Good Morning, Everybody!
1 The 2017 World Series ended last night, with the Houston Astros winning a hard-fought and exciting seven game battle over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Otto Von Bismarck famously observed that providence seemed to be looking out for the welfare of drunkards, fools, and the United States of America, and Major League Baseball should be added to Otto’s list. With the NFL simultaneously alienating civilized fans who don’t like seeing their heroes crippled for their entertainment, and more bloodthirsty fans who don’t want their entertainment polluted by half-baked political protests, baseball, whose ancient status as “The National Pastime” had been mocked as wishful thinking, entered the Fall at its best, and showed TV audiences a wild, passionate game featuring diverse and likeable players who seemed genuinely proud and privileged to be Americans.
Now comes the long, bleak winter…
2. From one of my smart, informed, anti-Trump obsessed progressive Facebook friends:
“So… we can talk about visa regulations right after an immigrant kills people, but we can’t talk about rational restrictions on guns when someone uses a gun to kill people?”
Rushing to take political advantage of a tragedy, as President Trump did by immediately using the terrorist attack in New York to push for his immigration reforms is, indeed, exactly as reprehensible whether it is done by Democrats or Republicans. A tactic sure looks uglier when it’s done to oppose your interests than when its done to advance them, isn’t it? (By the way, my friend, restrictions on immigration are not prohibited by the Constitution; “rational restrictions on guns,” aka “incremental elimination of the Second Amendment,” because it is now clear that this is the goal, is.)
3. A few hours after Trump’s Cabinet meeting, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “Why did the president call the U.S. justice system a joke and a laughingstock?”
“That’s not what he said,” Sanders replied. “He said that process has people calling us a joke and a laughingstock.”
In fact, the President had indeed said at the meeting, “We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now — because what we have right now is a joke, and it’s a laughingstock.”
- This feature of having Donald Trump as President will never change.
- I suppose the news media, especially Trump-haters like Acosta, will have to point out every time the President blathers something vague, half-considered and expressed with the eloquence of a closed head injury patient. But most Americans who don’t spend their waking hours looking for new ways to attack him take such TrumpSpeak for what it is, and translate it immediately and usually correctly. He was saying that he was frustrated with the speed and restrictions of our justice system when we are just sure someone is guilty…you know, just like Black Lives Matters is frustrated over the same thing.
That’s all. It wasn’t a substantive observation.
- People who like Trump learned long ago not to take his words literally, and people who detest him learned that they can always make him look stupid by pretending that he says what he means.
The exchange between Sanders and Acosta shows why these two types of people cannot communicate with each other.
- It can’t be easy being Sarah Huckabee Sanders. However, saying in public that what was just said by her boss was not said by her boss undermines any small credibility or trust she might have. Her reflex answer should always be, “The President mis-spoke.” She should have learned that by now.
Sadly, once a spokesperson lies like this, she should be fired or resign. She’s useless.
4. From the Daily Caller (and no place else that I can find: why?)
“Twitter buried significant portions of tweets related to hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in the last two months of the 2016 presidential campaign. Twitter’s systems hid 48 percent of tweets using the #DNCLeak hashtag and 25 percent of tweets using #PodestaEmails, Twitter general counsel Sean Edgett said in his written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
“Approximately one quarter (25%) of [#PodestaEmails tweets] received internal tags from our automation detection systems that hid them from searches,” Edgett said. He added that “our systems detected and hid just under half (48%) of the Tweets relating to variants of another notable hashtag, #DNCLeak, which concerned the disclosure of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee.”
Just two percent of the tweets using the #DNCLeak hashtag came from “potentially Russian-linked accounts,” according to Edgett. He explained that Twitter hid the tweets as “part of our general efforts at the time to fight automation and spam on our platform across all areas.”
Oh, I’m sure that was the reason.
Never mind the Russians; the many ways that tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter can—and apparently do– distort and manipulate the information received by the public to fit their political goals is an increasingly evident threat to our democracy, especially with the news media so biased and unreliable. (Why couldn’t I find this story on a non-conservative site?)
5. More from the “We’re going to hire the best people” front: The Washington Post reports Sam Clovis, that the President’s nominee to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist, Sam Clovis, who now serves as the agency’s senior White House adviser, confirmed in an Oct. 17 letter that he has no academic credentials in either science or agriculture.Yet the post for which President Trump has nominated his campaign co-chair, USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics, is supposed to be and always has been filled by by individuals with advanced degrees in science or medicine. The 2008 farm bill specifies that appointees to the position should be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics,” given that the official is “responsible for the coordination of the research, education, and extension activities of the Department.”
Ah, but not to worry! The former Iowa talk radio host and political science professor wrote that his time teaching and running for political office in Iowa makes up for this deficiency. I’m sure that Sam has also read lots of Readers Digest articles and all the episodes of “Star Trek” and “Green Acres.”
It’s really, really hard to argue with critics who say that this administration is anti-science when the President makes incompetent, cynical appointments like this. It is also unethical for anyone to accept a job they don’t have the credentials and experience to do well, even if they are offered it.