U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: January 15, 2017

Alex Brandon/Associated Press


1. Trump tangles with civil rights leader on MLK weekend
Civil rights leader and longtime Rep. John Lewis of Georgia on Fridaysaid he does not consider President-elect Donald Trump “a legitimate president” because of Russian efforts to manipulate the presidential election. Saturday morning, Trump hit back, attacking Lewis on Twitter as “all talk, talk, talk — no action or results” and telling him to “spend more time on fixing and helping” his “crime infested” district. As cross-partisan observers were quick to point out, Lewis is a civil rights leader who marched at Selma with Martin Luther King Jr., who is commemorated in a federal holiday on Monday. “John Lewis and his ‘talk’ have changed the world,” tweeted Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), while Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) simply posted, “Dude, just stop.” Saturday evening, Trump responded to the criticism with another tweet: “Congressman John Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S. I can use all the help I can get!”

Source: The Week, NBC News

2. 18 congressional Democrats plan inauguration boycott
At least 18 House Democrats will not attend President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremonies this Friday, with some planning to leave for their home districts and others intending to march with protesters in Washington. Among those boycotting is Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the civil rights leader whom Trump criticized as “all talk” in the weekend before Martin Luther King Day. House Democratic leadership, however, will be there. “That’s my responsibility,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “It is the wonderful thing about our country, the peaceful transfer of power.” Broader anti-Trump protests started in Washington Saturday, with about 2,000 people rallying on the National Mall.

Source: Politico, CNN

3. Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate Trump dossier
The Senate Intelligence Committee launched a bipartisan investigation Friday night into the unverified dossier on President-elect Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia and will use “subpoenas if necessary” to get testimony from the Trump team and relevant members of the Obama administration. “The committee will follow the intelligence wherever it leads,” said a joint statement from Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the committee’s chair, and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chair. “We will conduct this inquiry expeditiously, and we will get it right.” Trump and the Kremlin both continue to deny the legitimacy of the entire dossier.

Source: Roll Call, The Hill

4. 4,000 U.S. troops arrive in Poland to stare down Russia
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo welcomed 4,000 U.S. troops to her country in a ceremony on Saturday, hailing their arrival as “an important day for Poland, for Europe, for our common defense.” The deployment is intended as a message to Moscow and is part of a larger U.S. troop buildup in Eastern Europe, pitting NATO allies against Russia in something of a Cold War redux. A representative of the Kremlin said Russia sees the troops “as a threat to us,” and Russian President Vladimir Putin said it is “stupid and unrealistic” to believe Russia has plans for European invasion. President-elect Donald Trump has indicated a preference for better relations with Russia and could halt the buildup once in office.

Source: CBS News, CNN

5. Paris hosts Mideast peace talks without Israelis, Palestinians, or Trump team
On Sunday, diplomats from 70 nations — not including representatives of Israel, Palestine, or the incoming Donald Trump administration — are meeting in Paris “to officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The goal is to demonstrate to Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the breadth of international backing of a Palestinian state, but Netanyahu dismissed the Paris meeting as “futile” and “rigged” against Israel. Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will join the talks, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas initially planned to attend before his schedule changed. The Israelis and Palestinians have not engaged in peace negotiations with each other since 2014.

Source: France24, BBC News

6. Theresa May to detail Brexit plan Tuesday
British Prime Minister Theresa May will detail her plan for Brexit, the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, in a major speech Tuesday, urging her country to “unite to make a success and build a truly global Britain.” Her government has been under fire for delaying its debut of a specific Brexit process, with critics accusing May of “muddled thinking.” Meanwhile, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, the British analog to the U.S. treasury secretary, said the U.K. will “do whatever we have to do” to stay economically competitive following Brexit. “If we have no access to the European market, if we are closed off … we could suffer from economic damage at least in the short-term,” he said. “In this case, we could be forced to change our economic model.”

Source: CNN, BBC News

7. SpaceX successfully launches, lands rocket
Private space exploration project SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket Saturday, a triumph after a previous launch attempt in September abruptly ended with an explosion on the launch pad. SpaceX was also able to retrieve the rocket’s first stage booster intact using a drone ship, a reuse effort that makes space travel considerably more affordable. The rocket took 10 satellites into space and marks SpaceX’s seventh successful launch. The company plans to put another 60 satellites into orbit as part of its contract with Iridium, a satellite communications company. Later in 2017, SpaceX may begin testing a rocket that can carry larger loads as well as a manned spacecraft.

Source: CNN, The Atlantic

8. Protests shut down UC Davis speech by Breitbart‘s Milo Yiannopoulos
A crush of student protesters shut down a Friday evening event featuring controversial Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos and “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli at UC Davis before either man’s speech could begin. Chanting “Say it loud, say it clear, racists are not welcome here,” protesters blocked access to the venue until campus security officers informed the UC Davis College Republicans, who were hosting the talks, that the event could not continue with guaranteed safety for attendees. Yiannopoulos on Facebook Saturday disputed the university’s account, accusing the school of ignoring reports of protester violence.

Source: CNN, Milo Yiannopoulos

9. Ringling Bros. circus to close after 146 years
After 146 years of putting on “The Greatest Show on Earth,” Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will shut down in May. The decision was announced Saturday night on the circus website and cited a variety of factors including changing public tastes, high operating costs, declining ticket sales, and lengthy legal battles with animal rights activists. The circus retired its performing elephants last year in response to public and legal pressure only to see attendance plummet once the iconic show animals were gone. Ringling Bros.’ parent company, Feld Entertainment, says it will be able to transfer some circus employees to other shows it operates, like Disney on Ice.

Source: NPR, Chicago Tribune

10. American Apparel to close all its U.S. stores
American Apparel will close all 110 of its U.S. stores within 100 days, the company announced Saturday, after being purchased by Montreal-based Gildan Activewear in an $88 million deal that does not include the brick-and-mortar locations. Known for its risqué marketing and American-made products, the clothing retailer was once valued at $1 billion, but it has not turned a profit in seven years. Its store closures follow similar recent announcements from brands including Macy’s, The Limited, CVS, and Sears.

Source: Adweek, The A.V. Club

U.S. Politics

Newt Gingrich: Trump Should Use The CNN Confrontation As An Excuse To Break The Press

Fox News screenshot


Newt Gingrich, a prominent supporter of President-elect Donald Trump and a Fox News contributor, would like to shatter the influence of an “adversarial” press. And he thinks Trump’s press conference confrontation with CNN reporter Jim Acosta has given the incoming administration the opportunity to dramatically reshape White House press interactions to favor journalists who will treat the president-elect more favorably.

During Trump’s January 11 presser, he lashed out at CNN  and demanded the network apologize for a recent report on his alleged ties to Russia, and Acosta repeatedly called out, seeking to ask a question in response. Trump replied by calling CNN “terrible,” castigating Acosta for being “rude,” and declaring, “I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news!” Sean Spicer, who will serve as Trump’s White House press secretary,subsequently told Acosta that he would be removed if he continued to press for a question, and Spicer later demanded that the reporter apologize to the president-elect.

Team Trump’s efforts seem intended to both damage the credibility of CNN and cow other networks into shying away from similarly critical journalism — as Gingrich put it, to “shrink and isolate” the network. But the Fox News contributor wants the incoming administration to go even further and use the incident as an excuse to “close down the elite press.”

Gingrich laid out this strategy during an interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, one of the most pro-Trump venues available. He urged Spicer to learn “a couple of big lessons” from the incident. First and foremost, he suggested that Acosta be banned from reporting on Trump events for 60 days “as a signal, frankly, to all the other reporters that there are going to be real limits” for proper behavior.


But Gingrich’s recommendations went far beyond chastising Acosta. He urged Trump to stop prioritizing questions from major news outlets due to their tough coverage and confrontational attitude. Instead, he suggested that he “extend the privileges to reporters from out of town, folks that fly in from all over the country to be allowed to be at a briefing.” Those reporters, Gingrich suggested, would be “a lot more courteous” and “responsible” rather than being “adversarial.”

Gingrich went on to explain his theory of the press under the Trump administration. “You don’t have to think of The New York Times or CNN or any of these people as news organizations,” he explained. “They’re mostly propaganda organizations. And they’re going to be after Trump every single day of his presidency.”

“And he needs to understand that that’s the case, and so does Sean Spicer in speaking for him. And they simply need to go out there and understand they have it in their power to set the terms of this dialogue.” He added, “They can close down the elite press.”

Trump has already started to take steps like those Gingrich describes. During the 2016 campaign, he reportedly made a deal with the right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns television stations across the country, to provide more access to its stations in exchange for a promise from Sinclair to broadcast his interviews without commentary.

He took questions from sycophantic pro-Trump outlets Breitbart.com and One America News Network during this week’s press conference. Right Side Broadcasting Network, which has been described as “the unofficial version of Trump TV,” claims it will be in the White House press briefing room under the new president. Other right-wing outlets like Laura Ingraham’s LifeZette and Alex Jones’ conspiracy website Infowars could be next.

Alexey Kovalev, a Russian journalist who has covered Vladimir Putin’s annual press conferences, warned of the use of such tactics in a searing “message to my doomed colleagues in the American media” that he authored following Trump’s press conference.

“A mainstay of Putin’s press conferences is, of course, softball questions,” Kovalev wrote. These include both “hyperlocal issues that a president isn’t even supposed to be dealing with,” which nonetheless provide “a real opportunity for him to shine.” Putin also benefits from “people from publications that exist for no other reason than heaping fawning praise on him and attacking his enemies.”

“But there will also be one token critic who will be allowed to ask a ‘sharp’ question,” Kovalev added, “only to be drowned in a copious amount of bullshit, and the man on the stage will always be the winner (‘See? I respect the media and free speech’).”

Of course we are not there yet, but the precedent is unnerving. Gingrich wants nothing more than a cowed, broken press that exists solely to promote the Republican Party’s message. We’ll see soon enough how much of his advice Trump takes.

UPDATE: Gingrich is not alone in urging Trump to freeze out the press. Following Trump’s election, Hannity stated that “until members of the media come clean about colluding with the Clinton campaign and admit that they knowingly broke every ethical standard they are supposed to uphold, they should not have the privilege, they should not have the responsibility of covering the president on behalf of you, the American people.”

“In other words, the mainstream press should not be allowed to cover Trump,” New York University’s Jay Rosen wrote in response to Hannity’s comments. “A few years ago that was a bridge too far. Now it’s a plausible test of poisoned waters.” It looks like we’ll see more of those tests in the days to come.

U.S. Politics

Donald Trump is remarkably unpopular


He won. He’s taking office. But most people don’t like him.

Donald Trump defied the odds to win the 2016 US presidential election. When he announced his candidacy, virtually nobody thought he had a shot at securing the Republican Party nomination. Having done so, he consistently trailed Hillary Clinton in the polls right up to Election Day, leading to a reasonable widespread presumption that he was going to lose. While pre-election poll averages had Clinton beating Trump by 5 points nationally, she in fact beat him by just slightly over 2 points. That 3 percentage point polling error, while not especially large in statistical terms, was just enough to push Clinton from small leads in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania into razor-thin defeats.

This remarkable turn of events has breathed new life into the pernicious myth of “Teflon Trump,” the notion that the reality television star who is unquestionably a master of obtaining attention is also a master of political persuasion or confusion.

Ruth Marcus wrote a year ago that “Teflon Trump” is hard to attack, and endless think pieces have been churned out on the theme that Trump’s supporters “don’t care” about the various scandals and betrayals swirling around him. Others, like Dartmouth’s Brendan Nyhan, focus on Trump as a master of distraction who uses his frenetic pace of tweets to pull the wool over the American people’s eyes.

The reality is that none of this is true. Trump may be an enormously powerful individual, backed by narrow but cohesive Republican Party majorities in both the House and Senate. But he’s not a popular one.

Donald Trump is not popular

On January 10, Quinnipiac released the first big Donald Trump poll of 2017, and it showed that he retains some strengths as a politician. Most voters think he’s intelligent and that he’s a “strong person.” A plurality believe he has “good leadership skills.”

But his job approval rating is a dismal 37 percent, with 51 percent saying they disapprove of the job he’s doing. Rather than being an effective political tactic, Trump’s habit of frequently saying untrue things has led Americans to conclude by a 53-39 margin that he is not honest. Fifty-two percent say that Trump “does not care about average Americans,” and 62 percent say that he is “not level-headed.”

Even if you make allowances for the fact that polls may be modestly understating Trump’s support, as they appear to have on Election Day, these are dismal numbers.

By contrast, the same poll finds Barack Obama with a 55-39 job approval rating and says that only 34 percent of the public believes Trump will be a better president than Obama (45 percent pick Obama).

Not many pollsters have done Trump job approval ratings yet, since he’s not president yet. But that 55 percent job approval number for Obama is right in line with broad national averages, so it’s unlikely that Quinnipiac has a weird sample or an outlier result here.

Trump’s transition bump has been pathetic

On a call with journalists this morning, the Trump transition team professed to be unconcerned with the president-elect’s weak poll numbers.

“When I look at the polls, his approval ratings continue to go up,” said incoming press secretary Sean Spicer.

Trump’s favorable numbers did get a boost after he won the election, likely due to new respect from Republicans who were angry in the summer and fall that his antics seemed to be blowing a very winnable election for the GOP.

But Trump’s bounce has been sharply limited by his failure to take advantage of his honeymoon movement by doing any kind of meaningful outreach to reassure those alarmed by his victory. His numbers have plateaued at an underwater level that leave him as the least popular president-elect of all time.

Trump benefits from a united party and a divided opposition

People who find Trump’s antics to be bizarre and alarming and who wonder how the American people could possibly fall for them should not feel isolated and alone — many people enjoy the Trump Show, but most do not.

The reason he won the election isn’t that most people thought he’d be a good president — it’s that many people who didn’t think he’d be a good president voted for him anyway. Trump won a landslide 47-30 margin among voters who said they had an unfavorable view of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. He won less than 50 percent of the vote in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, and Utah even while obtaining 101 electoral votes from those seven states.

Since Democrats lost the election, they have spent the past two months embroiled in inevitable post-defeat recriminations. By contrast, Republicans have been shifting to close ranks around Trump. During the campaign, about a dozen Republican Party senators indicated that they would not vote for him. One might think that US senators who deemed Trump too dishonest, unstable, unethical, and possibly corrupt to vote for would, after his victory, insist on rigorous congressional oversight of his business dealings and his appointees. But one would be mistaken.

While Trump has received some pushback from Capitol Hill on this or that, by and large the Republican senators who opposed him are currently trying to implement a strategy of “forgive and forget,” thinking that if they agree to ignore his financial conflicts of interest, he will sign the laws they pass, and all will end happily ever after. This implicit bargain may be wise or it may be foolish, and it certainly empowers Trump. But that’s not the same as making him popular.

Trump is on very thin ice

The United States isn’t a plebiscitary democracy.

Donald Trump has four years in office, during which he can wield the impressive powers of the presidency whether people like him or not. The 2018 Senate map is favorable to the GOP, and the way district boundaries have been drawn ensures that House Republicans can retain a majority even if most people vote for their opponent. Trump himself showed in 2016 that he is capable of winning elections without getting more votes than his opponent and without being popular. All of which is to say that Trump’s unpopularity has somewhat limited relevance. To the extent that the GOP continues to hang together, it will have enormous capacity to govern.

But Republicans are operating in risky territory. Trump is unpopular in a way that is without precedent for a new president. Polls show that the public is genuinely concerned about Trump’s financial conflicts of interest and the lack of disclosure of his personal finances.

Trump could have — but did not — choose to use his transition period to address the public’s concerns about those issues or try to put to rest the public’s very serious doubts about his temperament. That leaves both Trump and his co-partisans in Congress essentially hostage to events. The first time anything goes wrong, Trump will be facing a public that’s primed to believe the president is ill-tempered, dishonest, unqualified, and already doing a bad job — and he has no media magic that can help him cover that up.

U.S. Politics

Obama on presidency: ‘Anything you say can move markets or start wars’


“You have to be careful because anything you say can move markets or start wars,” President Barack Obama said. | Getty


President Barack Obama warned against the dangers that lie in the power of the presidency during a wide-ranging TV interview Friday.

In a thinly veiled comment aimed at the incoming administration, Obama told NBC’s Lester Holt that, “You have to be careful because anything you say can move markets or start wars.”

The outgoing president also discussed at length the various highs and lows of his presidency, naming the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as his lowest point in office.

“My worst day as president was hearing that 20 six-year-olds had been shot in the most brutal way,” he said.

The president also spoke of the challenges of lifting up his party while in office.

“I had trouble transferring my personal popularity or support to the broader cause of the Democratic Party,” he said. “And I think that’s a legitimate criticism.

Obama, the first African-American president, also elaborated on how his journey didn’t spell the end of racial challenges facing the country.

“I think any talk of the post-racial America before my election was never realistic,” he said. “I think that talk was not only naive but it created some problems down the road.”

Obama, however, said he remained optimistic about the changes he made while in office, and that even though the country was seemingly moving in an opposing direction, “his spirit was unchanged.”

“You get the baton and hopefully you’ve either advanced a lead or closed the gap when you pass the baton to the next person,” he said.

U.S. Politics

Trump’s grammar in speeches ‘just below 6th grade level,’ study finds

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in St. Louis earlier this month. (Seth Perlman/AP)


Eloquence is a trait valued by debate team coaches but not necessarily needed for the White House. Though their supporters will always defend them, George Washington and George W. Bush are just two of many presidents considered poor public speakers — and there have been many commanders in chief in the two centuries between them who were not necessarily golden-tongued.

Now, an academic paper has put some presidents and political candidates’ language on trial. “A Readability Analysis of Campaign Speeches From the 2016 US Presidential Campaign,” released this week by Carnegie Mellon University, analyzed stump speeches to measure their “readability” — the reading level of an address, ranked from first grade to 12th grade. And, according to a summary from the university, the study found “most candidates using words and grammar typical of students in grades 6-8, though Donald Trump tends to lag behind the others.”

The story was more complicated than “Donald Trump can’t talk good,” however. First, the researchers needed a way to measure readability.

“It is based on the observation that some words (and grammatical structures) appear with greater frequency at one grade level than another,” Maxine Eskenazi, a scientist in the university’s Language Technologies Institute, and Elliot Schumacher, a graduate student, wrote. “For example, we would expect that we could see the word ‘win’ fairly frequently in third grade documents while the word ‘successful’ would be more frequent in, say, seventh grade documents. We would not see dependent clauses very often at the second grade level whereas they would be quite frequent at the seventh grade level.”

Then, they needed some speeches to analyze.

“A database was collected containing documents from each of the [then] five current presidential candidates: Ted Cruz (5), Hillary Clinton (7), Marco Rubio (6), Bernie Sanders (6), Donald Trump (8),” the paper read. “… They range from the declaration of candidacy speech to campaign trail speeches to victory speeches to defeat speeches.” What about a historical comparison? “We also analyzed the readability of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address … and a speech from Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan,” the researchers wrote.

The results showed that the level of our political discourse had deteriorated — partly because of Trump.

“Speeches by past presidents while on campaign and the Gettysburg Address were at least at the eighth grade level,” the paper read. “The candidates’ speeches mostly went from seventh grade level for Donald Trump to tenth grade level for Bernie Sanders.”

The researchers also tried to measure “the degree to which the candidate changes their choice of words from one speech to another.” The result appeared to confirm the perception of Hillary Clinton as a chameleon.

“[Change] could reflect an effort to take into account the different audiences or circumstances (winning or concession speech in a state, for example),” they wrote. “We can see that Hilary Clinton has the highest standard deviation and so the biggest change of choice of words from one speech to another, while Ted Cruz varies the least in his choices.”

Up next was a look at politicians’ grammar.

“We see that George W. Bush had the lowest level and Abraham Lincoln the highest,” the paper read. “Amongst the candidates, levels are between sixth and seventh grades except for Donald Trump (grade 5.7).”

A summary of the study put this result in another light. The linguistic top of the pops, it turned out, was the Gettysburg Address — which came from the pen of a man with little formal schooling.

“In terms of grammar, none of the presidents and presidential candidates could compare with Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address — an admittedly high standard, with grammar well above the 10th grade level,” the summary read. “The current candidates generally had scores between 6th and 7th grades, with Trump just below 6th grade level. President Bush scored at a 5th grade level.”

The researchers, who used a measure of readability meant to account for differences between written and spoken language, noted that evaluating public speakers is not easy.

“Assessing the readability of campaign speeches is a little tricky because most measures are geared to the written word, yet text is very different from the spoken word,” Eskenazi said in a statement. “When we speak, we usually use less structured language with shorter sentences.”

Trump, for one, seems to intuit that many of his supporters are not grammarians.

“I love the poorly educated!” he said last month.

Justin Wm. Moyer

U.S. Politics

Sunday Talk: Pwned


attribution: Monty Python


Absent an act of God, at 12:01 pm on Friday, January 20th, @realDonaldTrump will (simultaneously) be sworn in as our nation’s president and violate the Constitution.

As Americans brace themselves for the “soft sensuality” of Trump’s inauguration and presidency, more and more details about how we got ourselves into this precarioussituation have come to light—each more disturbing than the last.

If even half of the allegations found in the (classified?) dossier assembled by a formerBritish spy turn out to be true, it would mean that, not only did Vladimir Putin helpTrump get elected, he’s now got Trump by the balls, so to speak.

Nothing Trump said or did this week, nor anything we previously knew about him, gives much reason to doubt the allegationsquite the opposite, in fact.

At this point, I suppose that our best bet is to hope and/or pray that the press finally does its job and exposes Trump as the clear and present danger to our way of life that he is—I mean, the FBI sure as hell isn’t going to to do it.

Bottom line: We are so fucked.


Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).

Face The Nation: Vice President-Elect Mike Pence; Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV); David Ignatius (Washington Post); Roundtable: John Heilemann (Bloomberg Politics), Ruth Marcus (Washington Post), Ben Domenech (The Federalist) & Ed O’Keefe (Washington Post).

This Week: Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT); Former Obama Chief Ethics Lawyer Norman Eisen & Former Bush Chief Ethics Lawyer Richard Painter; Roundtable: Democratic Pollster Cornell Belcher, Republican Strategist Sara Fagen, Jonathan Karl (ABC News), Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard) & Katrina vanden Heuvel (The Nation).

Fox News Sunday: Vice President-Elect Mike Pence; CIA Director John Brennan; Roundtable: Gerald F. Seib (Wall Street Journal), Former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA); Republican Strategist Lisa Boothe & Bob Woodward (Washington Post).

State of the Union: Outgoing White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough; Roundtable: Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Marc Morial (National Urban League), Former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner (D) & Spokesman for Jeff Sessions Sarah Isgur Flores.

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: an interview with President Obama and a look back at his eight years in the White House (preview).

Late night shows:

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Monday: Actress Sarah Paulson; Actor Corey Stoll; Musical Artist Nick Grant feat. Watch the Duck.

Tuesday: Comedian Billy Eichner; Singer Mel B; Comedian Gilbert Gottfried.

Wednesday: Guests TBA.

Thursday: Guests TBA.

Friday: Guests TBA.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Monday: David Fahrenthold (Washington Post), Actor Bryshere GrayTuesday: Co-Founder of Lyft John ZimmerWednesday: US Ambasador to the UN Samantha PowerThursday: Journalist Scott Conroy, Actor James McAvoyFriday: Joy Ann Reid (MSNBC).


Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) equated Mexican entertainers with Russian hackers.

A Texas lawmaker on the House intelligence committee says it wasn’t just the Russians who interfered in last year’s election.

Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, is comparing the use of Mexican entertainers to energize Democratic voters to the email hacking that officials say was orchestrated by Vladimir Putin’s government.

“Harry Reid and the Democrats brought in Mexican soap opera stars, singers and entertainers who had immense influence in those communities into Las Vegas, to entertain, get out the vote and so forth,” Conaway told The Dallas Morning News this week. “Those are foreign actors, foreign people, influencing the vote in Nevada. You don’t hear the Democrats screaming and saying one word about that.”

Asked whether he considers that on par with Russian cyber-intrusions that aimed to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Conaway said: “Sure it is, it’s foreign influence. If we’re worried about foreign influence, let’s have the whole story.”

And, to bring this post back full circle…

An applicant to be Trump’s White House Press Secretary reportedly suggested pee-testing the press corps.

One proposal on dealing with the media that was pitched to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team calls for drug testing the White House press corps.

The pee-in-a-cup proposal (yellow journalism indeed) was one of 13 ideas one candidate for White House press secretary wrote in November in a confidential memo to members of the Presidential Transition Team’s Executive Committee.

“Journalists who are at the White House more than one day per week should be subject to drug screenings to occur no more than twice a year at random times,” the memo states. “Refusal to comply should exclude them from credentialing entirely.”

The Trump administration, the candidate wrote, “should clear a path to communicate more directly with the people and end White House press practices that serve no useful purpose other than feeding the beast.”

Yellow journalism, indeed.

– Trix