So much for WWMPD?

Okay, in fairness, I don’t think Mike Pence would unleash a series of authoritarian tweets that directly undermine basic Constitutional principles and the rule of law, but he’s plenty ready to defend it.  NYT:

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday defended President Trump’s personal attack on the federal judge who blocked his travel ban on seven predominately Muslim countries, saying that the president’s remarks did not risk undermining the bedrock principle of the separation of powers.

Asked about Mr. Trump’s reference on Twitter to the “so-called judge” who ordered a stay of the president’s executive order, Mr. Pence said on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “Well, look, the president of the United States has every right to criticize the other two branches of government. And we have a long tradition of that in this country.”

“The judge’s actions in this case,” Mr. Pence added, “making decisions about American foreign policy and national security, it’s just very frustrating to the president, to our whole administration, to millions of Americans who want to see judges that will uphold the law and recognize the authority the president of the United States has under the Constitution to manage who comes into this country.”

I’ll stick to a couple of tweets to rebut how wrong that is:

What would Mike Pence do?  Surrender any personal sense of decency and belief in the Constitutional order to serve his authoritarian overlord.  Ugh.

The must-see presss conference

In case you haven’t seen this yet.  Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer.  Literally, the hardest I have laughed in years.

Photo of the day

Very cool gallery of space photos from Wired:

This image shows the Calabash Nebula transforming from a red giant into a planetary nebula, as it blows outer layers of dust and gas into space at close to 620,000 miles per hour. Calabash is also known as the Rotten Egg Nebula, because of its high sulphur contents.ESA

Quick hits (part II)

Damn.  I could say a million things about Trump’s craziness from just yesterday.  And, if you really care, I re-tweeted a ton of really good stuff.  So, the regular awfulness, plus not awful miscellany:

1) But, we’ll start with this tweet from yesterday.  As many pointed out, imagine the reaction from Fox, etc., if Obama said something close to half this bad.

2) Cato takes on the precautionary principle.  Hooray:

The precautionary principle emphasizes the “better safe than sorry” mentality but shelters us from the reality that nothing is absolutely safe. Risk exists on a spectrum, it is not binary. The fear of high risks and uncertainty should not stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees here, only if a realistic projection that the long-term harms would exceed the long-term benefits should convince the government to further block Syrian refugees. A cold, hard look at the risks and benefits of allowing more Syrian refugees favors a more open policy.

3) The truth is Bannon and Trump don’t really want immigrants of any kind.  Muslims and refugees are just a start.

4) A nice bit of non-politics, Fans de Waal argues that the link between language and cognition is a red herring.

5) Among other things, Trump is just cruel.  But you knew that.

6) You will not be at all surprised that actual experts think Trump’s ban would do nothing to curtail terrorism.

7) The rules for making a protest work.


8) This Wired piece about a woman with no autobiographical memory was so fascinating.  Just trust me and read it.

9) Krispy Kreme donut run made the NYT yesterday.  David and I ran together (this year, I upped my intake from 2 to 3 donuts) for the 4th straight year.  Next year, we’ll add Evan to the mix.

10) Great piece on the reality of living in Russia and scary lessons for the US:

One tends to imagine life in an autocratic regime as dominated by fear and oppression: armed men in the street, total surveillance, chanted slogans, and whispered secrets. It is probably a version of that picture that has been flitting lately through the nightmares of American liberals fretting about the damage a potential autocrat might do to an open society. But residents of a hybrid regime such as Russia’s — that is, an autocratic one that retains the façade of a democracy — know the Orwellian notion is needlessly romantic. Russian life, I soon found out, was marked less by fear than by cynicism: the all-pervasive idea that no institution is to be trusted, because no institution is bigger than the avarice of the person in charge. This cynicism, coupled with endless conspiracy theories about everything, was at its core defensive (it’s hard to be disappointed if you expect the worst). But it amounted to defeatism. And, interestingly, the higher up the food chain you moved, the more you encountered it. Now that Russia has begun to export this Weltanschauung around the world, in the form of nationalist populism embodied here by Donald Trump, I am increasingly tempted to look at my years there for pointers on what to expect in America.

11) Kind of bizarre, definitely needs more editing, but riveting… Swedes trying to decide whether to jump off a 10m diving platform.

12) Of course I knew about Brian Nosek and efforts at replication, etc., did not know there was an Enron billionaire behind it.

13) A 538 piece arguing Trump’s national security council changes really aren’t that unusual.

14) Linda Greenhouse on the changing “judicial mainstream.”

15) Of course Trump is still way too closely tied to his business.

16) It’s too easy for police to get your location data without a warrant.

17) Pretty disturbing story of an accountability-free police shooting.  One thing I’m pretty confident of– police unions are too powerful and too interested in protecting police who are bad actors.

18) Really interesting Pew piece on what makes a “real American” (and a “real” many other nationalities as well).

19) Ezra Klein on Donald Trump and “the Snake.”  Like all longer Ezra pieces on Trump, it is really, really good and you should definitely read it.  And, yes, I’m talking to you faithful reader who doesn’t actually read it.

20) Former right-wing talk radio host sees the error of his ways and how it has led to Trump:

Mr. Trump understands that attacking the media is the reddest of meat for his base, which has been conditioned to reject reporting from news sites outside of the conservative media ecosystem.

For years, as a conservative radio talk show host, I played a role in that conditioning by hammering the mainstream media for its bias and double standards. But the price turned out to be far higher than I imagined. The cumulative effect of the attacks was to delegitimize those outlets and essentially destroy much of the right’s immunity to false information. We thought we were creating a savvier, more skeptical audience. Instead, we opened the door for President Trump, who found an audience that could be easily misled.

The news media’s spectacular failure to get the election right has made it only easier for many conservatives to ignore anything that happens outside the right’s bubble and for the Trump White House to fabricate facts with little fear of alienating its base.

Unfortunately, that also means that the more the fact-based media tries to debunk the president’s falsehoods, the further it will entrench the battle lines.


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