Archive

February 3rd, 2017

The impermanence of Trump the Temp

    Jesus would be the very first to denounce it.

    That someone able to help would wade through a desperate throng and aid only Christians runs contrary to everything Christlike.

    If not, that Good Samaritan spiel is just jive.

    Donald Trump has said of refugees from seven countries, “We don’t want them” – unless, of course, they worship as he pretends to do.

    Who is this “we,” Kemo Sabe?

    Bless those who swarmed U.S. airports to protest this abomination. Bless the cabbies who went on strike. Bless the civil rights attorneys. Bless the judges who enjoined the action. Bless the ACLU (oh, and “friend” it on Facebook).

    Collectively, emphatically, they kicked Trump’s tail.

    Yeah, yeah. The injunctions will expire. Trump may win in court. Regardless, he will lose.

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February 2nd

When society's faith in science erodes

    Cancer won't seem to leave my family alone. My grandmother, my mother, my father. Then my daughter, her fifth Christmas spent in intensive care after 11 hours of brain surgery. A year later, it came for my wife. Our daughter sat looking small and frail, shielded by a pair of oversize pink headphones, as the radiologist struggled to tell us there were two large lesions in my wife's brain.

    My wife, a woman of uncommon brilliance and strength, took her final breath on New Year's Eve in 2015, her body like a wraith. But she took that breath at home, surrounded by people she loved, having said goodbye on her terms. Science gave our family that gift.

    I'm a scientist. So was my wife. We understood the developmental hiccup that put the tumor in my daughter's brain, the cellular tricks behind my wife's experimental treatment, the awful ingenuity of her glioblastoma's attack on her. We understood it was a fight my wife was nearly certain to lose.

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Trump promised disruption, and that's exactly what he's delivering

    Donald Trump is who we thought he was.

    The 45th president campaigned as a radical break from both politics and policy as usual in Washington, promising to restore strength to the White House and the country while ignoring all tradition and political correctness.

    He spent the first week of his presidency doing just that - beginning with an executive order triggering the U.S.'s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, continuing through a midweek executive order to begin the process of building a wall along our southern border and culminating Friday with Trump's executive order temporarily halting refugees from entering the country and instituting a full entrance ban on visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

    In between all of that, Trump again invoked his idea that millions of illegal votes had been cast in the 2016 election and pledged to get to the bottom of it.

    And, through it all, he kept tweeting.

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Political sniping won't end 'carnage' in Chicago

    I don't want to judge too hastily. Something good may come of President Donald Trump's offer to "send in the Feds" if Chicago authorities can't curb the city's homicide crisis.

    Something good may result from a Trumpian White House intervention, either because of it or in spite of it.

    But I might be more inclined to think that sending in "the Feds" was a promising idea if I knew which "Feds" he's talking about.

    His offer came via Twitter, like so many of our new president's other policy views. On Tuesday, the fifth night of his presidency, he tweeted, "If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible 'carnage' going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24 percent from 2016), I will send in the Feds!"

    Three things were striking about this tweet. One, Chicago has a lot of feds in town already, whether the president knows it or not.

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A marcher for the ages

    Mary Richards wasn't trying to be anyone's feminist icon. She became an associate producer at a Minneapolis TV station not because she was trying to make a statement but because she needed a job to support her new life on her own in the city after a breakup. She took birth control pills because she was a responsible single woman who dated. She stayed out all night on a date because she was having a good time. She gave her best friend, Rhoda, a pep talk about body image because Rhoda needed it. She asked for a paycheck equal to her male predecessor's because it seemed only fair.

    And yet, because Mary was the central character on the classic 1970s sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," those small, everyday actions made her a feminist icon. When the actress who portrayed her, Mary Tyler Moore, died Wednesday at age 80, it marked the end of an era, sure. But coincidentally, another era officially started this month with the Women's March on Washington and millions marching in solidarity around the world. And Mary Richards was one very important step between the women's movement of her era - once seen as a radical, fringe group - and this resurgence of feminism in mainstream culture as it stares down four years with an openly sexist new president.

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Mexico can thrive without Trump

    The Mexican government has been courteous toward Donald Trump, as both a candidate and now U.S. president. Indeed, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has paid a high political cost at home for his being open to working constructively with President Trump. But Peña Nieto has done the right thing by putting the interests of Mexico and the preservation of mutually beneficial relations with our neighbor above his personal popularity. Nevertheless, the time has come to admit that the actions of the new administration have closed off, at least for the foreseeable future, the possibility of any agreement being achieved through dialogue and negotiation that could satisfy the interests of both parties.

    This is an unfortunate and sad situation, but the effort to accommodate President Trump's capricious wishes has proven worthless and should not be continued. It is not useful for Mexico or the United States.

    In retrospect, the probability of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement on the topics on President Trump's Mexico agenda was always small, considering that his demands have defied legal and economic rationality all along.

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Wild Child Takes Charge

    So now we’re getting the crazy straight up.

    The Doomsday Clock is ticking faster, the resistance is growing, and teetotaler Donald Trump already seems drunk with power.

    He’s got the role of his life and he’s casting his show: Steve Bannon is his Roy Cohn, the combative hammer and agitprop genius; Theresa May is Maggie to his Ronnie; Ivanka and Jared are his consiglieri, family to help him figure out who stays and who gets iced; Vladimir Putin echoes the role of Trump’s dad, Fred, who was supremely aggressive and calculating, cool where Donald was hot, someone who believed the world was divided into killers and losers. (But in Putin’s case, it’s literal.)

    It took us years to find out that Richard Nixon was swilling Scotch, eating dog biscuits, talking to the White House portraits and blowing up the Vietnam peace talks in 1968 to help his election bid. It took us years to find out that, despite that deep, reassuring voice, Dick Cheney was a demented megalomaniac.

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The true, correct story of what happened at Donald Trump's inauguration

    I apologize to Donald Trump. As Sean Spicer so wisely said at his first news conference on Monday (It was the first. The one that happened on Saturday did not happen at all, and I recognize that!), it is unfair to be so mean and negative all the time.

    Here is the fair and unbiased story about the inauguration written in compliance with the Trump style guidelines that we should have been obeying all along. 

    Nothing that has ever happened or will ever happen was as great as Donald Trump's inauguration.

    The crowd was magnificent and huge, bigger than any crowd had ever been before! It stretched all the way to the moon. The Pope, who was there, confirmed it.

    "Thanks for being here, Pope," Trump told him.

    "Are you kidding? You're my best friend," the Pope said. "I wouldn't miss your big day for anything!" He gave Trump a big high-five.

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President Trump, Meet My Family

    This newspaper has periodically, to its shame, succumbed to the kind of xenophobic fearmongering that President Donald Trump is now trying to make American policy.

    In 1875, The Times sternly warned that too many Irish and German immigrants (like the Trumps) could “deprive Americans by birth and descent of the small share they yet retain” in New York City.

    In 1941, The Times cautioned in a front-page article that European Jews desperately seeking American visas might be Nazi spies. In 1942, as Japanese-Americans were being interned, The Times cheerfully suggested that the detainees were happily undertaking an “adventure.”

    We make bad decisions when we fear immigrants we “otherize.” That’s why Americans burned Irish Catholics alive, banned Chinese for decades, denied visas to Anne Frank’s family and interned Japanese-Americans. And yes, The New York Times sometimes participated in such madness.

    But we will not be part of that today.

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February 1st

Do unto Congress as Rubio wants to do to D.C.

    Sen. Marco Rubio has a well-deserved reputation for being a windbag who huffs and puffs but never quite blows anything down. The Florida Republican is relentless, however, when it comes to throwing his weight against the District of Columbia. Nothing like beating up on someone who can't fight back.

    Toward that end, Rubio has reintroduced the Second Amendment Enforcement Act, a bill aimed at gutting the city's tough gun-registration requirements, which a federal judge upheld.

    Rubio's bill went nowhere when introduced in 2015. But with a Republican-controlled Congress, and a president who has a concealed-carry permit and a National Rifle Association endorsement, Rubio might finally get a win.

    If he succeeds, the District will be the big loser.

    Besides undoing the city's gun laws, Rubio's bill would make it easy for residents and visitors to get a concealed-carry permit. That's right, stand in line at the checkout counter, stroll through the city's streets or have a row with a neighbor, all while packing heat.

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