National media, we need you to be smarter now more than ever

The NYT and other media really have to get over the idea that Trump values their input, their megaphone, and their good will. He clearly does not. The press has to stop worrying about “access” to him. He needs to be examined and investigated every minute of the next four years. He’s a con artist who fell into the most powerful job in the world and sees it as an opportunity to enrich himself beyond even his own earlier imagining.

The press needs to practice what Jay Rosen calls evidence-based reporting, and the rest of us need to demand it of them.

f you are evidence-based you lead with the lack of evidence for explosive or insidious charges. That becomes the news. If you are accusation-driven, the news is that certain people are making charges. With the details we may learn that there’s no evidence, but the frame in which that discovery is made remains “he said, she said.”

Rosen shows a Twitter conversation he had with an editor who didn’t understand the distinction.

How ’bout them conflicts of interest!

The New York Times published an extensive article yesterday detailing all the places around the world where Trump has business interests, along with this damning paragraph:

What is clear is that there has been very little division, in the weeks since the election, between Mr. Trump’s business interests and his transition effort, with the president-elect or his family greeting real estate partners from India and the Philippines in his office and Mr. Trump raising concerns about his golf course in Scotland with a prominent British politician. Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who is in charge of planning and development of the Trump Organization’s global network of hotels, has joined in conversations with at least three world leaders — of Turkey, Argentina and Japan — having access that could help her expand the brand worldwide.

This is a deeply-reported article about Trump’s holdings and dealings with well-connected developers around the world, in Scotland, Ireland, India, Turkey and the Philippines. Even if the company acts in an altogether up-and-up way the potential for backslapping and baksheesh is awfully high.

Even more worrisome, what might not be done?

“What we already have is a blurring of the lines between official and business activities,” Mr. Fuchs [until recently deputy assistant secretary at the bureau of East Asian and Pacific affairs] said. “The biggest gray area may not be a President Trump himself advocating for favors for the Trump Organization. It’s the diplomats and career officers who will feel the need to perhaps not do things that will harm the Trump Organization’s interests. It is seriously disturbing.”

Trump has got to divest himself of all these holdings. I don’t see how the Electoral College could vote against him because of these conflicts, as the Chief Ethics Counsels for George W. Bush and Barack Obama believe, but he has to be persuaded that he can’t serve both the United States and his companies simultaneously.

People, people, people

Here’s a set of post-election poll results which show that most Americans want Trump to behave in the opposite way to what he said he’d do during the campaign.

So am I to take from this that the 62 million Americans who voted for this self-aggrandizing narcissist paid no attention to what he said? That doesn’t bode well for our politics going forward.

Who’s Betsy DeVos?

Here’s an archive of articles published at the website Talk to Action over the years in which she and her husband and their network were the subject. Who is Talk to Action, you ask? From the website:

Talk to Action is a platform for reporting on, learning about, and analyzing and discussing the religious right — and what to do about it.

Sample article titles:

Andy Kroll profiled the family three years ago in Mother Jones while telling the story of union stronghold Michigan’s switch to a “right-to-work” state. It’s horrifying.

‘Hail Trump!’: Video of White Nationalists Cheering the President-Elect

At an alt-right conference in Washington, D.C., Donald Trump’s victory was met with cheers and Nazi salutes.

Source: ‘Hail Trump!’: Video of White Nationalists Cheering the President-Elect

Listen to this three-minute clip. It’s got language you’d swear was spoken at a Nuremberg rally in 1935.

Stereo oddities

Ten years ago I bought an Onkyo stereo amplifier/receiver to replace the long-deceased Sansui 5500 I bought in 1973. It’s worked fine ever since, powering my turntable and my Pioneer CS-88 speakers, also bought in 1973.

Last week, though, something happened. I turned the receiver on to the radio channel and got no sound. I cranked the volume up and still nothing, not even a hissing from the speakers. I tried the CD function too with no luck. At first I thought it was a speaker connection, but upon reflection it seems unlikely two separate wires to two separate speakers would both fail at the same time. Now I’m wondering about the receiver itself.

The difficulty with troubleshooting this kind of thing is that most people including me don’t have a second pair of speakers they could use to test the amp. I’ve checked the connections at the back of the Onkyo and they seem to be solidly in place. I haven’t yet climbed up into the loft where the speakers are to check those connections, because it’s 8 feet up a vertical ladder to get to them and they each weigh 47 lbs.

If the connections appear to be good I’m not sure where I go from here.

In which the fright-wing amuses me

I assume you’ve all heard the short speech Brandon Dixon and the cast of Hamilton made to VP-elect Pence last night in New York.

I also assume you’ve heard that President-elect Trump was not pleased with such effrontery.

Well. Neither were a bunch of other notables on the right (Newt? Really? All the nastiness you’ve spouted in your career, and you’re upset at this? I think this is just solidarity with your fellow buffoons).

Okay, that’s normal from these people. But the part that flabbered my gast and horned my swoggle was the instantaneous hashtag and call to #BoycottHamilton!

From the official website:

Tickets are currently available for performances
from August 15, 2017 through November 5, 2017 on

If you’re calling for a boycott of a show hoping to have an economic impact that will threaten its survival, perhaps you should pick one which isn’t sold out for the next nine months. I think it’s safe to say none of the people screeching to boycott ever planned to see it in the first place. Symbolism trumps (sorry!) reality!

Golfing call to action

The 2017 USGA Women’s Open golf tournament has been scheduled at a golf course owned by the President-elect of the United States.

According to columnist Christine Brennan in USA Today

The USGA has made a visible effort over the past few years to try to start digging out from decades of discrimination against women and girls. With millions of 20-something and 30-something female athletes out there looking for sports to take up in adulthood, golf is not thriving. It is flailing.

Given the things said about women by the President-elect that came out during the campaign, should the USGA hold its premier women’s event at a golf course he owns?

It should immediately renounce Trump and his golf course and find a replacement location, something that is eminently doable for a tournament of its size with eight months to go.


We know Trump wouldn’t be happy. There would be tweets.

But if the USGA had the guts to stand up to Trump and take the Women’s Open away from him and his golf course, it would be delivering the most significant message of inclusion to women and girls in the history of the game of golf.

Do I expect the USGA to do this? Hell no. It’s in an awful position, particularly now that he’s been unexpectedly elected. That hasn’t stopped three NBA teams from refusing to stay in Trump-branded hotels when they play on the road this season, but it may well stop the USGA. Golf is conservative, its organizations are even more conservative, and it would take an act of courage. Brennan (and I) think it should move the tournament.

So this is your choice, USGA. You can stand up for women and minorities and immigrants, here and around the world. Or you can bring the best female golfers in the world to a golf course owned by the best-known admitted sexual predator in the world.

Your call.