Mutual Threats, End of the Dream

Nuclear Tweetsmanship: North Korea exploded a nuclear bomb and President Trump fired off tweets. “Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States,” Trump wrote. He said, “The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

He also slammed South Korea for their “talk of appeasement” with the North.

As Trump left church yesterday morning a reporter asked, “Mr. President, will you attack North Korea?” and he calmly replied, “We’ll see.”

Standing in front of the White House, Defense Secretary James Mattis said, “Our commitments among the allies are ironclad. Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.”

President Trump’s UN envoy, Nikki Haley, announced that the United Nations Security Council would meet in an open emergency session today at the request of the US, South Korea, Japan, France and Britain.

Dealing with North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un requires figuring out what he wants, and so far, no one knows. An analysis in the NY Times posits that Kim may be moving beyond nuclear weapons as a defense into using them for international blackmail.

The Times analysis speculates that “It may be splitting the United States away from two allies — Japan and South Korea — who wonder whether the United States would really protect them, and half-expect Mr. Trump to make good on his campaign threat that he might pull American troops from the Pacific.”

Dreamers: Several news outlets report that President Trump is preparing to end the so-called “Dream Act,” the Obama-era policy that allows illegal immigrants who arrived as children to be granted work permits. The stories say Trump would give Congress six months to pass immigration reform before ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA.

The move would fulfill one of Trump’s campaign promises and feed the love of his voter base, but it could also spark a political riot. What he’s talking about is possibly deporting people to countries they never knew or lived in as adults.

Harvey: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the damage from Hurricane Harvey is worse than the 2005 Katrina that hit New Orleans and the repair bill could come to $180 billion. The storm is blamed for about 50 deaths and 43,000 people who lost their homes are staying in shelters.

Not that it’s a contest, but there’s an argument to be made that Katrina was worse. For one thing, Katrina killed 1,833 people.

Katrina also displaced over a million people and damaged or destroyed 275,000 homes. Almost a million households received individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Harvey damaged or destroyed about 100,000 homes and most were not covered by flood insurance.  FEMA estimates that 450,000 people are likely to seek federal aid.

Danger, UXB: About 60,000 people in a one-mile radius of Frankfurt, Germany were evacuated yesterday after the discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb at a construction site. The evacuation included hospitals and nursing homes.

The 4,000-pound bomb dropped by the British Royal Air Force was successfully disabled. The Germans find and defuse bombs every few weeks and probably will for many years to come.

The Obit Page: John Ashbery, who’s been described as an original and enduring voice in poetry, has died at age 90. The critic Harold Bloom said of Ashbery, “No one now writing poems in the English language is likelier than Ashbery to survive the severe judgment of time.”

A sample poem:

I let so many people go by me

I sort of long for one of them, any

one, to turn back toward me,

forget these tears. As children we played at being grown-ups.

Now there’s trouble brewing on the horizon.

> Walter Becker, the guitarist, bassist and co-founder of the rock duo Steely Dan, a big act in 1970s and early 80s, died at age 67. Becker had missed performances in recent months but the nature of his illness was not revealed.

The Actual Burning Man: A man attending the annual burning of a giant figure at the Burning Man festival yesterday in the Nevada desert took the event literally, breaking through rings of security and hurling himself into the flames. The man identified as Aaron Joel Mitchell, 41, died hours later at the UC Davis burn center in California. The local sheriff said, “We don’t know if it was intentional on his part or if it was just kind of induced by drugs.” There’s no shortage of drugs at Burning Man.

The Royals: Prince William and wife Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, announced that they are expecting their third child, who would be fifth in line to the British throne. Yeah, kid, get in line behind grandpa.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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