Thursday, May 26, 2016

Short Takes

Next: Taliban appoints new leader.

Eleven states make a federal case out of peeing in private.

The T.S.A. says long lines at airports are here for a while.

The housing market recorded their best gains in 24 years in April.

The Tigers lost 8-5 to the Phillies.

Tropical Update: Invest 91L gets an early start on the season.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Short Takes

The U.S. will seek the death penalty in the case of the Charleston shooter.

President Obama chided Vietnam on human rights.

Federal judge rules against Ohio’s limits on early voting.

Cuba will legalize small and medium-sized private business.

U.S.-allied forces launched an offensive against ISIS in Syria.

The Tigers beat the Phillies 3-1.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Short Takes

Austria: The racist xenophobic right-wing candidate narrowly lost the presidential election.

Baltimore: One of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray was acquitted in a bench trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court tossed the conviction of a black man found guilty by an all-white juror based on overwhelming evidence of racism.

That’s Hot: Temperatures in India hit 123.8 F.

Tropical Update: It’s a little early, but there’s something brewing in the ocean.

The Tigers beat the Phillies 5-4.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Short Takes

Senate confirms Eric Fanning, first openly gay Secretary of the Army.

TSA apologizes, promises hundreds of new staffers at O’Hare.

Senate passes bill to allow 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia.

Human error, high speed blamed for deadly train wreck in Philadelphia last year.

Better late than never: Court orders Mississippi school district to desegregate.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau introduces bill to protect transgender rights.

The Tigers beat the Twins 7-2.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Short Takes

The Supreme Court punted on the Obamacare contraception case.

Venezuela is in a state of emergency as the oil-based economy craters.

Oregon and Kentucky have Democratic primaries today.

Number of police killings fell in 2015, reversing 2014 spike.

Cancer patient receives penis transplant.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Short Takes

The president of Brazil awaits impeachment vote.

Colorado Springs shooting suspect declared incompetent to stand trial.

Two earthquakes hit off coast of Taiwan.

Debris pieces “almost certainly” from missing plane MH370.

No love lost between Harry Reid and Alan Grayson.

Former Tiger Max Scherzer ties MLB record with 20 strikeouts against his old team.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

They’ll Get To It

When the White House announced that President Obama would visit Hiroshima while in Japan for an economic summit, they made it abundantly clear that he would not be apologizing for the U.S. dropping an atomic bomb on the city in August 1945 that killed over 140,000 people and helped bring an end to World War II.

This is seen as preemptive strike against the phony claim from the right wing that President Obama goes around the world apologizing for America.  But as Paul Waldman at the Washington Post notes, the Republicans haven’t raised much of a stink yet.

How come?  Well, maybe it has to do with the presumptive nominee and his view of America.

Donald Trump describes this country as a miserable hellhole where nobody has a job, nobody makes anything, nobody respects us, our military is pathetically weak, and an America that’s worth anything to anyone is a decades-old memory. “Our country doesn’t win anymore,” he said in a debate in December. “Nothing works in our country.” It’s a message he repeats all the time. He actually titled his campaign book, which barely anyone noticed, Crippled America.

Conservatives have always had contempt for Barack Obama’s capacity for complex thought and tolerance for nuance. A president willing to say that decisions can be complicated and we need to worry about unintended consequences? That we might want to learn from our mistakes? That this is a great country but not a perfect one? Despicable.

But when your party’s champion is practically campaigning on the slogan, “America: What a Dump,” it may be a little harder to muster up outrage when the president acknowledges, even if only implicitly, that the incineration of an entire city was a terrible thing, no matter how defensible in the circumstances. Could it be that the shame of having Donald Trump as their leader is forcing Republicans to be a little more thoughtful in their criticisms of the other side? Anything’s possible.

There are a few reasons why this is just a short respite from their spittle-flecked outrage.  First, Republicans are masters at pirouetting on a topic when they find out that Barack Obama has the same view they do.  If President Obama went to Hiroshima and said that Japan got what they deserved for starting the war in the Pacific and brutalizing half the world, there would be some jackass Republican who would bemoan the terrible loss of life at the hands of Democrat Harry Truman.

Second, no matter how Mr. Trump views America, he has a right to trash it because, well, he’s a white guy who knows how real America really is, and it sucks to be a white guy in America.

Third, they just haven’t gotten around to it.  They’re still worked up over e-mails and Benghazi!, so be patient; they’ll get to it.

Short Takes

President Obama will visit Hiroshima.

Bangladesh executes leader of Islamist party.

Kentucky hit by tornadoes.

Bernie Sanders wins the West Virginia primary.

Hillary Clinton advocates greater access to Medicare.

Ted Cruz threatens to re-enter the race.

The Tigers finally won 5-4 against the Nationals, ending their 7-game losing streak.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016

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.