Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tap dances around a $2 trillion mistake

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, among many others, says that the Trump administration has made a $2 trillion accounting mistake in its budget and tax plan. That’s an oopsie half the size of the federal budget. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tried to defend it on CNBC, in an epic tap dance. To understand the error, … Continued

With its Seth Rich retraction, Fox News doesn’t behave like news

Right-leaning viewers think Fox News reveals a side of the news not seen in mainstream media. Left-leaning viewers would say the same about MSNBC. But there’s a difference. Fox News just retracted its controversial article about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich in a way completely different from how journalists should behave. You can read the … Continued

Ford, where euphemisms are Job 1

PR people, if you have something unpleasant to say, just say it. Hiding it behind euphemisms doesn’t fool anyone. Today’s case study: Ford’s plan to lay off 10% of its staff, which it calls a “people efficiency action.” According to a Wall Street Journal article, Ford will cut 10% of its global workforce to boost profits, with … Continued

The loopholes in Trump lawyers’ tax letter about financial ties in Russia

Lawyers may be verbose, but they’re precise; what they write is supposed to be unambiguous. When reading a document from a lawyer, the ambiguity typically comes, not from what’s written, but from what’s left out. For example, let’s take a look at the letter that President Trump’s lawyers wrote suggesting that he’s got no financial ties … Continued

The Fyre Festival investor deck: un-words for an un-festival

The Fyre Festival was an epic disaster. Organizers hyped the festival, set on an obscure island in the Bahamas, as “the next Coachella”; attendees got stranded with little food and shelter, no entertainment, and no easy way to escape. Who could have known? Anyone who read the pitch deck. It’s filled with un-words that have no … Continued

How motivational platitudes are undermining America

More than 300,000 people follow the Twitter account Motivational Tweets. You can really appreciate the vacuity of motivational platitudes when you get them multiple times an hour, interrupted only by ads for horoscopes and diet plans. Reviewing this feed has shown me why our country is a mess. Sayings like this are a pernicious assault on reality. … Continued

On North Korea, Trump’s people sound just like Obama. Is this reassuring?

President Trump recently bused all 100 U.S. senators to the White House for a briefing on North Korea. His position on Korea now matches the Obama administration’s, in a shift similar to his reversals on NATO, NAFTA, and chemical weapons in Syria. Has he gone sane? Let’s look at the statement. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has nukes, missiles (although … Continued