Wednesday, March 22, 2017

More about what "unmasking" means -- it could have happened to me, even


There is some more clarification of what “unmasking” by the NSA means.  If an American tried to contact Vladimir Putin or high Russian officials, the NSA would pick it up.  In the effort to identify foreign officials, a FISA court might allow the identification of American citizens.  This can be quite common.  It could be someone ordinary, even like me, or the citizen could be Donald Trump, or an official in the previous Obama administration.

When private citizens get classified tips sent to them, and authorities find out (as would happen in the four or five foreign tips I have shared sent to me over the years – one might have concerned a possible attack in Indonesia), something similar to “unmasking” happens.  It normally will not result in adverse action against the citizen.  (I have TSA pre-cleared flight status.)

All of this means that most of Trump’s complaints about Obama are pretty meaningless, but not without some remote foundation.

But it is possible that crimes might have been committed in the apparent connections between Putin and Trump’s campaigns, Vox,  Zack Beauchamp – but the “grand jury” is still some time away. .


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Wiretaps, Russian hacking, and really existential foreign threats: this gets dangerous when truth is loss


I’m not sure what to make of Donald Trump's @POTUS Twitter storm yesterday as he apparently watched the hearings rather than doing his job.  

The Washington Post writes a Fact Checker, “President Trump’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Twitter day, here. I'm reminded of the really bad President's Day Blue Monday that Milo Yiannopoulos experienced recently. 
   
Trump seems to find in Comey’s statement about “unmasking” American citizens some sort of evidence backing up his fantasy that Obama wiretapped the Trump Tower.  But Comey denied right off the bat that there was any such evidence. 


No question, the US relations with Britain and Germany are already embarrassed, and Trump faces an accelerating and existential threat from North Korea that seems to have been kept on a back burner.  North Korea may be much closer to having ICBM’s that can reach the entire US than anyone had imagined, and it might have the ability to direct an EMP attack from a satellite.

No wonder the doomsday prepper crowd is (ironically) so active on Facebook.

The criminal investigation of the Russian activities with respect to last year’s election are becoming a side show..  Noubt, Vladimir Putin really did hate Hillary that much. 

FEE's Julian Adorney writes "The Media and Trump are both to blame for the death of truth". Truth. remember, is "the eternal feminine". 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Will private sources take up the slack on likely Trump-aka-GOP budget cuts for FY 2018?


If Congress slashes the civilian budgets the way Donald Trump wants, what will be the effect on ordinary Americans?

Well, very mixed.  On the arts, there is plenty of reason to believe that private sources can do a lot more to support PBS, the Smithsonian, and the like.  There are ways to set up “socially responsible investing”.  The non-profit world would grow, much of it around DC, and help take up some of the loss of federal jobs. The Washington Post has expressed a lot of concern over possible federal layoffs on the regional economy. 

Rick Sincere, connected to the Libertarian Party of Virginia and to GLIL (Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty) in the past, has written some articles on Virginia and the arts.  He argues that states subsidies for the arts help rich people out of state rather than poor Virginians (typical blog post – he has several; his posts look like mine). 

Tod Van Der Werff of Vox makes somewhat similar arguments and notes that rural areas will lose out – primarily because supporting public services in rural areas is generally less cost effective for the public as a whole – this goes for airlines service in smaller cities, too. All of that feeds the self-sufficiency, self-defense (NRA) culture of the “doomsday prepper” movement that I see on Facebook (ironically).

I stop and ponder this a moment.  Most of the time when I travel on my own, I’m staying in smaller towns at night (unless I go to NYC).


What about so many of the other cuts?  We hear a lot about the loss of funding to things like Meals on Wheels.  Some states will do more than others to pick up the slack.  But it is this delivery of personalized service to people that the private sector is best at.  That brings me back to another general comment – organizations that recruit many volunteers need to become much more transparent about what they will be asking for.  Meal delivery, for example, can mean driving in low-income neighborhoods and a bigger risk of exposure to crime. 
  

Yet, traditional conservatism still has a point:  part of the solution to the inequality problem is expecting more openness and less insularity from those who are better off (me).  

Here is the CBO's analysis of the 2017 budget. 



Update: March 21, 2017 

Peter Jamison has an article on how Trump's budget affects the District of Columbia, here.  I wonder if it could affect organizations like Whitman Walker and DC Center Global.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

Trump's idea of making a deal could be challenged by the next debt ceiling crisis (Beware the Ides of March)


Damian  Paletta has primed us to apprehend another debt ceiling fight this summer, in an article on p A6 of the Washington Post Friday, March 10, 2017, “Treasury calls on Congress to raise debt limit, begins steps to delay default.” 

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin has started his “extraordinary measures” already, as Congress-passed immunity from the debt ceiling runs out on the Ides of March, that is, March 15, 2017. 
The possibility of a default could occur as soon as August. 

  
Trump, remember, has claimed he could “make a deal” and not raise the debt ceiling (story ).  He has also made statements that seem to suggest it could be OK to “default” (at least maybe on debts overseas like to China).  He does seem to be promising Social Security would never be interrupted (and maybe it wouldn’t be, for legal reasons we have covered before).

Here is CNBC’s article by john W. Schoen on Feb. 17.  CNBC continues the discussion (Jacob Pramul) with charts March 9. 
   
I can live with Parlor Timocracy, but not “t_Rump-ocracy”.  

But maybe the fact that Trump is nominally from the same party as Congress means there won't be the partisan bickering we saw in the summer of 2011.  (Trump had at one time tried to get the Reform Party nomination, in 2000, and wrecked the party, Jesse Ventura notwithstanding. 




Update: March 20

FEE has an article by Richard M/ Ebeling arguing against extending the debt ceiling, but fails to note the government would actually default on what it actually owes.  Whether current social security beneficiaries are actually owed is a good question (Flemming v Nestor) as I've covered, but the Trust Fund intermediary tends to protect beneficiaries. The writer seems to think a balanced budget alone would cover this, but it wouldn't. 

Monday, March 06, 2017

Obamacare 2.0 waffles into TrumpCare with little ideological accomplishment on anti-selection


Here’s a good explanation of the GOP draft of the Obamacare rework, by Sarah Kiff on Vox, link.

The main concept in dealing with the pre-existing condition problem is “continuous coverage”.  But older people are likely to be charged more than under Obamacare.

Also premium support supplements are largely replaced by tax credits.  For this idea to work for poor people, they would have to be given the money (almost like UBI).  The tax credits tend to be less than the support. If they are true tax credits, then it won't matter if people itemize or not, but we have to watch that.

Young adults pay less, older people pay more.  This may help young adults with student loan problems.   Trump does seem to be determined to cover someone like Connor Golden, who lost a leg to an explosion in Central Park properly.



Ezra Klein writes that the bill is a solution looking for a problem, or is a “compromise of a compromise …”.

The Washington Post calls the new proposal "reckless and heartless".

Here's the text of "The American Health Care Act", from Fox, of course.



Update: March 11

Julia Belluz of Vox explains how the "continuous coverage" concept in the GOP plan can fail people with long term medical conditions and job breaks.  I also wonder what happens if the insurer leaves Obamacare;  does the person have to find a new provider within 63 days?

March 13

The CBO says that 24 million people would keep coverage under the American Health Care Act/  Another issue is that consumers cannot comparison-shop for healthcare or know the prices when critically ill (although they could compare-shop for plans if there was enough competition).

March 14

Today, at a WH Press Briefing.  Sean Spicer made a point that Obamacare burdened a lot of people for making them buy coverage they didn't need (making 55 years olds cover other people's pregnancies); so it's about more than just pre-existing conditions.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Visit to Smithsonian exhibit on WWII Japanese-American internment; a lesson for today's immigration debate?


Today, I made a brief visit to the small exhibit “Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II”, at the Smithsonian American History Museum in Washington DC, link here.


Wikipedia gives the history of this episode   which started when president Franklin Roosevelt promulgated Executive Order 0966, in early 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor.  Over 110,000 Japanese Americans (including second generation citizens born in the US of Japanese descent) were forced into camps (Nisei) and even their kids (sansei).  First generation immigrants were called issei.
 
Immigrants lost property, pretty much through theft and expropriation, as they were allowed to carry only what fit in a suitcase (shown in the museum).  Fear-driven propaganda morphed into racism, and comments on how different the orientals looked  (Some the same attitude would show up during the Vietnam era.)



I recall writing a term paper on “The Home Front During World War II” for social studies in eight grade (1957) and covering the Nisei issue.  In 2012, I did stop at Manzanar along US 395.


The history of the Japanese internment seems like a pertinent comparison to today’s aggressive attitude on immigration by Donald Trump and many on the political “right”.  There is a tendency to look for civilian scapegoats and group people into “us” and “them” when war occurs, and terrorism tries to get ordinary people to see things that way.


Interned men sometimes served in the Army.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

GOP Obamacare replacement "in situ" involves continuous coverage, risk pools, ending mandate, ending employer tax break


Vox has a detailed article on the “leaked” GOP plan to “replace” aka “repair” Obamacare, by Sarah Kiff, here.

There seem to be two key concepts in dealing with pre-existing conditions.  One of these ideas is allowing people with continuous coverage to keep plans at the standard rate.  That may help some.

 That means if you were covered before, then get cancer, and keep the same coverage even if you change jobs (the GOP wants you to), you don’t get charged higher premiums.

The other is helping states set up high-risk pools.

My personal belief that it is better to re-insure  claims from  certain conditions (or cover them the way we cover end-stage renal disease) rather than separate people and cover them differently. On the other hand, as a philosophical matter, it makes sense in the long run to privatize retirement (social security) and old age medical care (Medicare) because we will all get old and, from some starting point, should plan for it.



On the other hand, it seems wrong to require people to pay for other people’s known problems products they purchase from a market.  It sounds better to segregate the costs of these problems and fund their reimbursement publicly as necessary.

The GOP wants to end the tax break for employer plans, which tend to cherry pick healthier people.
States could allow plans to eliminate mandatory coverages – like maternity coverage for single men.
 
 The bill would also eliminate the individual mandate, which insurers maintain is necessary to counter anti-selection.

It also wants to reverse the expansion of Medicaid and change the whole thing into block grants to states (separate explainer).

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cato Institute energy forum splits on GOP carbon tax, emphasizes market forces, little attention to grid security


The Cato Institute held a forum today, February 22, “Trump’s Energy Policy Promise or Peril”,  with Peter Russo moderating, with Robert L. Bradley. CEO and founder, Institute for Energy Research; Adele Morris, Senior Fellow and Policy Director at the Brookings Institute, and Catrina Rorke, Senior Fellow and Policy Director, R Street Institute.


Bradley favored a free market approach to everything and argued against the carbon tax, in a manner similar to what is said in this paper from Cato in October 2016.

The paper tends to suggest that economic growth (using actuarial math and present values) even with expected global warming, will more than offset any savings from a carbon tax.  There is suspicion that carbon tax implementation wouldn’t be neutral.  There is little attention to catastrophic events (which are considered unpredictable from a policy viewpoint) or to the international political consequences in developing countries from global warming.

Adele Morris gave much more support to the idea of a carefully constructed carbon control policy, and emphasized that there was not enough demand for coal to continue developing it, the way Trump wants to.

Rorke seemed to express similar sentiments.

There was incidental support for renewable sources, but a general feeling that market forces won’t support them.  One speaker said that in time some wind turbines will be taken down, and than many landowners in western states don’t like them. 

There is no effective market mechanism to encourage utilities to decentralize their power grids, or to build many small reactors, even fission, as Taylor Wilson has proposed (my question).

“The Case Against a Carbon Tax”, policy paper by Robert F. Murphy, Patrick J. Michaels, and Pal C. “Chip” Knappenburger, link.

"A U.S   carbontax and Earned Income Tax Credit" by Adele Morris and Apama Mathur 

"James Hansen's Failed Ultimatums", Bradley paper for IER. 

Catrina Rorke, blog post for R Street Institute 

I have my own video on Wordpress here

Monday, February 20, 2017

My visit to immigration-friendly Harrisonburg VA; a disturbing new right-wing religious organization in Michigan


Back on Sunday, February 12, 2017 the Washington Post had run a story by Andrew D. Perrine, “How one Virginia town got immigration right” .  The story concerns Harrisonburg VA, in the Shenandoah Valley, 130 miles from Washington DC, “The Friendly City”, home of James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University, and a Church World Service refugee resettlement area.

I did visit the area today, Presidents Day, too warm for our own good.  I saw the small Islamic center, which got a large food donation – it was hard to see because of road construction near I-81.  I also saw the Immigration and Refugee Office close to downtown.

The personal conversations yesterday were suspect of Trump (in comparison to other rural places).



A few of the web references suggested that some refugees do stay in private homes.

Of course, it is hard to tell yet how Trump’s executive orders will play out with the CWS program.
 
 They would seem to stop the refugee flow for 120 days and all immigration (except now all of those now legal residents). A typical CWS posting is here.



There is also a disturbing story in the Detroit Free Press today.

.While out today a saw (in USA Today) a Detroit Free Press story by Robert Allen "How a right-wing Ferndale group is building a multi-media empire"  The group is called Church Militant. It seems to believe there is only one “right religion” (we’ve heard that before, even in these days of quantum physics) and that people should be forced to live righteously, so “everyone else can”.  The group wants to abolish the US constitutional commitment to separation of church and state.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Could the GOP "intervene" and get Trump to resign, letting the true conservatives "take power"?


The Hoover Institution has a stirring article today by Richard A. Epstein, “Time for Trump to Resign?”  The author describes himself as a “classical liberal who did not vote for either candidate.”

You get the impression that the GOP could have pulled this entire thing as a coup, with the idea of doing an “intervention” to get Trump to resign so that the arch-conservative Mike Pence could take over.

Even the Comey letter on Oct. 27, you wonder how those emails really would wind up on another personal laptop (Weiner's wife) even if she had worked for Clinton/

Epstein gives all kinds of arguments that are more in line with typical liberal Republicanism, with a touch of libertarianism, and a little bit of Bill Clinton Republicrat.  Epstein wants free trade back.



The article appeared linked on a website today broadcast by Richard Sincere (formerly Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty).  But Pence, remember, back in 2000 had advocated conversion therapy for gay men as a “rational” way to control HIV.  Pence today says people should be left alone.

CNN is calling Trump's pre-inauguration behavior with regard to Russia unprecedented today, story.

And this is getting worse.  The New York Times this morning published "From Russia With Love" (1962) without Sean Connery's chest, link.  And there is no James Bond or Superman to save us all.  Michael Moore is demanding immediate impeachment of Donald Trump on Facebook but that is no surprise.  We'd get Pence.


Thursday, February 09, 2017

GOP suggests carbon tax with progressive rebate to consumers


A number of Republicans in Congress have put forth a proposal for a carbon tax that is revenue neutral:  the tax is returned to consumers in terms of annual rebates.  Republicans argue that the effect of the tax would be progressive, relatively helping low income people more.



Larry Summers endorsed the plan in an op-ed in the Washington Post this morning.
 
Is this report encouraging in that the GOP is starting to accept the science of man-made climate change as “truth”?

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Unusual AIDS-like syndrome without HIV; more analysis of "moral hazard" or anti-selection in today's Obamacare


There are a couple of interesting health care stories to cover.

One (“Doctor, Cure Thyself ) is in Sunday Business in the New York Times, by Katie Thomas, about a 25-year-old physician and former football player who developed multicentric Castleman’s disease.

The history illustrates the health insurance problems and treatment problems of rare diseases, often genetic, and often requiring unusual drugs.



Castleman’s is often associated with HH8, the same virus that causes Kaposi’s Sarcoma in HIV-infected gay men.  It is similar to lymph-node KS, but can occur without HIV infection.  The onset can be sudden.  It seems to be a mix of infectious disease, lymphoma, and immune disease.  Susceptibility to HH8 or some similar virus has to be genetic, something that compromises the immune system (helper cells) in a way perhaps analogous to HIV.  Other similar diseases were known before AIDS, like HTLV-1 leukemia in Japan.  They may result from unusual herpes viruses or retro viruses that can affect only genetically susceptible individuals and cannot be spread person-to-person (except maybe to someone with the same genetics).  Normally HH8 will not cause disease, without HIV or some unusual genetic susceptibility.



The Epoch Times has a long article, the “breaking apart of Obamacare” showing that Obamacare now has repercussions over moral hazard and anti-selection.  It makes the young and healthy pay for the old and sick, and it makes single men pay for other people’s pregnancies.  (But, then again, it makes straight people pay for gay men’s HIV.)

When I had health insurance through my employer, my own premiums were usually about 30% of a family plan premium.  I think I probably did not have to pay for women's pregnancies when getting cherry-picked insurance through an employer, who got the tax break.

I thought there was some staging of premiums with age.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Campuses give in to "heckler's veto" when Milo Yiannopolos has events (and there are new conspiracy theories)


Violent protests erupted at UC Berkeley Wednesday night, forcing the University to cancel provocateur and Breitbart journalist Milo Yiannopoulos   News accounts from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Yahoo! give details.

When I read Milo’s posts, I find most of them to be satirical, intended to make fun of identity politics, political correctness, and the idea that people need safe zones and shelter ("trigger warnings") from offense (as from “microaggressions” in campus speech codes, as in this recent WSJ article by Peter Berkowitz  ).   But occasionally he apparently makes comments at specific individuals (such as some transgender) who don’t conform to his own idea of what is virtuous.  (As a “dangerous faggot”, Milo actually says he is attracted to men who look and act like real men.)  Some of his comments are construed by some as slights against people with disabilities that, if unchecked, tend to underscore Fascist ideology as shown in history.  And they gay male community often has to deal with its own “body fascism.” Milo can be quite handsome when he loses the hair dye, but some liberal publications have shown him with his face computer-aged.

Milo denies he is a white supremacist or a member of the “alt right”, and has even threatened legal action against at least one publication for calling him that (Breitbart story)

I’m not completely sure of the facts on the Leslie Jones-Ghostbuster affair that got him banned from Twitter.



But Milo has also supported admissions policies that help men because fewer men are going to college now (Breitbart).

The violent demonstrations are a form of “heckler’s veto” and indeed a threat to free speech from others, especially other conservatives who may be more temperate but may be viewed as “the enemy” by the Left.  Repeated violent outbursts can led to crackdown on free speech by everybody – a typical terrorist or “revolutionist” or mass movement approach.

Some conservative commentators have noted that it is the violent element of the far left that has given Milo his career (like the last movement of Shostakovich's 13th Symphony, which is called "A Career").

As for Twitter banning, it may be a little capricious, as with the Washington Post analysis.  In December 2015 I wrote some pieces on my "BillBoushka" blog on Twitter standards of behavior after one good friend in the music world blocked me under circumstances that seem mysteriously or somehow factually wrong.  It hasn't happened since then as far as I know, so I think it was a fluke.

Milo reminds me of bad boy Shane Lyons in the 2011 film "Judas Kiss", a character whom the actor who plays him, Timo Descamps, has characterized as "a little mean" and "a little spoiled" and even "evil".  But in "The Dark Place" (2014) Descamps played a similarly demeaanored charismatic gay character Wil, except this time Wil is a very good person, possibly with superpowers (a gay "Clark Kent") who saves Keegan at the end.  Ironically, I think either Milo or Descamps would have sailed through all challenges that a Donald Trump could have thrown at them on "The Apprentice" and survived all the boardrooms.  (Just don't ask them, like Troy McClain, to "take one for the team".   So, let Milo replace Steve Bannon in Trump's administration."He's hired."

Wikipedia attribution link for University of California picture CCSA 3.0 by Koenig.



Update: Feb. 11

Here's another "conspiracy theory" (Volokh Conspiracy and  Paul Cassell) about the Berekeley attack, and one concern is that police can't find any digital fingerprints (I guess they can't see TOR).  If so, that's a legitimate national security concern that Trump could address;  we wouldn't see it coming if this were WMD. Milo says the Left muzzles the difference between speech and action.

CNN has another take on this;  is Milo "normalizing" an attitude of deprecation toward some people?


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Metro's shuttle bus around Virginia Orange Line closure across river does work


The Orange-Silver line service between Rosslyn and McPherson Square was suspended today.
 
To get to a White House demonstration, I had to use the shuttle bus.  The signs were unclear at first, but when I found the right direction, up a staircase, I found it was a 500-foot walk, but the busses were leaving continuously and went along the Whitehurst Freeway, skipping Georgetown.  It does look like route 38W simulates the Orange Line from Ballston and stops in Georgetown.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

CDC has enhanced quarantine powers, and they could be abused


Kyle Edwards, Wendy Parnet and Scott Burris have a disturbing op-ed on p. A23 of the New York Times, Tuesday, January 24, the “C.D.C.’s troubling new power” .

The writers bring back the incidents with the Ebola outbreak in 2014 (like Kaci Hickox).  But it’s easy to imagine what could happen with another SARS, or with a future avian influenza.  The article imagines that Trump could abuse the powers of quarantine.

Of course, that’s one reason to become much more aggressive with vaccine development (and one more reason why Trump’s appeasement of vaccine denial is dangerous).

Remember the hypothetical public health arguments launched against gay men in the 1980s, especially before HTLV-III (HIV) was identified.  I can imagine arguments you could make about how some people could “amplify” Zika before it affects pregnant women.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March floods Metro, making it impossible for even more people to get there


I did not get in to the Women’s March today, as the Ballston Metro subway was totally packed at 10 AM.   I went to the AGLA Brunch at Freddie’s and later today did the Community Assistance (men’s clothing room) at Mt. Olivet Methodist in Arlington.

Some media outlets estimate the crowd at about 600,000 when 250,000 was planned for.

Some of my Facebook friends (men) got there and got live pictures (example ).

Demonstrations occurred in many cities, including Los Angeles (huge), London and Paris.

Here’s a typical coverage of the event on CNN.



As above, ABC News put the full six hours on YouTube.

As of around 6 PM, Metro train stations in downtown DC were reported as very crowded.

Update: Jan. 22



I finally got downtown, by car.

It looks like everything is back to normal in the area with the demonstrations, with everything cleaned up.

I did see some more protest signs from 14th St driving past the Mall.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Donald Trump gives speech ordering us to "buy and hire American" and refers to crime as "American Carnage"


Donald John Trump is now the 45th President of the United States.


Aaron Blake of the Washington Post annotates Donald Trump’s inauguration speech.  It started out by talking about returning power "to the people."

Trump referred to “This American Carnage”  (is it really “This American Life”? by Ira Glass.  “Carnage” is also a notorious Roman Polanski film. Both the Post and New York Times are referring to "American Carnage" in their headlines. This refers to gang violence, drugs, and street crime (not to mention poverty).

Trump minced no words about the importance of Americans buying American and hiring American.  He implied that individual Americans have a moral obligation to take that into consideration with their personal consumption and other activity.  No only is there an implication of paying more to use domestic labor (as opposed to “slave” dorm labor overseas), but there is an implication that those who can should try harder to create actual jobs for others rather than just become more efficient on their own.

The president, however, did mention “infrastructure”, with a hint that he understands the existential implications (like power grid vulnerability).  His statement about medical science progress and exploring space suggests much more respect for science than some of his previous behavior.  He may be pondering the idea that new diagnostic tests (such as Jack Andraka’s simple pancreatic cancer test, once if gets approved for use in some form) could expand the need to cover pre-existing conditions in “replacing” Obamacare with a more straightforward system.  (Yes, Obamacare is way too complicated.)  He may be realizing that his courting vaccine deniers is ill-advised (we could need to mass-vaccinate people to prevent future pandemics, even connected to terror) and he may be closer to taking climate change more seriously, especially given the most recent stories about having the warmest year on record.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

California power companies experiment with using huge batteries as backup "generator stations" to make grid more resilient


The power industry, at least in California, is experimenting with “decentralization” by using huge lithium batteries as if they were supplementary generators, as explained in an article by Dianne Cardwell and Clifford Krauss in the New York Times, Sunday Business, January 15, 2017, here.

The innovation was inspired in part by the huge natural gas leak in southern California in late 2015.
 
The idea could make power plants less dependent on transformers and the outside grid and more resistant to large scale attack or natural disasters like huge solar storms.  Taylor Wilson has proposed that utilities actually install small underground fission generators as backups.

Monday, January 16, 2017

National Day of Service


I did participate in a Martin Luther King National Day of Service event today, as sponsored by Human Rights Campaign.  The event was held at four safe  spaces for LGBTQ youth or homeless, this one at Casa Ruby on Georgia Avenue near Howard University in Washington DC.

What we did was sort huge volumes of donate clothes. Then the lower basement was cleaned with elbow grease to military barracks specifications.   Then we had lunch.
  
It would sound possible that safe spaces could be purchased and managed for asylum seekers, and there are a few of them (like in Baltimore for women), but they are very difficult to fund and run for legal reasons.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Washington Post columnist says use 25th Amendment process to remove Trump from office


I was not aware of this, but the Twenty-Fifth Amendment could be used to remove a president from office (that is, Donald Trump), if enough members of his Cabinet and the vice-president certify that he is unfit to lead.  This does sound like it could invite a Turkey-style coup attempt.

The text of the amendment is here.
 
Richard Cohen, of the Washington Post, minces no words in this op-ed, “How to remove Trump from office”, as he calls Reince Priebus a “moral eunuch”, as if out of Pleasantville.  Pretty soon we will see op-ed columnists looking for missing chest hair.  But that’s why men wear nectkies in business (or used to).  .

My own DADT-1 book had proposed Amendments 28 and 29 in Chapter 6 (in 1997).

In a discussion during lunch at Cato today, one person said that other CEO's had told him, it is psychologically very difficult for most business top executives to accept the demands of public service, and to give up a world where they have absolute control -- until shareholders fire them.