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BeyondGeography's Journal
BeyondGeography's Journal
April 22, 2019

Charles Blow on impeachment: I'm tired of all the fear and trepidation

...I find the conflation of Clinton and Trump ill-reasoned on the issue of the public’s response in polling.

First, Clinton’s approval was subject to change in a way Trump’s is not. Clinton experienced a 40-point swing in his approval over his presidency, according to Gallup. Trump’s seems almost impervious to change, no matter the news.

People either love Trump or hate him. Impeachment will most likely not change that any more than Trump seeing fine people among Nazis or locking children in cages.

Furthermore, Clinton jumped 10 points, from 63 percent 73 percent, just after the House voted to impeach him. But, five month later, those gains had vanished and then some. His approval rating sank to 53 percent.

I’m tired of all the fear and trepidation.

...House Democrats, at least the leadership, are afraid of looking like they have a blood lust and inadvertently increasing Trump’s chances of re-election.

Folks, this is not the 1990s. Until 1996, CNN was the only cable news network. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist. Google wasn’t founded until 1998. Cellphones were in their infancy, and few people had them.

Furthermore, the massive — and growing — amount of campaign spending will drown out anything that happened months prior.

In 1996, Clinton raised $42 million for his re-election bid; in 2012, Obama raised a billion for his.

And finally, there was no President Trump in the 1990s producing a head-scratching number of headlines each day. Trump can’t ride a victory nor will he be crestfallen in defeat. There would likely be untold new outrages even after an impeachment.

As for me, I’m afraid of lawlessness and the horrible precedent it would set if Congress does nothing.

More at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/21/opinion/impeach-donald-trump.html
April 19, 2019

Warren: A constitutional duty to start impeachment proceedings


”The Mueller report lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump and Donald Trump welcomed that help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack.

Mueller put the next step in the hands of Congress: “Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.” The correct process for exercising that authority is impeachment.

To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways.

The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”
April 18, 2019

However you feel about Charlie Sykes

He’s making a whole lot of sense on Tweety tonight.

Strong advocate for the initiation of impeachment proceedings.

The criminal justice system can not hold a President accountable. That’s Congress’ job.

April 18, 2019

At least 29 killed on tourist bus in Madeira

Source: The Guardian

At least twenty-nine people, mostly German tourists, have died and a further 28 have been injured after a tourist bus overturned on the Portuguese island of Madeira, local media have reported.

A battered white bus on its side surrounded by firefighters could be seen in photos published by Portuguese media, while SIC Television said there were 19 ambulances at the scene following the accident, which occurred around 5.30pm GMT.

Filipe Sousa, the mayor of Caniço – a coastal town in the south of the island, which lies about 600 miles south-west of mainland Portugal – told SIC: “I have no words to describe what happened. I cannot face the suffering of these people.” Sousa added that the victims included 17 women and 11 men.

The coach was reportedly carrying 55 passengers when it veered off a road on a bend east of the capital, Funchal, before rolling down a steep hillside, Sousa said. The Portuguese guide and driver reportedly survived the accident, and they along with the other wounded people were taken to hospital in Funchal.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/17/portugal-madeira-bus-crash

April 16, 2019

Allocution d'Emmanuel Macron apres l'incendie de Notre-Dame de Paris

Emouvant. Macron s’est né pour ce moment.

April 15, 2019

The Guardian: At a moment like this, how foolish it seems to pretend that we are not all Europeans

A stirring, heartfelt editorial on the Notre Dame fire:

It feels as though the very heart of France and the soul of Europe have been suddenly and viciously ripped out. The fire that coursed through large sections of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday evening was an act of blind and terrible destruction that causes a great stab of emotional pain to us all.

In a frighteningly short time, it gutted and humbled one of the great buildings of Paris, in an act of annihilation of one of the emblematic places of Europe that had survived the brutality of the French revolution and the world wars of the 20th century.

...Yet the cathedral belongs to us all, too. Notre Dame is intimately connected with the history of England, Scotland and Britain. Henry VI was crowned king of France here. Francois I married Mary Stuart, later Mary, Queen of Scots, in it. Charles I, England’s most reprehensible king, was married in this building, too.

But the cathedral is not simply in our history, but in our hearts. It is part of our shared artistic patrimony. It belongs to European civilisation, of which this supremely important medieval building has long been such a peerless artistic embodiment, in the greatness of its carvings, its paintings, its music and its collections.

...The cruelty of this event to this greatest of European cities is almost beyond rational response. France in 2019 is a badly divided nation. Paris has been the theatre of some of the most vicious acts of terrorist violence of modern times. It is much too early to say what might have caused the conflagration on the Île de la Cité. It would be imprudent to speculate before the facts are known.

But those of us in Britain know, from the impact of what happened in the very different circumstances of the fire in Grenfell Tower in London two years ago, that such events can come to be seen as something more significant even than a terrible and tragic night of destruction and loss.

Notre Dame will rise again. Paris will survive this as it has survived so much else. France will come together, too. But there is no dismissing the traumatic impact of what has happened to French life in Paris in Easter week 2019. A blow has been unleashed to the confidence of a city, a nation, a culture and a continent.

The cathedral will rise again in time. This terrible fire is not an event that should be trivialised or banalised. Yet, at a moment like this, how foolish it seems to pretend that we are not all Europeans. We stand with France in its hour of heartbreak. We will never, ever, turn away.

April 15, 2019

French firefighter official: Notre Dame's structure has been saved from total destruction

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is being quoted on France 24 as saying this too:


A major fire has broken out at the medieval Notre Dame cathedral in central Paris.

A French firefighter official has said that the structure of Notre Dame has been saved from total destruction but that one firefighter has been seriously injured.

The spire of the cathedral collapsed on Monday afternoon and authorities have begun examining the cause of blaze. Renovations were undeway at Notre Dame de Paris [Our Lady of Paris], with some sections under scaffolding.

Distraught Parisians and stunned tourists gazed in disbelief as the inferno raged. Thousands of onlookers lined bridges over the River Seine and along its embankments, held at a distance by a police cordon.

“Basically the whole rooftop is gone. I see no hope for the building,” said witness Jacek Poltorak, watching the fire from a fifth-floor balcony two blocks from the southern facade of the cathedral, one of France’s most visited sites.

CNBC reporting it as well: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/15/paris-notre-dame-cathedral-on-fire-reuters.html

Notre Dame towers declared safe from fire

11:05 p.m.

A French official and the Paris fire chief say they think Notre Dame Cathedral's landmark rectangular towers have been saved from the fire that caused horrific damage.

Junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said late Monday that authorities remain "prudent" but are "much more optimistic" than earlier in the night.

Read more here: https://www.idahostatesman.com/entertainment/article229285804.html#storylink=cpy
April 14, 2019

People in their 70s can struggle with new tasks, research shows

For people in their mid-70s such as myself, the 2020 presidential campaign is an oddly personal experience. Among the front-runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations are two men our age (Joe Biden, 76, and Bernie Sanders, 77) and another just a few years behind us: Donald Trump, 72, the oldest man ever elected president. If Trump had lost in 2016, Hillary Clinton, at 69, would have been the second-oldest person ever elected.

Is this okay? Can politicians our age be effective presidents?

...Studies of old people conclude that between 16 percent and 23 percent of Americans over 65 experience some form of cognitive impairment. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that these subjects performed worse than others on tasks involving working memory — the ability to remember information while manipulating it, as when calculating the tip on a restaurant bill — and that they’re more impaired when those tasks become more complex. Older adults also have difficulties with tasks that require dividing or switching attention, like cooking while chatting on the phone. On tests of reasoning, memory and cognitive speed, the average scores for adults in their early 70s were near the 20th percentile of the population, whereas the average performance for adults in their early 20s was near the 75th percentile. A Mayo Clinic study of 161 cognitively normal adults between 62 and 100 years of age showed that declines in learning ability closely track the passage of time. “Research has shown that concept formation, abstraction, and mental flexibility decline with age, especially after age 70, as older adults tend to think more concretely than younger adults,” according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who surveyed several studies. I would hope that impaired executive functioning is not the sort of torture Americans want their president to suffer.

...Any given human could function at a high level well into his or her dotage. But these are outliers. The overwhelming majority decline. This happens to different people at different ages, but scientists have established that decline accelerates with advancing age: In a study by the University of Virginia, adults between the ages of 61 and 96 showed a decrease in cognitive speed twice as great as adults under age 60, and a drop-off in memory four times as great. Memory loss causes “slowed processing speed, reduced ability to ignore irrelevant information, and decreased use of strategies to improve learning and memory,” according to the University of Alabama’s meta-study.

More at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2019/04/09/feature/research-says-septuagenarians-struggle-with-new-tasks-thats-bad-news-for-several-2020-candidates/
April 5, 2019

Warren hits it out of the park

Over three days a steady stream of presidential candidates — including Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and Sens. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) — have appeared at the convention of the National Action Network, headed by Rev. Al Sharpton, to make their case. It was obvious the candidates had been advised to come with proposals that would interest African Americans.

...And then there was Warren, who was greeted as a rock star and supercharged the audience. As those who care about policy know, she’s got a bucketful of proposals — on Big Tech, on taxes, on housing, on ethics and more. On Friday, however, she did something smart, namely focus largely on one topic with depth, data and personal biography.

Her topic was affordable child care. The issue affects African Americans on both ends: Its lack of availability affects black parents disproportionately, and child-care workers, horribly underpaid, are disproportionately nonwhite. Warren made child care personal, telling of her own struggles and the times her education and career were nearly derailed.

She shared how, in desperation and in fear of having to quit teaching for lack of child care, she called her Aunt Bee and began to sob. “Then Aunt Bee said 11 words that changed my life forever. ‘I can’t get there tomorrow, but I can come on Thursday,‘” she said to warm applause and knowing laughter. “Two days later, she arrived at the airport with seven suitcases and a Pekingese named Buddy — and she stayed for 16 years.”

She added, “Now, if every working mom in the country had an Aunt Bee, we’d all be good. But that’s not the case. I know how lucky I was to have Aunt Bee save the day. But think about all the moms in America who don’t have an Aunt Bee.”

And with that she had the audience in the palm of her hand. She spelled out her comprehensive plan (expanding the existing health-care system, increasing the pay of child-care workers), paid for with money to spare by a wealth tax (2 percent on net worth over $50 million).

More at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/04/05/warren-hits-it-out-park/?utm_term=.c78e74996adc

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