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Reading: www-m.cnn.com

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A vacant possession.

The problem is that Trump, in his own inimitable way, has created a most imperfect vacuum for the nation. For the foreseeable future the presidency will be both vacant and occupied, with the country reduced to waiting out his tantrum and deciphering its future from a fusillade of tweets and campaign-like rants.
Meanwhile, the nation’s bridges are left to crack, highways buckle, tracks heave, illicit drugs proliferate, medications grow ever-more expensive; diplomats scratch their heads and hind parts, idled by kingly disinterest, allies wonder whether we have their backs or should watch their backs, enemies salivate, polar ice caps slip into the sea, and poor, poor Doral Country Club — under Trump’s storied management — continues, like the rest of us, to struggle.

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Reading: Trump: the only ‘real Americans’ are white | The Guardian

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Commercialization of the civil religion, rituals, and symbols started years ago. Trump’s appropriation of them is possible only because they have become commodities.

Trump has hijacked the American civil religion, a concept that should serve as a basis for unity for citizens and used it in an attempt to further divide us along lines of race, party and religion in the name of political expediency.

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Reading: Trump’s Other Impeachable Offense

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Article III explained fro those who have forgotten 1974.

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Reading: Daring Fireball: All Podcasts Are Shows; Not All Shows Are Podcasts

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“Luminary is not alone in trying to usurp the term “podcast” for proprietary audio shows … “ but it sure is pushy. A dead-end. Signified by the need to appropriate the term.

“These companies are trying to usurp the word podcast for one simple reason: people love podcasts. What I think and hope they are missing is that part of what people love about podcasts is the openness. It’s one of the last remaining areas of the internet that works exactly as the internet was intended to work.”

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Reading: Mueller report. Here’s what you need to know: ██ ██ ███ ███████ █████ ███ ██ █████ ████████ █████ • The Register

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The Register offers up an essay by erasure of a report by erasure of a ****-**** by any other name.

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Reading: Bret Easton Ellis Thinks You’re Overreacting to Trump | The New Yorker

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A rational exchange about Trump. Ellis is flat and disconnected from the topic. Maybe he’s offering up despair to counter the hysteria he sees in everybody else.

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Reading: Trump’s Attack on Campus Free Speech

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How to manipulate free speech guarantees.

The Trump Administration needed to deal with the problem that the colleges with the worst speech codes are conservative religious colleges. The solution was to include a hypocritical rule in the Executive Order that says private colleges will be judged only by “compliance with stated institutional policies.” Since conservative colleges openly state that they suppress free speech, they will be immune from any action (not that any Trump official would ever dare to punish a conservative college).

By contrast, if a more liberal private college aspires to protect free speech, they can have their federal funds taken away based on a Republican bureaucrat’s regulatory interpretation of the campus’ values. This Executive Order will tend to reduce free speech at private colleges, because colleges will have an incentive to remove any promises to protect free speech in order to avoid being vulnerable to federal funding cutbacks. And if private colleges have policies that provide stronger protections for free speech than the First Amendment (as many do), they can lose federal funding even if they meet First Amendment standards.

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Reading: Nunes’s lawsuit against Twitter – performance rhetoric

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Lawsuit as rhetorical trope.

This lawsuit is playing to two audiences — the courts, and the right.

For the rest of the world, it’s a performance piece.

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Reading: Nunes sues Twitter for all the rude stuff tweeted about him • The Register

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All these secret societies – all these adolescent politicos. https://ift.tt/2Jw6bMu

The lawsuit even goes so far as to suggest that the accounts weren’t just the work of people intent on making fun of him, but rather were part of a conspiracy, perhaps backed by his political opponents, and claims that Twitter was negligent in allowing the cruel jibes to continue.

“The Twitter attacks on Nunes were pre-planned, calculated, orchestrated and undertaken by multiple individuals acting in concert, over a continuous period of time exceeding a year,” the complaint, made public ahead of being filed, stated.

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Reading: The real reason Trump is pushing a free speech order on college campuses (opinion) – CNN

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Rhetoric at center.

I understand that those on the far right — people like climate-change deniers, Milo Yiannopoulos and others — are frustrated that universities are not always inviting places for their ideas. But if they want their ideas to be taken seriously, then they must make more persuasive and factually-based arguments for the validity of those ideas. People who stand on a university platform or whose work appears in the pages of well-respected journals have earned — not demanded — their right to be there.