But there’s enough to lament about today. The outrageous conduct of Donald Trump as president, not to mention the failure of his administration in virtually every respect, is now compounded by his assault on a respected senior senator of his own party, who for the moment is returning volley for volley. It’s a spectacle upon which the rest of the world is looking with dismay, derision and fear, considering that the practice of governing has been reduced to such a level by the strongest power on earth and until now a respected nation.
Worst still, in the view of this publication today, is that no one or several of serious stature has or have arisen to protest. On one respected news program this week, the conduct taking place in Washington was treated as a matter of great levity, at the same time that respectable journals were saying that Trump and his base were succeeding in taking over the Republican party. Neither is either a laughing matter .
On matters about which we have more control — that is the subject of change and our progress in reporting about it in these pages — we’re far more sanguine. This number contains a number of interesting, informative and even entertaining stories culled from the best sources in the world and edited with an eye both to those with whom we agree and may disagree, but respect in the process. We consider it a privilege to publish and to share our horizons.
— It’s unclear what exactly triggered the thin-skinned commander in chief to post three tweets attacking the Tennessee senator on Sunday morning. The most plausible explanation is that he was reacting to a segment on “Fox News Sunday.” The show aired a sound bite of Corker telling reporters last week that Rex Tillerson is one of three people in the administration who “separate our country from chaos.” That came in response to an NBC report that the secretary of state had called the president a “moron.”
“Senator Bob Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement),” Trump tweeted. “He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.’ He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal! Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn’t have the guts to run!”
— Corker, who has felt liberated since announcing his retirement last month, gleefully fired back. His office quickly went on the record to insist that Trump had, in fact, promised to endorse him, urged him not to retire and just last week asked him to reconsider his decision. The 65-year-old then tweeted this:
“It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
—Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker)
Fully uncorked, Corker then called a New York Times reporter to say that Trump’s reckless threats toward other countries could set the nation “on the path to World War III.” “He concerns me. He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” the chairman said during a 25-minute interview with Jonathan Martin. “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him.”
Trump’s myopic impulse to counterpunch whenever he feels attacked caused him to lose another news cycle and will overshadow an immigration proposal that the White House planned to talk about today. It also underscored several of the factors that have caused the president so much trouble
Read more at The Washington Post
Thus far, though, our response to regular mass slaughter has been, quite frankly, uniquely un-American. Our nation, in a short quarter-millennium, catapulted itself to global preeminence by solving the world’s greatest problems and exporting those solutions to the rest of the world. Participatory democracies. Open economies. Web-based communication. All American innovations to the great conundrums of the globe.
But when it comes to perhaps the oldest and most important human concern — the fear of physical harm — the United States does not lead. In fact, we choose to be an increasingly distant outlier of exceptional violence.
I served as congressman for Newtown, Conn., when a gunman opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children and six educators. The parents of those kids are now my friends. They will never recover from what they have endured. The scars are brutally deep and exposed for all to see. No one should wish the scorching pain of losing a son or daughter on anyone. And so, in a very personal way, my heart has been with Las Vegas every minute since news broke of the tragedy.
Read more at The Washington Post.
America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It’s one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected. But America’s relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the US is far and away the most violent — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms. These charts and maps show what that violence looks like compared with the rest of the world, why it happens, and why it’s such a tough problem to fix.
1) America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and nearly 16 times as many as Germany
This chart, compiled using United Nations data collected by Simon Rogers for the Guardian, shows that America far and away leads other developed countries when it comes to gun-related homicides. Why? Extensive reviews of the research by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center suggest the answer is pretty simple: The US is an outlier on gun violence because it has way more guns than other developed nations.
Read more at Vox.
September 24, 2017 has been a day of immense consequence for the National Football League. Across the nation, an unprecedented number of players, coaches, and even owners have stood—or kneeled—in solidarity in the face of an avalanche of invective from the President of the United States. Donald Trump has demonstrated himself to be perhaps the one human capable of making the NFL look like a sympathetic character in our national story. The president set out to demonize a group of primarily black athletes exercising their First Amendment rights to protest, silently, during a ceremony celebrating American values because they do not think America is living up to those values. It seems his attempt to isolate and marginalize them has only grown their movement.
Sunday’s protests kicked off during a game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens in London. More than two dozen players from both teams knelt during the anthem, Yahoo! News reports, and many more locked arms together on the sideline. But it wasn’t just the players: They were joined by Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh and, even more consequentially, Jaguars owner Shad Khan.
It’s unusual for owners to involve themselves in any on-field matters, much less something of this political significance. But Khan called it “a privilege.”
“I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem,” he added. Khan was one in a chorus of owners voicing their support, according to The New York Times:
Even Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a well known friend of Trump’s, had sharp criticism for the president’s rhetoric.
“I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday,” Kraft said in a statement. “I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger. There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics.”
Read more at Esquire.
‘We feel huge responsibility’ to get information right
“I view it as a big responsibility to get it right,” he says. “I think we’ll be able to do these things better over time. But I think the answer to your question, the short answer and the only answer, is we feel huge responsibility.” Later, he added, “Today, we overwhelmingly get it right. But I think every single time we stumble. I feel the pain, and I think we should be held accountable.”
Learning about Google’s “stumble” after we talked put some of our conversation in a different light. I was there to talk about how Pichai’s project to realign the entire company to an “AI-first” footing was going in the lead-up to Google’s massive hardware event. Google often seems like the leader in weaving AI into its products; that’s certainly Pichai’s relentless focus. But it’s worth questioning whether Google’s systems are making the right decisions, even as they make some decisions much easier.
When the subject isn’t the failure of its news algorithms, Pichai is enthusiastic about AI. There’s not much difference between an enthusiastic Sundar Pichai and a quiet, thoughtful Sundar Pichai, but you get a sense of it when he names a half-dozen Google products that have been improved by its deep learning systems off the top of his head.
Google’s lead in doing clever, innovative things with AI is impressive, and the examples Pichai cites can sometimes even verge on inspiring — but there’s clearly still work to do.
Read more at The Verge.
Toward the end of the Supreme Court’s argument in Gill v. Whitford, about the future of partisan gerrymandering, there was a revealing moment about the place of the newest Justice in the esteem of at least one of his peers. In less than a year, Neil Gorsuch has dominated oral arguments, lectured his colleagues, and given dubiously appropriate public speeches. Questioning Paul Smith, the lawyer challenging Wisconsin’s contorted district lines, Gorsuch made another pedantic gesture.
The argument had gone on for nearly an hour when Gorsuch began a question as follows: “Maybe we can just for a second talk about the arcane matter of the Constitution.” There was a rich subtext to this query. Originalists and textualists such as Gorsuch, and his predecessor on the Court, Antonin Scalia, often criticize their colleagues for inventing rights that are not found in the nation’s founding document. Gorsuch’s statement that the Court should spare “a second” for the “arcane” subject of the document was thus a slap at his ideological adversaries; of course, they, too, believe that they are interpreting the Constitution, but, in Gorsuch’s view, only he cares about the document itself.
Gorsuch went on to give his colleagues a civics lecture about the text of the Constitution. “And where exactly do we get authority to revise state legislative lines? When the Constitution authorizes the federal government to step in on state legislative matters, it’s pretty clear—if you look at the Fifteenth Amendment, you look at the Nineteenth Amendment, the Twenty-sixth Amendment, and even the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 2.” In other words, Gorsuch was saying, why should the Court involve itself in the subject of redistricting at all—didn’t the Constitution fail to give the Court the authority to do so?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is bent with age, can sometimes look disengaged or even sleepy during arguments, and she had that droopy look today as well. But, in this moment, she heard Gorsuch very clearly, and she didn’t even raise her head before offering a brisk and convincing dismissal. In her still Brooklyn-flecked drawl, she grumbled, “Where did ‘one person, one vote’ come from?” There might have been an audible woothat echoed through the courtroom. (Ginsburg’s comment seemed to silence Gorsuch for the rest of the arguments.)
Read more at The New Yorker.
WASHINGTON — For Sarah Huckabee Sanders, chaos in President Donald Trump’s White House has proven to be a ladder.
Not that she would call it that.
Just days after she replaced Sean Spicer as press secretary in July — a job she’d been moonlighting in for months — Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was also out the door.
It looked like an administration in turmoil, but Sanders faced the press corps with a smile.
“If you want to see chaos, come to my house with three preschoolers. This doesn’t hold a candle to that,” Sanders said. “Just to be clear, that’s not an open invitation to come to my house. But if you guys want to schedule babysitting time, I’ll be happy to work that out.”
The laughter from the White House reporters was an early indicator of cooler, less contentious briefings to come as women ascended in a White House communications office that had seen unprecedented turnover and no shortage of drama in the early days of Trump’s term.
For the first time in any administration, two women are now in command of its top public-facing roles — press secretary (Sanders) and communications director (Hope Hicks). And thanks to another recent hire — Mercedes Schlapp as a senior communications strategist — women now make up 62 percent of Trump’s small but nimble press operation.
They say it makes a difference.
Read more at NBC News.