And it only took almost four years

President Trump’s tweets don’t pack the punch they did at the outset of his presidency. His Twitter interaction rate — a measure of the impact given how much he tweets and how many people follow him — has tumbled precipitously, according to data from CrowdTangle. …

Trump’s interaction rate has fallen from 0.55% in the month he was elected to 0.32% in June 2017 — and down to 0.16% this month through May 25. (The metric measures retweets and likes per tweet divided by the size of his following.)

Trump’s lines of attack have been repeated so much that they don’t shock anymore, says Toronto Star Washington bureau chief Daniel Dale. …

While the number of interactions per tweet Trump generates has increased 21% between his first six months and most recent six months, it lags way behind his follower growth of 110%. And he’s tweeting more, which could make any individual tweet less likely to stand out.

A Post-Roe America Would Be a Never-Ending Nightmare
If abortion policy is set by state legislatures or Congress, we will see political warfare as never before, with women’s rights perpetually in peril.

The declining interest in visiting the South’s Civil War battlefields

The National Park Service’s five major Civil War battlefield parks—Gettysburg, Antietam, Shiloh, Chickamauga/Chattanooga and Vicksburg—had a combined 3.1 million visitors in 2018, down from about 10.2 million in 1970, according to park-service data. Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania, the most famous battle site, had about 950,000 visitors last year, just 14% of how many it had in 1970 and the lowest annual number of visitors since 1959. Only one of these parks, Antietam, in Maryland, saw an increase from 1970. …

The number of Civil War re-enactors, hobbyists who meet to re-create the appearance of a particular battle or event in period costume, also is declining. They are growing too old or choosing to re-enact as Vietnam War soldiers or cowboys, said Mr. Varnell, 49 years old. …

More recent history is also damping interest, said Kevin Levin, author of a coming book on the war. The fatal 2015 shooting of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., by a white man who had embraced the Confederate battle flag and the 2017 white-nationalist rally around a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va., has transformed how people view Confederate imagery and, in turn, Civil War-related historic sites. …

Now, some museums and historical sites are working to draw a broader audience—younger visitors as well as more minorities and women—by telling a more complete story about the great conflict. Once underplayed subjects, such as slavery’s role in causing the war, are getting more prominence, with new exhibits in Richmond, Va., Atlanta and elsewhere.

Why the Trump administration’s bad-faith legal arguments will backfire with federal judges

The Achilles heel of Trump’s strategy is that his extreme positions are not fact-specific or nuanced and are easily disposed of as legally groundless. Judge Mehta specifically noted that the “legal issues presented do not require the court to resolve any fact contests because the material facts are not in dispute.” Because Trump challenged the very right of Congress to investigate these matters, the only facts the court needed to consider were basic facts that no one could possibly dispute.

That stands in stark contrast to prior disputes between the executive branch and Congress. For example, the dispute over certain materials subpoenaed by Congress in its investigation of Operation Fast and Furious resulted in litigation that took eight years to resolve. But the Obama administration did not take the categorical, aggressive approach that Trump has. Obama’s Justice Department produced some witnesses and documents and fought over other documents over which it claimed privilege. …

No court is going to rule that the Executive Branch can categorically refuse to produce evidence and witnesses from a criminal investigation of the president of the United States from the House of Representatives.

Trump’s team no doubt believes that once their initial arguments fail, they will advance more nuanced arguments that seek to protect only a limited subset of material from disclosure. But as any experienced litigator knows, a judge’s impression of a party’s position is influenced by the history of the litigation. Because Trump’s lawyers have not even paid lip service to our constitutional system at the outset, judges will be less inclined to take seriously their arguments later on. In addition, the decisions issued by judges denying Trump’s challenges will influence other judges who consider similar challenges brought by Trump to other Congressional subpoenas.

Goodbye to all that, U.S. Senate edition

“This place is definitely broken,” said Senator Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico and a longtime advocate of government reform who surprisingly announced in March that he would not seek a third term in 2020 in his solidly blue state.

In assessing his political future, Mr. Udall said he had become convinced that he could do more to advance his progressive ideas on climate change, war powers and a comprehensive electoral overhaul by skipping another two years of relentless re-election fund-raising. Instead, he said, he intends to redouble his efforts in those areas in hopes of setting the stage for big changes should Democrats prevail next year, even though he won’t be back in the Senate himself.

“You don’t necessarily have to be there to see that they are completed,” he said.

Mr. Udall’s decision to not run again, discussed in an interview on Wednesday, showed how the gridlock infecting Congress and the wide political divisions in the country can frustrate even the most experienced lawmakers and make them rethink their careers. It also illustrates how overwhelming and time-consuming fund-raising for multimillion-dollar races can be, leaving lawmakers little opportunity for the work they are supposed to be doing.

When he announced his own retirement this month, Senator Michael B. Enzi, a 75-year-old Wyoming Republican who is the chairman of the Budget Committee, said he would rather spend his remaining time in the Senate working on budget issues than campaigning.

The Republicans have a long way to go when it comes to recruiting and supporting female candidates

GOP consultants and candidates acknowledge their recruitment and resources lag far behind Democrats. And no centralized group exists to provide hiring advice, social media guidance, press training, or messaging tactics to candidates. Democrats, on the other hand, have the behemoth EMILY’s List network, as well as groups focused on recruiting immigrants, women of color, female veterans and more.

“The support structure needs to be more than the idea that you can get some PAC dollars from random PACs out there,” [former North Carolina House candidate Leigh Brown] said. “I didn’t know how to hire. I’m an outsider to this.”

Republicans are not blind to the problem. A growing number of outside GOP groups are dedicated to boosting female candidates since the House GOP’s official campaign arm doesn’t play in primaries. “Winning for Women” launched a new super PAC in response to the devastating losses Republicans suffered in 2018.

A troubling story out of Germany

Per the Guardian:

Germany’s government commissioner on antisemitism has suggested Jews should not always wear the traditional kippah cap in public, in the wake of a spike in anti-Jewish attacks.

“I cannot advise Jews to wear the kippah everywhere, all the time, in Germany,” Felix Klein said in an interview published Saturday by the Funke regional press group. The remarks were criticised by the Israeli president as representing a “capitulation” to antisemitism.

In issuing the warning, Klein said he had “alas, changed my mind compared to previously”.

Antisemitic attacks are on the rise in a number of European countries, and a survey of Jewish people across the European Union carried out in December found 89% of Jews feel antisemitism has increased in their country over the past decade, while 85% believed it to be a serious problem. Antisemitic hate crimes rose by 20% in Germany last year, according to interior ministry data, which blamed nine out of ten cases on the extreme right. There were 62 violent antisemitic attacks, compared to 37 in 2017. France has also seen a spike in violent incidents.

The advice is earning criticism, however, including from the U.S. ambassador, per the Jerusalem Post:

The US government’s most high-profile ambassador in Europe, Richard Grenell, said Jews in Germany should not conceal their religious identity, and urged them to wear kippot in defiance of a statement from Germany’s commissioner to combat antisemitism that Jews should avoid wearing kippot in public.

“The opposite is true,” tweeted Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany. “Wear your kippa. Wear your friend’s kippa. Borrow a kippa and wear it for our Jewish neighbors. Educate people that we are a diverse society.” …

Julie Lenarz, a London-based expert on antisemitism, wrote in response to Klein’s announcement: “This policy punishes victims and rewards perpetrators. Instead, Germany should issue an unequivocal warning to those who threaten Jewish life – far Right, far Left, or Islamist.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post by email: “Unacceptable, Germany! Jews should never be relegated to second-class citizens. Stand with your Jewish neighbors, punish antisemitism from the extreme far Right, far Left and Islamist.”

international affairs
international affairs
Trump Has to Remind John Bolton How Much He Likes Kim Jong-un
Neither missile tests nor hawkish national security advisors will dissuade Trump from appreciating a foreign strongman’s Biden insults.
vision 2020
vision 2020
Democrats Say They Don’t Want Presidents As Old As Their Two Front-Runners
There’s evidence Democrats would prefer not to have really old presidential candidates. Yet the two front-runners are over 75. What’s up with that?

Trump’s wall money scheme hits a wall

A federal judge has temporarily blocked part of President Trump’s plan to build a wall along the southern border with money Congress never appropriated for that purpose. …

Gilliam wrote that the government’s position “that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic.”

The law the administration invoked to shift funds allows transfers for “unforeseen” events. Gilliam said the government’s claim that wall construction was “unforeseen” “cannot logically be squared” with Trump’s many demands for funding dating back to early 2018 and even in the campaign. … About $1 billion has been moved from military pay and pension accounts, transfers that Gilliam ruled against Friday, but no money has been transferred from the emergency military construction fund for which the president declared a state of emergency in February.

life in pixels
life in pixels
Petitions Are Everywhere Because We Don’t Know How Else to Do Politics
How are you supposed to fix the government — or Game of Thrones?
Harvey Weinstein Nears $44 Million Deal to Resolve Lawsuits: Sources
The tentative agreement would resolve lawsuits from Weinstein accusers, as well as the New York State attorney general.
Does Trump Want to Be Impeached?
Is the president one step ahead of his opponents?
fake news
fake news
When It Comes to Viral Twitter, Trust But Verify
Shane Morris tweeted an insane story about stealing heroin from a member of MS-13. Now he’s saying it was all lies.
happy sh*t
happy sh*t
7 Actually Good Things That Happened This Week
Featuring royal babies frolicking, Barack Obama, and one very chill dog.
high drama
high drama
Trump v. Pelosi: Anatomy of a Feud
A timeline of the president’s ongoing fight with the Speaker of the House
the national interest
the national interest
Laugh at Trump, Sure — But Also Watch What He’s Doing
While his authoritarian fantasies play out in farce before the cameras, behind the scenes he is managing to grasp the levers of power.

Facebook remains very concerned about false information circulating on the platform

Facebook says it will continue to host a video of Nancy Pelosi that has been edited to give the impression that the Democratic House Speaker is drunk or unwell, in the latest incident highlighting its struggle to deal with disinformation.

The viral clip shows Pelosi – who has publicly angered Donald Trump in recent days – speaking at an event, but it has been slowed down to give the impression she is slurring her words.

Trump v Pelosi: how a ‘stable genius’ president met his match Read more

… Despite the apparently malicious intent of the video’s creator, Facebook has said it will only downgrade its visibility in users’ newsfeeds and attach a link to a third-party fact checking site pointing out that the clip is misleading. As a result, although it is less likely to be seen by accident, the doctored video will continue to rack up views.

the national interest
the national interest
Trump Staff Dreads Traveling Overseas With Toddler President
On Trump’s Air Force One, the overnight is dark and full of terrors.
lgbtq rights
lgbtq rights
Trump Continues Drive to Protect Religious-Based Discrimination
The administration is fighting to repeal health-care protections and adoption rights for LGBTQ people, on behalf of his Christian right backers.
Here’s an Actual Nightmare: Naomi Wolf Learning On-Air That Her Book Is Wrong
Somewhere in the pantheon of anxiety dreams near “showing up to work naked” is “learning on-air that your book is totally wrong.”

Thanks, Chip!

Rep. Chip Roy became the man who delayed $19.1 billion in disaster aid to communities throughout the country on Friday.

House leaders had planned to pass a multibillion-dollar disaster assistance measure by unanimous consent, but the Texas Republican objected on the floor.

Roy took issue with passing the measure without a roll call vote. He also complained that the legislation lacks offsets to prevent it from driving up the deficit and that congressional leaders left off billions of dollars in emergency funding President Donald Trump seeks for handling the inflow of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Nadler reassures people that he’s ok after appearing to pass out at event

House Judiciary Chairman Nadler: “Appreciate everyone’s concern. Was very warm in the room this morning, was obviously dehydrated and felt a bit ill. Glad to receive fluids and am feeling much better. Thank you for your thoughts.”

Trump just loves the Saudis

Sen. Menendez says the Trump admin has “formally informed Congress that it is invoking an obscure provision of the Arms Export Control Act to eliminate the statutorily-required Congressional review of the sales of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and others.”

It actually might be lower than currently

Trump just claimed that if the news media covered him more positively his approval rating would be 70 or 75 percent.

Nadler is reportedly ok now

Scary moment at this press conference now, @RepJerryNadler appears to be dehydrated, perhaps low sugar as the conference was underway. They are clearing the room so he can get medical assistance. He’s conscious, drinking water and has just been fed an orange

John Bolton gets a win – or is it a loss, since he probably wanted many more troops?

BREAKING: The Trump administration has notified Congress it plans to send 1,500 troops to the Middle East amid heightened tensions with Iran, U.S. officials say.
interesting times
interesting times
Andrew Sullivan: Good-bye, Theresa. Hello, Boris?
Why the populist right keeps gaining ground — and center keeps losing it — in Europe, and around the world.
reproductive rights
reproductive rights
The Legal Fight Over Alabama’s Abortion Law Begins
Other, less drastic abortion laws are more likely to provide Supreme Court conservatives with the pretext to begin unraveling reproductive rights.
sigur rós
sigur rós
Nancy Pelosi Slowed Down 800 Percent Is Hauntingly Beautiful
What happens when you slow down audio of the House Speaker even more?
IGTV Is Just YouTube Now
Instagram’s hub for long-form video never really took off despite Facebook’s best efforts.

Conflicting so obviously with Roe V. Wade, the law is likely to be blocked

Planned Parenthood and the Alabama Women’s Center on Friday filed suit against the state of Alabama to block the most restrictive abortion law in the nation.

The near-total ban, signed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on May 15, would criminalize abortion in almost all circumstances — including cases of rape and incest — and punish doctors with up to 99 years in prison. Without any challenges, the law was set to go into effect in as soon as six months.

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, sets off a chain of events that both sides say is likely to lead to a years-long court battle. State lawmakers have said they passed the law specifically to bring the case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which they see as having the most antiabortion bench in decades. The bill was designed to challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by arguing that a fetus is a person and is therefore due full rights.

In keeping with this administration’s love of discrimination

A new proposal from the Trump administration would roll back health care protections for transgender people.

The proposed regulation, announced Friday, scraps ObamaCare’s definition of “sex discrimination” to remove protections for gender identity.

That provision said patients cannot be turned away because they are transgender, nor can they be denied coverage if they need a service that’s related to their transgender status. 

The announcement follows a series of moves that bolster efforts by religious conservatives to narrowly define gender and gender protections. Earlier this month, the administration finalized rules making it easier for health workers and institutions to deny treatment to people if it would violate their religious or moral beliefs.

Nobody wants to hear from you right now, David

Strong and brave speech by a Prime Minister driven by duty and service… she should be thanked for her tireless efforts on behalf of the country. Full statement below.

Our long municipal nightmare is over

A 23-year-old Brooklyn man was arrested in the early hours of Friday morning, suspected of being the serial subway brake puller.

Isaiah Thompson was arrested at home just before 12:30 a.m. Friday after an outside tip. 

He faces charges of reckless endangerment and criminal trespass after a rash of incidents dating back months that has disrupted thousands of commuters.

Police believe that on at least three occasions this month alone, Thompson rode the back of various subway trains in Manhattan, got into the operator’s car and pulled the emergency brake. 

Hannity has an hour-long prime time show, no editorial supervision, and the ear of the president. What could go wrong?

… Hannity, who consistently dominates the ratings across all cable news outlets, brazenly ignores … [Fox’s news standards]. And news-side employees who spoke to The Daily Beast believe it’s because no one at the network is willing to control the ratings-leading host.

A blaring example of that is Hannity’s treatment of claims from guests whose dubious “reporting” would never pass muster on Fox’s hard news shows. The most commonly cited example of this is Trump-boosting Fox News contributor Sara Carter, whose news credibility is so questionable that, as Mediaite reported in March, Fox News executives allegedly told Hannity to stop calling her an “investigative reporter” on his show.

“Fox News executives have asked Hannity to stop using this title on the grounds that Carter’s reporting is not vetted, and passes none of the network’s editorial guidelines,” the media news site reported. And even without any such dictate, Hannity’s hyping of “reporters” who don’t meet Fox’s news standards would be considered troublesome at any mainstream outlet.

Nevertheless, Hannity has persisted.

In fact, according to a review of Fox News transcripts, he has only gotten more defiant since he was reportedly scolded by executives. This year, Hannity has referred to Carter as an “investigative reporter” at least 18 times, two-thirds of which came after he was told to stop. In several of those instances, Hannity even slapped a network-wide stamp of approval on Carter, calling her a “Fox News investigative reporter.”

Why would Mueller submit to public questioning about a widely misunderstood, taxpayer-funded investigation?

Special counsel Robert Mueller has expressed interest in giving private testimony to Congress about his two-year investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller has told House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler that he is willing to make a public opening statement, but leave his testimony behind closed doors, Nadler said on “The Rachel Maddow Show” Thursday night.

Nadler, D-N.Y., has made repeated efforts for Mueller to speak in front of Congress. If Mueller did proceed with private testimony on his report, the public would get a transcript, Nadler said.

“We think it’s important for the American people to hear from him and to hear his answers to questions about the report,” Nadler said.

“He envisions himself correctly as a man of great rectitude and apolitical and he doesn’t want to participate in anything that he might regard as a political spectacle,” Nadler said about Mueller not wanting to testify in public. But he added, “I’m speculating really.”

global politics
global politics
Theresa May to Resign As U.K. Prime Minister After Brexit Failures
May’s voice cracked as she announced that she will step down on June 7, after three failed attempts to pass her Brexit plan.
Harvey Weinstein Nears $44 Million Deal to Resolve Lawsuits: Sources
The tentative agreement would resolve lawsuits from Weinstein accusers, as well as the New York State attorney general.
vision 2020
vision 2020
How Does Obama Feel About Biden’s Candidacy? It’s Complicated.
As the former VP invokes his old boss, Obama has his reasons for keeping his distance.

Trump knows a salesman when he sees one

President Trump has personally and repeatedly urged the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award a border wall contract to a North Dakota construction firm whose top executive is a GOP donor and frequent guest on Fox News, according to four administration officials.

In phone calls, White House meetings and conversations aboard Air Force One during the past several months, Trump has aggressively pushed Dickinson, N.D.-based Fisher Industries to Department of Homeland Security leaders and Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the commanding general of the Army Corps, according to the administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal discussions. The push for a specific company has alarmed military commanders and DHS officials.

Fisher’s chief executive, Tommy Fisher, has gone on conservative television and radio, claiming that his company could build more than 200 miles of barrier in less than a year. And he has courted Washington directly, meeting in congressional offices and inviting officials to the Southwest desert to see barrier prototypes.

Trump: ‘I’m an Extremely Stable Genius,’ Asks Staff to Describe How ‘Calm’ He Is
Needless to say, the president’s speech on increased farm aid did not stay on target.

Well that explains the relative quiet in Trump’s comments

Twitter just permanently banned brothers Ed and Brian Krassenstein. The #Resistance duo allegedly operated fake accounts and paid to artificially increase their Twitter audiences.
Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act, Raising First Amendment Questions
Assange claims he is a journalist, but the Justice Department appears to be treating him as if he were a whistle-blower like Edward Snowden.
vision 2020
vision 2020
What Do Trump’s Reelection Chances Look Like Right Now?
Intelligencer staffers discuss the president’s position as the Democratic primary continues to take shape.
gross guy still gross
gross guy still gross
The Web’s Most Famous Pickup Artist Forum Has Banned Talk of Pickup Artistry
RooshV has taken the God pill.

This could set a very troubling precedent for publishers

Federal prosecutors on Thursday accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of violating the Espionage Act, bringing against him a new, 18-count indictment alleging he unlawfully obtained and disclosed national defense information.

The new charges dramatically raise the stakes of the case both for Assange and the news media, raising questions about the limits of the First Amendment and protections for publishers of classified information.

Prosecutors allege Assange worked with a former Army intelligence analyst to obtain and disseminate classified information — conduct of which many traditional reporters might also be accused. The U.S. government, though, sought to distinguish the anti-secrecy advocate from a traditional reporter.

Not pathetic at all

In the q and a with reporters, the president turned to aides Kellyanne Conway and Mercedes Schlapp to vouch for his temperament in yesterday’s meeting with Democrats. Conway said “You were very calm”. Schlapp said he was “very direct.”

Trump taking the high road, as usual

Trump on Pelosi: “She’s lost it. She’s not the same person.”

Not a political metaphor

TORNADO WARNING for downtown Washington DC.

Bernie comes out with a qualified impeachment endorsement

It is obvious that the President is a pathological liar who does not understand the Constitution. The fact is that if Mr. Trump continues to disregard the right of Congress to subpoena, he will leave House Members with no choice but to begin an impeachment inquiry.
Abolish the Draft
Sports drafts aren’t fair to players, and they don’t even work on their own terms. We should just get rid of them.