The Mitt hits the fan
Getting a lot of Twitter attention on New Year’s Day, a Washington Post op-ed by Utah’s incoming senator, Mitt Romney, who writes, The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump’s character falls short (147,000+ shares). “The Mitt hits the fan,” as Kyle Smith puts it, while Michael Hiltzik offers a “Shorter Mitt: Trump has given us Republicans 100% of what we wanted from the Republican President. But he's such a creepazoid.”
Joan Walsh points out, “Romney sought and welcomed Trump's endorsement, when running for Senate this year, and for president in 2016. This is pathetic. Sorry.” However, says Clara Jeffery, “Dunno if I believe it but the Mitt keeping quiet during midterms so he could act as perpetual burr/brake on Trump would be something.” Josh Marshall isn’t buying it: “please, folks. this is a pretty big meh and pretty much what mitt has been saying for two years. ‘Tut tut, i reserve the right to tut in the future. we’ll see what happens.’” Many seem to agree with Jack Wallen, who tweets, “Methinks this is a portent of Romney tossing his hat into the GOP primary.”
Taking and throwing punches
Romney’s not the only one with something to say. Harry Reid is fighting pancreatic cancer but still Has a Few Words for Washington, as Mark Leibovich’s profile of Reid in The New York Times Magazine makes clear. “The latest and greatest piece from @MarkLeibovich @nytimes about a guy who could both take and throw a punch,” tweets Mike Barnicle. Jon Ralston calls it a “Classic @MarkLeibovich treatment of Harry Reid, whom he interviewed in his home as he contemplated his own mortality, the president's amorality and, even if unspoken, Schumer's banality.” Several people highlighted this part, as Charles Homans does: “Asked by @MarkLeibovich about James Comey's suggestion that Trump is like a mob boss, Harry Reid offers a very former-Nevada-gaming-commissioner-specific sick burn: ‘Organized crime is a business, and they are really good with what they do.’” Overall, this piece is “What you simply must read today,” says Karen Tumulty.
Susan Davis tweets, “I understand why Mitt Romney’s op-ed will drive a news cycle, but trust me when I tell you that House Democrats tonight announcing they will reinstate the ‘Gephardt Rule’ to make it easier to raise the debt ceiling matters a lot more in 2019 America.” She links to Restoring Congress for the People, the Democratic rules package for the 116th Congress. Staci D. Kramer also highlights an “Interesting statement...the new House rules would require annual ethics training for all members. Previously only required for new members and annually for staff.”
Hands down, the worst
One big takeaway from Joe Heim’s Washington Post Q&A with Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.: Falwell can’t imagine Trump ‘doing anything that’s not good for the country’ (68,000+ shares). Also, says Falwell, “A poor person never gave anyone a job. A poor person never gave anybody charity, not of any real volume.” So, “Peace love and harmony to all in 2019 except okay maybe not this asshole,” as Dave Earley tweets. Shane Claiborne says, “Hands down, this is some of the worst theology I’ve ever heard. @JerryFalwellJr literally says he doesn't look to Jesus when it comes to forming his political beliefs. He needs a heresy trial. Even among his peers, he wouldn’t stand a chance.”
Meanwhile, as Mitch Smith and Julie Turkewitz of The New York Times write, “[f]or many Americans who are not federal workers or contractors, a shutdown is a minor inconvenience.” But for Native American tribes, which rely on federal funds for basic services, the shutdown leaves food, medicine and pay in doubt.
Elsewhere, a new report from AP News reveals, US fires tear gas across Mexico border to stop migrants. Tweets Nomaan Merchant, “An Associated Press photographer saw at least three volleys of gas launched onto the Mexican side of the border, including women and children, as well as journalists. The AP saw rocks thrown only after U.S. agents fired the tear gas.”
So, Mitt may be laying some groundwork on the GOP side. As for the Democrats, Kevin Sack and Alexander Burns of The New York Times go inside Joe Biden’s empire to give us a look at How Biden Has Paved the Way for a Possible Presidential Run. “With telling detail, this piece beautifully captures the practical complications of a Biden bid in 2020,” says Richard L. Berke.
Meanwhile, Edward-Isaac Dovere of The Atlantic reveals that Washington Governor Jay Inslee Is Running for President. Tweets Aaron Blake, “Add another 2020 Dem candidate: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who will apparently focus like a laser on climate change.” “Also, ‘electric ferries’ is like the most Pacific Northwest thing ever,” Ryan Teague Beckwith points out.
Bitter pills and hard truths
The new year is shaping up nicely for those plucky underdogs, Big Pharma. Jared S. Hopkins of The Wall Street Journal reports that, with Allergan setting the pace, drugmakers are ringing in the new year by raising prices on hundreds of medicines. “As companies hike drug prices, the pace in some cases exceeds that of inflation. Happy new year,” tweets Kate Kelly.
Liz Clarke links to “The hard truth from @Postsports Sally Jenkins: Do business--or stadium deals--w Dan Snyder & #Skins at your peril: Nobody emerges with their name or business better off.” At The Washington Post, Sally Jenkins explains why gifting Daniel Snyder any money or land for a new Redskins stadium would be absolute madness. As she writes, “You’ve got to be either a drunk, a gambler or Daniel Snyder to tank your business in the NFL.”
A young man who made a difference
The tributes have been pouring in for Tyler Trent, the Purdue student who sparked hope amid tears from a nation that followed his journey with terminal cancer (84,000+ shares), as Dana Hunsinger Benbow writes at the Indianapolis Star. Trent, who was 20, died of bone cancer on Tuesday. On Twitter, Hunsinger Benbow adds, “If we all could live our next 20 years like he did his…”
Also at the Indianapolis Star, Gregg Doyel describes how Tyler Trent made a difference. He tweets, “Spent a lot of time with @theTylerTrent during his final months, and dreaded having to write this story. A tribute to a young man who prayed that his cancer fight would make a difference. And saw his prayer answered.”
At SB Nation’s Hammer and Rails, Travis Miller urges, Give it up to Tyler, who has fought the good fight and finished the race (124,000+ shares). Alex Kirshner says, “Tyler Trent was an incredible example of living to the fullest under horrible circumstances. Him being part of it when Purdue crushed Ohio State was one of this sport’s best moments. I hope he is at peace.”
Ahmed Al Omran of the Financial Times reports, Netflix pulls an episode of “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj" in Saudi Arabia. Borzou Daragahi highlights, “‘Mr Minhaj criticised Silicon Valley for “swimming in Saudi cash” and urged tech companies to stop taking investment from the kingdom.’” “Remember when it was considered controversial for big American tech companies to offer politically censored versions of their sites in authoritarian countries?” tweets Tom Gara.
AP has uncovered a decades-long history of Catholic nuns being sexually abused by priests in India, reports Tim Sullivan, who tweets, “Silence is the armor that Sisters use to protect themselves, even if it also means protecting the men who abused them.”
Meanwhile, “Officials in the southern #Indian state of #Kerala say 5 million women formed a 620km (385-mile) human chain ‘in support of gender equality’, amid a row over access to a prominent Hindu temple. #WomenWallKerala.” Mona Eltahawy links to the BBC News coverage of Sabarimala temple: Indian women form ‘620km human chain’ for equality.
A new investigation by Paul Morgan-Bentley of The Times finds that young women who are sent abroad by their families for forced marriages are being charged by the Foreign Office for the cost of rescuing them. Sarah Vine asks, “Is it just me, or is this pretty bloody shocking? I mean, if you are in that situation, it’s not like you can ask a relative for the money, is it?”
As Peter Walker of The Guardian reports, a new survey finds that most Labour members believe Corbyn should back second Brexit vote, with nearly 90% of Labour members saying they would opt to stay in the EU in a “people’s vote.” Tweets Jolyon Maugham, “When Corbyn promised in the leadership election that members, not the leader, would make policy was he telling the truth or lying to win power? Because the membership could hardly be clearer. And he is basically thumbing his nose at them.”
Strong start to 2019
We’re only on day two, but “Nominations for news story of the year are open,” tweets Matthew Bell, who links to this one: Australian man screaming at spider ‘why don’t you die?’ triggers full police response, by Naaman Zhou of The Guardian. “Strong start to 2019,” as Rachel Blundy notes. “The Australianest of news,” tweets Katie Robertson. Anyway, mock all you want, but Olivia Solon says, “as someone who hasn't checked their mailbox for a week because of a resident spider, I can wholeheartedly relate.” Alison Gow also “Can relate.” And Sebastian Tong can “Fully empathize.” Linda Poon wonders, “Oh wait, is that not the appropriate response to seeing a spider?”