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Trump isn’t Playing Multidimensional Chess (in Case you were Wondering)

us-politics

President Trump in an interview with Sean Hannity this week: “The country — we took it over and owed over $20 trillion,” Trump said. “As you know, the last eight years, they borrowed more than it did in the whole history of our country. So they borrowed more than $10 trillion, right? And yet, we picked […]

A Photo for Friday: “One for the Money”

“One for the Money” January 1, 2016 Pike Road, AL For more info on this photo, or to see more of my photography, just click the image.

A Weak Defense of Extreme Gerrymandering

gerrymander

More thoughts related to Gill v. Whitford and the problem of extreme gerrymandering.

Skewed Majorities are Bad for Democracy

gerrymander

And even moreso when they are consciously created by the winner.

More on the Alleged Sonic Attacks in Cuba

travel-suitcase

Via the NYT:  A ‘Sonic Attack’ on Diplomats in Cuba? These Scientists Doubt It. According to the State Department, nearly two dozen diplomats at the American Embassy in Havana have been stricken with a variety of mysterious medical symptoms, including hearing loss and cognitive difficulties. […] Experts in acoustics, however, say that’s a theory more appropriate […]

The United Daughters of the Confederacy

us-politics

Worth a read (via the NYT):  The Confederacy’s ‘Living Monuments’ The Daughters’ ambitious agenda was not solely focused on monuments. They sought to collect and preserve the artifacts of war, as well as archival material, which they believed would help tell a “truthful” history of the Confederacy. Indeed, what they collected often formed the basis of the first […]

A Photo for Friday (on Saturday): Untitled

us-politics

Yesterday got away from me. “Untitled” October 17, 2015 Pike Road, AL These are in bloom again–some of my favorite wildflowers in this area.

Air Swamp

us-politics

Via WaPo:  Nearly six dozen flights on charter, military or government-owned planes by Cabinet members, mapped. About a half-dozen members of President Trump’s Cabinet, past and present, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on charter jets, military planes and other government aircraft for travel that often could have been undertaken much less expensively on commercial aircraft. […]

Ceasefire with ELN Starts Sunday

travel-suitcase

Via Reuters:  Colombia’s ELN rebel commander orders ceasefire beginning Sunday The commander of Colombia’s Marxist ELN rebels on Friday ordered his fighters to begin a ceasefire this weekend as the group struggles through complicated peace talks with the government aimed at ending five decades of war. Nicolas Rodriguez, known by his war alias Gabino, told […]

A Photo for Friday: Untitled

Untitled June 11, 2016 Montgomery, AL

Some Thoughts on Today’s AL Senate Primary Run-Off

Moore

Some quick thoughts on Moore v. Strange.

A Photo for Friday: Every other one

“Every other one” February 4, 2016 Pike Road, AL

The Importance of Timing in Politics

us-politics

Russell Berman makes an interesting point in The Atlantic:  How Democrats Gave the GOP One More Chance to Repeal Obamacare. the agreement that “Chuck and Nancy” reached with Trump may end up backfiring on Democrats in another way: It freed up time for Republicans to take one last stab at dismantling the Affordable Care Act. The […]

More on Trump as Independent

Trump And GOP Elephant

Independents don’t seek to shape party nominations.

A Photo for Friday: Pink Sky

“Pink Sky” July 20, 2017 Pike Road, AL

On Colleges Losing Their Minds (or Other Tales of Small N Inferences)

academic-book-glasses

According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics there were 7,236 Postsecondary Title IV institutions in the US as of 2013 (two- and four-year institutions).  That translates into thousands upon thousands of classes on a given day. Hence, it makes perfect sense to draw grand conclusions about higher education in America from a […]

This White House is Learning

us-politics

Via NPR:  Trump Dinner Menu: Tax Cuts The guest list for Tuesday’s dinner includes Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. All three are up for re-election next year in states that Trump carried by wide margins. If Trump wants to get a major bill through congress, this is the kind […]

A Simple Explanation for GOP Behavior vis-a-vis Trump

Trump And GOP Elephant

80% of GOP voters approve of Trump. This explains GOP behavior in large measure.

Trump is the Leader of the GOP, not an “Independent”

Trump And GOP Elephant

No, the deal thid week is not Trump becoming an independent.

A Photo for Friday: Cork in the Dark

“Cork in the Dark” August 3, 2016 Pike Road, AL

Trump isn’t Wrong About Congress and DACA

Trump And GOP Elephant

But, the problem is, they seem unlikely to act.

Narco-Pigeon

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  ‘Narco-pigeon’ shot by Argentina police Police in Argentina have shot a carrier pigeon that was delivering drugs to a jail, prison authorities say. I have to admit, this is a new one to me.  I am aware of numerous types of narco-subs, human mules, and catapults used to deliver drugs, among other […]

Colombia Signs Cease Fire with ELN

travel-suitcase

Via WaPo, Colombia signs cease-fire deal with last guerrilla group: The deal struck in Quito, Ecuador, where talks with the National Liberation Army, or ELN, have been taking place since February, goes into effect Oct. 1. It runs through Jan. 12 and can be renewed if both sides agree. Under the cease-fire, the rebels agree to suspend […]

The FARC Makes the Official Transition to Political Party

FARC party logo

A key step in the Colombian peace process.

Sasse Remarks on Trump’s Mercantilism

us-politics

“His Administration holds 18th-century views of trade as a zero-sum game.”-Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE). For context, see: Trump preparing withdrawal from South Korea trade deal, a move opposed by top aides.

Jennifer Rubin’s Assessment of the GOP

us-politics

“The party of Lincoln has become the party of Charlottesville, Arpaio, DACA repeal and the Muslim ban.” —Jennifer Rubin. Note:  Rubin is a conservative, indeed Republican (at least in the past) commentator.

Today in Depressing Poll Numbers

us-politics

Via Newsweek: In a Fox News poll released Wednesday, 69 percent of Republicans said the news media is a bigger danger to society, compared with just 18 percent who responded that white supremacists are more of a problem.

Understanding Where we are in Afghanistan

travel-suitcase

The following from Foreign Policy is worth a read: There Is No War in Afghanistan. Ever since the Taliban government was toppled in late 2001, the heart of the strategic problem that has confronted the United States and its allies in Afghanistan has been the definition of victory: How does this end? We would all be better […]

The War on Information

travel-suitcase

Via the Seattle Times comes a piece worth a read:  UW professor: The information war is real, and we’re losing it Starbird argues in a new paper, set to be presented at a computational social-science conference in May, that these “strange clusters” of wild conspiracy talk, when mapped, point to an emerging alternative media ecosystem on the web […]

Trump and Latin America

Puzzle Map Latin America

Trump isn’t going to win any regional popularity awards in LA.

Racism and Nationalism Make you Dumb

travel-suitcase

Via Politco:  Far-right German candidate promises to get rid of Arabic numerals Otfried Best, who is hoping to become mayor of Völklingen, near the French border, was asked by a member of Die Partei, a satirical party, during a debate earlier this week what he thought of Arabic numerals used in the town, Stern magazine reported.  ”Mr. Best … […]

(Vice) Presidential

us-politics

Via Politico, Pence shows Trump how to sweat it out with Texas victims: Pence — who is always cautious about upstaging the president — literally followed in Trump’s footsteps, flying with his wife to Corpus Christi, Texas, two days after the president and first lady Melania Trump had flown there and received updates from officials on the […]

More on the new Fiscal Realities in Washington

us-politics

To go along with my post from yesterday is this piece from the NYT: Hurricane Harvey Shifts Political Winds in Washington. Gone are the confrontational talk of a government shutdown and the brinkmanship over the debt limit. Instead, both Mr. Trump and his putative allies in Congress — many of them professed fiscal hawks — are promising […]

A Photo for Friday: Down by the River

“Down by the River” July 22, 2017 Montgomery, AL

Choices: the Wall or Disaster Relief? (And other Tales of Exec-Leg Interaction)

Trump And GOP Elephant

Winning was easy.  Legislating is hard.

Least Shocking Headline of the Day

us-politics

Via WaPo, Even in visiting hurricane-ravaged Texas, Trump keeps the focus on himself: As rescuers continued their exhausting and heartbreaking work in southeastern Texas on Tuesday afternoon, as the rain continued to fall and a reservoir near Houston spilled over, President Trump grabbed a microphone to address hundreds of supporters who had gathered outside a firehouse near […]

Arpaio in Context

Joe_Arpaio

The problematic nature of Arpaio’s tenure goes beyond just his contempt charge.

The Arpaio Pardon and Charlottesville

Joe Arpaio

The president’s decisions to pardon Joe Arpaio sends a clear signal in the wake of Charlottesville.

A Photo for Friday: Edge of Trust

“Edge of Trust” July 28, 2010 Pike Road, AL

Debt Ceiling PSA

us-politics

To use the technical political science term, the debt ceiling is dumb.  It is dumb regardless of who is in the White House and irrespective of which party controls Congress.  It is dumber than the day is long.  It is so dumb that the depths of the ocean cannot contain its dumbness.  An infinite number […]

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

academic-book-glasses

“I am not overawed, and I am not at all disturbed by the proclamation of college professors who never earned a dollar by the sweat of their brow by honest labor.”–Senator Samuel Shortridge (R-CA) in response to “1,028 economists [who] sent a letter of protest, arguing that protectionism would harm the economy and cause a trade […]

The Administration’s Legislative Accomplishments

Trump And GOP Elephant

Trump’s legislative accomplishments have been anemic at best.

Trump’s Word are Solace to White Supremacists

donald-trump-hat

Solace emboldens and helps to mainstream.

Who Could Have Seen this Coming? (Trump and Racial Politics Edition)

Trump Shrug 2

Who could have predicted we would be where we are at the moment in terms of racial politics and the White House?

Veneration Creates Normalcy

us-politics

I would recommend the following essay from Rose Sampley:  A Southern Woman Shares Her Story of Statues, Lies, and Listening. A sample: In fourth grade I took a field trip to Stone Mountain to see the faces of Jefferson Davis, Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson up close and personal. This is a very fond […]

What are we Honoring? (Looking to Statuary Hall)

us-politics

Via WaPo:  The U.S. Capitol has at least three times as many statues of Confederate figures as it does of black people Consider this: In the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection there are three times as many statues of Confederate soldiers and politicians as there are statues of black people in the entire Capitol complex, according to records maintained by the Architect […]

On Gorka’s Expertise

us-politics

In case you were not aware, via CNN:  Sebastian Gorka’s PhD adviser: “I would not call him an expert in terrorism” “I would not call him an expert on terrorism,” said Stephen Sloan, a retired professor of political science who spent much of his career at the University of Oklahoma. Though he said Gorka is […]

Schwarzenegger Provides Speech Trump Should have Given

us-politics

Worth a watch:

A Photo for Friday: Keys to the Past

“Keys to the Past” August 2, 2016 Pike Road, AL

Lee v. Washington: It’s not that Hard

us-politics

There is so much to write on the events of the last several days, but here is a quick response to the following from Trump: “So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the […]

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