Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Short Takes

Negotiations are going on to try to keep the Syrian ceasefire going.

Two suicide bombs in Iraq killed over thirty people.

Feds foil plot to bomb synagogue in Aventura, a suburb of Miami.

U.S. cruise ship arrives in Havana for the first time in more than fifty years.

Telescope spots three Earth-sized planets orbiting ultracool dwarf star.

The Tigers had the night off.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Butthurt Abroad

If you like Donald Trump’s cranky, whiny and petulant view of how to run the country, you’ll like how he’ll deal with the rest of the world.

Josh Marshall:

There’s no real strategy behind Trump’s arguments – no new set of alliances or regional focus, no emphasis on trade as opposed to military strength of vice versa. At least there is no strategy in terms foreign policy professionals would recognize (which, in fairness, is not necessarily a bad thing.) With basically every other country the demand is for respect and fairness because under the current rules we are humiliated and cheated.

This is precisely the same policy, posture and strategy Trump brings to America itself: white identity politics aimed at taking back what other rising or new groups in American society have taken away from the guys who used to be at the top of the heap. It is more or less the identical vision, only with the humiliated party looking to set things right transposed from within American society to the globe.


Seeing America as humiliated and abused by foreigners is no more healthy, productive or based in reality than the idea that middle aged whites are under the heel of minorities and millennials. It’s all of a piece. Most people will get tripped up by the scaffolding of foreign policy talk around this basic worldview. That’s mainly beside the point. Trumpism at abroad is basically identical to Trumpism at home. We shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that will be any less toxic abroad than it is at home.

The personalization of foreign policy — making it about hurt feelings — is what led us to the disastrous policy towards Cuba after the revolution in 1959 and has taken over fifty years and cooler heads to prevail over a mindset that acted as if Fidel Castro stole our lunch money.  Going around with a chip on our shoulder will only invite confrontation with those who think they can hurt us, and it will alienate allies who, surprisingly, may not agree that we are the only country on the planet.

Mr. Trump basically boiled it down to “America First.”  To students of history or those of a certain age, that’s a direct lift from the isolationist movement of 1940-1941 that fought FDR’s attempts to fight Hitler before Pearl Harbor.  They were not without their charms: while many members were sincerely dedicated to keeping the peace and America out of war, a number of America Firsters were xenophobic, thinly-veiled racists and anti-Semites, and impressed with how well Herr Hitler had revitalized Germany.  They rallied behind celebrities such as Charles Lindbergh who warned America that we were being conned into war by a cabal of “international money interests.”  (They knew how to dog-whistle, too.)  And we all know how it ended.

Short Takes

Bernie Sanders cuts back on staff as chances for nomination dwindle.

Donald Trump outlines a bombastic, isolationist, incoherent foreign policy.

U.N. envoy says Syrian cease fire still in place “but barely.”

Former Speaker Dennis Hastert gets 15 months in prison.

Former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez arrested for domestic violence.

The Tigers beat the A’s 9-4.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Short Takes

Ecuador earthquake toll passes 240.

Brazilian congress votes to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.

OPEC fails to reach agreement on freezing oil production.

Airline pilot reports drone strike near London airport.

Rough weather in the Rockies and Midwest.

The Tigers won two of three from the Astros over the weekend.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Short Takes

Speaker Paul Ryan rules out run for White House again.  (Watch this space.)

Brazilian congressional panel advances effort to impeach nation’s president.

Deutsche Bank says “nein” to expanding into North Carolina.

U.S. Navy may charge officer with espionage.

Judge Merrick Garland met Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley.  Nothing happened.

The Tigers beat the Pirates 8-2.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Short Takes

Senior North Korean spy agency official defects to South Korea.

Poll shows Clinton and Trump with sizable leads in New York.

Michigan Gov. Snyder throws staff under the bus for Flint water crisis.

Tornadoes hit Arkansas

Cuba is running out of beer thanks to tourism.

Tigers lose 7-4 to Pirates.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Short Takes

British PM Cameron admits to being involved in offshore banking.

The man in the hat did something terrible, according to Brussels police.

Mexico shuffles diplomats in retaliation for Trump’s bloviation.

Michigan faces a ton of lawsuits over the Flint water crisis.

At least four people say they were abused by former Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Short Takes

Wisconsin primary results.

Lawmakers move to impeach Alabama governor.

Iceland PM Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigns over Panama Papers scandal.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) under investigation by House Ethics Committee.

Southern strategy: Mississippi governor signs bill enacting gay-bashing; Pay Pal bails on North Carolina over anti-gay discrimination.

UConn women win their fourth straight NCAA basketball title.

The Tigers won their season opener against the Marlins 8-7 in 11.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Short Takes

A car bomb explodes in Turkey, killing seven police officers.

President Obama welcomed world leaders to Washington for a nuclear security summit.

Yet another mass shooting, this time at a bus station in Richmond, Virginia.

All talk… Two more GOP senators agree to meet with Judge Merrick Garland.

Mississippi joins the boycott-bait states thanks to the passage of a law that enshrines gay discrimination.  (Like anyone would go there on purpose.)

R.I.P. Zaha Hadid, architect; the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Short Takes

Merrick Garland is President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court.

American ISIS fighter is a “gold mine” for U.S. intelligence.

U.S. hits North Korea with new sanctions for nuclear tests.

Denmark regains its standing as the “happiest nation.”

What if Fox had a debate and nobody came?

R.I.P. Frank Sinatra, Jr., 72.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

Short Takes

President Obama welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to the White House.

Michigan Gov. Snyder released more e-mails related to Flint’s water crisis.

Trump supporter charged with assaulting protestor.  (Yes, he was wearing a brown shirt.)

Senate votes 94-1 to pass bill to combat drug abuse.

Brazil seeks to arrest ex-president for graft.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Short Takes

The Pentagon reports that a major ISIS figure was killed in an air strike in Syria.

Mini-Tuesday primary results.

VP Biden is visiting Israel at a tense time.

A Baltimore police officer has been ordered to testify in the case of the death of Freddie Gray.

Missouri state senate Democrats are filibustering an anti-gay bill.

Monday, March 7, 2016