Rocket man–no, not the North Korean one–comes to earth

Updates

  1. Originally published, March 27, 10:50 am.
  2. March 27, 3:22 pm:
    • Uber will allow its permit to operate self-driving cars in California to expire.[5]

Donald Trump

I have been saying for a while that Donald Trump will fall. Others have been ahead of me in suggesting that it might be Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, who brings him down. Indeed, this is a story I suspected was more about a quest for confirmation of Trump’s dick size than anything else.

That all changed when Daniels appeared on CBS News “60 Minutes.”[6] As Michael Gerson put it,

Yet who in their right mind would trust Trump’s word over hers? In this case, the porn star has more credibility than the president of the United States. It is not even close.[7]

Trump has repeatedly weathered political storms that would be lethal for any other politician, prompting me to post Gerson’s article to Twitter, saying

Rosemary Sword and Gail Sheehy, “How Close Is Trump to a Psychiatric Breakdown?” Daily Beast, March 23, 2018, https://amp.thedailybeast.com/how-close-is-donald-trump-to-a-psychiatric-breakdown

Anderson Cooper, “Stormy Daniels describes her alleged affair with Donald Trump,” CBS News, March 26, 2018, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/stormy-daniels-describes-her-alleged-affair-with-donald-trump-60-minutes-interview/

David Frum, “Trump’s Legal Threats Backfire,” Atlantic, March 26, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/trumps-legal-threats-backfire/556505/

Michael Gerson, “The strange, unexpected public contribution of Stormy Daniels,” Washington Post, March 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-strange-unexpected-public-contribution-of-stormy-daniels/2018/03/26/2c2bce4e-312a-11e8-8abc-22a366b72f2d_story.html


James Comey

Jonathan Turley, “John Dowd’s resignation sets Trump up for trouble in Mueller probe,” Hill, March 22, 2018, http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/379802-john-dowds-resignation-sets-trump-up-for-trouble-in-mueller-probe


Uber

Megan Rose Dickey, “Uber will not reapply for self-driving car permit in California,”TechCrunch, March 27, 2018, https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/27/uber-will-not-reapply-for-self-driving-car-permit-in-california/amp/

Alejandro Lazo and Greg Bensinger, “Arizona Governor Suspends Uber’s Self-Driving Cars From Roads,” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/arizona-governor-suspends-ubers-self-driving-cars-from-roads-1522113198


Russian sanctions

Notably, however, [Donald] Trump did not immediately make a statement in his own voice. He has so far refused to personally condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for the attack, instead calling him recently to congratulate him for his victory in a dubious election. Trump was also slow to publicly acknowledge Russian complicity in the poisoning, which critically injured Sergei Skripal and his daughter on March 4 in the British city of Salisbury.[8]

Tracy Wilkinson, “U.S. to expel 60 Russian diplomats as punishment for poison attack in Britain,” Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-fg-us-russian-20180326-story.html


For-profit schools

Adam Harris, “Federal Judge Hands a Victory to Embattled Accreditor,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 25, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Federal-Judge-Hands-a-Victory/242918


  1. [5]Megan Rose Dickey, “Uber will not reapply for self-driving car permit in California,”TechCrunch, March 27, 2018, https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/27/uber-will-not-reapply-for-self-driving-car-permit-in-california/amp/
  2. [6]Anderson Cooper, “Stormy Daniels describes her alleged affair with Donald Trump,” CBS News, March 26, 2018, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/stormy-daniels-describes-her-alleged-affair-with-donald-trump-60-minutes-interview/
  3. [7]Michael Gerson, “The strange, unexpected public contribution of Stormy Daniels,” Washington Post, March 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-strange-unexpected-public-contribution-of-stormy-daniels/2018/03/26/2c2bce4e-312a-11e8-8abc-22a366b72f2d_story.html
  4. [8]Tracy Wilkinson, “U.S. to expel 60 Russian diplomats as punishment for poison attack in Britain,” Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-fg-us-russian-20180326-story.html

The unrestrained, raging, delusional narcissist-in-chief

Updates

  1. Originally published, March 21, 1:46 pm.
  2. March 21, 7:47 pm:
  3. March 22, 1:08 am:
    • There is another new research journal entry, entitled, “Theory.”
  4. March 22, 8:20 pm:
    • One of Uber’s self-driving cars made a boo-boo and Jalopnik’s Patrick George, in a blistering opinion piece, says its program should be shut down.[1] The trouble is that it needs to get these things running before venture capitalists turn off the taps. And “[t]rue to form, Uber cut corners before the Tempe accident,” writes a somewhat more temperate Michael Coren, who fears that a few more incidents like this could threaten the entire autonomous vehicle industry.[2]
    • And now H. R. McMaster is out, to be replaced by John Bolton.[3] (Donald Trump)
  5. March 23, 2018, 2:22 pm:
    • Apparently, Donald Trump did approve his now ex-lawyer’s statement calling for the Mueller probe to end.[4] Also unsurprising and hardly an original insight: Trump will hang himself. (James Comey)

James Comey

On March 17, I critiqued the headline on a Hill article, saying,

For an article that cites the outrage of four Democrats, James Comey obliquely, and John Brennan, the Hill attaches the headline, “McCabe firing roils Washington.”[5] Funny, I thought Washington, D.C., was a bigger place than that, and that it had a few Republicans.[6]

Now, albeit a little slow off the mark, we’re hearing from Republicans. But it should be clear to everyone by now that it is folly to speak for Donald Trump or to try to forecast that he will not do what, virtually unanimously, everyone else, that is, outside the Faux News bubble, tells him not to do. So if you trust Republican, including White House, assurances that Trump will not fire Mueller,[7] I have a bridge to sell you.

Alexander Bolton, “GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone,” Hill, March 20, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/379419-gop-leaders-to-trump-leave-mueller-alone

Niall Stanage, “Republicans fear disaster if Trump fires Mueller,” Hill, March 20, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/the-memo/379230-the-memo-republicans-fear-disaster-if-trump-fires-mueller

Melanie Zanona, “Ryan: I’ve ‘received assurances’ Mueller won’t be fired,” Hill, March 20, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/house/379289-ryan-ive-received-assurances-mueller-wont-be-fired

Brett Samuels, “Outgoing lawyer says Trump approved statement calling for end to Mueller probe,” Hill, March 22, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/379876-trump-approved-of-lawyers-statement-calling-for-end-to-mueller-probe


Donald Trump

For me, there are two critical points in Eric Levitz’s essay. First, he points out that Donald Trump is less restrained than ever before. Second, he shows how events have moved in the opposite direction from my expectation that come August, Republicans will be in a full panic about their prospects come November, and will move to, some way, somehow, get Trump out. This second point is a judgment call—and he acknowledges this.[8] But at this juncture, I not only cannot tell you he’s wrong but must acknowledge that as the “adults in the room” leave the administration, prospects for a 25th amendment “solution,” in which the vice president and cabinet declare Trump unfit, grow dimmer.

Eric Levitz, “Donald Trump Has Never Been More Dangerous Than He Is Now,” New York, March 21, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/donald-trump-has-never-been-more-dangerous-than-he-is-now.html

John T. Bennett, “Trump Replaces McMaster With Hawkish Bolton,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, March 22, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/trump-replaces-mcmaster-hawkish-bolton/


Uber

Uber’s dicey reputation makes it likely that the entire industry could slam on the brakes with only a few more bad incidents, argues Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina, who studies the implications of autonomous vehicles. “This incident [an accident killing a homeless woman in Tempe, Arizona] was uncomfortably soon in the history of automated driving,” writes Smith. “In the United States, there’s about one fatality for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled, and automated vehicles are nowhere close to reaching this many real-world miles. This arguably first fatality may not tell us much statistically, but neither is it reassuring.”[9]

Michael J. Coren, “Uber’s need for self-driving cars before running out of money may endanger the entire industry,” Quartz, March 21, 2018, https://qz.com/1233951/ubers-need-to-deploy-self-driving-cars-before-it-runs-out-of-money-may-endanger-the-entire-industry/

Patrick George, “Uber Has No Damn Business Testing Self-Driving Cars,” Jalopnik, March 22, 2018, https://jalopnik.com/uber-has-no-damn-business-testing-self-driving-cars-1823982487


  1. [1]Patrick George, “Uber Has No Damn Business Testing Self-Driving Cars,” Jalopnik, March 22, 2018, https://jalopnik.com/uber-has-no-damn-business-testing-self-driving-cars-1823982487
  2. [2]Michael J. Coren, “Uber’s need for self-driving cars before running out of money may endanger the entire industry,” Quartz, March 21, 2018, https://qz.com/1233951/ubers-need-to-deploy-self-driving-cars-before-it-runs-out-of-money-may-endanger-the-entire-industry/
  3. [3]John T. Bennett, “Trump Replaces McMaster With Hawkish Bolton,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, March 22, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/trump-replaces-mcmaster-hawkish-bolton/
  4. [4]Brett Samuels, “Outgoing lawyer says Trump approved statement calling for end to Mueller probe,” Hill, March 22, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/379876-trump-approved-of-lawyers-statement-calling-for-end-to-mueller-probe
  5. [5]Max Greenwood, “McCabe firing roils Washington,” Hill, March 17, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/news/378971-mccabe-firing-roils-washington
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Justice cannot prevail when, as it has, ideology displaces inquiry,” (Supposedly) Daily Bullshit, March 18, 2018, https://parts-unknown.org/reading/2018/03/18/justice-cannot-prevail-when-as-it-has-ideology-displaces-inquiry/
  7. [7]Alexander Bolton, “GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone,” Hill, March 20, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/379419-gop-leaders-to-trump-leave-mueller-alone; Niall Stanage, “Republicans fear disaster if Trump fires Mueller,” Hill, March 20, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/the-memo/379230-the-memo-republicans-fear-disaster-if-trump-fires-mueller; Melanie Zanona, “Ryan: I’ve ‘received assurances’ Mueller won’t be fired,” Hill, March 20, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/house/379289-ryan-ive-received-assurances-mueller-wont-be-fired
  8. [8]Eric Levitz, “Donald Trump Has Never Been More Dangerous Than He Is Now,” New York, March 21, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/donald-trump-has-never-been-more-dangerous-than-he-is-now.html
  9. [9]Michael J. Coren, “Uber’s need for self-driving cars before running out of money may endanger the entire industry,” Quartz, March 21, 2018, https://qz.com/1233951/ubers-need-to-deploy-self-driving-cars-before-it-runs-out-of-money-may-endanger-the-entire-industry/

Justice cannot prevail when, as it has, ideology displaces inquiry

Updates

  1. March 17, 1:36 pm:
    • It is looking more and more like Donald Trump is heading, in his own erratic way, towards firing Robert Mueller.[1] Which, of course, is mindbogglingly stupid, but then well, that’s Trump. (James Comey)
    • Did Andrew McCabe keep notes of his interactions with the White House, just as his ex-boss James Comey had done? Of course he did. Word has it he’s turned those notes over to Robert Mueller.[2]
  2. March 17, 7:03 pm:
    • A funny thing when Bob Goodlatte hosted an event expecting to showcase support for a hardline anti-immigration bill from hispanic conservatives. A bunch of them didn’t show up.[3] Idiot. (Unauthorized migration)
  3. March 17, 11:35 pm:
    • For an article that cites the outrage of four Democrats, James Comey obliquely, and John Brennan, the Hill attaches the headline, “McCabe firing roils Washington.”[4] Funny, I thought Washington, D.C., was a bigger place than that, and that it had a few Republicans.
  4. March 18, 7:30 am:
    • In a certain way, Jennifer Rubin sees the same inevitability as Jonathan Chait. Where Chait focuses on the apparent inevitability of Trump firing Robert Mueller,[5] Rubin sees an inevitability of Donald Trump incriminating himself.[6] Both of these inevitabilities are self-destructive and probably sooner rather than later. (James Comey)
    • Added a tweet from Matthew Yglesias under James Comey which partly addresses my comment above on the Hill article by Max Greenwood.

James Comey

Adam Serwer, “McCabe’s Firing Chips Away at the Justice Department’s Independence,” Atlantic, March 16, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/presidential-target-andrew-mccabe-was-just-fired-from-the-fbi/555857/

Jonathan Chait, “Trump Is Taking Out His Enemies And Turning Toward Robert Mueller,” New York, March 17, 2018, http://amp.nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/trump-is-taking-out-his-enemies-and-turning-toward-mueller.html

Max Greenwood, “McCabe firing roils Washington,” Hill, March 17, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/news/378971-mccabe-firing-roils-washington

Jennifer Rubin, “McCabe’s firing shows yet again how readily Trump incriminates himself,” Washington Post, March 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/03/17/mccabes-firing-shows-yet-again-how-readily-trump-incriminates-himself/

Aruna Viswanatha, Rebecca Ballhaus, and Del Quentin Wilber, “Andrew McCabe Kept Notes About Conversations With Trump, Gave Them to Mueller,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-lawyer-citing-mccabes-firing-calls-for-end-to-mueller-probe-1521309707


Polarization

Rebecca Goldstein places too much faith in the availability of ‘objective’ truth and she is wrong to diminish individual perspectives but, at the same time, she is correct in warning against the absence of a common basis for discourse. And she is right to say that ‘truth’ has not merely become polarized but a badge of political affiliation.[7] This is ideology, where adherents enmesh allegiance to a particular set of claims with a self-righteous group identity. For me, this is more terrifying than the particulars of any claim: Ideology has displaced inquiry. There is no justice in this path.

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, “Truth Isn’t the Problem—We Are,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/truth-isnt-the-problemwe-are-1521124562


Unauthorized migration

Rafael Bernal, “GOP immigration bill stirs tension among Hispanic conservatives,” Hill, March 17, 2018, http://thehill.com/latino/378873-gop-immigration-bill-stirs-tension-among-hispanic-conservatives


  1. [1]Jonathan Chait, “Trump Is Taking Out His Enemies And Turning Toward Robert Mueller,” New York, March 17, 2018, http://amp.nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/trump-is-taking-out-his-enemies-and-turning-toward-mueller.html
  2. [2]Aruna Viswanatha, Rebecca Ballhaus, and Del Quentin Wilber, “Andrew McCabe Kept Notes About Conversations With Trump, Gave Them to Mueller,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-lawyer-citing-mccabes-firing-calls-for-end-to-mueller-probe-1521309707
  3. [3]Rafael Bernal, “GOP immigration bill stirs tension among Hispanic conservatives,” Hill, March 17, 2018, http://thehill.com/latino/378873-gop-immigration-bill-stirs-tension-among-hispanic-conservatives
  4. [4]Max Greenwood, “McCabe firing roils Washington,” Hill, March 17, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/news/378971-mccabe-firing-roils-washington
  5. [5]Jonathan Chait, “Trump Is Taking Out His Enemies And Turning Toward Robert Mueller,” New York, March 17, 2018, http://amp.nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/trump-is-taking-out-his-enemies-and-turning-toward-mueller.html
  6. [6]Jennifer Rubin, “McCabe’s firing shows yet again how readily Trump incriminates himself,” Washington Post, March 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/03/17/mccabes-firing-shows-yet-again-how-readily-trump-incriminates-himself/
  7. [7]Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, “Truth Isn’t the Problem—We Are,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/truth-isnt-the-problemwe-are-1521124562

Donald Trump all but admits he is ‘kompromat’

Updates

  1. March 14, 10:55 pm:
    • Jonathan Chait is about as explicit as John Cassidy in linking Rex Tillerson’s firing to his comments on Russia, but he also includes a transcript excerpt in which White House press secretary Sarah Sanders demurs from explicitly criticizing Russia.[1] And, um, yes, I do think the omission is striking.
  2. March 15, 5:58 pm:
    • I’m catching up on stuff that got overlooked earlier.
    • Donald Trump demonstrates again how delusional he is in running against California, claiming the state is “out of control,” especially on Unauthorized migration.[2]
    • In a number of ways, it’s going to take more than this: “The sanctions [announced by the Trump administration], which ban financial dealings with the individuals and firms named, are unlikely to have much of a practical impact, in large part because the latest list hits many entities and individuals already blacklisted and the newly added people aren’t important to Russia’s economy or politics.”[3] (Russian sanctions)
    • Someone I know, who grew up in Dormont, a suburb of Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, and who was a journalist for decades, derides much of the punditry about a special election result in southwestern Pennsylvania, saying that residents in this area strongly favor centrists and people who served in the military (Jeet Heer, at the New Republic, systematically addresses this and other explanations/rationalizations for the Republican defeat.[4]). I might add to this, from my own much more limited experience of the region, that it’s hard to imagine my relatives and the Pennsylvanians I encountered having any tolerance whatsoever for Trumpian nonsense with Russia. My interest, however, is not so much in the actual ‘why’ of the result but in rather what Republicans and, for that matter, Democrats do in response to that result. The allegedly (probably functionalist) conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin warns of a ‘blue tsunami’ this November,[5] and indeed my own expectation has been that by August, Republicans may be in a full panic, possibly leading to Donald Trump’s exit from the presidency. Thus, while my interlocutor may dismiss Rubin’s interpretation as misreading the situation on the ground, I see it as a taste of things to come. (2018 election)
  3. March 15, 11:43 pm:
    • Los Angeles has been sidestepping a federal appeals court ruling striking down its ordinance banning vehicle habitation with overnight parking bans for recreational vehicles.[6] (Homelessness)
    • The judge in Bill Cosby’s retrial on sexual assault charges will allow five women to testify against him.[7]
    • The tagline in David Frum’s article in the Atlantic really says it all: “For the most verbally belligerent president in history, Trump’s comments about Russia’s nerve-agent attack have been conspicuously weak.”[8] (Russian sanctions)
    • National security advisor H. R. McMaster, who is rumored to be next on Donald Trump’s hit list, has made forceful comments against Russia.[9] (Rex Tillerson)
    • The Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill points to a massive breakdown of security at chemical weapons sites in the—wait for it—1990s (!) following the collapse of the Soviet Union in reporting doubts about claims that Russia was behind the nerve gas attack in Salisbury. He quotes the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, saying he doesn’t see a motive for the Russian attack.[10] Which might be reasonable if Russia hadn’t previously killed those it sees as disloyal on British soil. And if those lapses hadn’t occurred so long ago. We are to believe that criminals have been sitting on these weapons for so long? And we are to believe that these criminals have a greater motive for this attack than Vladimir Putin? This just boggles the mind. (Rex Tillerson)

A righteous bust:


Rex Tillerson

I have previously expressed deep skepticism regarding accusations that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election in favor of Donald Trump.[11] While proof for these claims remains yet to be had, it is much less reasonable[12] to think that Rex Tillerson’s termination[13] is unconnected to his comments on Russia’s culpability in a nerve agent attack in Britain.[14] I am now compelled to accept as probable the worst suspicions about Trump’s alleged relationship with Russia which, by the way, do not necessarily involve voluntary collusion, but may rather entail collusion under duress. And because Trump is so shameless, I’m now deeply suspicious that this involves something rather more serious than “golden showers.”[15]

John Cassidy, “Rex Tillerson Gets Fired the Day After He Criticized Russia,” New Yorker, March 13, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/rex-tillerson-gets-fired-the-day-after-he-criticized-russia

Jonathan Chait, “Trump Denies Russian Guilt in Murder. Tillerson Admits It, Is Fired. Hmm,” New York, March 13, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/trump-russia-innocent-rex-no-guilty-trump-youre-fired.html

Ashley Parker et al., “Trump ousts Tillerson, will replace him as secretary of state with CIA chief Pompeo,” Washington Post, March 13, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-ousts-tillerson-will-replace-him-as-secretary-of-state-with-cia-chief-pompeo/2018/03/13/30f34eea-26ba-11e8-b79d-f3d931db7f68_story.html

Fabian Schmidt, “Novichok nerve agents – Russia’s dangerous ‘new’ poison,” Deutschewelle, March 13, 2018, http://www.dw.com/en/novichok-nerve-agents-russias-dangerous-new-poison/a-42957812

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Russian spy: UK to expel 23 Russian diplomats,” March 14, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43402506

Matthew Nussbaum, “McMaster calls for further U.S. punishment of Russia over ‘atrocities’ in Syria,” Politico, March 15, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/15/hr-mcmaster-russia-syria-crime-punishment-465841

Ewen MacAskill, “UK’s claims questioned: doubts voiced about source of Salisbury novichok,” Guardian, March 16, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/15/uks-claims-questioned-doubts-emerge-about-source-of-salisburys-novichok


Peer review

Paul Basken, “Peer Review in Flux,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 4, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Can-Peer-Review-Be-Saved-/242660


Unauthorized migration

Alexei Koseff, “Trump runs for reelection against California: ‘The place is totally out of control,'” Sacramento Bee, March 13, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article204729739.html


Russian sanctions

The most verbally belligerent president in history—who has abusive things to say about allies like Japan, South Korea, and Canada—cannot summon up any harsher adjective for a nerve attack on NATO soil than “sad.”[16]

David Frum, “The Words Trump Refuses to Speak,” Atlantic, March 15, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/trump-responds-to-russia-nerve-attack/555734/

Ian Talley, “Trump Administration Sanctions Russia for Interference in U.S. Elections,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-sanctions-russians-for-interference-in-u-s-elections-1521124200


2018 election

“This is a wake-up call,” Congressman Steve Stivers of Ohio, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told GOP leaders during Wednesday’s closed-door meeting. “Prepare to bear down.” Even Paul Ryan, in that same meeting, admitted as much. But what they don’t seem to realize—or at least won’t say out loud, not even privately—is that there is no waking from this electoral nightmare as long as Trump is president.[17]

Jeet Heer, “The Trump Curse Is Real,” New Republic, March 14, 2018, https://newrepublic.com/article/147465/trump-curse-real

Jennifer Rubin, “Republicans, snap out of it. A blue tsunami could be coming,” Washington Post, March 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/03/15/republicans-snap-out-of-it-a-blue-tsunami-could-be-coming/


Homelessness

Emily Alpert Reyes, “As businesses cite blight, overnight RV parking bans on L.A. streets grow — and the homeless scramble,” Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-rv-homeless-20180317-story.html


Bill Cosby

Natalie Hope McDonald, “Bill Cosby to Face Five Accusers in Court,” Vulture, March 15, 2018, http://www.vulture.com/2018/03/bill-cosby-to-face-five-accusers-in-court.html


  1. [1]Jonathan Chait, “Trump Denies Russian Guilt in Murder. Tillerson Admits It, Is Fired. Hmm,” New York, March 13, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/trump-russia-innocent-rex-no-guilty-trump-youre-fired.html
  2. [2]Alexei Koseff, “Trump runs for reelection against California: ‘The place is totally out of control,'” Sacramento Bee, March 13, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article204729739.html
  3. [3]Ian Talley, “Trump Administration Sanctions Russia for Interference in U.S. Elections,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-sanctions-russians-for-interference-in-u-s-elections-1521124200
  4. [4]Jeet Heer, “The Trump Curse Is Real,” New Republic, March 14, 2018, https://newrepublic.com/article/147465/trump-curse-real
  5. [5]Jennifer Rubin, “Republicans, snap out of it. A blue tsunami could be coming,” Washington Post, March 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/03/15/republicans-snap-out-of-it-a-blue-tsunami-could-be-coming/
  6. [6]Emily Alpert Reyes, “As businesses cite blight, overnight RV parking bans on L.A. streets grow — and the homeless scramble,” Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-rv-homeless-20180317-story.html
  7. [7]Natalie Hope McDonald, “Bill Cosby to Face Five Accusers in Court,” Vulture, March 15, 2018, http://www.vulture.com/2018/03/bill-cosby-to-face-five-accusers-in-court.html
  8. [8]David Frum, “The Words Trump Refuses to Speak,” Atlantic, March 15, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/trump-responds-to-russia-nerve-attack/555734/
  9. [9]Matthew Nussbaum, “McMaster calls for further U.S. punishment of Russia over ‘atrocities’ in Syria,” Politico, March 15, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/15/hr-mcmaster-russia-syria-crime-punishment-465841
  10. [10]Ewen MacAskill, “UK’s claims questioned: doubts voiced about source of Salisbury novichok,” Guardian, March 16, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/15/uks-claims-questioned-doubts-emerge-about-source-of-salisburys-novichok
  11. [11]David Benfell, “Blaming the Russians,” Not Housebroken, December 17, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/12/12/blaming-the-russians/; David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin’s motives,” Not Housebroken, December 17, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/12/15/vladimir-putins-motives/
  12. [12]John Cassidy, “Rex Tillerson Gets Fired the Day After He Criticized Russia,” New Yorker, March 13, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/rex-tillerson-gets-fired-the-day-after-he-criticized-russia; Jonathan Chait, “Trump Denies Russian Guilt in Murder. Tillerson Admits It, Is Fired. Hmm,” New York, March 13, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/trump-russia-innocent-rex-no-guilty-trump-youre-fired.html
  13. [13]Ashley Parker et al., “Trump ousts Tillerson, will replace him as secretary of state with CIA chief Pompeo,” Washington Post, March 13, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-ousts-tillerson-will-replace-him-as-secretary-of-state-with-cia-chief-pompeo/2018/03/13/30f34eea-26ba-11e8-b79d-f3d931db7f68_story.html
  14. [14]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Russian spy: UK to expel 23 Russian diplomats,” March 14, 2018, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43402506
  15. [15]Greg Myre, “A Russian Word Americans Need To Know: ‘Kompromat,'” National Public Radio, January 11, 2017, http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/01/11/509305088/a-russian-word-americans-need-to-know-kompromat; Jeff Stein, “Trump, Russian Spies and the Infamous ‘Golden Shower Memos,’” Newsweek, January 10, 2017, http://www.newsweek.com/trump-russian-spies-infamous-golden-shower-memos-541315
  16. [16]David Frum, “The Words Trump Refuses to Speak,” Atlantic, March 15, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/trump-responds-to-russia-nerve-attack/555734/
  17. [17]Jeet Heer, “The Trump Curse Is Real,” New Republic, March 14, 2018, https://newrepublic.com/article/147465/trump-curse-real

Wait, somebody granted Donald Trump an honorary doctorate?

There are two new research journal entries up, entitled, “‘Democracy’” and “The aggregate.”


Updates

  1. Originally published, March 5, 11:02 pm.
  2. March 6, 2:20 pm:
    • Updated for a second new research journal entry (above).
    • A federal judge declined California’s request for a preliminary injunction stopping the Trump administration from enforcing a law requiring information sharing but was also critical of the federal government’s case.[1] (Unauthorized migration)
    • I am not caught up.
  3. March 6, 3:50 pm:
    • I am really not fond of the personality parade and have generally avoided covering it in this space. But I’m beginning to see that one way that Donald Trump might fall is if enough people in his administration leave that his presidency becomes untenable. In that light, “President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn plans to resign, putting a fresh top on a growing list of high-profile White House departures.”[2]
    • I think I am caught up.
  4. March 6, 4:49 pm:
    • Following criticism from Uber, the authors of a Massachussetts Institutue of Technology study on ridesharing driver income have revised their estimate upwards significantly. It’s still below minimum wage in many states.[3]
  5. March 6, 5:13 pm:
    • A judge ruled against Seattle in a case involving the seizure of a homeless person’s vehicle, saying the city could not deprive that person of their home to collect fines and fees.[4] (Homelessness)
  6. March 6, 7:54 pm:
    • Jeff Sessions announced that he is filing suit against California over state laws intended to resist federal enforcement against unauthorized migrants.[5] (Unauthorized migration)
  7. March 7, 10:37 am:
    • As I said, I’m really not fond of the personality parade. I tend to focus on what they do rather than who they are. At FiveThirtyEight, Perry Bacon, Jr., doesn’t go so far as I do, that is, to see Gary Cohn’s resignation as a possible portent of Donald Trump’s resignation. But he does see it as important, because for him, it shows a break from Republican orthodoxy, which for all the fire and fury, he sees Trump as having largely hewed to.[6] This points to another way that Trump might meet his demise: Republicans might decide not only that Trump is an embarassment and a distraction, but an actual obstruction to their agenda. August is getting closer.
    • I haven’t even begun to catch up.
  8. March 7, 1:15 pm:
    • My real reason for thinking Donald Trump will step down or be forced from office is a lesson I have learned based on a number of life experiences but which crystalized with the dot-com crash: If it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense, and it cannot last. Relying on Trump, as Republicans presently do, simply doesn’t make sense. Politico’s Playbook underscores just how bizarre the situation has become,[7] and the thing is, we know that everyone in the political class in Washington, D.C., whether they admit it or not, is painfully aware of how bizarre it has become. If you’re a politician with an agenda, this just isn’t something you can work with (the Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip, with whom I agree on almost nothing, skillfully illustrates some of the incoherence here[8]). And even as they problematically differ on even important details, the Republicans most definitely have an agenda, an agenda which is at considerable risk with the midterm elections in November. If there’s a panic button to push, I think they’re pushing it by August, while there’s still hope to salvage those elections.
    • I think I’m caught up.
  9. March 7, 2018, 6:34 pm:
    • The Weekly Standard supplies an example of the dissonance Republicans are being forced to confront and even puts it in its headline. The main headline is, “Trump’s Chief Economist Claims the President Is a ‘Serious’ Free Trader.” The subheading, on the line immediately below, says, “But can’t come up with any examples to support his claim.”[9] The Weekly Standard is neoconservative, so neoliberalism is, for them, a moral imperative, and it has, since the beginning, been neoconservatives who have been the original Never-Trumpers. But neoconservative and neoliberal doctrine have been embraced by both major parties. This is a problem for a lot of Republicans. (Donald Trump)
    • California Governor Jerry Brown reacted to Jeff Sessions’ announcement of a lawsuit against the state over Unauthorized migration.[10] Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has what seems to me the wiser response: “We’ll see what the courts say.”[11]
  10. March 8, 12:20 pm:
    • Jennifer Rubin points to “three critical stories, . . . any one of which could pose a threat to President Trump’s tenure,” not counting Robert Mueller’s investigation.[12] It’s a small step short of actually publicly foreasting Donald Trump’s demise. I’d point again to yesterday’s Politico Playbook on just how crdazy things have gotten.[13] If we view the political system through the lens of systems theory, there ought to be a stabilizing feedback here to restore the normal order. If that fails, we will suddenly be in a new and largely unforeseen political world.

Donald Trump

Lehigh University faculty voted to rescind Donald Trump’s honorary doctorate. The board that decides such matters decided to take no action.[14]

Ultimately, to label something, such as an honorary doctorate, “symbolic” or “merely symbolic” and thereby to rationalize inaction doesn’t cut it. All of language is symbolic. If George Lakoff is right—and he makes a hell of an argument—our entire way of thinking and understanding our world is metaphoric,[15] which is to say, not very loosely, symbolic.

Honorary degrees either mean something or they don’t. If they don’t, universities should dispense with them. If they do, Trump’s degree should be revoked if for no other reason than that because it is only on a faculty recommendation that a ‘real’ degree is issued. The Lehigh faculty resolution withdraws any legitimacy for Trump’s ‘degree.’

Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz, “Why Professors at One University Want It to Revoke Trump’s Honorary Degree,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 2, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-Professors-at-One/242736

Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, “Trump Economic Adviser Gary Cohn to Resign,” March 6, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/report-trump-economic-adviser-gary-cohen-resign/

Perry Bacon, Jr., “Four Reasons That Gary Cohn’s White House Resignation Is Different,” FiveThirtyEight, March 7, 2018, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-gary-cohns-white-house-resignation-is-different/

Haley Byrd, “Trump’s Chief Economist Claims the President Is a ‘Serious’ Free Trader,” Weekly Standard, March 7, 2018, http://www.weeklystandard.com/trumps-chief-economist-claims-the-president-is-a-serious-free-trader/article/2011853

Greg Ip, “Trump Alienates Allies Needed for a Trade Fight With China,” Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-alienates-allies-needed-for-a-trade-fight-with-china-1520420580

Anna Palmer, Jake Serman, and Daniel Lippman, “Four unfolding events that show the crazy times we’re in,” Politico, March 7, 2018, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2018/03/07/donald-trump-crazy-times-252808

Jennifer Rubin, “Three potential calamities for Trump — aside from Mueller,” Washington Post, March 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/03/08/three-potential-calamities-for-trump-aside-from-mueller/


Gentrification

Can we agree that Silicon Valley gentrification has gotten completely out of hand when even tech workers are getting gentrified?[16] But the New York Times is upbeat about gentrification in the Tenderloin.[17]

Nellie Bowles, “Dorm Living for Professionals Comes to San Francisco,” New York Times, March 4, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/04/technology/dorm-living-grown-ups-san-francisco.html

Michelle Castillo, “Bend, Oregon, is becoming a commuter town for Silicon Valley despite the 10-hour drive,” CNBC, March 4, 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/04/bend-oregon-is-becoming-one-of-silicon-valleys-top-commuter-towns.html


Uber

Justin Bariso, “With a Single, Insulting Tweet, Uber’s CEO Just Destroyed Months of Hard Work,” Inc., March 5, 2018, https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/uber-ceo-single-insulting-tweet-destroy-months-work-major-lesson-emotional-intelligence.html

Cyrus Farivar, “What’s Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly wage? $10 or lower, report finds,” Ars Tehnica, March 6, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/03/whats-uber-and-lyft-drivers-median-hourly-wage-under-4-report-finds/


Palestine

Times of Israel, “On eve of Netanyahu-Trump talks, AIPAC chief calls for Palestinian statehood,” March 5, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/on-eve-of-netanyahu-trump-talks-aipac-chief-calls-for-palestinian-statehood/


Unauthorized migration

Josh Gerstein, “Judge declines, for now, to halt part of Trump’s anti-sanctuary city policy,” Politico, March 5, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/05/sanctuary-city-trump-judge-438469

Evan Halper, “Trump administration sues California over laws protecting immigrants,” Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-california-immigration-20180306-story.html

Alexei Koseff, “Trump ‘basically going to war’ with California, Jerry Brown says,” Sacramento Bee, March 7, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article203920624.html


Homelessness

Daniel DeMay and Kevin Fagan, “Ruling: If you live in a car, it’s your home,” SFGate, March 6, 2018, https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Homeless-living-in-cars-RVs-Seattle-San-Francisco-12733075.php


  1. [1]Josh Gerstein, “Judge declines, for now, to halt part of Trump’s anti-sanctuary city policy,” Politico, March 5, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/05/sanctuary-city-trump-judge-438469
  2. [2]Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, “Trump Economic Adviser Gary Cohn to Resign,” March 6, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/report-trump-economic-adviser-gary-cohen-resign/
  3. [3]Cyrus Farivar, “What’s Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly wage? $10 or lower, report finds,” Ars Tehnica, March 6, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/03/whats-uber-and-lyft-drivers-median-hourly-wage-under-4-report-finds/
  4. [4]Daniel DeMay and Kevin Fagan, “Ruling: If you live in a car, it’s your home,” SFGate, March 6, 2018, https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Homeless-living-in-cars-RVs-Seattle-San-Francisco-12733075.php
  5. [5]Evan Halper, “Trump administration sues California over laws protecting immigrants,” Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-california-immigration-20180306-story.html
  6. [6]Perry Bacon, Jr., “Four Reasons That Gary Cohn’s White House Resignation Is Different,” FiveThirtyEight, March 7, 2018, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-gary-cohns-white-house-resignation-is-different/
  7. [7]Anna Palmer, Jake Serman, and Daniel Lippman, “Four unfolding events that show the crazy times we’re in,” Politico, March 7, 2018, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2018/03/07/donald-trump-crazy-times-252808
  8. [8]Greg Ip, “Trump Alienates Allies Needed for a Trade Fight With China,” Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-alienates-allies-needed-for-a-trade-fight-with-china-1520420580
  9. [9]Haley Byrd, “Trump’s Chief Economist Claims the President Is a ‘Serious’ Free Trader,” Weekly Standard, March 7, 2018, http://www.weeklystandard.com/trumps-chief-economist-claims-the-president-is-a-serious-free-trader/article/2011853
  10. [10]Alexei Koseff, “Trump ‘basically going to war’ with California, Jerry Brown says,” Sacramento Bee, March 7, 2018, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article203920624.html
  11. [11]Darrell Steinberg, quoted in Evan Halper, “Trump administration sues California over laws protecting immigrants,” Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-california-immigration-20180306-story.html
  12. [12]Jennifer Rubin, “Three potential calamities for Trump — aside from Mueller,” Washington Post, March 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/03/08/three-potential-calamities-for-trump-aside-from-mueller/
  13. [13]Anna Palmer, Jake Serman, and Daniel Lippman, “Four unfolding events that show the crazy times we’re in,” Politico, March 7, 2018, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2018/03/07/donald-trump-crazy-times-252808
  14. [14]Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz, “Why Professors at One University Want It to Revoke Trump’s Honorary Degree,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 2, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-Professors-at-One/242736
  15. [15]George Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1987); George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh (New York: Basic, 1999).
  16. [16]Michelle Castillo, “Bend, Oregon, is becoming a commuter town for Silicon Valley despite the 10-hour drive,” CNBC, March 4, 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/04/bend-oregon-is-becoming-one-of-silicon-valleys-top-commuter-towns.html
  17. [17]Nellie Bowles, “Dorm Living for Professionals Comes to San Francisco,” New York Times, March 4, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/04/technology/dorm-living-grown-ups-san-francisco.html

The rats are fleeing Donald Trump’s ship

Updates

  1. Originally published, March 1, 6:00 pm under the title, “European Union imposes censorship on the Internet.”
  2. March 1, 11:17 pm:
    • Ridesharing drivers are earning “a median profit of $3.37 per hour before taxes.”[1] The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.[2]
  3. March 2, 2018, 2:17 pm:
    • TechCrunch follows up on the MIT study on driving for Uber and Lyft[3] covered yesterday (March 1) in the Guardian.[4] (Ridesharing)
  4. March 3, 12:14 am:
    • The Trump administration is disintegrating and it will be difficult, at best, to put it back together.[5] (Donald Trump)
    • Robert Mueller is looking into Jared Kushner’s efforts to secure financing for his property at 666 Fifth Avenue, in New York City. Kushner had approached foreign investors, including government entities, and there is some suspicion that the Trump administration’s support for Saudi Arabia in a spat with Qatar followed Qatar’s decision not to bail Kushner out.[6] (James Comey)
  5. March 3, 9:59 am:
    • More on the rats fleeing Donald Trump’s ship from National Public Radio[7] and the Hill.[8]
    • Title changed to, “The rats are fleeing Donald Trump’s ship.”

Political polarization

Amy Chua, “How America’s identity politics went from inclusion to division,” Guardian, March 1, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/01/how-americas-identity-politics-went-from-inclusion-to-division


Censorship

Natalia Drozdiak, “Facebook, Google Get One Hour From EU to Scrub Terror Content,” Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-google-get-one-hour-from-eu-to-scrub-illegal-content-1519906316


Ridesharing

Sam Levin, “Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly wage is just $3.37, report finds,” Guardian, March 1, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/01/uber-lyft-driver-wages-median-report

Natasha Lomas, “MIT study shows how much driving for Uber or Lyft sucks,” TechCrunch, March 2, 2018, https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/02/mit-study-shows-how-much-driving-for-uber-or-lyft-sucks/


Donald Trump

David A. Graham, “Will the Last Person to Leave the West Wing Please Turn Out the Lights?” Atlantic, March 2, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/all-the-presidents-men-who-might-leave-the-white-house/554738/

Domenico Montanaro, “A Week ‘Lost In The West Wing Reality Show,’” National Public Radio, March 3, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/03/03/590475332/a-week-lost-in-the-west-wing-reality-show

Niall Stanage, “White House reels after week of upheaval,” Hill, March 3, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/376534-the-memo-white-house-reels-after-week-of-upheaval


James Comey

Carol E. Lee, Julia Ainsley, and Robert Windrem, “Mueller team asking if Kushner foreign business ties influenced Trump policy,” NBC News, March 2, 2018, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/mueller-team-asking-if-kushner-foreign-business-ties-influenced-trump-n852681


  1. [1]Sam Levin, “Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly wage is just $3.37, report finds,” Guardian, March 1, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/01/uber-lyft-driver-wages-median-report
  2. [2]Department of Labor, “Minimum Wage,” n.d., https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/wages/minimumwage
  3. [3]Natasha Lomas, “MIT study shows how much driving for Uber or Lyft sucks,” TechCrunch, March 2, 2018, https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/02/mit-study-shows-how-much-driving-for-uber-or-lyft-sucks/
  4. [4]Sam Levin, “Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly wage is just $3.37, report finds,” Guardian, March 1, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/01/uber-lyft-driver-wages-median-report
  5. [5]David A. Graham, “Will the Last Person to Leave the West Wing Please Turn Out the Lights?” Atlantic, March 2, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/all-the-presidents-men-who-might-leave-the-white-house/554738/
  6. [6]Carol E. Lee, Julia Ainsley, and Robert Windrem, “Mueller team asking if Kushner foreign business ties influenced Trump policy,” NBC News, March 2, 2018, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/mueller-team-asking-if-kushner-foreign-business-ties-influenced-trump-n852681
  7. [7]Domenico Montanaro, “A Week ‘Lost In The West Wing Reality Show,’” National Public Radio, March 3, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/03/03/590475332/a-week-lost-in-the-west-wing-reality-show
  8. [8]Niall Stanage, “White House reels after week of upheaval,” Hill, March 3, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/376534-the-memo-white-house-reels-after-week-of-upheaval