April 30, 2019

Trump in Transition (v39)

As you probably know, lots of people like to fact check the president, who, as you probably also know, plays fast and loose with the facts on a pretty regular basis - whether he needs to or not

In my opinion, he lies automatically, without any regard to anything. He lies when he has absolutely no reason to, as much as he does when he thinks he does have reason to lie.

The Washington Post does a lot of work on fact checking the president, and at some point they started counting his lies and misleading statements, probably when they realized that the volume of them was unprecedented.

Anyway - here's an update from the WaPo on the fact-checking.
It took president Trump 601 days to top 5,000 false and misleading claim in The Fact Checker's database, an average of eight claims a day. 
But on April 26, must 226 days later, the president crossed the 10,000 mark - an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period, which included the many rallies he held before the midterm elections, the partial government shutdown over his promised border wall and the release of the special counsel's report on Russian interference in the presidential election.
Pretty impressive numbers - even more impressive than the reduction in the unemployment rate, the boost in the economy, or even the increase in military spending, for Pete's sake! These are historic numbers! The best ever! See how easy it is to be just like him?

The article notes that reaching the 10,000 milestone seemed "unlikely" back in the beginning when Trump was only making less than five false claims or lies a day - which means in a full four year term, he'd only end up with around 7,000.  But here we are -  and,
...the tsunami of untruths just keeps looming larger and larger.
Let's see what that tsunami looks like.

April 29, 2019

Poll Watch: The Economy, 2020, and More

Think you have your finger on the pulse of the republic?  Let's see how you stack up with a Fox News poll from last mid-March.

First, the small print: the survey was taken via landlines and cellphones, with interviews of 1,002 randomly selected registered voters March 17 - 20.

First up: Trump's approval rating was 46%, with 51% disapproving, for a net -5 overall. However, his 'strongly approve' rating of 27% was well below the 'strongly disapprove' rating of 42% (-15).

Questioned on Trump's handling of four key issues - the economy, taxes, immigration, and health care, only on the economy, at +8, did he have a net positive. On taxes (-7), immigration (-13) and healthcare (-15), his approves were below his disapproves. Even worse, the numbers on his signature piece of legislation, the Christmas tax cut, are down from a year ago.

There were several questions on the economy, including one asking whether the respondents are confident, nervous, mixed or don't know. Here are the results from the current survey, along with last year's.
  • Confident: 37% (-3)
  • Nervous: 43% (-4)
  • Mixed: 17% (-6)
  • Don't know: 3% (even)
Let's look at some of the even more interesting details.

April 28, 2019

Sunday School 4/28/19

OK, let's see how much ground we can cover today, starting with Andrea Mitchell sitting in for Chuck Todd on NBC's  Meet the Press.  On the show were presidential candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and former Deputy AG Sally Yates, who was fired by the Trump administration. We'll start there.

Mitchell asked what Yates thought about Trump calling the FBI "scum" at his rally in Wisconsin last night. Yates said those were "words we shouldn't be throwing around" about our law enforcement and intelligence folks. Mitchell also asked about the Mueller Report and whether it exonerated the president.
... I think it paints a devastating portrait of a president and a campaign who welcomed a foreign adversary's illegal interference into our election, who then continually lied about it and then used the power of the presidency to try and thwart an investigation into his own conduct. That's not exoneration.
And whether she thought there would have been an indictment on obstruction, absent the "sitting president can't be indicted" position, and whether Trump would have been indicted on the ten obstruction charges if he was just a regular guy? Yates said she's prosecuted obstruction on less evidence, but all ten scenarios might not be prosecutable, just the ones where Mueller found no "significant factual or legal defenses."

Yates pointed out that Mueller "specifically references" the possibility of prosecution after Trump is out of office, but there's a bigger issue, she noted. It's about presidential conduct.
I mean, when the Russians came knocking at their door, you would expect that a man who likes to make a show of hugging the flag would have done the patriotic thing and notified law enforcement. 
And about Rudy Giuliani's comment that there's nothing wrong with taking help from a foreign adversary?
Yeah, that's a shocking statement. And it also just reflects how they have moved the goalpost, when the truth comes out...Surely, that's not what we've come to. 
Sen. Johnson said he personally wouldn't welcome support from the Russians, even given Giuliani's comments. And on the FBI scum comment?  Johnson spent a lot of time talking about "understanding the president's frustration" before finally saying "Probably, I would use different words."

Sen. Klobuchar was asked about obstruction; she supports Congressional subpoenas for administration officials and is looking forward to questioning AG Bill Barr this week. Mitchell wondered if, as a candidate, the senator should say whether or not the impeachment process should be started. Klobuchar noted that the House will make that decision; her interest is in holding Trump  accountable, and citing the Mueller report, noted there are many ways to do that:
One is with the process through Congress, which includes these investigations, which the president is already stonewalling. The second is other investigations that are going on right now, including in New York. And the third is pretty straightforward, Andrea. That is defeating him in 2020. And that's what I intend to do and will do.
Asked about what Joe Biden should say to Anita Hill, who apparently is not happy with her recent conversation with him, Klobuchar correctly noted that was Biden's question to answer. If enough of the candidates not named Biden give that answer, maybe the medial will stop asking them the question. 

There's always hope.

April 27, 2019

OrangeVerse XLII: Card Carriers

The president and his great vice president went to the NRA convention to chat with patriots and stuff. In case you weren't invited, here are some poetic excerpts from Donald Trump's remarks. In verse, of course.  Trump's remarks were before the ouster of Ollie North as president of the NRA, which forestalled the ouster of Wayne LaPierre as CEO of the group. 

We Are The Champions
Chris Cox Wayne LaPierre Oliver North --
I've been following Oliver
for a long time. 
Great guy. 
Three extraordinary champions for the 2nd Amendment
And I'm a champion for the 2nd Amendment
and so are you. 
It's not going anywhere.
It's under assault.
It's under assault
but not when we're here.
Not even close. 

Most Importantly
I want to thank all of you
the proud
of the NRA. 
Every day,
you stand up for our
God-given rights
without exception
without fail, and
without apology.

Thank You. Thank You.
Together we are fighting
for the timeless values that
have build and sustained our nation.
And our nation is greater today
than it has ever been. 
Stronger. Richer. 
We're doing better 
than ever before.
We are Great Americans.
You're doing a great job. 

Believing in our Beliefs
We believe in the rule of law.
And we will always protect and defend
the Constitution of the United States.
And there are some people
that are running right now; 
I don't think they have
that number one on their list.

Power to the People
Every day of my Administration
we are taking power out of Washington DC
and returning it to the American people
where it belongs. 
And you see it now
better than ever
with all of the resignations
of all of the bad apples.
They're bad apples.
They tried for a coup; it didn't 
work out so well.
And I didn't need
a gun for that one, did I?

What's it Called?
It's called what we all together
have done - started two and a half years ago
on that great November 8th.
That was a great day.
Remember that day?
And in a year and a half
we have one called "November 3rd."
It's November 3rd this time. 
Get ready to vote.
You better. You better
get ready to vote.
But it's all called
"draining the swamp"
and we are doing it faster
than anyone ever thought possible.
Very proud of that.

Defcon Three
Far-left radicals in Congress
want to take away your voice
your jobs
your rights
and they especially want 
to take away
your guns.
You know that. 
They want to 
take away
your guns. 
You better get out there
and vote. 
You better get out there
and vote. 
It seems like it's
a long ways off.
It's not.

There was more - a LOT more - about the economy and immigration and crime-living Democrats and Paris and guns and the Revolutionary War and de-regulation and the fake news and on and on and on it went. 

We did learn that there's going to be no more #MAGA, there's a new slogan coming - #KeepAmericaGreat I guess, which will look like #KEG spelled wrong on shirts and hats. 

There'll be more poetry for sure, and we likely won't have to wait long to get it. 

April 24, 2019

Wondering on Wednesday (v171)

Where do we begin with today's wondering?

Maybe we start with the president saying he'd go to the Supreme Court to prevent an impeachment action, which is of course a legitimate oversight activity of a co-equal branch of government?  Trump has said that not only are there no high crimes or misdemeanors, but there's no crimes at all - the latter part, at least so far, is true when it comes to him.

But impeachment is a political check and balance, not a criminal one - and if you look at what Trump's personal senator, Lindsey Graham said regarding the impeachment of Bill Clinton, there's room for the current Congress to act.
So the point I'm trying to make is that you don't even have to be convicted of a crime, to lose your job in this constitutional republic, if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role... Because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.
Yes, yes it is. And I wonder what Graham would say now?

Or, maybe we should start wondering what's going to happen next?  The president has been found 'not chargeable' because the Justice Department feels a sitting president can't be indicted, so the obstruction that he attempted to do, all that might just be water under the impeachment bridge or over the "we'll charge you when you're out of office" dam, or something.

But now he's formally and very publicly obstructing Congressional investigations. Trump will attempt to block testimony by Don McGahn, his former attorney. He barred a guy from the security clearance operation from testifying, likely leading to a Contempt of Congress citation. He's sued a financial firm to block them from releasing information requested by Congress and also sued Elijah Cummings, chair of the House Oversight Committee, for asking for the records. The IRS has missed a deadline to turn over Trump's taxes as requested...  and on and on it will go.

If he didn't officially obstruct Robert Mueller's investigation, he has no qualms about obstructing Congress...

April 22, 2019

Grains of Salt (v45): The I-81 DEIS is Here

Grains of Salt
The long-awaited New York State Department of Transportation Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the I-81 viaduct project is finally here.

After months and months of fits and starts, including a call for a do-over from our Sonofa Gov Andrew Cuomo to consider a tunnel option, we now have the recommendation from the state, and they believe a community grid is the best option for the Central New York area.

Here's what the DEIS says on the proposed solution:
S.5.3 COMMUNITY GRID ALTERNATIVE / PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE Based on a balanced consideration of the need for safe and efficient transportation; the social, economic, and environmental effects of the project alternatives; and national, state, and local environmental protection goals, the Community Grid Alternative would be selected as the preferred alternative. FHWA and NYSDOT will consider all comments received on this DDR/DEIS. 
That's the answer that we've been waiting for here in the city - I don't think any of my city friends wanted anything but the grid; even a number of my non-city friends are grid supporters, as are a number of suburban folks who spoke at the listening session Rep. John Katko held in the city and in the three suburban meetings he held.

And while all of the Town Supervisors and the Republican-majority County Legislature supported a hybrid grid/tunnel combo, that was nixed , as were all of the other tunnel and depressed highway solutions in the DEIS.
Potential Alternative T-7 involves the construction of a high-speed, non-interstate tunnel in addition to all of the improvements associated with the Community Grid Alternative. The construction of Alternative T-7 largely would be implemented underground, using a tunnel boring machine and sequential excavation method. While there are some risks associated with all underground construction, the use of these conventional and known tunneling methods would allow the alternative to pass on constructability. Alternative T-7 would require the acquisition of 11 properties and would cost $2.5 billion, both of which are considered unreasonable. For these reasons, Alternative T-7 was dismissed from further consideration. 
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh released this statement:
I am very glad that the DEIS is out, and I’m pleased that it identifies the Community Grid as the preferred alternative. The DEIS is the most comprehensive source for the facts and data our community needs to evaluate the project. My team and I will be closely reviewing the report in the days and weeks ahead, and the City will participate actively in the public engagement process to ensure that the needs and concerns of the people of the City of Syracuse and the entire region are considered by DOT. The more people engage, the better the outcome will be.
County Executive Ryan McMahon's spokesman said McMahon was reviewing the report, and noted
As the County Executive has said repeatedly, this is a decision that will have impacts across the County and region and it is critical that appropriate mitigation measures are also taken to minimize any potential negative impacts. We cannot allow a single decision to halt the momentum our community is experiencing.
State officials were briefed on the report today; McMahon and others will be briefed tomorrow morning.

State Senator Rachel May, who represents my district, said this in a statement:
The grid has long been my preferred option, because I believe it offers the best opportunity to simultaneously redress historical injustices and help Syracuse become the engine of growth for the whole region There will now be a lengthy public comment period, during which we can all study the careful analysis DOT has performed and weigh in with our concerns and suggestions.
There'll be much more to come, but there's happiness in many parts of Central New York tonight, as well as dismay in others.

We've got quite a challenge ahead of us, and hopefully people will rise to the occasion, instead of falling to it.

April 19, 2019

TGIF 4/19/19

About the only person I know who's begging for Monday is Donald Trump.

Supposedly folks in the White House are hoping that by the time Monday rolls around, people will have tired of talking about what the Mueller Report really says, and will have tired of speculating on whether it's now smart - or possible, even - to actually believe a single thing the president says.

I doubt there's anyone who will ever again think that Sarah Sanders is telling the truth from behind the podium, no matter what day it is - so they don't care all that much. Her attempts to explain that she wasn't lying when she lied repeatedly about "countless" FBI agents,  that she was misspeaking, or heaven forbid, 'not acting like a Democrat' or some such nonsense,  were laughable.

Maybe the folks at Merriam-Webster are looking forward to Monday; it might take them that long to try and write new definitions for 'presidential' and 'exoneration' and 'total BS' and 'liar liar pants on fire' and who knows what else they'll think of to redefine while they're waiting to get back to work.

April 18, 2019

Trump in Transition (v38)

Wondering what to think about the Mueller Report? 

Wondering how the president is transitioning from investigation subject to investigation victim to maybe not having the best memory in the history of remembrances to brand stealing?

Have no fear, I'm here to help.  

Below are some comments from folks on the No Collusion! No Obstruction! Total Exoneration! Witch Hunt! side of the fence with some of my comments included.

Here are some of Attorney General William Barr's remarks:
...thanks to the Special Counsel's thorough investigation we now know that the Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign - or the knowing assistance of any other Americans for that matter.  That is something that all Americans can and should be grateful to have confirmed. See comments below from VP Mike Pence, and let me know who you think Barr is talking about here -- is it all Americans, regardless of political affiliation? Or is it just the Americans who supported the president? I can hazard a guess, but I'm interested in what everyone else thinks. 
In assessing the president's actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context. president Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates.
At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president's personal culpability. Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion. And as the Special Counsel's report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency. propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks. Note to those who are faced with charges of 'attempted' crimes: act angry, dammit. Don't let them think you're going to try and commit crimes for any specific reason - just be angry and talk about the meanies who are picking on you. Be Best, and all. It'll work for you.
 The Vice President released this statement, presumably with Mother's permission.
Today's release of the Special Counsel's report confirms what the President and I have said since day one: there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and there was no obstruction of justice. The vice president must be referring to the highly subjective and beneficial comments of AG Bill Barr - because the Mueller report does not support these conclusions. Or, to make it easier, he's lying.
After two years of investigation, conducted with the full cooperation of this Administration, that involved hundreds of witness interviews and millions of pages of documents, the American people can see for themselves: no collusion, no obstruction. Not only are the vice president's conclusions inconsistent with those of the Mueller report, the '"full cooperation" was limited by the president's answers and by the fact that the Mueller team decided not to pursue a subpoena for a personal interview. I doubt that would have even been considered had there been "full cooperation" and left some decisions up to Congress. 
Now that the Special Counsel investigation is completed, the American people have a right to know whether the initial investigation was in keeping with long-standing Justice Department standards - or even lawful at all. We must never allow our justice system to be exploited in pursuit of a political agenda. Given that the report identifies a number of occasions on which the president attempted to obstruct the report but failed only because others in the White House failed to follow instructions. 
While many Democrats will cling to discredited allegations, the American people can be confident President Trump and I will continue to focus where we always have, on advancing an agenda that's making our nation stronger, safer, and more secure. Note the distinction between "Democrats" and "the American people," a distinction that's made fairly regularly by the president, vice president, and many others in the Administration.
The president himself offered these remarks:
I have no recollection. I do not recall. I do not recall. I do not recall. I have no recollection. I have no recollection. I do not recall. I have no recollection. I have no independent recollection. I do not recall. I have no recollection. I do not recall. I have no recollection. I do not recall. I have no recollection. I do not recall.  These are excerpts from the president's written responses, which, the Mueller report noted, "demonstrate the inadequacy of the written format, as we have had had no opportunity to ask follow up questions that would ensure complete answers and potentially refresh your client's recollection. Sitting for an in-person interview, you'll recall, was repeatedly referred to as a "perjury trap" by the president's attorneys, including Rudy Giuliani. And of course, don't forget that Giuliani suggested famously that "there was no collusion, but even if there was, it's not a crime..."
One more comment from the president, which is the most telling of all:
Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm f***ed.

April 17, 2019

Wondering on Wednesday (v170)

Happy Wednesday After Tax Day, or maybe I should say, Happy Wednesday Before Mueller Report Day...

Official Washington and professional talking heads and right-wing conspiracy theorists and left-wing goofballs (and I'm not just talking about folks on Congressional committees here) are all a-flutter and a-Twitter, planning their watch parties and their keyword searches so they're ready to hit the ground running as soon as Attorney General William Barr releases the long-awaited Mueller Report.

Are YOU ready? Are YOU watching tomorrow morning at 9:30, or are you just going to hang out for the comments, I wonder?

Seeing as how I'm only an amateur talking head, I have think I have a little more flexibility, so if it's raining, I'll be watching, I suspect. But if it's not raining, I'm apt to be at the garden center, truth be told.

Either way, I'll be wondering when anyone who has anything to do with anything will start talking about what the Mueller Report did say happened: Russian interference into our election. It's not surprising that people are more interested in the dirty little secrets about what Trump did or didn't, but what Russia did should be more important, right? I wonder?

I'm also wondering now, with all of the moves out there to make more days national holidays - Election Day, Tax Day, and such - shouldn't Release of an Important Investigative Report about the Alleged Leader of the Free World qualify as an official day off, too?

April 15, 2019

Trump in Transition (v37)

Ah yes - the man who knows more about everything than everybody strikes again.

The American president knows more than French firefighters and historians and experts on 850-year-old structures it seems, and has offered his unsolicited advice to Parisians who were fighting the fire at Notre Dame:

Was his advice helpful? Um, that's a big fat no. To the point where the experts in France took the time to tweet a response - in English, since the man who knows more about everything than everybody I guess doesn't know how to speak French.

But that's not all!  

Sunday School 4/14/19

Let's listen in as George Stephanopoulos and Chris Wallace try and interview Sarah Sanders, shall we?

On This Week, the questions started with the threat by the president to send migrants to sanctuary cities. This was previously suggested and according to reports, was determined to be illegal, but that's not stopping the rhetoric or the planning, it seems.
Look, this is an option on the table... we've talked about a number of different things over the last two years that we'd love to see happen... If Democrats would step up and help the president fix the laws, this all could go away, we wouldn't be having this discussion, and that would be the best thing for the country...
George pressed her on the legality question, something that former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had addressed, and wondered how they can continue to push the idea. Sanders first said it wasn't logistically feasible, but then completely ignored that it was determined to be illegal.
The president heard the idea, he likes it so - well, we're looking to see if there are options that make it possible and going a full and thorough and extensive review. The president likes the idea and Democrats have said they want these individual into their communities so let's see if it works and everybody gets a win out of it. 
When George wondered why the president even likes the idea, since it might encourage even more immigrants, and they'd be harder to track down once the set up roots in communities across the country, Sanders clarified that the president's priority is stopping illegal immigration in the first place, but the Dems are to blame.
They'd rather spend all of their time attacking the president and -- on these baseless and taxpayer funded investigations instead of doing what they were elected to do, and that's actually solve problems.  
Sanders took offense to debunked stories that the president had allegedly offered a pardon to folks  if they closed the border, which was reported by CNN and the NY Times.

April 10, 2019

Wondering on Wednesday (v169)

Let's get right into the wondering stuff, shall we?

For example, is anyone in Congress wondering about what was found in the World of Mueller according to Barr?  You know, Russian meddling in our election to favor one candidate over another? The disinformation campaign and social media influence? The hacking and Wikileaks stuff?

Or, are they only wondering about stuff they think they know, or the stuff they want to be there, like it was a witch hunt-slash-coup-slash-take down-slash-fill-in-the-blank? Or that the escalator-riding candidate obviously colluded and there's ample evidence of that?

And now that the AG has declared that the candidate favored by the Russians was spied on, he'll now undertake an investigation and to determine whether the spying was legitimately predicated or not. Which of course will lead to even more wondering, and posturing and partisan chest-thumping.

Another thing I'm wondering about is the request for the president's taxes. First of all, 99% of the people in the country won't have a clue what his taxes might reveal, so again we'll have to rely on the pesky 1% to tell us what we need to know/want to know/want to hear/don't want to hear. And how long will it take, pretending that the taxes will ever be turned over, to find what they think they know,  or the stuff they want to be there?

April 9, 2019

OrangeVerse XLI: Wonders of the World

It's been a while since I've shared any presidential poetry with you, and for that, I'm truly sorry. So - without further ado, here's some free verse -- so free, and so versey, you couldn't pay me to write this stuff myself. This all came from the president's remarks with his counterpart from Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

In and Within
It's a great honor to be with President Al
Sisi of Egypt. 
We have many things to discuss
as you can imagine: military, trade. 
And I have to say
a lot of progress has been made i 
a lot of different ways
in terms of terrorism and other things
in Egypt and withing Egypt. 
It's really incredible what's happened
especially in certain respects
that we've already talked about.  Again
we have very very important things
militarily, to talk about. Also about
trade. A big trading partner. 
We do a lot of work
together we work together.

Big Pointy Things
Before we perhaps take a 
couple of questions,
the First Lady was recently in Egypt. 
She was treated beautifully.
But maybe even more importantly,
what she saw
with the Pyramids was - 
you could call it the
seventh wonder or the eighth
wonder of the world. 
She thought it was incredible.
She thought it was one of the most
incredible things she's seen. 
And we have lots of pictures,
and that was a great day
and a great moment
to see the Pyramids -
the Great Pyramids.
So hopefully
a lot of people
will be going
and looking at them.
But she's not easily impressed;
she was very impressed.

Well, I never said I'm "cleaning house."
I don't know who came up with that expression.
We have a lot of great people over there.
We have bad laws...
And so we're fighting
the bad laws, the bad -- 
the bad things that are coming out of Congress. 
You have a Democratic Congress that's obstructing.
You talk about obstruction - 
the greatest obstruction anyone has ever seen.

Laws I Can Name
We have the worst laws of
any country anywhere in the world
whether it's 
catch and release
or any of them. 
I mean, I could name - 
I could sit here and name them
but if you got rid of 
catch and release
chain migration
visa lottery -
you have to fix
the asylum situation
it's ridiculous.

Don the Builder
So we are building
 a lot of wall
It's getting built.
Some of you saw that
last week
when we went -
we had a great presentation of a new stretch. 
But we're building
a lot of wall
and we're being
very strong
on the border.

Lie With Me...
...we're bucking
really bad things
with Congress - 
with the Democrats in Congress
not willing to act.
They want to have open borders
which means they want to have crime;
they want to have drugs
pouring into our country. 
They don't want to act...
They want open borders
They want to have millions
of people pouring
into our country. 

They don't even want to know
who they are.

April 8, 2019

Poll Watch: Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

We're a week away form the annual tax deadline (yes, it's next Monday, honest!) and it seems we Americans are not of the same mind on things.

Oh sure, I think it's pretty safe to say most of us would prefer to pay less than we do, no matter if we're rich, poor or somewhere in between. And I think we'd prefer that we didn't have so many layers of taxation - income taxes (federal, many states and even some municipalities); sales taxes; property taxes; use taxes; and on and on the list goes.

However, a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, released last week, shows we are hunkering down in our respective partisan corners on this issue:
As the April 15 tax deadline approaches, overall public views of the fairness of the nation's tax system have changed only modestly since 2017, before passage of major tax legislation. However, partisan differences on tax fairness have increased considerably since then and are now wider than at any point in at least two decades. 
That's right: while the percentage of folks saying the present system is "not too fair/not fair at all" compared to those who think it is "very fair/moderately fair" is 52% to 46% - a notable change from 2018 when it was 58%  to 41% - the percentage breaks very differently by by party:

What else does the poll tell us?

April 7, 2019

Sunday School 4/7/19

Today's classroom adventure comes from CBS and Face the Nation, with Margaret Brennan talking with the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. Let's see how it went.

On whether Congress and the public have the right to see all of the information in the actual Mueller report, Rudy would like all of the information to go to the House Intelligence Committee, and eventually to the public.
I would like him to get all of the information...everything... But I can't control that and I can't change the law. And the AG has a difficult job, and I didn't appreciate (Jerry Nadler's) suggestion the AG would be biased. I know Bill Barr for many many years. I think people in this town know him, He's a man of the highest integrity. Also everything he's doing is also being done by Rod Rosenstein. That (summary) was put out by Barr and Rosenstein. 
Brennan wondered if the president was waiving all executive privilege, noting that Trump has said he thinks the report should be made public. To answer, Rudy had to invoke the Ghost of Clintons past.
The - the president's cooperation with with investigation it was unprecedented. Bill Clinton fought every single subpoena. And - and it was a knock down drag out battle.
Brennan noted that Clinton did ultimately sit down and do an interview, and noted that Trump had not.
That's why the president didn't have to because they couldn't win in court. They had every piece of information. They couldn't suggest a question they didn't have the answer to because we supplied them with the answers to everything and the president did answer questions in writing.
Brennan asked if any information would be withheld. Giuliani seemed unsure.
I don't know, Margaret. I don't know. The AG has said he's going to put out the maximum amount of information possible. The only thing that will stop him will be legal barriers. I hop there are a few because I don't like what Jerry Nadler just did. Innuendo and there must be more -- look. Jerry Nadler prejudged this case a year ago. He was - he was talking about impeachment. He was overheard on Amtrak talking about impeachment well before the report came out. So when he talks about the AG being biased, my goodness - and on his committee he's got some of the most rabid people that hate Trump. This is - we're not going before a court here, We're going before a political body -- that is highly partisan and has made up its mind. 
There was more - much more.

April 5, 2019

TGIF 4/5/19

Friday again? Already?

I'm thinking the folks who handle security at the president's private club down there in Florida had a kinda bad week. How else would you describe letting someone into the club just because they had the same name as another member?  Especially after all of the hullabaloo we just went through with a Chinese woman offering photo ops and access to with Trump personally, as well as with other of the rich and famous who hang out at the president's private club.

And of course, the president isn't the least bit concerned with security at his club - or with stopping the influence-peddling there. So, maybe I'm wrong, maybe the security folks had a good week, if their boss isn't concerned?

Well, maybe not so fast. Because Mike Pompeo, he's concerned, noting that, while he can't talk specifically to the incident, it
tells the American people the threat that China poses the effort they're making here inside the United States, not only against government officials, but more broadly. 
Whew -- that's clear as mud now. I guess we can describe it as a badly good or goodly bad week, or something.

April 4, 2019

The Update Desk: Amazon's 'Monopoly'

In a Sunday School post last month, I shared Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren's idea that tech companies need to be broken up. Warren's conversation with Ed O'Keefe on Face the Nation started with him asking her why she thought that needed to be done.
Because the giant tech companies right now area eating up little, tiny businesses, startups - and competing unfairly. 
In Warren's mind, platform companies should not be competing with platform users, putting their own products ahead of the competition in search returns, and so on.
So what I'm saying is we've got to break these guys apart. You want to run a platform? That's fine, You don't get to run a whole bunch of the businesses as well. You want to run a business? That's fine. You don't get to run the platform. Think of it this way, it's like in baseball. You can be the umpire or you can own one of the teams, but you don't get to be the umpire and own the teams.
So Facebook would have to sell off Instagram, Amazon would have to sell off Whole Foods, and "all those little businesses that they're running, competing businesses. Yup."

Warren says this can happen under our anti-trust rules that are already in place.

But is this a solution in need of a problem?  Let's take a look.

April 3, 2019

The Update Desk: Sports Betting

Back in January, I did a quick recap of what New York's Sonofa Gov Andrew Cuomo had on his State of the State wish list, which included sports betting. He can wish for that now, because the Supreme Court ruled that all states could dip their toes into this gambling stream, which previously was a Nevada exclusive.

Since that update, the state's Gaming Commission has issued draft rules, and we're a couple of weeks into a 60-day comment period on them. Among other things, the proposed rules would allow only in-person betting, and
The state rules also prohibit betting on college sports taking place within New York state, or on any events in which a New York college team plays, regardless of location. 
Regardless of the limitations, there's a bit of excitement with some members of the Legislature, including Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, who's on the Assembly's Racing and Wagering Committee. Take a look.
Allowing sports betting in our upstate casinos brings sports betting out of the shadows and at a benefit to the taxpayers. It levels the playing field so we can create a responsible market for sports betting in  safe regulated manner...Upstate New York is home to four gaming resorts, including Rivers Casino here in Schenectady that would benefit immensely from legalized sports betting, giving our region another boost. The additional revenue to the state makes it a win-win. 
We have those upstate casinos, you'll recall, because we were literally hemorrhaging gamblers to neighboring states, according to the Sonofa Gov. And that of course is also happening now, as New Jersey and Pennsylvania are both up and running with sports betting already, and Connecticut and Massachusetts are getting close.

And I have to ask myself if we've learned anything at all since we approved gambling back in 2013.

April 1, 2019

Making America What, Again, Exactly?

I just saw this article this morning, and to be honest I thought it must be an April Fool's Day post -- except that it's from Texas, first of all, and it was posted a few days ago, so no, it's real. Here's the eye-catching headline.

Texas Republicans advance a bill 
that would allow doctors to refuse LGBTQ patients

Looks about right, for Texas, doesn't it?  'Extreme conservatism' I think is how my Sonofa Gov Andrew Cuomo described them, a few years ago. 
Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives, who are right to life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay? Because if that is who they are, and if they are the extreme conservatives they have no place in the state of New York, because that is not who New Yorkers are. 
According to the article on LGBTQ Nation, the bill
...would allow state-licensed professionals to refuse to serve LGBTQ people if they cite their religion has advanced out of committee in the Texas senate.  Senate Bill 17 would prevent state licensing agencies from denying or revoking licenses from professionals - including doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, and even barbers - if they claim to be following a "sincerely held religious belief."
The bill's sponsor, Senator Charles Perry, said
Living our faith does not stop when we start to work. When we see what we may perceive as immoralities, those people who hold those beliefs should be able to defend their faith...without fear of losing their livelihood and their license. 
It's OK though - apparently law enforcement officers have to keep their religious beliefs in check, and even doctors will have to set their beliefs aside for "life-or-death" situations. From the text of the bill,
This section may not be construed to: (1) authorize a license holder to refuse to provide a medical service within the scope of the person's license that is necessary to prevent death or imminent serious bodily injury; or (2) limit any right, privilege, or protection granted to any person under the constitution and laws of this state and the United States.
Guess we'll not see Texas signing on to that whole 'health care is a right' thing, I'm thinking. And of course, who gets to determine what medical services fall under the 'necessary to prevent death' part of the law? I'd argue that chemotherapy may be considered  as being 'necessary to prevent death' but I'm sure that's not what Texas is thinking. I just think it's noteworthy that 'imminent' only applies to serious bodily injury...

But what - there's more.