Category Archives: Around the World

“Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election and Transition”

Radiolab: What if? (Podcast, 41 minutes)

“There’s plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he’d do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa’s Transition Integrity Project doesn’t give us any predictions, and it isn’t a referendum on Trump. Instead, it’s a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution.
You can read The Transition Integrity Project’s report here.

“Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede.”

The Atlantic: The Election That Could Break America. “If the vote is close, Donald Trump could easily throw the election into chaos and subvert the result. Who will stop him?” By Barton Gellman.

“The worst case, however, is not that Trump rejects the election outcome. The worst case is that he uses his power to prevent a decisive outcome against him. If Trump sheds all restraint, and if his Republican allies play the parts he assigns them, he could obstruct the emergence of a legally unambiguous victory for Biden in the Electoral College and then in Congress. He could prevent the formation of consensus about whether there is any outcome at all. He could seize on that un­certainty to hold on to power.

Trump’s state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for postelection maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states. Ambiguities in the Constitution and logic bombs in the Electoral Count Act make it possible to extend the dispute all the way to Inauguration Day, which would bring the nation to a precipice. The Twentieth Amendment is crystal clear that the president’s term in office “shall end” at noon on January 20, but two men could show up to be sworn in. One of them would arrive with all the tools and power of the presidency already in hand.

“We are not prepared for this at all,” Julian Zelizer, a Prince­ton professor of history and public affairs, told me. “We talk about it, some worry about it, and we imagine what it would be. But few people have actual answers to what happens if the machinery of democracy is used to prevent a legitimate resolution to the election.””

Link via MetaFilter.

Music from the other side of the world

This is Tuvan Throat Singing and music at it’s finest:

Alash Ensemble Live in Chicago for 10th Anniversary Concert at Old Town School of Folk Music. (YouTube, 1 hour 20 min) “A live recording of Alash Ensemble’s 10th anniversary, Chicago concert hosted by The Old Town School of Folk Music in The Myron R. Szold Music & Dance Hall on February 20, 2016”

“The members of Alash are Tuvan throat singers, who use a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. Masters of traditional Tuvan instruments as well as the art of throat singing, they are deeply committed to traditional Tuvan music and culture. At the same time, they are fans of western music. Believing that traditional music must constantly evolve, Alash subtly infuse their songs with western elements, creating their own unique style that is fresh and new, yet true to their Tuvan musical heritage.”

Two of their albums are also available on YouTube: Achai and Buura. (Link to the first of 13 songs in each playlist.)

Huun-Huur-Tu at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California November 18, 2008. (YouTube, 1 hour 18 min) Their website doesn’t seem to exist any more, but you can read about them on Wikipedia: Huun-Huur-Tu.

Whatever happened to Tannu Tuva?

Tuva or bust .. Richard Feynman “1988 BBC ‘Horizon’ documentary on the Noble Prize winner Richard Feynman and his attempt to visit Tannu Tuva.” (YouTube, 45min)

Sadly, Feynman didn’t make it to Tuva because he passed away from cancer, but his friend Ralph Leighton went on the trip they planned together. Later, Feynman’s daughter Michelle also visited Tuva. Leighton founded the Friends of Tuva. The website is a bit outdated by now, but still contains a lot of interesting information and links.

Trump’s Taxes

Links and articles are all over the internet, and the New York Times has a paywall for most articles, so I’ll just post a link to the relevant MetaFilter thread:

MetaFilter: surely this.

“Long-Concealed Records Show Trump’s Chronic Losses and Years of Tax Avoidance [NY Times]. Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750.

He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”