In a debate filled with barbs, put-downs, interruptions, and insults, Donald Trump didn’t separate himself from the rest of the field by being more combative or more outrageous—although at moments, he was clearly trying. Trump, instead, set himself apart by delivering a ringing defense of the “New York values” that Senator Ted Cruz accused him of embodying. “New York is a great place,” he said. “It's got great people, it's got loving people, wonderful people. When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York.” His tone turned somber:
And the people in New York fought and fought and fought, and we saw more death, and even the smell of death—nobody understood it. And it was with us for months, the smell, the air. And we rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers.
It was Trump’s best moment of the campaign: a stirring tribute to a cosmopolitan city, and an invocation of national unity, beating back a crude attempt to divide Americans against each other.
What preceded it was less inspiring. Trump stood by his contention that Ted Cruz may not be a “native-born citizen,” and therefore may be ineligible for the presidency. Cruz hotly disputed that, and the weight of the scholarly consensus is firmly on his side. It was vintage Trump: blustering, insinuating, and flat-out fabricating. And it helped make the defense of New York that followed seem even more unusual.
That exchange also stood out because so much of the other drama on the stage Thursday night seemed so familiar. Ben Carson affably flubbed his foreign-policy questions; John Kasich emphasized his record in Ohio and tried to look more serious than his rivals; Jeb Bush delivered solid points in a style that robbed them of most of their impact; Chris Christie talked up his record as a prosecutor while brazenly denying other things he’s done; and Cruz sparred repeatedly with Marco Rubio.
With just a few weeks left before Iowa voters head to the caucuses, almost all of the candidates came to North Charleston, South Carolina, looking to shake things up. For the most part, that failed to happen.
But Ted Cruz, who’s clinging to a narrow lead in Iowa, didn’t just take hits from Trump. The fiercest attack of the night came from Rubio, who rattled off a detailed list of specific stands on which he accused the Texas senator of reversing himself, branding him a cynical opportunist, not a consistent conservative. “I appreciate your dumping your oppo-research folder on the debate stage,” Cruz smirked.
“No, it’s your record,” Rubio shot back.
The debate also featured a war over trade wars. Trump was pressed to defend past comments supportive of slapping retaliatory tariffs on Chinese imports. Instead of backing away from tariffs, he stressed the need for a firm response to the rising power. Economists across the country held their heads, and his rivals gleefully pounced. But as they took turns explaining the economic theory of why tariffs ultimately hurt consumers, Trump simply insisted that he’d be tough enough to make the Chinese crumble. By Friday, there will likely be dozens of columns explaining the downsides of tariffs; whether any of them will dissuade Trump supporters from believing that he alone has the resolve to right America’s trade deficit with China is another matter entirely.
It’s equally fair to wonder whether any of these performances will alter the trajectory of the race. Trump was closing in on Cruz in Iowa even before the debate, and riding high in the national polls. Marco Rubio turned in another superb performance on the stage, but his past skill as a debater has never brought him the surge of support that he needs to challenge the frontrunners. Ben Carson’s fading campaign will continue to fade. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich are still jockeying for establishment support.
One thing that was different on Thursday night was the audience, generously salted with members of the Republican National Committee, in town for their winter meeting. The presence of the literal Republican establishment didn’t restrain candidates from touting their outsider credentials. But it did reflect the tensions roiling the party, as parts of the crowd cheered loudly for Trump, as others booed.
But if RNC Chair Reince Preibus was worried, he didn’t let it show. “It’s clear we’ve got the most well-qualified and diverse field of candidates from any party in history,” he tweeted afterwards. The field may be yuuge, but the candidates are the best. The head of the Republican establishment adopting the argot of Trump seemed a perfect end to the night.
I'll be curious to see how GOP voters react to Ted Cruz's performance. Even though the constitutional law is on his side, I thought his assertion that even Trump wouldn't be eligible for the president came off as too-clever-by-half. Trump's shutdown of the Texas senator on the "New York values" quip might've been his strongest punch yet in the debates. And Cruz also didn't respond very strongly to the 95 theses that Rubio nailed to his door—replying that only half of them were false. Will all this cut into Cruz's lead in Iowa? We'll find out soon.
As I saw it, the three leading candidates—Trump, Cruz, and Rubio—all had their moments during a debate that stretched nearly 2 and a half hours. Cruz excelled in the first half and 'won' his fight with Trump over his eligibility. Trump had a good moment invoking 9/11 to defend his "New York values" against Cruz's attack. And toward the end of the night, Rubio unleashed a well-executed attack on Cruz's flip-flopping over immigration. That said, it's unclear that any of those moments will change the dynamic of the race. Bush, Carson, Kasich, and Christie didn't make much of an impression, and they were lagging in most polls as it is. Nor was there much of a substantive debate over policy, unlike some of the previous Republican debates.
My closing thoughts will be brief tonight, because I have no idea how Republican voters will respond to that display. But I will say this: Ben Carson just isn’t going to win. There’s no chance. And even beyond him this field needs to be winnowed.
Trump: "I stood yesterday with 75 construction workers. They're tough they're strong they're great people." They had tears running down their faces because of the humiliation by Iran. "It was a terrible sight, a terrible sight. ... If I'm president there won't be stupid deals anymore. We will win on everything we do."
Cruz: Benghazi, betrayal, a commander-in-chief who won't say radical Islamic terrorism. "I want to speak to all of those maddened by political correctness. ... this will end." If I'm elected, soldiers and policemen, I will have your back.
Rubio: Our rights come from God. Free enterprise. Individual liberty. The American miracle. But this country is changing. We're being left behind and left out because we elected a president who wants to change America and make it more like the rest of the world. "That's why 2016 is the turning point in our history."
Chris Christie says he loves this country. If not for the flag lapel pin on his suit I wouldn’t be sure if he was telling the truth. But with that piece of political flare proudly displayed on his very clothing who can doubt him?
Christie: Obama lives in a fantasyland. This country is not respected. Taxpayers are being pushed backwards, and the president doesn't understand. "We need a fighter for this country again … fighting for justice and to protect people from crime and terrorism ... someone who will fight Hillary Clinton."
Bush: "Who can you count on to keep you safer, stronger, and freer?" I got results in Florida. I have a plan. I am a candidate of substance. "I ask for your support to build together a safer and stronger America."
We’re one corporate deal away from debate questions like, “According to data from McDonald’s, home of the McFlurry, American families have less to spend on discretionary items, like golden French fries or savory McRibs, than they have in a generation…"
"The entire system of legal immigration must now be re-examined," says Rubio, who's still trying to shake off the ghost his 2013 immigration proposal, which was widely unpopular with conservatives and has provided some good fodder for his opponents this cycle.
John Kasich now channeling South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who is in the audience tonight. Haley called for unity in her GOP response to the State of the Union, saying: "When the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. And that can make a world of difference." Kasich echoes that with his own call for unity: "As president of the United States, it's all about communication, folks, it's all about getting people to listen to one another's problems. When you do that you will be amazed at how much progress you can make, and how much healing we can have."
Rubio tries to explain his shift away from the 2013 Senate Gang of Eight bill by saying that immigration is now a security issue, not a jobs issue. But it ignores the fact that after 9/11, and even before that, security was a big part of the concern about liberal immigration policy.
True to form, the Republican candidates lose all skepticism of government employees as soon as they’re given a badge and a gun, whereupon they become the salt of the earth, bereft of bad actors, and deserving of the benefit of every doubt. But transfer one of those police officers to the IRS…
"This is a guy who just believes that law enforcement are the bad guys," Christie says of the president, before launching into an attack on so-called sanctuary cities. "This president allows lawlessness throughout this country."
Christie adds a new twist to the Ferguson effect by attributing a purported national rise in crime not to Black Lives Matter protesters, but to Obama's two attorneys general and the Obama administration overall.
Here’s a line from the Lincoln-Douglas debates that one of the candidates can draw on this evening: "MY FELLOW-CITIZENS: When a man hears himself somewhat misrepresented, it provokes him-at least, I find it so with myself; but when misrepresentation becomes very gross and palpable, it is more apt to amuse him.” If Jeb Bush said that I think I would find him a lot less affected.
“We have seniors out there who are scared to death, because…” Chris Christie begins, but fails to complete the sentence correctly–– “…because they are spending too much time watching alarmist cable news."
"It's not the evil rich people, it's the evil government," Carson says, in an effort to draw a contrast between the worldview of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and his own. It's an interesting way to sum up the left-right split this primary season.
Chris Christie endorsed corporate tax repatriation—bringing back money from overseas in exchange for a one-time tax break—as a way to pay for infrastructure, which is an idea that's gained some traction in Congress. The problem, according to infrastructure advocates, is that it isn't a longterm solution but a one-time fix.
Attacking the president's executive actions has been a favorite line of criticism from Republican candidate's tonight. Marco Rubio says he would go after the Environmental Protection Agency, except in his telling EPA really stands for "Employment Prevention Agency." The candidates aren't talking about climate change during this debate, but Rubio's promise to take down EPA is a veiled threat against the president's climate agenda, given that most of what the administration has achieved so far in curbing greenhouse gas emissions has come as a result of EPA regulations.
There was a trade war over trade wars on stage just now. Trump understands trade, but he also understands audiences—and he’s unrelenting in his attacks on China, and the need to take a harder line. Other candidates—Kasich, Rubio, Bush, Cruz—try hard to deliver textbook explanations of the dangers of tariffs. But for Trump, this is all about showing toughness toward a rising China. And he seems to carry a large chunk of the crowd with him.
It seems like what Donald Trump wants, more than anything else, is to negotiate with China and other foreign nations. If offered a hypothetical “Negotiator-in-Chief” job I wonder if he’d gladly drop out of the presidential race and do that, provided that he was allowed to record, edit, and televise the sessions on NBC at his discretion.
The candidates are asked where they stand on admitting Syrian refugees to the U.S. Kasich says he would pause the program, and Christie stands by his comments that the U.S. should not take any Syrian refugees. The U.S. is expected to take in 10,000 refugees, far less than Canada and some European nations.
Ted Cruz reiterates his proposal to revoke the citizenship of Americans who travel overseas to fight ISIS, which runs counter to past Supreme Court rulings that bar Congress from involuntarily denaturalizing American citizens.
Ted Cruz declares that President Obama "acts as an apologist for radical Islamic terrorism.” I’m not sure that “pants on fire” is strong enough to convey the brazenness of the lie. Can we add a new category? Brooks Brothers on barbecue? Necktie on Napalm?
"We have to find out what's going on," Trump says when asked about his calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. He likes to repeat that line when asked about foreign policy and the threat of terrorism. It's such a vague promise, yet so far it has resonated with an electorate gripped by fear over the possibility of more terrorist attacks.
I wondered whether police killings would come up in tonight’s debate, which is being held in North Charleston, where the officer who shot and killed Walter Scott faces murder charges. Trump just declared, “The police are the most mistreated people in this country.” I suppose that counts.
Jeb Bush points out that Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims coming to the United States would weaken our hand with allies and prevent fighters helping us with ISIS from coming here. I’m surprised no one has instead talked about the Muslim translators who helped American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are in danger of being killed for helping us if not allowed to claim political asylum here.
Jeb Bush calls Trump’s comments unhinged, and draws applause from the crowd, too. This crowd may tip toward the establishment, but there are enough Trump supporters tonight for its divided responses to mirror the party’s broader splits.
When Donald Trump takes a long, detailed question, and answers with a flat, “No,” it draws cheers every time. In this case, he’s asked whether he wants to reverse his proposal for banning Muslims from entering the United States. There have been boos from this crowd tonight, but it’s hushed as he refuses to back away from bigotry, and cheers when he’s finished.
The moderator just presumed that the right thing to do is removing Assad from power––but Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and perhaps others on that stage disagree, and believe the U.S. should focus on fighting ISIS in cooperation with Russia.
A clever question, praising Lindsey Graham in front of a hometown crowd, and then inviting Ben Carson to disagree with his plan to send 20,000 troops to fight ISIS. But it produces the usual results, with Carson offering a rambling string of vague generalizations in lieu of foreign-policy specifics.
Donald Trump’s defense of New York values may be the most skillful invocation of 9/11 on a Republican debate stage, which is saying something, since there’s nothing GOP primary candidates like to invoke more.
Trump, pressed to defend New York, falls back on 9/11. Usually, when the attacks are invoked in these debates, it’s a cheap trick. But tonight, it’s Trump’s finest moment. He reminds the audience of a moment when all Americans felt a deep solidarity with the people of his city.
Cruz is asked what he means when he accuses Trump of holding New York values. “I think most people know exactly what New York values are,” says Cruz. It’s a remarkable spectacle—a candidate for president implying that being a citizen of its largest city is somehow un-American.
Marco Rubio suggests that more people are going out and buying guns under the Obama presidency because they're afraid that the president wants to take guns away. He's not wrong. When Americans fear the government may be on the verge of confiscating guns, they rush to buy more. The latest example of that came earlier this month. Gun sales rose dramatically after the president announced executive actions aimed at expanding background checks.
The stress on the vital importance of mental-health care is a welcome development; Trump is absolutely right that states have shifted resources away from treatment in the past several decades. But better mental-health care is unlikely to curb gun violence, because very little of it is committed by the mentally ill. There’s a basic disconnect between these answers and the data.
Carson gets asked whether he thinks Hillary Clinton is an enabler of sexual misconduct because of husband Bill. He pivots to rhetorical questions about how mad everyone in the country is. "Here's the real issue: is this America anymore? Do we still have standards? Do we still have values and principles? ... We need to start once again recognizing that there is such a thing as right and wrong."
Christie claims he never supported Sotomayor or wrote a check to Planned Parenthood. Both of those claims are pretty easily debunked. But he talked about donating to Planned Parenthood in 1994; and here he is supporting Sotomayor's nomination.
And just like that, a question on Bernie Sanders. Kasich says that if Sanders is the Democratic nominee, Republicans will "win every state." But polls show that Sanders actually outperforms Clinton and is defeating Republican candidates handily.
Rubio goes after Christie for his since-vanished support for Common Core and some donations he made to Planned Parenthood. Christie shoots back. "Two years ago, he called me a conservative reformer that New Jersey needed," Christie says of Cruz. "That was before he was running against me.”
I’m not a fan of these last three questions. There’s no need to adjudicate the birther nonsense on the debate stage. And who cares if Nikki Haley appeared to take sides in a State of the Union response, or whether Donald Trump is angry? Who cares if Chris Christie is saying Marco Rubio is slimy? These are all issues that can be dealt with in the course of everyday campaigning. If Fox Business moderators are going to inject conflict into the debate, it should be in service of forcing the candidates to articulate important differences that they wouldn’t otherwise address, or that are particularly important for the American people to hear about more.
The audience here in Charleston is pretty rough on Trump, booing and jeering him. That might be because of the fact that many debate attendees are Republican National Committee members here for the winter meeting that's being held concurrently.
The camera pans to South Carolina governor Nikki Haley as Trump is asked to respond to her GOP response to the State of the Union, which called on the public not to give in to angry and divisive rhetoric. Trump seems unwilling to go in for an attack. "First of all Nikki said I'm a friend of hers," Trump starts. "We're friends, that's good." He continues on to say he's "very angry" because "our country is being run horribly.”
Is Cruz eligible to be president? Earlier today, we published a detailed legal memorandum written by Bryan Garner, editor in chief of Black's Law Review, and a distinguished research professor of law at Southern Methodist University. It’s the most thorough exploration of the legal questions I’ve seen—and tries to put the matter to rest once and for all. You can read it for yourself.
Donald Trump was a birther in the original sense—that is, he professed that he doubted President Obama’s gift certificate. The GOP electorate has made him the frontrunner anyway. So it’s interesting to see Trump get booed in this debate for raising the issue with respect to Ted Cruz. The most ingenious part of Ted Cruz’s response was to highlight that he believes missionaries born abroad would be eligible to be president of the United States. The most fascinating part of the exchange is watching Trump deal with being booed during his response.
This is really the first time we've seen Trump and Cruz spar on a primary debate stage. During the last debate, the candidate's relationship seemed to have started to fray and there was plenty of speculation that there might be a fight, but that fizzled. Now, however, the two candidates seem ready to really go after each other.
Cruz notes that some who’ve weighed in have gone so far as to suggest that both parents of a candidate would need to be born on American soil; Trump’s mother was born in Scotland. “On the issue of citizenship, Donald, I’m not going to use your mother’s birth against you. You’re an American, as is everyone else on this stage.”
Cruz gets asked about his undisclosed $750,000 loan from Goldman Sachs used to finance his election to the Senate. “Thank you for passing on that hit-piece on the front page of The New York Times,” he says. This has been a favorite tactic of Cruz’s, pivoting from the specifics of any charge he faces to attack the establishment. “Yes, I made a paperwork error, disclosing it on one piece of paper instead of the other,” he says. That’s not going to cut it. Elections experts have called it a clear violation of the rules, of the sort that’s generally sanctioned.
When Ben Carson got a question on foreign policy, he went off on a bit of a tangent. He rattled off a laundry list of threats that seems designed to show that the candidate has studied up. Hard to imagine, however, that Carson didn't lose the audience when he said that "we have enemies who are obtaining nuclear weapons that they can explode in our exo-atmosphere."
Ted Cruz has just become the first presidential candidate to highlight the fact that his critics compare him to a demonic spirit––this by way of the now familiar “the media is awful” sidestep, where GOP candidates turn any attack on them into a referendum on the media. This invariably draws applause from folks in the room at debates. I wonder how it plays with the folks at home.
Jeb Bush says that America should not be the world’s policemen. But in most every instance of controversy over whether the U.S. should deploy troops to police the behavior of other nations he favors military intervention. He doesn’t merely want the U.S. to be the world’s policeman. He wants it to be stop-and-frisk policing.
Jeb Bush goes for the jugular, attacking Hillary Clinton who he says "would be a national security mess,” adding that if she’s elected, “She might be going back and forth between the White House and the Courthouse”.
Chris Christie says that in his administration, “tin-pot mullahs” would know better than to seize American craft. In 2001, early in the administration of George W. Bush, China held 24 American airmen for 11 days, until Bush apologized. Compared to that, the prompt return of the unharmed sailors looks less like a humiliation than a triumph.
Chris Christie says that if he is the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton won't get "within 10 miles of the White House." Fact check: Clinton owns a home in northwest D.C. which is definitely within 10 miles of the White House, so that will be a tough promise to keep.
Ted Cruz implies that if Americans are captured during his tenure, he would go to war rather than allow them to be photographed on their knees. Beyond a needless war, the result would likely be the deaths of the hypothetical prisoners. No president in history has ever behaved in the way Cruz suggests, because it is bellicose nonsense.
Politico had an interesting interview with Ted Cruz about his debate strategy, in which he admitted that he deliberately does not answer the moderator's question right away so that he can ultimately have more speaking time. He demonstrated that right off the bat, answering a question on the economy by talking about Iran's detaining of 10 U.S. Navy sailors.
Wondering where Rand Paul is? The Kentucky senator didn't qualify for tonight's primetime debate, and refused to take part in the less prestigious "happy hour" debate that wrapped earlier in the evening. Not surprisingly, the candidate will still try to make his voice heard. According to his campaign, Paul will be taking to Twitter when the debate starts to react to his rivals on the main stage.
Greetings from Charleston, where I just watched the undercard debate so you don't have to. It featured Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee—Rand Paul also qualified, but declared it beneath his dignity to participate. All three candidates had an edge of desperation as they struggled to insist they're relevant despite voters' clear lack of interest in what any of them is selling. Fiorina focused on contrasting herself with Hillary Clinton; Huckabee and Santorum both styled themselves as champions of working people. Santorum was even shoutier than usual, which is saying something. Without Lindsey Graham to crack jokes, the undercard was painfully short on entertainment value—the best line of the night was probably Santorum saying he'd take Paul's time. In short, if you missed it, you didn't miss much.
After Donald Trump became the Republican nominee, he was asked on Fox News about his views on NATO and other American alliances. He gave his familiar “they’re freeloaders” answer:
The fact is we are protecting so many countries that are not paying for the protection. When a country isn’t paying us and these are countries in some cases in most cases that have the ability to pay, and they are not paying because nobody is asking….
We’re protecting all of these countries. They have an agreement to reimburse us and pay us and they are not doing it and if they are not going to do that. We have to seriously rethink at least those countries. It’s very unfair.
In a unique, home-spun experiment, researchers found that centripetal force could help people pass kidney stones—before they become a serious health-care cost.
East Lansing, Michigan, becomes a ghost town during spring break. Families head south, often to the theme parks in Orlando. A week later, the Midwesterners return sunburned and bereft of disposable income, and, urological surgeon David Wartinger noticed, some also come home with fewer kidney stones.
Wartinger is a professor emeritus at Michigan State, where he has dealt for decades with the scourge of kidney stones, which affect around one in 10 people at some point in life. Most are small, and they pass through us without issue. But many linger in our kidneys and grow, sending hundreds of thousands of people to emergency rooms and costing around $3.8 billion every year in treatment and extraction. The pain of passing a larger stone is often compared to child birth.
All the nominee had to do at the first debate was appear polite and reasonable for 90 minutes. He failed.
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.—Before this week’s first presidential debate, it was common for Donald Trump’s television surrogates to predict it would echo the sole 1980 encounter between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
It turned out, to borrow from another famous debate moment, Donald Trump was no Ronald Reagan.
On the surface, the analogy appeared reasonable. Like Hillary Clinton today, Carter in 1980 bet most of his chips on personally disqualifying Reagan. Carter painted his opponent as unqualified, ill-informed, extreme, and dangerous—an aging entertainer who might trigger a nuclear war through ignorance and belligerence.
For months, enough voters feared Carter might be right to keep him close in the polls, despite enormous dissatisfaction with his job performance. But when Reagan in the debate presented himself as composed, reasonable, and genial (swatting away even accurate Carter recitations of his most outrageous earlier statements with a jaunty “There you go again”) the doubts softened, Carter’s support crumbled, and the Gipper rolled to a landslide.
A new study looks at rates of lethal violence across a thousand species to better understand the evolutionary origins of humanity’s own inhumanity.
Which mammal is most likely to be murdered by its own kind? It’s certainly not humans—not even close. Nor is it a top predator like the grey wolf or lion, although those at least are #11 and #9 in the league table of murdery mammals. No, according to a study led by José María Gómez from the University of Granada, the top spot goes to… the meerkat. These endearing black-masked creatures might be famous for their cooperative ways, but they kill each other at a rate that makes man’s inhumanity to man look meek. Almost one in five meerkats, mostly youngsters, lose their lives at the paws and jaws of their peers.
Gómez’s study is the first thorough survey of violence in the mammal world, collating data on more than a thousand species. It clearly shows that we humans are not alone in our capacity to kill each other. Our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, have been known to wage brutal war, but even apparently peaceful creatures take each other’s lives. When ranked according to their rates of lethal violence, ground squirrels, wild horses, gazelle, and deer all feature in the top 50. So do long-tailed chinchillas, which kill each other more frequently than tigers and bears do.
A man’s life hinges on the Supreme Court’s evaluation of racist testimony during his sentencing.
The island of Minorca is now part of Spain. Roughly 270 square miles in area, it basks in the sunny Mediterranean some 75 miles east of its larger sibling, Mallorca.
Minorca is also, however, located entirely within the Ward of Cheap, a district covering the half-mile between Farringdon Street and Old Jewry within the City of London.
You could look it up.
The island was magically imported into Cheap by the English Court of Common Pleas in 1774. This ludicrous geographical fiction was the only way the court could assert jurisdiction over a claim by a Minorca resident that the British royal governor had assaulted and falsely imprisoned him.
Like the wandering island, most legal fictions grow up because they allow the law to do things more easily.
For decades, the candidate has willfully inflicted pain and humiliation.
Donald J. Trump has a cruel streak. He willfully causes pain and distress to others. And he repeats this public behavior so frequently that it’s fair to call it a character trait. Any single example would be off-putting but forgivable. Being shown many examples across many years should make any decent person recoil in disgust.
Judge for yourself if these examples qualify.
* * *
In national politics, harsh attacks are to be expected. I certainly don’t fault Trump for calling Hillary Clinton dishonest, or wrongheaded, or possessed of bad judgment, even if it’s a jarring departure from the glowing compliments that he used to pay her.
But even in a realm where the harshest critiques are part of the civic process, Trump crossed a line this week when he declared his intention to invite Gennifer Flowers to today’s presidential debate. What kind of man invites a husband’s former mistress to an event to taunt his wife? Trump managed to launch an attack that couldn’t be less relevant to his opponent’s qualifications or more personally cruel. His campaign and his running-mate later said that it was all a big joke. No matter. Whether in earnest or in jest, Trump showed his tendency to humiliate others.
It looked likelier than ever at this week’s “Super Bowl of climate law.”
WASHINGTON—There’s a commonplace when writing about climate change, a juxtaposition so familiar it almost deserves a name. It resembles CSPAN, but directed by Michael Bay. First, a speaker points to the prospect of 21st century ecological collapse: sloshing waves, ravenous forest fires, fathers weeping as their crops succumb to a drought.
Then, the camera reveals the rooms where people make climate-change policies today. They are wood-paneled, document-strewn, and full of briefcases. Compared to the Hollywood blockbuster that preceded them, they seem boring. They are boring. But then the punchline: In this room—this bureaucratic, tedious room—the fate of the whole planet is decided.
The films touted for consideration this year include prestige projects like Martin Scorsese’s Silence and festival hits like Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight.
With the main film festivals of the fall (Telluride, Venice, and Toronto) now concluded, and Martin Scorsese finally confirming that his much-anticipated drama Silence will come out at the end of the year, the next three months will bring a calendar loaded with prestige releases. Among them are films that better reflect the wide range of faces and voices in America (and around the world), which have recently been severely under-represented on Oscar night. Audiences and critics will be paying especially close attention to the works and actors the Academy chooses to recognize, after the awards were condemned this year for nominating only white performers two years in a row.
The question, as always, is which films will be able to stand out once studios begin their awards campaigns in earnest. A lot can happen in a few months; after all, the season has already seen its earliest anointed front-runner practically disappear from the race. The former Best Picture favorite was the big story out of Sundance: The Birth of a Nation(October 7), a searing depiction of Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia written and directed by Nate Parker. The film won the festival’s Grand Jury Prize just as the conversation over the largely white Oscar nominations was at its loudest. The movie was acquired by Fox Searchlight for a record $17.5 million, with the studio promising a huge publicity campaign in the fall to help push it for awards contention.
It appears the virus was spread through the tears or sweat of a patient with a particularly severe infection.
Utah’s mystery Zika case has been solved, and the answer, as with so many revelations about Zika, is something never before seen with this virus. Someone seems to have gotten Zika through only casual physical contact with an infected person—the first such case that’s been documented.
In July, after a 73-year-old patient who’d contracted Zika while traveling to Mexico died (a rare occurrence in itself), a second person came down with the virus. The second patient had visited the first man in the hospital, but had not traveled to any Zika-infected areas or had sex with anyone who had. So with the two known methods of transmission—mosquito bites and sexual transmission—out of the running, it was unclear just how this second person had managed to get infected.