Is Chachi Responsible for Garry Marshall’s Death?

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In Trump world, there are no coincidences. To cite just one of the more recent egregious examples of this phenomenon, Trump suggested that if Ted Cruz’s father bore a close resemblance to someone in the background of a photo of Lee Harvey Oswald, then Ted Cruz’s father may have been involved in a conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy.

Now, to be fair to Mr. Trump, he did not say that he was absolutely certain that Cruz’s father was involved in such a conspiracy, only that there was enough there to warrant further investigation—at least that was what a lot of people were saying.

So I would like to note that although he had recently suffered a debilitating stroke and had been treated for cancer in the not too distant past, Garry Marshall passed away on the day immediately after Scott Baio spoke at the Republican national convention.

I have…

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Some Observations about the RNC, Days 1-2

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Even before the convention began, more than 100 women posed nude for an “art installation” called “Everything She Says Means Everything.” Here is how an Esquire story on this protest opened: “As the sun rises Sunday morning over the Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland, 100 women stand completely nude, holding large, round mirrors facing the arena. They’re on an empty lot in between a fire station and a shipping warehouse, right on the Cuyahoga River. It’s the day before the Republican National Convention kicks off, but on this side of the river, it’s nearly silent, except for the snaps and pops of a camera. Artist Spencer Tunick stands on a ladder holding the camera focused on the women, wiping sweat off his brow. He shouts, ‘We love you all! This is beautiful.’” as he takes photos for his “art installation.” []

A second “art installation” has involved…

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“Guns Make Us Safer” (with Certain Exceptions)

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The following is an excerpt from CNN’s Politics Nightcap daily newsletter:

“RNC kick-off: Police union asks for ‘open carry’ suspension

“The head of Cleveland’s largest police union is calling on Ohio Gov. John Kasich to temporarily restrict the state’s open carry gun laws during this week’s Republican National Convention after Sunday’s shooting in Louisiana that killed three officers and wounded at least three others.

“Kasich’s response: No can do. ‘Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested,’ said Kasich press secretary Emmalee Kalmbach.

“The big picture: A city on edge. Months of planning and reassurances from top city officials have done little to quiet concerns here over the potential for violent clashes between law enforcement and protest groups descending on the city ahead of this week’s RNC.”

In any case, Stephen Loomis, the president of Cleveland police union, said about…

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Learning from Flint, Rick Snyder Style

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The editors at the Detroit Free Press have published an editorial titled “Like a Sick Joke.” Here are the opening paragraphs:

“In the wake of the Flint water crisis, amid profound concerns over an aging oil pipeline under the Great Lakes, with an ongoing, urgent need to decrease pollution and improve air quality and public health in southwest Detroit, Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed … wait for it . . .  a former oil-industry lobbyist, Heidi Grether, to head the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.

“It’s a stunning look into the way the governor views the state’s responsibility to protect Michigan’s environment, and Michiganders’ health.

“And in the aftermath of the Flint water crisis, it’s like Snyder is rubbing the noses of his constituents in his own mess. The move is astoundingly tone-deaf to Michiganders, who rely on the state’s environmental regulatory agency to keep us safe. It’s also a tacit announcement that Snyder no longer finds rebuilding…

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Tech Leaders’ Open Letter on Trump Candidacy

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We are inventors, entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, researchers, and business leaders working in the technology sector. We are proud that American innovation is the envy of the world, a source of widely-shared prosperity, and a hallmark of our global leadership.

We believe in an inclusive country that fosters opportunity, creativity and a level playing field. Donald Trump does not. He campaigns on anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people, and a fundamental belief that America is weak and in decline. We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year and we have concluded: Trump would be a disaster for innovation. His vision stands against the open exchange of ideas, free movement of people, and productive engagement with the outside world that is critical to our economy — and that provide the foundation for innovation and growth.

Let’s start with the human talent that drives innovation forward. We believe that America’s…

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From Former QB to Former Convention Speaker

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It is very easy to exaggerate the importance of small things. No matter how obsessive one is about details, something can always slip through the proverbial cracks.

That said, the following oversight does seem indicative to me of a broader issue.

Writing for Esquire, Matt Miller has reported:

“Former reality TV star Tim Tebow returned from the Philippines this week to find out that he’d be speaking at . . . [the] Republican National Convention next week. A number of news outlets reported that Tebow, who is currently self-employed, was speaking alongside Peter Thiel, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, UFC president Dana White, and various Trump spawn.

“In a video on Facebook last night, Tebow explained that he was never planning on speaking at the RNC: ‘I wake up this morning to find out I’m speaking at the Republican National Convention . . .  It’s amazing how fast rumors fly,”…

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Open Letter from Wharton Faculty, Students, and Alumni to Trump

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Here is a background note written by Michael Barbaro and published on the progressive blog Crooks and Liars:

“All the way back in June of 2015, this news was reported, although at the time many of us dismissed it because clearly we had no idea how insane this election would be, or how little control the GOP would have over their candidates. So no one really cared what Trump was bragging about.

“Not kidding. Trump just said this: ‘I went to the Wharton School of Business. I’m, like, a really smart person.’

“Now to be clear, he did not graduate from Wharton, he merely attended classes there. The Washington Post reports that he ‘took undergraduate classes at Penn’s famed Wharton School of Business, though he was not enrolled in Wharton’s prestigious MBA program.’

“But, Salon reports that Trump embellished (lied) about his attendance and even went so far…

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Sherrod Brown on Charter-School Waste

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The following letter was sent by Sherrod Brown to Secretary of Education John King. (I have omitted a half-dozen footnotes that cite the sources for the details that Senator Brown highlights.) The letter illustrates why Sherrod Brown is a very effective and widely respected progressive Senator in a “purple” state.


June 20, 2016

Dear Secretary King:

I write regarding the Department of Education’s (ED) continued engagement with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) about the $71 million September 2015 Charter School Program (CSP) grant awarded to the state. While I was encouraged to see that ED has not disbursed this money, has placed special conditions on the grant, and has engaged in multiple fact finding efforts with ODE, I remain concerned regarding the performance and oversight of the state’s charter school sector. It is incumbent upon ED to take additional steps to increase oversight, accountability, and transparency before this…

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Insert Your Own Snide Caption

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Donald Trump gave his most recent economic speech with this backdrop. I briefly thought that he might somehow be striking the same theme as my recent post “Waste, Job Creation, and Higher Ed” [], but the choice of backdrop appears to have been just another example of a campaign that has not given much thought to the basics of campaigning.

Trump and Recycling 001Trump and Recycling 002Trump and Recycling 003Trump and Recycling 004

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Dim and Dimmer

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This rumination is the latest from Louis Gohmert, widely known by the epithet “The Dumbest Man in Congress”:

“I really wonder how many people in this body who had the ultimate power to decide whether humanity would go forward or not, whether there was an asteroid coming or something that would end humanity on Earth as dinosaurs were ended at one time—okay . . .

“If you could decide what 40 people you would put on the spacecraft who would save humanity, how many of those would be same-sex couples?  You are wanting to save humankind for posterity—basically, a modern-day Noah. You have that ability to be a modern-day Noah. You can preserve life. How many same-sex couples would you take from the animal kingdom and from humans to put on the spacecraft to perpetuate humanity and the wildlife kingdom?”

If one were to grant Gohmert’s childishly apocalyptic hypothesis, I cannot…

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