THE PUBLIC EYE:Trump’s Search for a Big Win

Bob Burnett
Friday September 13, 2019 - 03:17:00 PM

After a disastrous August, Donald Trump staggered into September. To some observers, Trump appeared to exhibit symptoms of a nervous breakdown; for example, spending a week defending his claim that Hurricane Dorian had threatened Alabama. He's cracking under pressure. Trump knows he is in political trouble. He's desperately searching for a big win.

On September 7, Trump called off a secret Camp David meeting with Taliban leaders, where he planned to sign an Afghanistan "peace agreement." This was Trump's ill-considered attempt at a big win.

In the 100 plus days between now and the end of the year, there are eight areas where Trump will search for political capital: the economy, foreign policy, gun control, government funding, healthcare/drug policy, impeachment, national security, and trade.

Impeachment: On September 12, House Democrats launchd a formal impeachment inquiry. Trump will not be able to make the multiple inquiries go away -- there's no big win for him with this situation. Instead, Trump will be subjected to more pressure, which will feed his desperate search for political capital. -more-


Jack Bragen
Friday September 13, 2019 - 03:14:00 PM

If mentally ill and working, taking a sick day when not feeling well could be appropriate, or it could be the beginning of the end.

In general, the expectations of most employers are that mental or psychological reasons for taking a sick day are not valid reasons. This is disablist. It does not acknowledge that if you are mentally ill, you might not be up for work on occasion. Mental illnesses in the minds of most employers are not really being sick. They believe that the employee is making excuses to get out of work. However, a flareup of mental illness is just as real and just as valid as influenza.

On the other hand, sometimes taking a sick day can lead to a breach of the basic discipline that allows us to show up for work. If we already have emotional difficulty showing up for a job, taking a sick day could lead to more sick days, and more. Taking a sick day, if work is challenging, might weaken the resolve to hang in there at one's job.

When I was a high school sophomore, I had a habit of taking one day off most weeks, toward the end of that year. I'd ask my mother to write a note, and she would do it. I'd already had a brother who'd been violently attacked by other students. He'd had to quit high school because of that.

High school is a completely different thing than the work world, however. Companies need to be able to rely on employees showing up--or they will be unable to function in business. They may be forced to efficiently eliminate those who can't be there on a daily basis. I've had jobs in which I had no sick days for six months to a year. This suited employers just fine. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday September 13, 2019 - 03:19:00 PM

Donald Trump has been called many things: The Orange Menace, The Grinch, The Lyin' King, The Reprimander-in-chief. But a recent New York Times article—on DJ's plan to end federal oversight of two mortgage behemoths—found a new and simpler moniker for the Oval Office resident.

In the September 8, 2019 edition of the S.F. Chronicle, the article's first sentence read: "The Trump has unveiled a long-awaited plan to end federal control of two mortgage giants." [Emphasis added.]

The online version of the story has been corrected to read: "The Trump administration has unveiled…."

Bye-Bye Bolton

National Security Advisor and warhawk extraordinaire John Bolton has been jettisoned by D. Trump. After praising Bolton for years—telling friends Bolton was “a killer” during his appearances on Fox News—Trump has given Bolton the boot. One contributing problem (shared by many and cited by several news organs, including TIME Magazine) "the president has voiced some unhappiness about Bolton’s trademark mustache."

NPR's report on Bolton's firing mentioned the president's reservations over Bolton's mustache. A New York Times article confirmed that Trump was reluctant to hire Bolton: "[O]fficials said Mr. Trump has hesitated, in part because of his negative reaction to Mr. Bolton’s walrus-style mustache." -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Gerrymandering after Rucho v. Common Cause

Ralph E. Stone
Friday September 13, 2019 - 04:35:00 PM

Gerrymandering is manipulating the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruled in Rucho v. Common Cause that federal courts cannot determine whether election maps are too partisan or gerrymandered. In other words, the Supreme Court ruled that the question is non justiciable by the federal courts.

This decision has raised the stakes for the 2020 election, leaving room for both parties to draw gerrymandered district lines with little fear of a federal court challenge gerrymandering. For example, In a major blow to Republicans who control the state legislature, a North Carolina State Court panel threw out North Carolina’s state legislative maps as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and ordered lawmakers to draw up new ones in two weeks. This North Carolina decision could serve as a blueprint for legal challenges in other states.

Otherwise it will be up to the individual states to create independent election commissions that use nonpartisan means to draw House districts. -more-