WASF Open Thread – Epidemiology Edition

They’re not rejecting science — they’re just raising questions! Because terrible tragedies — like having an autistic child — shouldn’t happen to nice people! In our complicated world, how can we know what’s true, and what’s spin?

I’m old enough to remember when the Romanovs were regarded as a couple of under-educated inbreds for letting a plainly demented charlatan take effective control over their government, not that one would expect any better from a regime where a tiny group of oligarchs ruled the teeming mass of serfs via a combination of hereditary religious bigotry and a militarized state police…



Late Night Open Thread: All Fall Down

Every day, the Republican Party acts less like a political organization and more like a cult…



Chew on This Open Thread: April Ryan Is Not Trump’s African-American

Donald Trump tells us that he is the least racist person ever. I would say ‘Donald Trump believes he is the least racist person’, but I’m chary of putting ‘Trump’ and ‘belief’ in the same sentence.

April Ryan, incidentally, is not Donald Trump’s ‘girl’ either (in the Mad Men ‘my girl will set it up with your girl’ sense)…



Open Thread: Things Are Progressing Not Necessarily to the Trump Administration’s Best Advantage

The great blogger Billmon used to remind us, when official sources tried to obfuscate the consequences of their own incompetence, that the Emperor in 1945 is supposed to have announced Japan’s unconditional surrender by saying something like “The situation has progressed not necessarily to our kingdom’s best advantage.”

The GOP, and its handmaidens in the management suites at the Grey Lady, are attempting a similar circumlocution. The NYTimes reporters are starting to edge towards the exits, though:

For days, a frustrated and simmering president fumed inside the West Wing residence about what aides said he saw as his staff’s inadequate defense and the ineffectiveness of his own tweets. Over the objections of some top advisers who wanted to steer him away from confrontation, Mr. Trump demanded to face the media, determined to reject the narrative that his administration is sinking into chaos, scandal and incompetence.

In a rowdy, free-for-all news conference hastily staged in the East Room, Mr. Trump attempted to deflect attention from news coverage about Russian intelligence, the resignation of his national security adviser, the defeat of his labor secretary nominee, and deepening questions about his ability to govern.

“I turn on the T.V., open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos,” Mr. Trump said as he attempted — with little discipline — to read from prepared remarks listing his accomplishments since being inaugurated one month ago. “Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”…

For his supporters, the performance was certain to be energizing. Mr. Trump turned sober questions from journalists into, at times, mesmerizing television. He attempted to reassert his command of “dishonest” journalists at a time when the news media is questioning his capacity to lead. It all made the brooding boss feel better, people close to Mr. Trump said…

Still, it is unlikely that Mr. Trump’s 77-minute performance will divert much long-term attention from questions about his campaign’s relationship with Russia, or reassure wavering Republicans on Capitol Hill that their agenda is on track. Yet Mr. Trump’s close allies said he had met his more immediate goal of soothing himself with a sense of control over his own administration…

Even the NotSoLiberal Fox News!



Early Morning Open Thread: Trump’s Insane Presser, Foreign Affairs Section

Gonna be harping on this for a while yet, cuz there’s a lot to pick apart…


(Why it matters that the reporter was Haredim)

Self-described “Former independent presidential candidate, CIA operative”:

Meanwhile, out in the real world…



Schadenfreude Open Thread: “Gliding Towards Nowhere”

From the NYTimes, “G.O.P.’s Grand Visions for Congress Now Look Like a Mirage“:

After moving to start rolling back the Affordable Care Act just days after President Trump was sworn in last month, Republican lawmakers and Mr. Trump have yet to deliver on any of the sweeping legislation they promised. Efforts to come up with a replacement for the health care law have been stymied by disagreements among Republicans about how to proceed. The same is true for a proposed overhaul of the tax code.

The large infrastructure bill that both Democrats and Mr. Trump were eager to pursue has barely been mentioned, other than a very general hearing to discuss well-documented needs for infrastructure improvements. Even a simple emergency spending bill that the Trump administration promised weeks ago — which was expected to include a proposal for his wall on the Mexican border — has not materialized, leaving appropriators idle and checking Twitter…

At this point in Barack Obama’s presidency, when Democrats controlled Washington, Congress had passed a stimulus bill totaling nearly $1 trillion to address the financial crisis, approved a measure preventing pay discrimination, expanded a children’s health insurance program, and begun laying the groundwork for major health care and financial regulation bills. President George W. Bush came into office with a congressional blueprint for his signature education act, No Child Left Behind…

The inactivity stems from a lack of clear policy guidance — and, just as often, contradictory messages — from the Trump administration, which does not appear to have spent the campaign and transition periods forming a legislative wish list. Democrats have also led efforts to slow the confirmation of nominees to Mr. Trump’s cabinet who might otherwise be leading the charge.

“When you spend a lot of time talking about policy and debating policy in the presidential campaign, it is far easier to be specific about legislation when you get into office,” said Austan Goolsbee, who served as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration. “President Trump spent the campaign fleshing out nothing in detail, so it’s not really a surprise that they can’t even agree on priorities, much less on actual legislative detail.”….

Nobody loves a loser, ya luzers!



GOP Venality Open Thread: REMAIN CALM! ALL IS WELL!

Sooo… let me see if I have the timeline correct… when Acting Attorney General Sally Yates ordered her Dept. of Justice lawyers not to enforce Trump’s totally-not-a-Muslim-ban Executive Order, she already had a pretty good idea his minions were looking for an excuse to fire her? As they did?

How many of us expected the Trump Administration to reach Nixon-post-Watergate levels of corrupt incompetence during its very first month?

And the leading lights of the GOP Congress step forward to cover themselves with… well, it ain’t glory…