Archive for the 'Around the World' Category

Michael Wolff’s Trumpland tell-all, Fire and Fury, has set Washington ablaze

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin: Michael Wolff, Chronicler of Chaos in Trumpland. (Listen or download, 53 minutes.)

“The man behind the book has gotten surprisingly little attention, even though it was partly Wolff’s position at the top of New York media’s social heap that won him Trump’s trust, and access to the White House. Alec set out to do a different Michael Wolff interview. At a live event at Manhattan’s Town Hall, audience-members learned about the Jewish kid from Jersey with a shoeleather reporter for a mom, who gave up on being a novelist to do big-money media deals – even as he wielded his poison pen against peers in the New York media elite. And Wolff lives up to his reputation as one of New York’s best conversationalists, giving answers by turns open, cantankerous, and very, very funny.”

If you prefer, you can also listen to the interview on YouTube.

This was published on 13 February, 2018, but I only listened to it tonight.

“We have a right to a safe education.”

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

The Washington Post: Thousands of students walk out of school in nationwide gun violence protest.

Some quotes from the students – and one senator – that stroke me:

Fatima Younis, a student organizer with Women’s March Youth Empower, one of the lead coordinators of Wednesday’s walkouts:

“We want our Congress to know that some of us will be old enough to vote in the midterm elections, and the rest of us are going to be able to vote in 2020 or 2022, and they’re going to lose their job if they don’t do what we want to keep us safe”.

Dominic Barry, 16, a junior at Minnetonka High School southwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul:

“We’re tired of sitting around and listening to politicians tell us what they are going to do without ever actually doing anything. And we’re also just kind of tired of adults not making it happen — adults saying what they are going to do and then just entirely blowing us off”.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.):

“We need to make sure that every member of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, people of all political stripes, are more afraid of the next school massacre, more afraid of the next death on our streets, more afraid of that, than they are of the NRA. Let’s go get them.”

Gabe Ozaki, a 16-year-old junior:

[He] addressed his schoolmates first, saying, “Every person who has ever died in a school shooting started their day like we did today.” He went on to say that he thinks America is being robbed of its youth, but that he and others are energized by a wave of activism.

Larnee Satchell, 17, a senior at Hartford Magnet:

“We will not allow our elected officials to just tweet their thoughts and condolences without any gun reform. We need Congress to enact a resolution declaring gun violence a public health crisis. We need Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. We need Congress to expand background checks to all gun sales.”

Freshman MaKayla Woodard:

“I’m walking out because they weren’t safe and we aren’t, either” […] The teen, whose father hunts, said she wants to see stricter background checks and mental health screenings for those seeking to buy guns. And she opposes President Trump’s proposal to arm teachers, saying she worries that a police officer will mistake an armed black teacher for an aggressor. “If a cop sees a black teacher with a gun, that teacher will get shot,” she said.

Bonus article:

The Toronto Star: U.S. teacher accidentally fires his gun in the classroom. He was trained in gun use. “The incident comes amid a national debate on how to protect students from mass shootings. A male student was reported to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries.”

Arming teachers to protect children at school instead of changing gun laws sounds like a daft and downright dangerous idea to this foreigner who is not American, but is a teacher at a highschool (grades 5 through 13 here in Germany).

“Tillerson is gone – the first Cabinet secretary ever to be fired by tweet”

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

The New Yorker: Rex Tillerson Gets Fired the Day After He Criticized Russia. By John Cassidy.

““There is never a justification for this type of attack – the attempted murder of a private citizen on the soil of a sovereign nation – and we are outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behavior,” Tillerson’s statement said. “From Ukraine to Syria – and now the UK – Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens. We agree that those responsible – both those who committed the crime and those who ordered it – must face appropriately serious consequences. We stand in solidarity with our Allies in the United Kingdom and will continue to coordinate closely our responses.”

This was arguably the strongest condemnation of Russian behavior that the Trump Administration has ever issued. And it turned out to be one of Tillerson’s final official acts as Secretary of State. At 8:44 A.M. on Tuesday, Donald Trump announced Tillerson’s firing on Twitter. “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” Trump wrote. “

Link via Garret.

Think of the heart muscle as a rubber band […] put it in a drawer for 20 years and it will emerge dry and brittle.

Monday, March 12th, 2018

NPR shots: Hearts Get ‘Younger,’ Even At Middle Age, With Exercise.

“Eventually it happens to everyone. As we age, even if we’re healthy, the heart becomes less flexible, more stiff and just isn’t as efficient in processing oxygen as it used to be. In most people the first signs show up in the 50s or early 60s. And among people who don’t exercise, the underlying changes can start even sooner.

“The heart gets smaller — stiffer,” says Dr. Ben Levine, a sports cardiologist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, in Dallas.
Fortunately for those in midlife, Levine is finding that even if you haven’t been an avid exerciser, getting in shape now may head off that decline and help restore your aging heart. He and his colleagues published their recent findings in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation.”

“Mr Trump has given away the prize of a summit without getting anything in return”

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

The Economist: Proceed with caution: Donald Trump’s gift for Kim Jong Un.. “A premature summit will do more for the North Korean leader than for America’s president.”

“Mr Trump no doubt believes that it is his toughness alone that has brought Mr Kim to the negotiating table and that, once there, his unique force of personality and his genius for the deal will bully and coax Mr Kim into giving up his nukes.

In fact hell will freeze over before Mr Kim voluntarily surrenders a capability that his father and grandfather believed would be the ultimate guarantor of their dynasty’s survival and which has taken decades and huge sacrifices to construct.


The risk, however, is that an inadequately prepared summit between these leaders will fall into one of two traps. The first is that Mr Kim succeeds in charming the impetuous and inexperienced Mr Trump to such an extent that he makes foolish concessions that his opposite number has no intention of earning. The second is that, if it dawns on Mr Trump that he has been played by Mr Kim and made to look naive, he may react like a jilted, misled suitor. The motto for talks with North Korea should be “proceed with caution”. A premature summit, by contrast, is an ill-considered roll of the dice.”