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Monday, August 14, 2017

It's hard to fathom how quickly this went to pieces. The white nationalist rally and subsequent violence in Charlottesville over the weekend was nothing short of a horrifying sensory overload.

A friend with whom I was commiserating said to me "I can't believe this all happened in a weekend." These are events that one would expect to take a few day's worth of protesting and violence, but it was all crammed into one day and managed to point out pretty much every single major flaw in our society.

There were several key takeaways from this weekend, but I've managed to condense it into some main points that we have to address if we ever hope to move on from it.

White supremacists feel emboldened by Trump and his campaign....


Monday, July 24, 2017

The alert came across my phone, with a buzz. "White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has resigned." I don't know Sean Spicer; I've only shared a room with him once. But I laughed at the alert. I noticed my own reaction to the news was little different from hearing an item about a coal miner being rescued from a disaster. Finally! Sean Spicer has reached safety. I imagined him emerging from the little press office on the side of the White House, covered in soot and looking like a man who newly appreciates freedom.

Donald Trump is a nightmare of a boss. His inability to command loyalty from his political hirelings through insults and threats is not only degrading the functioning of his White House; it is threatening the very legitimacy of his administration.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

WASHINGTON -- When Senate Democrats in 2013 drastically weakened the ability to filibuster presidential nominees, it seemed as if they were creating a glide path for a president whose party controlled the Senate to speed through confirmations.

But as President Trump and Senate Republicans are learning to their great displeasure, that has not been the case. Instead, a new kind of delaying tactic was born, one meant not to block a particular nominee but to snarl the Senate and limit the number of people who can get confirmation votes.

The barrier, as employed by both parties, is at the heart of an escalating fight over the pace of confirmations and the Trump administration's ability to fill jobs. With the health care debate temporarily postponed, the focus will now shift to the conflict over nominations.


There has been some babble about former national security adviser Susan Rice's refusal to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, and it needs to be clarified.

Rice was expected to give testimony this week, when the news broke that, in fact, she would not.

It took on a life of its own, it appears, with those seeking to foster their new religion of "Whataboutism."

The real reason is much less sexy.

Had Rice's testimony happened, it would have been on Tuesday, as Republican lawmakers seek to determine if she had any role in the "unmasking" of the identities of associates of President Trump's in intelligence reports.

The real reason Rice will not be appearing before House Intelligence today has nothing to do with a hidden agenda or some pug-nosed defiance.

The real reason was scheduling.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I've been haunted by a claim my KCRW colleague Rich Lowry made on our radio show a few weeks ago: Democrats keep coming up short in elections because they won't give any ground on "cultural issues" to win back the working-class voters they've alienated over the past decades.

On one hand, it's obviously true that Democrats suffer from a cultural disconnect from non-college-educated voters who have abandoned the party in droves.


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