Democratic response from Steve Beshear shows no audacity, no hope

Steve Beshear, a Democrat and former governor of Kentucky, presented the Democratic response to Trump’s speech to Congress. Where Trump delivered platitudes mixed with policy in front of Congress, Beshear gave us platitudes mixed with whining (in a diner). It probably didn’t help that Beshear doesn’t know who he is. Here’s his confused opener: I’m … Continued

The true meaning of the generalities in the Trump speech to Congress

Donald Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress was typical of such addresses. It was unusual for Trump in that it was clear, well-structured, and got most of the facts right — but like the average State of the Union, it was a mixed bag of gritty legislative proposals and pabulum. Let’s take a look at … Continued

The self-serving Michael Flynn resignation letter is mostly fluff

Michael Flynn resigned yesterday as Donald Trump’s national security advisor. Media reports stated that he’d lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the content of his pre-inauguration conversations with the Russian Ambassador. Resignation letters should take responsibility, apologize, and say nothing further — but Flynn’s is strangely full of fluffy praise for Trump. Flynn’s letter is … Continued

Lessons from the appeals court’s ruling against Trump’s immigration order

A federal appeals court ruled against President Trump, refusing to allow Trump’s executive order concerning immigration and travel to go back into effect. It’s a complicated case, and a complicated ruling. Let’s look at the clearest parts of the ruling, and what’s good and bad about legal language. First, the context. Trump’s executive order 12 days ago … Continued

The clarity of Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court

The New York Times described Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court as “an Echo of [Antonin] Scalia in Philosophy and Style.” But where the late Justice Scalia’s writings were sarcastic and passive-aggressive, Gorsuch’s are straightforward, logical, and clear. Because he writes often in the first-person, his arguments come across as direct rather than snide or veiled. Let’s … Continued

What’s really inside Donald Trump’s Executive Order on immigration

What did President Trump actually say in his executive order on immigration? To find out, I did a close reading. I found no ban on Muslims entering the country, but I did find lots of other juicy bits, like an endorsement for letting any jurisdiction — like, say, Alabama or Dallas — restrict who can live … Continued

The surprising effectiveness of Trump’s whitehouse.gov

When a U.S. administration changes, so does the president’s website. Under Trump, the new whitehouse.gov addresses six issues, each with a short, simple, direct block of text. Unlike the president, it’s focused, clear, and effective. My social feeds were full of protests when the pages for LGBT rights and climate change disappeared from whitehouse.gov. Were you really … Continued