vision 2020
vision 2020
John Hickenlooper Recounts the Time He Took His Mother to See Deep Throat
Top this anecdote, Bernie.

Blink once for “yes”

Attorney General Bill Barr just walked past me inside the Justice Department. I asked him, “Is today the day?”

His response: a death stare… before walking off without saying a word.
the city
the city
SPECIAL REPORT: NYPD’s Mental-Illness Response Breakdown
As 911 calls reporting emotionally disturbed people double in a decade, training lags and a key response team is shut out of the emergency system.
the national interest
the national interest
9 Reasons a Biden–Abrams Ticket Is a Brilliant Idea for Both Biden and Abrams
A kooky, out-of-the-box idea that actually makes total sense.

An impressive milestone

Jimmy Carter has just become the oldest living former president in United States history.

At the age of 94 years and 172 days, he passes George H.W. Bush, who was 94 years, 171 days when he died last November.

Turns out airplane safety features aren’t really optional

For Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers, the practice of charging to upgrade a standard plane can be lucrative. Top airlines around the world must pay handsomely to have the jets they order fitted with customized add-ons.

Sometimes these optional features involve aesthetics or comfort, like premium seating, fancy lighting or extra bathrooms. But other features involve communication, navigation or safety systems, and are more fundamental to the plane’s operations.

Many airlines, especially low-cost carriers like Indonesia’s Lion Air, have opted not to buy them — and regulators don’t require them. Now, in the wake of the two deadly crashes involving the same jet model, Boeing will make one of those safety features standard as part of a fix to get the planes in the air again.

… Boeing’s optional safety features, in part, could have helped the pilots detect any erroneous readings. One of the optional upgrades, the angle of attack indicator, displays the readings of the two sensors. The other, called a disagree light, is activated if those sensors are at odds with one another.

Boeing will soon update the MCAS software, and will also make the disagree light standard on all new 737 Max planes, according to a person familiar with the changes, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they have not been made public. The angle of attack indicator will remain an option that airlines can buy.

In case you forgot that there are terrible people out there

Dozens of graves at a Hebrew cemetery in Massachusetts were recently vandalized, prompting police to open a hate crime investigation.

Police found swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti at the Fall River cemetery and believe the incident occurred on March 16 or early March 17, according to a Tuesday social media post.

Gravestones were defaced using a black marker and some were pushed over, police said.

On Tuesday, police estimated that 25 gravestones were vandalized, but that estimate more than doubled on Wednesday to 59, The (Fall River, Mass.) Herald News reports

The paper previously reported the graves were marked with words such as “heil Hitler” and “Hitler was right.” One was reportedly tagged with “Oy vey! This is MAGA country.”

Actually, you probably will

Health care costs are too high that is true but comparing us to Finland is ridiculous. Ask them how their health care is. You won’t like their answer.

Fawning all over the president seems to be working

Lindsey Graham’s approval among South Carolina Republicans in April 2018: 51%

Today: 74%

(h/t @winthropu)

Thanks Florida, but we’re not sure we need to see the video

Attorneys for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and more than a dozen other defendants charged in a Florida prostitution sting filed a motion to stop the public release of surveillance videos and other evidence taken by police.

Attorneys filed the motion Wednesday in Palm Beach County court. The State of Florida does not agree with the request, according to the filing.

In the motion, the attorneys asked the court to grant a protective order to safeguard the confidentiality of the materials seized from the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, and “in particular the videos, until further order of the court.”

voting rights
voting rights
Democrats’ Voting-Rights Push Could Begin a Third Reconstruction
Partisan polarization over voting rights shows how much political power, now as in the 1860s and 1960s, depends on who participates in democracy.

Some good advice from corporate America: just ignore Trump’s tweets

When Mr. Trump was running for president, he promised to personally stop American companies from shutting down factories and moving plants abroad, warning that he would punish them with public backlash and higher taxes. Many companies scrambled to respond to his Twitter attacks, announcing jobs and investments in the United States — several of which never materialized.

But despite Mr. Trump’s efforts to compel companies to build and hire, they appear to be increasingly prioritizing their balance sheets over political backlash.

“I don’t think there’s as much fear,” said Gene Grabowski, who specializes in crisis communications for the public relations firm Kglobal. “At first it was a shock to the system, but now we’ve all adjusted. We take it in stride, and I think that’s what the business community is doing.”

There’s no specific stipulation that Milo must be heard, so it could be worse

President Trump is expected to issue an executive order Thursday directing federal agencies to tie research and education grants made to colleges and universities to more aggressive enforcement of the First Amendment, according to a draft of the order viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The order instructs agencies including the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services and Defense to ensure that public educational institutions comply with the First Amendment, and that private institutions live up to their own stated free-speech standards.

The order falls short of what some university officials feared would be more sweeping or specific measures; it doesn’t prescribe any specific penalty that would result in schools losing research or other education grants as a result of specific policies.

the city
the city
City Seeks to Move Mentally Ill Inmates to Hospitals
Officials are exploring creating “therapeutic” units for inmates with complex medical needs. But who will run the units is being closely watched.
russia investigation
russia investigation
Report: Democrats Want to Find Out What Hope Hicks Knows
The former White House comms director has reportedly agreed to help House Democrats pursuing potential obstruction of justice charges for Trump.

Tech companies have a terrorism bias

Tech companies say that it is easier to identify content related to known foreign terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Al Qaeda because of information-sharing with law enforcement and industry-wide efforts, such as the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a group formed by YouTube, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter in 2017.

On Monday, for example, YouTube said on its Twitter account that it was harder for the company to stop the video of the shootings in Christchurch than to remove copyrighted content or ISIS-related content because YouTube’s tools for content moderation rely on “reference files to work effectively.” Movie studios and record labels provide reference files in advance and, “many violent extremist groups, like ISIS, use common footage and imagery,” YouTube wrote.

The cycle is self-reinforcing: The companies collect more data on what ISIS content looks like based on law enforcement’s myopic and under-inclusive views, and then this skewed data is fed to surveillance systems, Bloch-Wehba says. Meanwhile, consumers don’t have enough visibility in the process to know whether these tools are proportionate to the threat, whether they filter too much content, or whether they discriminate against certain groups, she says.

Who are the mystery parties in the new Jeffrey Epstein suit?

Two mystery litigants citing privacy concerns are making a last-ditch bid to keep secret some details in a lawsuit stemming from wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein’s history of paying underage girls for sex.

Just prior to a court-imposed deadline Tuesday, two anonymous individuals surfaced to object to the unsealing of a key lower-court ruling in the case, as well as various submissions by the parties.

Both people filed their complaints in the New York-based 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which is overseeing the case. The two people said they could face unwarranted speculation and embarrassment if the court makes public records from the suit, in which Virginia Giuffre, an alleged Epstein victim, accused longtime Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell of engaging in sex trafficking by facilitating his sexual encounters with teenage girls. Maxwell has denied the charges.

christchurch massacre
christchurch massacre
New Zealand Bans Assault Weapons Less Than a Week After Christchurch
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the ban of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, and a buyback plan to get them off the streets.

New Zealand bans the sale of assault rifles less than a week after Christchurch shooting

#BREAKING @AFP (Wellington) New Zealand bans sale of assault, semi-automatic rifles: PM Ardern
2020 presidential election
2020 presidential election
How Electable Is Bernie Sanders?
It’s not clear whether Sanders is actually stronger or weaker than his Democratic rivals as a potential challenger to Trump.

Updates from the catastrophic cyclone in Mozambique

Rescue teams in Mozambique are struggling to reach the thousands of people stranded on roofs and in trees and urgently need more helicopters and boats as post-cyclone flood waters continue to rise.

Rescue workers, military personnel and volunteers are rushing to save thousands of Mozambicans before flood levels rise further, but with four helicopters, a handful of boats and extremely difficult conditions, have only been able to save about 413 so far.

“I don’t even know if we’ve made a dent. There are just so many people. The scale is huge. We’re busy doing the best we can,” said Travis Trower from Rescue South Africa, adding that a lot of people had been washed away but those still alive, whom he had seen from helicopter flights, were in a very bad state.

More than 400 sq kilometres (150 sq miles) in the region are flooded, according to satellite images taken by the EU, and in some places the water is six metres (19ft) deep. At least 600,000 people are affected, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), ranging from those whose lives are in immediate danger to those who need other kinds of aid.

A Brief History of Trump’s Feud With John McCain
From life until after death.

D.C. is being hit by an unprecedented wave of gentrification

About 40 percent of the District’s lower-income neighborhoods experienced gentrification between 2000 and 2013, giving the city the greatest “intensity of gentrification” of any in the country, according to a studyreleased Tuesday by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

The District also saw the most African American residents — more than 20,000 — displaced from their neighborhoods during that time, mostly by affluent, white newcomers, researchers said. The District and Philadelphia were most “notable” for displacements of black residents, while Denver and Austin had the most Hispanic residents move. Nationwide, nearly 111,000 African Americans and more than 24,000 Hispanics moved out of gentrifying neighborhoods, the study found.

In an essay accompanying the study, Sabiyha Prince of Empower DC said the city “rolled out the proverbial red carpet” for tens of thousands of new residents in the past five years. But the new dog parks, bike lanes, condominiums and pricey restaurants that followed, she said, are not viewed as improvements by long-term residents, who can feel isolated because of losing neighbors, social networks and local businesses. Prince, an anthropologist, said longtime Washingtonians tell stories of “alienation and vulnerability in the nation’s capital.”

Trump Is Somehow Still Mad About McCain’s Funeral
“I didn’t get, ‘Thank you,’ but that’s okay.”
voting rights
voting rights
Andrew Gillum’s Next Campaign: Registering Voters in Florida
Both Gillum and the Florida Democratic Party are aiming to register droves of voters, as the GOP focuses on limiting who can vote in 2020.

There’s a morbid Yakov Smirnoff joke in here somewhere

i asked Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova if she supports russians’ right to satirise their leaders and laugh at president putin if they wish. she looked mystified. “We do not have this tradition.”

This says something about the Democratic Party’s relationship to Israel right now

The liberal group MoveOn is calling on Democratic presidential candidates to skip this year’s AIPAC policy conference, citing its links to the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu and charging that AIPAC has flirted with Islamophobia.

The move underscores a growing willingness on the Democratic left to criticize Israel and its staunchest Washington supporters, particularly since freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) bashed supporters of Israel in terms widely condemned as anti-Semitic.

“It’s no secret that that AIPAC has worked to hinder diplomatic efforts like the Iran deal, is undermining Palestinian self-determination, and inviting figures actively involved in human rights violations to its stage,” said Iram Ali, Campaign Director at MoveOn Political Action, in a statement provided first to POLITICO. Ali said the move should “give a clear insight to 2020 candidates on where their base stands instead of prioritizing lobbying groups and policy people who rarely step outside of D.C.”

Pelosi’s stance on impeachment may have had an effect on voters

Trump Should Be Impeached
And Removed From Office

Now 36%
December 43%
September 47%
June 42%

How Much Is Trump Doing
To Cooperate With
Dem Investigations?

Too much 9%
Too little 53%
The right amount 32%
white supremacy
white supremacy
Racism Is Good at Hiding. Just Ask This White Nationalist Police Officer.
A school resource officer in Virginia is also a member of Identity Evropa. His job? To help bigots conceal their bigotry from the public.

What would presidential campaigns look like without the electoral college?

Will the EU go for this?

JUST IN: UK Prime Minister says Britain will not leave EU on March 29, says not prepared to delay #Brexit any further than June 30
vision 2020
vision 2020
Mike Gravel, an 88-Year-Old Dark Horse 2020 Candidate Who’s a Hit With the Teens
Gravel has always been unconventional, going back to his days as a high-profile Senate opponent of the Vietnam War.
ex-felon voting rights
ex-felon voting rights
Florida GOP Readies Poll Tax to Nullify Ex-Felons’ Voting Rights
Floridians voted to re-enfranchise the formerly incarcerated last fall. Republicans want to make them pay off all court fines and fees first.

Ok, that’s a pretty good line

“I remember when a man named Dukakis got into a tank,” Trump says at the tank plant in Ohio. “He tanked when he got into the tank. … How would I look in a tank? OK? Yeah? … The helmet was bigger than he was, that was not good.”

Famous last words?

“I don’t see the current wage situation as concerning from an inflation standpoint.” –Jerome Powell

Beavis? Butthead?

“What’s his name in Texas? Beevo?” Johnny Isakson says on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

“Beto,” the host says

Hard to believe, considering the Trump administration’s well-known commitment to promoting progress on gender and equality around the globe

Dozens of women have been denied visas to attend a major UN women’s conference in New York.

According to campaigners, women from African and Middle Eastern countries that fell under Donald Trump’s travel ban were disproportionately affected.

The US is obliged under a 70-year-old treaty to not restrict people or NGOs from attending the UN headquarters.

In protest, women’s rights campaigners are petitioning the US Mission to the UN to streamline visa procedures for those traveling to the UN.

early and often
early and often
Bernie Sanders Is Hiring a Former Hillary Clinton Staffer As Research Chief
Tyson Brody helped pull together Clinton’s opposition-research book on Sanders in 2016.

A disturbing discovery in South Korea

Around 1,600 people have been secretly filmed in hotel rooms in South Korea, with the footage live-streamed online for paying customers to watch, police said Wednesday.

Two men have been arrested and another pair investigated in connection with the scandal, which involved 42 rooms in 30 accommodations in 10 cities around the country. Police said there was no indication the businesses were complicit in the scheme.

… Cameras were hidden inside digital TV boxes, wall sockets and hairdryer holders and the footage was streamed online, the Cyber Investigation Department at the National Police Agency said in a statement.

The site had more than 4,000 members, 97 of whom paid a $44.95 monthly fee to access extra features, such as the ability to replay certain live streams. Between November 2018 and this month, police said, the service brought in upwards of $6,000.

An update on the White House marital drama no one asked for

Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday defended President Donald Trump’s attacks on her husband George Conway saying he’s “a counterpuncher” and asserting that the president is free to respond when he’s accused of having a mental illness.

“He left it alone for months out of respect for me,” Conway, a senior Trump aide, told POLITICO in a brief telephone interview. “But you think he shouldn’t respond when somebody, a non-medical professional accuses him of having a mental disorder? You think he should just take that sitting down?”

“Don’t play psychiatrist any more than George should be,” she added. “You’re not a psychiatrist and he’s not, respectfully.”

yell world
yell world
Why Everyone Is Yelling at Their Phones for Fun
Thanks to screen-recording features on iOS and social media platforms, the game you play by yelling at your phone has had a surprise resurgence.
2020 presidential election
2020 presidential election
Could Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams Form an Early Dream Ticket for 2020?
There’s no real evidence to suggest it’s in the works, but it’s a fascinating possibility that could appeal to both pols.

Area man wakes up from two-year nap

Trump: Mueller is – “out of the blue” – writing a report.
select all
select all
Take a Look at Very Funny Candidate Kirsten Gillibrand’s Meme Shirt
The New York senator and 2020 presidential candidate is back in Iowa and paying tribute to “Ranch Girl.”
devin nunes
devin nunes
The Devin Nunes Cow Account Now Has More Followers Than Devin Nunes
The congressman sued the account, along with others, for making fun of him. Who could have guessed that it would backfire?
vision 2020
vision 2020
Here’s Every Defense of the Electoral College — and Why They’re All Wrong
Most of the arguments for preserving our insane system are morally odious, unsubstantiated, and/or factually incorrect.

A terrifying, previously unknown detail about last year’s Lion Air crash

As the Lion Air crew fought to control their diving Boeing Co. 737 Max 8, they got help from an unexpected source: an off-duty pilot who happened to be riding in the cockpit.

That extra pilot, who was seated in the cockpit jumpseat, correctly diagnosed the problem and told the crew how to disable a malfunctioning flight-control system and save the plane, according to two people familiar with Indonesia’s investigation.

The next day, under command of a different crew facing what investigators said was an identical malfunction, the jetliner crashed into the Java Sea killing all 189 aboard.

The Recent Deadly Boeing Crash No One Is Talking About
Last month a cargo jet abruptly nosedived to the ground near Houston – an accident even more disturbing in its implications than the one in Ethiopia.

His first in three years

Justice Thomas asked a question today.

Perhaps inevitably, Bernie Sanders’s popularity seems to be slipping a bit

One of the arguments Bernie Sanders’ fans made during the 2016 Democratic primary was that he was more electable than Hillary Clinton. His favorable ratings with the general electorate were far higher than Hillary Clinton’s. Indeed, Sanders maintained fairly high favorable ratings with all voters as late as 2018.

Sanders’ popularity among all voters seems to be declining considerably in the last few months, however.

Our new CNN poll puts Sanders favorable rating at 46% compared to an unfavorable rating of 45% among registered voters. This is only the latest poll to have Sanders at basically even in his net favorability rating (favorable-unfavorable). A Quinnipiac University pollfrom late December gave the Vermont senator a net favorability of just +2 points. An average of all recent polls put Sanders’ net favorability at about -1 points.

Andrew Gillum is going to try to move Florida back into the Democratic column

Andrew Gillum has launched a Florida voter registration group dedicated to defeating President Donald Trump’s re-election chances in the nation’s largest swing state.

The former Tallahassee mayor and Democratic nominee for governor is expected to formally announce the effort today at a speech in Miami Gardens. One of the groups working with Gillum — Bring it Home Florida, named after his signature campaign phrase — was registered last week by his supporters with the state election division overseeing third-party voter registration organizations.

Meanwhile, the Florida Democratic Party says it will spend $2 million in the next year to register 200,000 voters ahead of next year’s presidential primary. Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said the party has not “dedicated enough resources” to registering voters in recent years. There are currently 4.96 million registered Democrats in the state compared to 4.7 million Republicans and nearly 3.6 million voters with no party affiliation.

the national interest
the national interest
Will Bernie Sanders Split the Democratic Party in 2020?
Two high-profile hires suggest Angry Bernie might return.

Forget Joe Biden, Mike Gravel is going to shake this race up

I am considering running in the 2020 Democratic primary. The goal will not be to win, but to bring a critique of American imperialism to the Democratic debate stage. The website ( is under construction. Official announcement will be in the coming days.
The Promise of Integration Has Not Been Fulfilled in NYC Schools
Just 190 black children were offered admission to New York City’s specialized public high schools on Monday, out of 4,800. Here’s why that matters.

Rubber finally hitting the road for Theresa May?

High stakes in the House of Commons. Theresa May wants a three month extension to Article 50. Any longer and the PM clearly hints she will quit.
Mrs May goes to Brussels tomorrow to make her request in person. #BrexitChaos

This may not rebut George Conway’s charges of mental instability

George Conway, often referred to as Mr. Kellyanne Conway by those who know him, is VERY jealous of his wife’s success & angry that I, with her help, didn’t give him the job he so desperately wanted. I barely know him but just take a look, a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!

More horrifying details from the Lion Air crash

The pilots of a doomed Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX scoured a handbook as they struggled to understand why the jet was lurching downwards, but ran out of time before it hit the water, three people with knowledge of the cockpit voice recorder contents said.

Democrats regularly falling below 1 percent in the polls are scrambling to meet the other debate threshold: 65,000 individual donors

Hitting 65,000 has become a magic ticket for many of the party’s presidential candidates, who are struggling to rank in public polls given a field that already has 15 contenders, with several more waiting in the wings. The new criteria have proved to be a boon to lesser-known candidates seeking a national stage this summer and could create challenges for more-established politicians seeking to break away from the pack — with unpredictable repercussions for the party.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg reached his 65,000 goal last week after a successful CNN town hall brought him a new wave of donors. Businessman Andrew Yang put a counter on his homepage to drive the online energy past 65,000 donors for his candidacy, which is based around the idea of giving every American adult $1,000 every month. (Buttigieg and Yang are the only two candidates who do not regularly register with clear support in national polls to claim that they’ve reached that mark.)

Aides to Marianne Williamson, a self-help guru, and former housing secretary Julián Castro say their campaigns are also on track to qualify.

“We need 65,000 individual contributions,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) pleaded after her own CNN town hall, in a hotel hallway video that now tops her Twitter page. She asked each of her donors to find at least 10 other people to chip in a dollar as well.

A powerful stand against hate and fear after the New Zealand mosque shooting

Islamic leaders have vowed to hold Friday prayer at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch exactly one week after an armed terrorist gunned down 42 worshippers.

The Deans Ave mosque’s religious leader Imam Gamal Fouda, who survived New Zealand’s worst ever terror attack, said the move will show the world that Muslims, and all New Zealanders, will not bow down to terror.

“We are going to prayer here on Friday,” said Fouda today, speaking to the Herald at the cordon across the road from the mass murder scene.

“The majority of people, including myself, we decided to come and prayer close to our site. We will never forsake it to please those people who actually attacked us.”

A Republican senator “closely aligned” with Mitch McConnell claims he’s going to tell off Trump today for repeatedly insulting the late John McCain

Later today Sen. Johnny Isakson will call out President Trump for his continued disparagement of John McCain. The chairman of the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee said in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that the service of any veteran, let alone McCain, should never be besmirched, that president’s comments “drive me crazy,” and that he plans to speak out at length on Wednesday.

… On Tuesday, Isakson told me he plans to deliver the promised whipping. “I want to do what I said that day on the floor of the senate,” he said [referring to a speech warning Trump in the days after McCain’s death]. “I just want to lay it on the line, that the country deserves better, the McCain family deserves better, I don’t care if he’s president of United States, owns all the real estate in New York, or is building the greatest immigration system in the world. Nothing is more important than the integrity of the country and those who fought and risked their lives for all of us.”

vision 2020
vision 2020
America’s Second-Largest Teachers Union Is Trying Not to Make 2016’s Mistake
The American Federation of Teachers has rolled out its endorsement process for candidates, and says that it’s prepared to hold Democrats to account.

A chilling tale of Iraqi truffle hunters being abducted by ISIS

As he hunted for a seasonal delicacy, Mohaned Salah Yasseen scanned the ground intently, searching for places where the soil is cracked and slightly raised — the telltale sign a desert truffle lies below.

So he failed to notice the two pickup trucks, driven by men in military uniforms, until they were almost upon him.

“They ordered me to get into the truck,” said Mr. Yasseen, a 31-year-old pharmacist. “I thought about saying no, but they were armed.”

As he climbed in, he became the latest victim in a new campaign by the Islamic State.

Since late January, they have been kidnapping and, in some cases, executing Iraqi truffle hunters, mostly in the deserts of western Anbar Province. The Iraqi security forces confirmed the kidnapping of 44 truffle hunters this year, and more have probably gone unreported.

checks and balances
checks and balances
Why Is the Trump Administration Always Getting Shut Down in Court?
A Washington Post analysis shows that federal judges keep blocking the administration because its legal explanations aren’t “supported by facts.”