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France: Electoral Rules Matter

travel-suitcase

While the final numbers are not in, it would appear that Emmanuel Macron will win the plurality of the vote in the first round of of France’s presidential elections and Marianne Le Pen will come in second.  Due to the use of a two-round system that requires an absolute majority of the vote to win the […]

The Era of Recusal

us-politics

“I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States.”–Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. CBS News:  Devin Nunes recuses himself from Russia probe. Fox Business News: As secretary of state, Mr. Tillerson, following through on his pledge to […]

A Photo for Friday: Halfsies

“Halfsies” April 3, 2017 Pike Road, AL

That Didn’t Take Long

us-politics

Via Gallup:  Majority in US No Longer Thinks Trump Keeps His Promises.

Changes in Turkey

Turkey-flag

By a narrow margin, Turks voted for some significant changes.

French Presidential Elections on the Horizon

travel-suitcase

A week from today the French hold the first round in their presidential elections. See Matthew Shugart at Fruits and Votes for some France 2017 presidential scenarios.

On Impeachment Fantasies, Redux

Trump And GOP Elephant

The previous discussion continued.

On Impeachment Fantasies

Donald Trump Victory

Predicting election outcomes is different than predicting impeachment.

Betsy DeVos is “not a numbers person.”

Via WaPo: At a recent public forum, DeVos said her record in office should be graded on expansion of choice-friendly policies. She did not embrace a suggestion that she be judged on academic outcomes. “I’m not a numbers person,” she said. In fairness, that is one phrase and it lacks context. Also in fairness, however, if […]

The Unfriendly Skies

Via WaPo:  A man wouldn’t leave an overbooked United flight. So he was dragged off, battered and limp. United Airlines says a man wouldn’t give up his spot on an overbooked flight Sunday. So, according to witnesses and videos of the incident, he was pulled screaming from his seat by security, knocked against an arm […]

On the Evolution of SCOTUS

Supreme Court Building

When life terms means almost three decades on the bench, fights will be fierce.

On the History of the Filibuster

Senate Seal

Stop romanticizing the filibuster (and don’t appeal to the intent of the Founders).

A Photo for Friday: Give ’em an Inch

“Give ’em an Inch” March 22, 2017 Pike Road, AL

Today in “Say What?”

us-politics

Via the NYT:  Christian Bale in Talks to Play Dick Cheney in Biopic Also in talks for the still-untitled film about Mr. Cheney, the former vice president, are Steve Carell, who would play Donald Rumsfeld, the former defense secretary, and Amy Adams, who would play Mr. Cheney’s wife, Lynne. I honestly checked the date of the […]

Bannon out at NSC

us-politics

So reports Bloomberg:  Bannon Removed From National Security Council Role in Shakeup President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday, removing his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, and downgrading the role of his Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert, according to a person familiar with the decision and a regulatory filing. National Security Adviser H.R. […]

The Politics of Gorsuch

Scalia Seat SCOTUS

The ordinary and the extraordinary with the latest SCOTUS nomination.

More Flynn-Russia Connections

us-politics

Via the NYT:  Michael Flynn Failed to Disclose Income From Russia-Linked Entities. Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser who was forced out of the job in February, failed to list payments from Russia-linked entities on the first of two financial disclosure forms released Saturday by the Trump administration. […] Mr. Flynn has faced fierce criticism […]

The Power of Narrative: Gun Sales and Obama

H

Perception v. reality.

Headline Reaction: No Kidding (SCOTUS Politics Edition)

us-politics

Via ABC News:  Political fights over Supreme Court seats nothing new

The French Elections and the Russians

travel-suitcase

Via The Economist is an interesting piece on the French presidential campaign:  France’s presidential race is a clash of worldviews.  The first paragraph raises an interesting point on the current state of world politics: WHAT did Marine Le Pen, the head of France’s National Front, expect to gain by visiting Moscow on March 24th? Her core […]

Court Approves Trump University Settlement

academic-book-glasses

Via CNN Money:  Trump University $25 million settlement approved Thousands of former Trump University students will get most of their money back, with a judge on Friday approving a $25 million settlement. “The settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable,” Judge Gonzalo Curiel said in his decision.  Nearly 4,000 former students submitted claims and those who […]

Drezner on Trump Admin: Harsh, but Fair

us-politics

Read the whole thing:  The beclowning of the executive branch. The run-down of major about the administration over a 24 hour period is pretty astounding. Also, I have to concur about the following observation about Jared Kushner: Again, let’s just stop for a second and consider the fact that the person described by himself as […]

A Photo for Friday: Hammer

“Hammer” September 28, 2015 Pike Road, AL

The Republicans’ Governance Problem

Donald Trump Paul Ryan

Speaker Ryan’s statement about the GOP being “a 10-year opposition party” is problematic.

Kushner’s Newest Mission

business-plan

He is supposed to help make the government run more like a business.

A PoliSci Perspective on the AHCA’s Demise

us-politics

Worth a read at the Monkey Cage:  President Trump couldn’t pass Obamacare repeal. This is why.

Another Remarkable POTUS Utterance

us-politics

“We had no Democratic support. They weren’t going to give us a single vote.” — President Donald J. Trump. Indeed:  when one tries to repeal a major piece of Democratic legislation, and one’s party does so without any attempt to negotiate before the vote, one tends not to get Democratic votes. Further, when the Republicans […]

A Remarkable Legislative Debacle

Capitol Daytime

This was one for the history books.

The Trump Administration and the G20

Donald Trump Victory

More stepping back from free trade and the established global economic order.

A Photo for Friday: Approaching Twilight

“Approaching Twilight” March 11, 2017 Pike Road, AL

The Most Transparent Presidency Ever

us-politics

A couple of weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine claimed that the Trump administration was “the most transparent in [her] lifetime.”  This bounces around in my head with some frequency, especially when I see stories like the following (via NBC):  After Pledging to Donate Salary, Trump Declines to Release Proof. President Donald Trump pledged to […]

The Silent Secretary

Rex Tillerson

Rex Tillerson, “the phantom of Foggy Bottom.”

This Health Care Proposal is a Train-Wreck

us-politics

Via the NYT,  The G.O.P.’s High-Risk Strategy for Health Law Repeal: Under the proposed House legislation, individuals would no longer be subject to a penalty if they go without health insurance, a politically popular change that would be retroactive to 2016. But they would still enjoy the protections of the Affordable Care Act: Insurers would have to […]

Today in Incredible Claims: HHS Sec Price

us-politics

Via MTP: No one will be adversely affected by the Republicans’ new health care bill once it’s enacted and more people would be covered, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. “I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through,” Price insisted when pressed by NBC’s […]

One More on the Problems at State

us-politics

Via Vox: The astonishing dysfunction of Trump’s State Department, in one quote Mexico’s foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, was in Washington. The Los Angeles Times’s Tracy Wilkinson asked State spokesperson Mark Toner what the plans were for his visit. Toner, a highly regarded career foreign service officer, apparently had no idea that a key foreign dignitary was […]

Thoughts about the Trump National Security Team

State Department

Trump appears to undervaluing existing bureaucracies listening more to hacks and ideologues.

The Weakness of Secretary Tillerson

us-politics

Robert Jervis writes at Foreign Policy that  Rex Tillerson Might Be the Weakest Secretary of State Ever: Tillerson’s position here is very weak. President Donald Trump has shown his lack of faith in him by vetoing his choice for the No. 2 position in his department, Elliott Abrams. Tillerson has also been absent for most of Trump’s […]

That’s the Main Point, isn’t it?

us-politics

Via the NYT:  Wealthy Would Get Billions in Tax Cuts Under Obamacare Repeal Plan It is not unusual for tax cuts to benefit mostly the wealthiest, but still save some money for a majority of Americans. But the benefits of these reductions would be aimed squarely at the top. […] People making $200,000 to $999,999 a […]

A Photo for Friday

“Untitled” Pike Road, AL January 9, 2017

Initial Reviews of ACA Replacement not Exactly Stellar

us-politics

Megan McArdle: Heritage Action, Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity — three of the biggest groups that Republicans will need to help them whip their right flank into voting for this thing — have all come out hard against it. Avik Roy and Michael Cannon, two of the leading opponents of Obamacare in the policy community, […]

Trump Believes Talk Radio Host over FBI Director

us-politics

Via the NYT,  Trump Is Said to Reject Comey Assertion That Wiretapping Claim Is False” President Trump does not accept the contention of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, that Mr. Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama had him wiretapped was false, a White House spokeswoman said on Monday. The New York Times reported on Sunday […]

Is the GOP Serious about Governing?

republicans-elephant-flag-shadow

Can the GOP govern? Do they want to or know how to? (Does it matter?).

Today in Depressing Quotes (State Department Edition)

us-politics

From a piece in The Atlantic (The State of Trump’s State Department) that is worth a read: “I don’t think this administration thinks the State Department needs to exist. They think Jared [Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law] can do everything. It’s reminiscent of the developing countries where I’ve served. The family rules everything, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs […]

That Moment when you Realize the Best Picture is Selected more Democratically than is POTUS…

Actually, I already new that (indeed, even the older FPTP system is more democratic than the electoral college) but I was listening to a podcast yesterday that mentioned the Oscar’s voting procedure and it hit me that that was a good way to bring, in at least small measure, some attention to how voting rules […]

GWB on SNL

us-politics

Via NPR: Bush said imitations of him by Will Ferrell and others didn’t bother him “at all.” He said he loves humor and that “the best humor is when you make fun of yourself.”

Tapp, Tapp, Tapp: The Truly Bizarre Tweets of the Day

Trump Twitter

@POTUS claims his phones were tapped by the Obama administration. At this point the evidence appears to be talk radio.

POTUS Tweets Like a Blog Commenter

Twitter Facebook

The tu quoque presidency rocks on.

45 Seems Unclear on how Government Works

us-politics

@POTUS Tweets: Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017 a) This is not unusual. I expect most ambassadors, especially from major powers, have been to the White House a similar number […]

ça change, plus c’est la même chose

us-politics

Warning:  some level of liberal arts education may be needed to understand this post. The following struck me this morning as something I should have thought of when writing my DeVos post: I turn to the second class, who are headed by Meletus, that good and patriotic man, as he calls himself. And now I […]

McMasters on “Radical Islam”

us-politics

Via the NYT: H.R. McMaster Breaks With Administration on Views of Islam President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser has told his staff that Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion, rejecting a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world. The adviser, Lt. […]

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