thought it would be because I think he had the old-fashioned American idea that you run for office, you win, then people behave as though you won."
As Trump is beginning to better understand the challenges—and the limits—of the presidency, his aides are understanding better how to manage perhaps the most improvisational and free-wheeling president in history. "If you're an adviser to him, your job is to help him at the margins," said one Trump confidante. "To talk him out of doing crazy things."Elsewhere in the piece, Trump's pal Chris Ruddy is quoted as saying: "Trump is a guy of action. He likes to move. He doesn't necessarily worry about all the collateral damage or the consequences." Indeed not! The only outcome that seems to matter to him at all is what headlines he's going to get—and that is very troublesome for a number of reasons, not least of which is that the media doesn't seem all that concerned about any Trump coverage that isn't good for their ratings.
...One key development: White House aides have figured out that it's best not to present Trump with too many competing options when it comes to matters of policy or strategy. Instead, the way to win Trump over, they say, is to present him a single preferred course of action and then walk him through what the outcome could be—and especially how it will play in the press.
"You don't walk in with a traditional presentation, like a binder or a PowerPoint. He doesn't care. He doesn't consume information that way," said one senior administration official. "You go in and tell him the pros and cons, and what the media coverage is going to be like."
"I kind of pooh-poohed the experience stuff when I first got here," one White House official said of these early months. "But this shit is hard."*jumps into Christmas tree*
Please enjoy this video of Schnitzel the Dachshund leading her friend Chief the Connemara Pony on a nice little walk!