Why the White House guidelines for Opening Up America Again are so wimpy

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The Trump Administration published a set of guidelines for restarting economic activity after the global pandemic. They’re so squishy that they’re meaningless. This set of guidelines follows a dizzying set of stances from the President, starting with Trump’s statement Tuesday that he had the absolute authority to order states to “reopen.” That flew in the … Continued

On Coronavirus, we need the correct amount of fear

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Fear is useful. Panic is not. COVID-19, popularly known as the Coronavirus, is coming. If we’re honest, we should recognize a few facts. At least 83,000 people are infected. Most are in China, but there are also outbreaks in South Korea, Iran, Japan, and Italy. There are cases in America, too. More than 2,800 people … Continued

Cheering for laundry and other reflections on loyalty

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Our team loyalties are unshakable. That’s what makes events like the Super Bowl enjoyable — we know who love, and we know who we hate. But loyalty ought to have limits. As Jerry Seinfeld memorably explained, we’re just rooting for laundry. The players change, the teams move, but we know who we like. Why are … Continued

An analysis of Trump’s deranged impeachment letter to Nancy Pelosi

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Donald Trump sent a 2700-word letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the eve of the vote on his impeachment. It’s a rambling, shambling mess filled with feints, irrelevant claims, and counterattacks. I’ll get into why it exists, what it’s trying to do, and whether it succeeds in that goal. I really didn’t want to … Continued

Navy Secretary’s letter spits in Trump’s eye on the way out the door

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Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer resigned this weekend in a dispute over military justice for Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. His letter is a not-so-veiled dig at President Trump’s respect for the rule of law. Here’s what happened: Gallagher was accused of crimes including the murder of a wounded Islamic State prisoner. He was convicted of … Continued

How should the president tweet?

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Sunday’s New York Times included a fascinating print and interactive section on the president’s Twitter Feed. However you feel about this president, you must agree that his tweets have been an effective if incendiary communications tool. The next president will use Twitter, but how? Based on observing not just Trump but other politicians and authority … Continued

Dot, dot, dot: The ambiguous ellipsis in the Trump Ukraine call summary

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An ellipsis (plural, ellipses) has multiple meanings: it can indicate an unfinished thought, a pause, or, in quoted material, something that’s been omitted. When there’s ambiguity, it’s up to the author to resolve it. Trump’s Ukraine call summary doesn’t, and that’s a problem. The ellipsis for an uncompleted thought is more common in fiction. In … Continued