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

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