I got several notes saying thank you for getting the open thread thing going again…but you have all been pretty quiet lately. So, what would you like to share today?

 

Two Indian nationals working in the US plus an American were shot in a bar in Olathe Kansas. One of the Indians was killed.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla died shortly after Wednesday’s attack at a bar in Olathe, Kansas. His friend Alok Madasani, also from India, and an American were hurt.

The killing dominated news bulletins in India and social media, where some blamed Donald Trump’s presidency.

The FBI is investigating and at some point may declare this a hate crime. How they can not come to that conclusion eludes me given the statement purported to have come from the accused shooter:

The FBI is now investigating possible motives for the crime at Austins Bar and Grill, with race among them. Witnesses said that just before opening fire the gunman shouted: “Get out of my country.”

So what is the White House response?

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that any loss of life was tragic but that it would be absurd to link events to Mr. Trump’s rhetoric.

Mr. Spicer is an expert on potential terrorism now? I think it would be absurd to not link events like this to Mr. Trump’s rhetoric. And I think it is absurd to make such a comment until the final determination from the FBI.

And I think it’s absurd that this is the totality of the White House response, when the president has taken every opportunity he can find to use Twitter to attack his supposed enemies…but can’t take a moment to denounce incidents like this. There should have been an instantaneous comment from the White House denouncing exactly this type of violence and clearly labelling it a terrorist act.

As a side note, Sean Spicer called the president Mr. Trump?

And a final thought:

Mr Kuchibhotla’s wife, Sunayana Dumala, described her husband as a “loveable soul”.

Speaking at a news conference, she described the US as “the country that he loved so much” and called the shooting a “hate crime”.

Yeah me too…and so does the president apparently. But he says he hasn’t been able to find any:

President Donald Trump claimed Thursday that he cannot find a country with which the United States has a trade surplus.

“The deals we have with other countries are unbelievably bad. We don’t have any good deals,” Trump told a group of business executives at the White House. “In fact, I’m trying to find a country where we actually have a surplus of trade as opposed to a deficit. Everything’s a deficit.”

“I actually said to my people, find a country where we actually do well,” he said. “So far, we haven’t found that country. It’s just losses with everybody and we’re going to turn that around.”

Well apparently he hasn’t heard of Google or bothered to ask any of his cabinet secretaries who actually deal with trade, cause:

The U.S., in fact, has a merchandise trade surplus with more than half of the countries in the world, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission. A trade surplus means America exports more goods to a country than it imports from it.

So I guess my next questions: Are we dealing unfairly with those countries? Should we apply border taxes on exports to those countries to equalize our trade with them? And why aren’t they pissed at the US?

Click through to the article to see the chart on the countries where we have the top deficits and top surpluses!

 

During his speech at CPAC this week, President Donald Trump once again trotted out his attack on the media. And one of his newest points about the “fake news” was the fairly common practice of using unnamed sources. Now of course serious media outlets have procedures in place to insure that they are publishing facts when they need to rely on quoting unnamed sources. And of course we can all understand why some people may not want to be named when talking with a journalist. But here is what the president said:

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name,” he opined. “Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out.”

But then there’s this:

Meanwhile, Trump’s White House has tried to use anonymity to push back against critical coverage, even as the president condemns the use of anonymity in critical coverage.

The White House responded to the CNN report Friday in a background briefing, meaning that reporters could only attribute information to “senior intelligence officials.”

And that was the result of this little peccadillo:

The officials claimed that [FBI deputy director Andrew] McCabe had told [White House chief of staff Reince] Priebus the Times story was “bullshit,” and the chief of staff asked about how the agency could push back. McCabe told Priebus the FBI couldn’t comment on the ongoing investigation, and Priebus asked if the agency could cite “‘senior intelligence officials’ as saying there’s nothing to the NYT story,” according to officials who spoke at the briefing Friday. FBI director James Comey told Priebus they couldn’t do that.

So unnamed sources are good when you need them…but not when you don’t:

Four days after Priebus suggested the FBI push back on the Times story using anonymous sources ― that is, “senior intelligence officials” ― he criticized the news media for relying on anonymous sources.

“I think that the media should stop with this unnamed source stuff, put names on a piece of paper and print it,” Priebus said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “If people aren’t willing to put their name next to a quote, then the quote shouldn’t be listed, period.”

In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Priebus griped that mainstream news outlets were acting like “Washington daily gossip magazines” because of their reliance on anonymous sources.

Interesting dichotomy, wouldn’t you say? And then there is this little item from the story I used in an earlier post about the meeting between the president and the manufacturing CEOS:

(Reporters were permitted to attend the meetings on the condition of not quoting individual executives by name.)

Anonymous or unnamed sources aren’t going to go away. They serve a useful purpose for both the media and the sources. So if the Trump regime is going to rely on their use to get their story out there, they need to quiet down about unnamed sources when they don’t like the news.

President Donald Trump met with two dozen CEOs of American manufacturing companies earlier this week. The topics were supposed to include restoring factory jobs that have been lost to foreign competition (let’s ignore the fact that most of those manufacturer’s are doing their manufacturing overseas). But they probably surprised him by saying that there were plenty of jobs but Americans don’t have the skill sets to do them. And I say he would be surprised because job training hasn’t been a topic of conversation during the campaign…he simply said he’d bring the jobs back!

Yet some of the CEOs suggested that there were still plenty of openings for U.S. factory jobs but too few qualified people to fill them. They urged the White House to support vocational training for the high-tech skills that today’s manufacturers increasingly require – a topic Trump has seldom addressed.

“The jobs are there, but the skills are not,” one executive said during meetings with White House officials that preceded a session with the president.

The discussion of job training and worker skills is a relatively new one for Trump, who campaigned for the White House on promises to restore manufacturing jobs that he said had been lost to flawed trade deals and unfair competition from countries like Mexico and China.

Again and again, Trump brought up that theme in his meeting with the CEOs.

“Everything is going to be based on bringing our jobs back,” Trump said. “The good jobs, the real jobs.
They’ve left.

So it sounds like the good jobs are the ones that are still here…the ones going unfilled…the ones Americans aren’t trained for.

I remember seeing a clip just after the election of a coal miner in West Virginia who was excited that President Trump was elected…and he would be getting his mining job back…and that he didn’t need training. Well, he’s going to be in for a big surprise too. The job isn’t coming back and training is what he and his peers need for the real jobs that are out there. But:

One executive said in discussions with White House officials that his company has 50 participants in a factory apprenticeship program, but could take 500 if enough were qualified. But he said that in his experience, most students coming out of high school lack the math and English skills to absorb technical manuals.

Government figures show there are 324,000 open factory jobs nationwide – triple the number in 2009, during the depths of the recession.

So education is a better answer than “I’m bringing the jobs back!”

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Nothing too serious tonight…and I don’t know if Fox got this headline wrong or my newsfeed…but I had to chuckle:

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Not for the faint of heart:

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By now all of us have had a chance to digest the eddy of controversy surrounding President Trump and is misspoken attribution to terrorist violence in Sweden. He now claims he was referring to a documentary feature on Fox News and not an actual event from the previous evening. From ABC News:

President Trump was speaking “in general,” not about a specific incident when he referred to “what’s happening last night in Sweden” at a campaign-style event, a White House spokeswoman said today.

The specific reference was to a report he had seen the night before, but he was talking about “rising crime and recent incidents, in general,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

The president tweeted that his remark was “in reference to a story that was broadcast on Fox News.”

So he was relating a story that he saw on Fox News. So my three thoughts?

1) it is extremely disturbing that a man who has to perform the most demanding job in the free world…who is expected to be articulate and precise in his speech in order to be clearly understood by the entire world…couldn’t even clearly declare what he saw or what he meant? That is truly scary.

2) since his original misstatement, just like many other incidents with low impact on the presidency or government or politics, the president again just can’t let it go. He keeps doubling down in defense of his statement and makes his spokes people defend his position. If he hasn’t learned yet to let minor things go…how is he ever going to succeed in actually running the government or negotiating with friends and foes to make America great again. In the shade he casts, making anything great again seems like a stretch.

3) and here’s a truly scary thing. After continually deriding the media as fake news and demanding the press only report on things supportive of the Trump regime…without confirmation…without vetting…without consulting with the myriad of policy and intelligence experts at his disposal…he runs out a piece of unknown reliability from the media. WTF?

So we can now add Sweden to the list of friends and allies that President Trump has managed to piss off in his first four weeks.

Who would believe this? Sweden.

Happy Presidents Day, courtesy of The Daily Show.

Yesterday I endorsed incumbent Tony Evers for the Superintendent of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. He is a true friend of public schools and will be an effective counter balance to President Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos.

But two of his opponents, despite actually being educators, continue to prove themselves unqualified to run DPI, and they are proving themselves to be unqualified for public service of any kind (heaven forbid they even continue in education going forward).

Back in December 2016, candidates John Humphries and Lowell Holtz, concocted a scheme where one candidate would exit the race in exchange for a six figure job in the DPI and a fair amount of authority. Of course that didn’t pan out and I can’t imagine why not…but now their stories are simply divergent, the timelines and explanations are at odds, and they have both devolved to accusing the other to be a liar!

Two state superintendent candidates publicly called each other liars on Friday — days before the two are set to face each other in a three-way primary with incumbent Tony Evers.

At the news conference, candidate John Humphries called opponent Lowell Holtz “a liar” who is falsely blaming unnamed business leaders for Holtz’s proposal for one of them to get out of the race in exchange for a six-figure, taxpayer-funded job should the other win.

Holtz fired back, calling the Friday event a “three-ring circus” orchestrated by Humphries.

Humphries on Friday provided reporters with emails and a timeline that he said shows Holtz is lying about who came up with a December proposal under which one of the two men would exit the race in exchange for a job with the Department of Public Instruction that would pay $150,000 per year and come with full benefits and a driver should the other win.

The job offer also would have put one of them in charge of potentially five of the state’s largest school districts and give him powers that do not currently exist in state law to take over districts and school boards.

“It’s unfortunate to see Dr. Holtz continue to misrepresent who he is and how he operates,” Humphries said. “If Holtz has any documentation to substantiate his claim that his proposal was, in fact, provided to him by business leaders, he should provide that. Otherwise, the preponderance of the evidence would clearly suggest that, once again, Holtz is lying.”

But Holtz shot back after the press conference, saying Humphries “is focused more on the politics of personal destruction” than on improving education.

Neither one of these guys should be allowed anywhere near a classroom much less put in charge of Wisconsin education and our hard earned tax dollars…I haven’t seen such nonsense since the Republican presidential debates!

So vote tomorrow for Tony Evers for Superintendent of DPI!