September 18, 2018

Teacher wages are lower than ever


Trump leaves his own legal team befuddled

NY Times -Nearly a dozen lawyers now assist President Trump in contending with two federal investigations, one in Washington and one in New York, that could pose serious threats to his presidency and his businesses. But the expanding legal team is struggling to understand where the investigations could be headed and the extent of Mr. Trump’s legal exposure.

It is not clear if Mr. Trump has given his lawyers a full account of some key events in which he has been involved as president or during his decades running the Trump Organization.

Pope's popularity drops

A Gallup Poll pfound that 53 percent of Americans view Francis favorably, down from 66 percent in August. Views of Francis among Roman Catholics, however, remain unchanged.

McDonald's walk out over sexual harassment

Guardian -Hundreds of  McDonald’s workers will protest outside the fast-food giant’s restaurants in 10 cities across the US, highlighting what they claim is an epidemic of sexual harassment for workers that they say the company has done little to address.

Workers in Chicago, McDonald’s home town, Durham, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orlando, San Francisco and St Louis will all walk out at lunchtime in an effort to highlight their struggle and call on the company to take action.

September 17, 2018

Key Senate and governor polls


Key Senate Races
Democratic lead in blue, GOP in red
Most recent poll to right

Democratic seats in danger: 7 Peak this season 9
Republican seats in danger:5 Peak this season:5

Democratic seats in danger

Florida: 4, 3, 4, 4, 3, 6, 1, 0, 2, 1%
1, 2, 6, 2%
Missouri: 2, 0, 1, 4, 6, 2, 2 0, 0, 3, 0%
Montana 3, 2%
New Jersey
4, 2, 6%
North Dakota:
3, 4, 5, 4%
Wisconsin 2, 8%

Republican seats in danger
Arizona 1, 3%
1, 6, 4, 1, 2%
Mississippi 3%
4, 0, 2, 3%
Texas 2, 6, 2, 4, 1, 4%

Republicans stand to lose 2, with 11 more seats in doubt. Three Democratic seats are in doubt

Democrat seats in doubt
Montana 8, 3, 2%
Oregon 0, 1%
Rhode Island: 3,2%

Republican seats in doubt

2, 1,1,3, 1, 3%
Florida 5, 3, 2, 4, 3, 2, 6%
2, 0%
4, 5%
Ohio 7, 4%
Oklahoma 1%
Maine: 0%
2, 3, 1, 2, 1, 1, 12%
New Mexico 13, 2%
South Dakota 4%
Wisconsn 13, 7, 5, 0, 2%

Republican loss
Illinois: 18, 9, 16%
Michigan 5, 15, 14%

Bada bing, bada boom

Sam Smith - Some of you may have shared my puzzlement at the Choice Hotel TV ad where the marketer ends up recommending "Badda book, badda boom" as the best way to get the firm's low prices across to people. I let it pass until I read that Paul Manafort had been using a similar phrase. It was clearly time to Google.

Interestingly, given the user, one of the definitions offered on line for "bada bing, bada boom" was:
A term commonly used by members of the Mafia. Slang for "It's finished; taken care of.: Often it is heard in the metropolitan areas of New York, specifically Brooklyn.
A more intense discussion was found on the British site, Phrase Finder:
In the March 2009 "Vanity Fair," "The Godfather Wars," Page 327, actor James Caan discusses his portrayal of Sonny in movie classic "The Godfather." He used "a rapid-fire, Don-Rickles-meets-the-Mob bravado that elevated his character to a whole new level. Then a phrase was delivered to him straight from improvisational heaven. It popped into his mouth as he mocked Michael, after hearing his kid brother say he intended to kill Sollozzo and McCluskey, the corrupt Irish cop who had broken his (Michael's) jaw: 'What do you think this is, the army, where you shoot 'em a mile away? You gotta get up close, like this - and bada-bing! You blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit.'

Bada-bing became a mantra for mobsters and aspiring mobsters. More recently, it served as the name of Tony Soprano's strip club in 'The Sopranos.' '....

2 in 5 Americans don't think elections are fair

NPR - Nearly 2 in 5 American voters do not believe elections are fair, according to a new NPR/Marist poll. Nearly half of respondents lacked faith that votes would be counted accurately in the upcoming midterm elections.

Race, gender and partisan identity are all a factor for those who question the cornerstone of the democratic system. Nonwhite voters, women and Democrats all report substantially greater doubts about the fairness of elections compared to Republicans, 91 percent of whom believe elections are fair.

Just a reminder

Good Supreme Court nominees don't even get accused of sexual assault and excessive gambling.

Trump's tax estimate off by several trillion

Daily Beast -The amount of cash that has flowed back to the U.S. after Donald Trump’s massive tax law overhaul is just 3.5 percent of what the president predicted. The revamp ended the practice of taxing U.S. companies when they brought home foreign profits, with Trump predicting: “Over $4 [trillion], but close to $5 trillion, will be brought back into our country. This is money that would never, ever be seen again by the workers and the people of our country.” However, an analysis by The Wall Street Journal shows just $143 billion has been repatriated—3.58 percent of Trump’s $4 trillion prediction. Companies have announced plans to repatriate an additional $37 billion.

Why are American colleges so expensive?

Has the CIA defined Donald Trump?

Professor Michael H Hunt is a history professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina. Last year he uncovered a remarkable article in a CIA publication.

Michael H. Hunt -  The June 2017 issue of [the CIA's] Studies in Intelligence contains an article by Dr. Ursula M. Wilder on “The Psychology of Espionage.” Wilder, a psychologist with twenty years of government service, provides a crisp sketch of the three kinds of personality deformation displayed by Americans who have abused their access to top-secret information and betrayed their country: psychopathology, narcissism, and immaturity.. .Wilder’s crisp sketch of each of the three conditions speaks clearly to any layperson trying to make sense of the leader thrust to the fore by the 2016 election.

Aside from the insights it offers, the piece raises two fascinating questions. Why at this point has the CIA — or more exactly the editorial board that oversees Studies in Intelligence — decided to make public an updated version of Wilder’s classified 2003 study? A hidden agenda seems unlikely. But given the antagonism between the president and the intelligence community, it is not impossible to rule out malign intent. Or perhaps we have here the bureaucracy indulging a sense of mischief.

The other question: Is it an accident that a set of personality profiles that keep calling Trump to the reader’s mind appears in a study devoted to spotting and stopping those who would betray state secrets? Given the depth of concern within the intelligence community over Trump’s Russia ties, the connection is again not impossible to rule out.  

Hunt provides a lengthy excerpt from the article. A few short takes:

On the signs of the psychopathological personality:Psychopaths cannot consistently follow laws, rules, and customs and do not understand the social necessity of doing so. They have limited capacity to experience the feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse that are the building blocks of mature conscience and moral functioning. They are facile liars. In fact, many psychopaths take inordinate pleasure in lying because perpetrating an effective “con” gives them a sense of power and control over the person lied to, an emotional charge sometimes termed “duping delight.” Their glee in manipulating others may be so acute that it overrides judgment and good sense, causing them to take foolish risks simply for the pleasure of temporarily conning others....

On the features of narcissism
: Narcissists possess a careless disregard for personal integrity and can be very unscrupulous and manipulative in pursuing their own ends. They are, on the whole, indifferent to the needs of others, who in turn see them as having flawed social consciences. Narcissists feel entitled to special—even extraordinary—favors and status that they do not believe they have to reciprocate. They heedlessly exploit others emotionally and financially, or in other ways that suit their ends. They are deeply antagonistic to sharing decisionmaking with others, irrespective of the legitimacy of the claims of others for some degree of control. Convinced of their own inherent superiority, they blame others for their problems or for negative things that happen to them, including social rejection. Because they do not consider themselves at fault for any troubles or setbacks, narcissists feel at liberty to take whatever steps they deem necessary to redress wrongs or regain a sense of mastery and superiority......

On the tell-tales of immaturity: The most salient characteristic of immaturity is the ascendancy of fantasy over reality. Immature adults spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming, deliberately calling to mind ideas that stimulate pleasant or exciting emotions. In contrast to mature adults, immature adults do not readily distinguish their private world from objective external reality and, in fact, may expect reality to conform to their self-serving and stimulating fantasies. Their fantasies about their special powers, talents, status, prospects, and future actions can be so seductive that they become resentful of conflicting real-world truth...

Consequently, immature adults generally expect others to embrace what to them is the self-evident legitimacy of their personal ideas and longings. They often cannot understand why others do not share their perspective and fail to see that reality itself works against the validity of their fantasies. They frequently will act on their fantasies with little anticipation of consequences that to most people would be completely predictable. They are often genuinely shocked when reality intrudes on their plans and interferes with anticipated outcomes. 

Furthermore, immature people are persistently egocentric, they see themselves as the epicenter of any crowd or event. They believe others are paying close attention to them personally in most contexts, and as a result they are acutely self-aware. When it becomes clear that they are not the center of attention and that others might, in fact, be indifferent to them, they often react negatively and take steps to bring attention to themselves.


Foreign born population highest share since 1910 - more Asian and more skilled

New York Times -The foreign-born population in the United States has reached its highest share since 1910, according to government data, and the new arrivals are more likely to come from Asia and to have college degrees than those who arrived in past decades.

The Census Bureau’s figures for 2017 confirm a major shift in who is coming to the United States. For years newcomers tended to be from Latin America, but a Brookings Institution analysis of that data shows that 41 percent of the people who said they arrived since 2010 came from Asia. Just 39 percent were from Latin America. About 45 percent were college educated, the analysis found, compared with about 30 percent of those who came between 2000 and 2009.

“This is quite different from what we had thought,” said William H. Frey, the senior demographer at the Brookings Institution who conducted the analysis. “We think of immigrants as being low-skilled workers from Latin America, but for recent arrivals that’s much less the case. People from Asia have overtaken people from Latin America.”

State attorneys genral on the Trump case

NPR -The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia want the legal authority to get any communications between President Trump and officials of foreign or U.S. state governments pertaining to his Trump International Hotel near the White House.

The proposal is one of several for "document discovery" in the historic civil suit against the president. As plaintiffs, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Peter Frosh can seek documents to bolster their complaints....

The suit alleges that Trump has violated two anti-corruption provisions of the Constitution: the Foreign Emoluments Clause, which bars federal officials from accepting gifts or rewards from foreign government officials, and the Domestic Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president from accepting benefits from state governments.

U.S. District Court Judge Peter Messitte ruled in July that the attorneys general had legal standing to sue. This is the first emoluments case in American history to go to trial.

September 16, 2018

Tip to FEMA

If you're going to put emergency alerts on our cellphones, you probably don't want to use a guy who's lied or misstated facts some 5,000 times in the past two years.

Dubious hurricane reporting