Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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Yearbook truths, political lies

No doubt Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Virginia Gov. Kavanaugh’s 1983 yearbook has the words “Devil’s Triangle” and “FFFFFFourth of July” under his photograph. Northam at first admitted he was in the photograph, then said he wasn’t. There was a national belly laugh in response to all of these implausible explanations. The nickname “coonman” hardly seems mysterious, especially for a man who admitted dressing in blackface. And why would a guy put a photograph that didn’t include him on HIS yearbook page? The mid-’80s were a long time ago, but there’s a big difference between DOING something stupid when you’re young, and BEING sexist or racist at any age. There’s also a big difference between having a few bigoted ideas about women and blacks, and having such deep-seeded prejudices that you feel compelled to boast about it in public. It may be unfair to judge people today by what they put in their yearbooks over 30 years ago, but it’s not unfair to ask questions about what was in their mind back then, whether they feel differently today, and why. Forgiveness is possible, but not without truth and accountability.

Truth and Politics Don’t Mix on Entitlements

Politicians often avoid the truth because it can be unpopular. “It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem,” McConnell said. Everyone from budget hawk conservatives to big spending liberals can reasonably agree that the significant decline in revenue from corporate tax collections because of the rate reduction contained in the 2017 tax plan contributed to the spike in the deficit, to $779 billion. However, McConnell is absolutely correct that Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds are in deep trouble. The non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reports that these entitlement program trust funds “will all be exhausted by 2032 without action to stabilize their finances.” Congress doesn’t want to tackle entitlement reform because it means hard choices—reduce benefits, raise the retirement age, increase taxes. McConnell’s mere suggestion of the importance of reforms fed neatly into the Democrats mantra this election cycle that Republicans want to cut healthcare. Politico reported Manchin claimed Morrisey would curtail benefits “in a heartbeat.” Morrisey pushed back, calling Manchin, “one of the most dishonest politicians you are going to find.” But back to McConnell. He also said having one party in charge of the White House, the House and Senate is not conducive to entitlement reform because neither party is going to be willing to take full ownership of the difficult choices. “I think it’s pretty safe to say that entitlement changes, which is the real driver of the debt by any objective standard, may well be difficult if not impossible to achieve when you have unified government.” That’s unpopular truth-telling from McConnell, and something that Republicans don’t want to hear two weeks before the election when they are trying to hold their advantage in the Senate and avoid losing a majority in the House. But today entitlement reform is more of a political weapon.
Late Night White House Press Briefing: When Are You Going to Start Telling Us the Truth?

Late Night White House Press Briefing: When Are You Going to Start Telling Us...

Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds an impromptu press briefing to answer burning questions, like "Was there ever a time that Trump liked Germany?" » Subscribe to Late Night: http://bit.ly/LateNightSeth » Get more Late Night with Seth Meyers: http://www.nbc.com/late-night-with-seth-meyers/ » Watch Late Night with…

Russian Roulette review: as Joe Biden said, ‘If this is true, it’s treason’

Whenever I finish a book like Russian Roulette, I ask myself the same question: why is anyone still debating whether there was collusion between the Russians and Donald Trump? Trump was a big advocate of Brexit, which was a body blow to the EU, and in the 2016 campaign he called Nato “obsolete”. Although the Russians failed at that moment to produce promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, the authors point out that “Trump’s senior advisers now had new reason to believe that Putin’s regime wanted Trump to win and was willing to act clandestinely to boost his chances. The Russians had offered to help, and Trump’s campaign had demonstrated a willingness to take what Moscow had to offer.” Almost any of these details would have been enough to torpedo any other presidential campaign, but Trump somehow managed to weather every single crisis. There were also more than 60,000 sentences published about Clinton and her emails – and less than 10,000 about Trump’s connections to Russia. An Obama official told Corn and Isikoff it wasn’t until two months after the election that “all the pieces came together for us”. As Corn and Isikoff explain, the editors decided to make the FBI’s failure to prove a connection the article’s theme, instead of the much more important fact of the investigation itself. What is new in Russian Roulette about the Times piece is how the ex-British spy Christopher Steele reacted to it. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House review – tell-all burns all Read more Before the Times piece appeared, Steele had been considering a trip to Washington to discuss his findings with members of Congress – and perhaps hold a press conference on the steps of the Capitol. If Steele had gone public, could that have been enough to change the election?

The truth about noncompetes and Massachusetts politics

And we like to brag about being the state with the most educated workforce. Effectively, we’re telling workers that even if they’ve just spent six years earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry or computer science, once they spend a year or two working for an employer, that employer has invested more in them than they have invested in themselves and should therefore be allowed to curtail where they can work next. These contracts are technically called “employee noncompete agreements” because they are a promise that a worker won’t leave one company to go work for a rival, at least for a specified period of time. It’s important to note that there are a few professions that have exempted themselves from having to work under these contracts, including doctors and lawyers. They can leave one medical practice or law firm Friday and start working for another Monday. But lawyers like the status quo — because these noncompete contracts sometimes generate business for them, in the form of lawsuits. A good compromise, in my view, would involve limiting the duration of noncompetes to six months, requiring the former employer to pay the worker’s full salary during that time period if it wants to keep him or her from working somewhere else, and nullifying them in cases where workers have been laid off or fired without cause. He supported a similar House bill in 2016 that would have implemented a one-year limit and involved “mutually agreed upon” compensation during that period. Seth Gitell, DeLeo’s chief of staff, says the 2016 House bill “was a product of extensive discussions and various compromises by different stakeholders. DeLeo is also one of the top cheerleaders for Boston’s bid for Amazon’s secondary headquarters, dubbed HQ2.