‘Canary in the coal mine’: Republicans fear Democratic wins mean more losses to come | The Washington Post


A wave of Democratic victories ignited a ferocious debate across the Republican Party on Wednesday over whether President Trump’s un­or­tho­dox behavior and polarizing agenda are jeopardizing the GOP’s firm grip on power in Congress, governors’ mansions and state legislatures.

A year ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans are increasingly uncertain about keeping their majorities on Capitol Hill and are worried about how damaging Trump’s jagged brand of politics may become to the party.

“Donald Trump is an anchor for the GOP,” said veteran party strategist Mike Murphy, a Trump critic. “We got that message in loud volume in Virginia. The ­canary in the coal mine didn’t just pass out; its head exploded.”

Source: ‘Canary in the coal mine’: Republicans fear Democratic wins mean more losses to come – The Washington Post

Justice, AT&T trade accusations over CNN sale | TheHill


Sources at the Justice Department told The Hill and other news outlets that antitrust officials had rejected an offer from AT&T on Monday to divest in CNN in order to win approval for the $85 billion deal.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, however, flatly denied that his company had ever entertained the idea of selling CNN to win approval of the deal.

“Throughout this process, I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so.”

It is highly unusual for details of such offers to emerge in public …

Source: Justice, AT&T trade accusations over CNN sale | TheHill

Despite wins, Dems face an identity crisis | TheHill


Election Day 2017 couldn’t have gone much better for the party, which won victories from coast to coast including the day’s top prize: Virginia’s governorship.

Yet many Democrats say the good day came despite an identity crisis within the party that shows few signs of ending.

Asked what the root of the problem is, he replied: “If you don’t know who you are, you really can’t agree on what you’re going to say.”

Source: Despite wins, Dems face an identity crisis | TheHill

Trump’s $250 billion China ‘miracle’ adds gloss to ‘off-kilter’ trade


Watched by Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping at a signing ceremony in Beijing, U.S. planemaker Boeing Co, General Electric Co and chip giant Qualcomm Inc sealed lucrative multi-billion dollar deals.

The quarter of a trillion dollar haul underscores how Trump is keen to be seen to address a trade deficit with the world’s second-largest economy that he has long railed against and called “shockingly high” on Thursday.

U.S. tech companies like Facebook Inc and Google are mostly blocked in China. Automakers Ford Motor Co and General Motors must operate through joint ventures, while Hollywood movies face a strict quota system.

Source: Trump’s $250 billion China ‘miracle’ adds gloss to ‘off-kilter’ trade

The Mideast war risk Trump can’t ignore


In an ironic twist for the Jewish state, the IS losses have consolidated Iran’s strength in the region, allowing Tehran to establish a Shi’ite “land bridge” extending through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to Israel’s northern border.

That raises the risk of a military clash between Israel and Iran right at a time when American engagement in the Middle East may start to wane.

This threat is not something the Trump administration can afford to ignore.

Source: Commentary: The Mideast war risk Trump can’t ignore

Impeachment — Cass R. Sunstein | Harvard University Press

As Benjamin Franklin famously put it, Americans have a republic, if we can keep it. Preserving the Constitution and the democratic system it supports is the public’s responsibility. One route the Constitution provides for discharging that duty—a route rarely traveled—is impeachment.

Cass R. Sunstein provides a succinct citizen’s guide to an essential tool of self-government. He illuminates the constitutional design behind impeachment and emphasizes the people’s role in holding presidents accountable.

Source: Impeachment — Cass R. Sunstein | Harvard University Press

Catalonia isn’t just Spain’s nightmare – it is Europe’s | The Guardian


Never in the long and far bloodier fight of the Basques for independence was the Basque leadership ever imprisoned. Catalonia now faces an election next month with the prospect of its entire independence leadership in prison.

Catalonia is being watched, with varying degrees of intensity, by Basques, Bretons, Flemings, Scots, Bavarians, Silesians, Ukrainians, Transylvanians, Venetians, Corsicans and others. Its struggle resonates among increasingly nationalist Poles, Bohemians, Hungarians and Greeks, across Europe’s patchwork of regional sensitivities and long-harbored grievances.

Old feuds are rekindled and jealousies revived. Hypocritical Britain cannot talk. It long opposed Irish separatism and denied devolution to Scotland and Wales, while it sent soldiers to aid the break-up of Yugoslavia.

Source: Catalonia isn’t just Spain’s nightmare – it is Europe’s | Simon Jenkins | Opinion | The Guardian

How to Build a Robot That Won’t Take Over the World | WIRED


Isaac Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics—constraints on the behavior of androids and automatons meant to ensure the safety of humans—were also famously incomplete. The laws, which first appeared in his 1942 short story “Runaround” and again in classic works like I, Robot, sound airtight at first:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.


Source: How to Build a Robot That Won’t Take Over the World | WIRED

The Republican tax plan’s original sin | Vox


Unfortunately for the American middle class, Ryan is lying.

The hypothetical family his top spokesperson AshLee Strong described would get a tax cut of almost $1,200 — for one year. It gets smaller in year two, smaller still in year three, smaller still in year four, and smaller still in year five. It nearly vanishes in the sixth year of the Ryan tax plan, and in years seven, eight, nine, and 10 the family would be paying higher taxes than under current law.

That tax hike is not only permanent, it actually grows over time because of a change to the inflation indexing of tax brackets.

Source: The Republican tax plan’s original sin – Vox

Galileo on Critical Thinking and the Folly of Believing Our Preconceptions | Brain Pickings

Indeed, nearly half a millennium before Carl Sagan crafted his Baloney Detection Kit, Galileo established himself as humanity’s premier nonsense-buster and made it his chief mission to counter ignorance and indolence with critical thinking — something crisply articulated in the words of one of the book’s fictional protagonists:

“In the long run my observations have convinced me that some men, reasoning preposterously, first establish some conclusion in their minds which, either because of its being their own or because of their having received it from some person who has their entire confidence, impresses them so deeply that one finds it impossible ever to get it out of their heads. …”

Source: Galileo on Critical Thinking and the Folly of Believing Our Preconceptions – Brain Pickings