Last weekend, Donald Trump tweeted his distaste for Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of him on Saturday Night Live, calling the show “boring and unfunny.” But SNL, which has been poking fun at presidential elections since 1976, is experiencing its highest ratings in eight years. Back then, during the 2008 election, Tina Fey famously guest-starred to play then-vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
This week, we asked readers via Politics & Policy Daily to share their favorite SNL election sketches. Here are some of the best responses.
Thanks to David H. Lippman for suggesting the 1992 episode where Dana Carvey and Phil Hartman—portraying Ross Perot and Jim Stockdale, respectively—discuss Stockdale’s erratic behavior at the vice-presidential debate:
Jeff Harris offered up his favorite SNL presidential debate skit: a spoof on the 53rd Republican Debate in 1988:
Dan Aykroyd is fantastic as Bob Dole on the heels of a televised spar with George Bush (“I know it. You know it. The American people know it.”) Dana Carvey as George Bush is great too, but Al Franken as Pat Robertson seals the deal for me.
And while not election-related, we really enjoyed Martin Ward’s suggestion of Dan Aykroyd as President Carter accepting unscreened calls from listeners on a call-in talk show:
This week we asked our Politics & Policy Daily readers what they thought the presidential candidates should be for Halloween, and we got a number of great responses. Thanks to everyone—and there were several—who suggested Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump simply dress as each other to achieve peak scariness.
But props to Joanne Allard from Tucson for a truly creative submission: Allard suggested Clinton will dress as Ellen Ripley, the protagonist from the 1979 film Alien, while Trump go as the alien, wearing an orange headpiece. From Joanne:
I will resist the temptation to suggest her obvious catchphrase, except to point out that it would, of course, be delivered upon her reaching in to grab, er, to extract The Donald.
Reader James Miles suggested Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson dress as Elmer Fudd, and John Bianchi said Green Party nominee Jill Stein would be Gaia—“nuff said.”
A handful of other costume ideas came from Jane Wilson, who got really into word play. For Trump:
1. Putin’s Puppet / Moscow Muppet
3. Hot Mic
4. Mr. Bigly
And for Clinton:
2. ALT + Right + DELETE
3. Swamp Queen
We can all agree that 2016 has been a long year, but this week, we asked Politics & Policy Daily readers to explain what they’re most thankful for in the world of politics. Here were some of our favorite responses:
Miriam Helbok said she’s grateful for Bernie Sanders’s campaign because it “energized and perhaps even awakened thousands of young people to the importance of taking an active part in maintaining our democracy.”
For several readers, including David Lippman, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s loss in Arizona was “the only piece of positive news in a horrifying political year.”
Carl Dennis writes:
One of my favorite political responses this year happened as a result of one of the greatest tragedies in American history. After the shooting in Orlando at a gay bar, the outpouring of support and love expressed by political figures of both parties from President Obama to GOP figures gave me a glimmer of hope that in spite of our differences, we will be able to come together to support one another.
1. Ken Bone. At a time of high tension between Democrats and Republicans, he gave us a couple things we could all agree on: his awesomeness and how adorable he is.
2. That the government didn't shut down this year! The little things go a long way!
3. Saturday Night Live. Larry David as Bernie Sanders and Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump have been nothing short of amazing.
4. That Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could find something they liked about each other when prompted to do so.
The election is over! Happy Thanksgiving!
On that note, Craig K. Lehman is grateful that at least we’ve reached “the end of the Bush and Clinton dynasties.”
David Caskey, from University Park, Maryland, is thankful for California:
Governor Brown signed a law which will require farm workers to get overtime after an eight-hour day. No developed society I know of has been this committed to a decent life for those who labor for our food.
Trump was defeated in California by over 3 million votes. Big old California gives me hope for America.
And finally, Barry Tarshis wrote in to say that he’s “thankful to be a Canadian.” Thanks for that, Barry.
This week, we asked readers of the Politics & Politics Daily to share their favorite characters from political movies and TV. Here are some of our favorite responses:
Neel Lahiri’s pick was Selina Meyer from the TV show Veep, a character “who epitomizes the kind of farcical, utterly vain, and insatiably power-hungry [politician] that the electorate despises.”
From reader Christina Kopp:
My favorite political figure on TV is Laura Roslin, President of the Twelve Colonies in the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. When faced with the annihilation of the human race, she doesn’t give up and doesn’t give in. Ah, only on TV!
Terry Nugent picked Bill McKay from the film The Candidate, “an elegant chronicle of the withering effect of electioneering on ethics.” (Speaking of Bill, another reader analyzed him and his ethical evolution as part of our “Political Theater” series earlier this year.)
Kennedy Avery suggested Josh Lyman, the Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bartlet in The West Wing:
I like how Josh is brash, compassionate, and humorous all at once. Plus, when it comes to his work and policy positions, he is unapologetic and determined.
Joan Conroy also had a West Wing-themed response:
The first one who came to mind was Toby Ziegler, played by Richard Schiff. As the sad, often morose, but brilliant liberal speech writer he refused to compromise his ideals. Nor was he seduced by power and money, as far too many are in the current political climate.
And Deb Bell wrote:
My favorite character is Chauncey Gardner, from the 1979 film Being There. It’s the story of a mentally challenged gardener whose simple-minded utterances and complete ignorance of government, diplomacy, and the outside world as a whole are mistaken for wisdom and bold thought, propelling him toward political superstardom.
This week, we asked our Politics & Policy Daily readers to share their plans for 2017. Dozens of readers sent in their goals for the new year, and many resolved to become more politically engaged. Here are a handful of our favorite responses:
From Tom Lucas, 42, manager of a reinsurance brokerage firm:
My resolution in 2017 is to take less information at face value and to delve deeper into topics before I form an opinion. I think this will give me a broader perspective on issues and allow me to understand both sides of a debate.
Joanne Allard, 58, from Tucson:
I’ve recently decided to try and make eye contact with and pass along a cheerful well-wish to people I ordinarily ignore. I’m talking “hellos,” “good afternoons,” “lovely weathers,” etc., with an emphasis on projecting genuine interest. I just got to thinking one day that I tend to avoid contact with people who look as though they’d staunchly disagree with my politics, and it occurred to me that maybe I could help make next year a better one by trying to connect in a positive way.
From Maura Lynch Rubley, 37, high school teacher of government and law:
I have two resolutions for 2017. The first is to find more ways participate in preserving the great American experiment of democracy. The second is to spend more time with my students talking about the importance of reading a variety of reliable news sources, and avoiding both fake news and echo chambers.
Patty Ware, 55, retired from a career in social services:
Normally, I don't make resolutions for the New Year. This year, I will work hard to stick with two:
1) Pay attention to local, state, and national policies and make my voice heard. As an introvert, I’m uncomfortable putting myself out there, but resolve to speak up (in person, via letters, phone calls, public meetings) on important issues.
2) Thank people. I plan to send one handwritten thank-you note/card per week all year. There are numerous things in my life, community, and world to be grateful for. This will force me to notice them and to actually let a person(s) know that what they said or did or didn’t do truly mattered. Gratitude is more important than ever.
From Mary Adolphson, 66, retired:
I resolve to become more active in a local non-profit organization that, in addition to other issues, advocates for just and humane treatment of individuals without legal status in this country.
From reader Anna Bird:
Truthfully, I started early. A few weeks ago I realized I needed to do something about my anger so I made my resolutions. Every time Trump sends out a mean or crazy tweet, I need to do something nice for someone … He is keeping me busy! I open doors for people. I give a compliment to a stranger. I smile at old people who look like they need a friendly smile….That’s my way to win against him in 2017 and keep a smile on my face: Show kindness to others.
Richard Brenner, president of a publishing company, writes:
I resolve to listen to myself, to be conscious of my breathing, to reclaim and maintain my balance, to use my being as my tuning fork, and to learn, again, to be still and aware and to meld calmly and gently with the universe; and to not allow the acrimonious strum and drang of noxious politics and hateful tweets to corrupt my consciousness or dictate the rhythms of my life.
And from Don Brocha, 65, retired from software engineering:
My New Year’s resolution is a simple one to say, harder to put into practice: I’m going to ignore what Trump says, pay close attention to what he does, and enjoy my family, friends and community no matter what trickles down.
President Obama told The New York Times that reading books like The Three-Body Problem and The Underground Railroad helped him “slow down and get perspective” during his eight years in the White House.
This week, we asked our Politics & Policy Daily readers to share which books inform their daily lives and help keep things in perspective. Here are some of our favorite responses.
The story of how French citizens faced so much difficulty during the Nazi occupation is relevant today when we talk about ISIS and how they took over cities in the Middle East. I’m sure many of those citizens didn’t want to take in the soldiers but were forced to do it in order to protect their families. We are so far removed from this kind of suffering that it can be difficult to imagine, and understanding it more makes me appreciate how small our problems in America are by comparison.
I found that after I read it, I filtered everything I saw on the news or on Facebook through the insights I had received from reading this book. I joined my local chapters of the NAACP and SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice). The name of SURJ is somewhat counter to what Coates says about race being an artificial construct of oppression which originated as a child of racism rather than the other way around, as most people believe. But SURJ is a resource for positive activism in a city that is predominantly populated by people who are known as “white.”
Coates’s book—coupled with Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, about our tragically cruel treatment of this country’s Native population—are two books that will continue to inform my life by requiring me to always question the American dream, its shameful history, and the need to wake up from it, as Coates says. From these two books, I have learned to question constantly the assumptions we make about our country and our world and the roles we expect ourselves and others to play in them.
Paul Poletes also holds special appreciation for BTWAM:
Although I now live in a diverse neighborhood in Fairfax, VA, I grew up in South Dakota in the 1970s and 1980s. I can (literally) count on one hand the number of non-white kids I went to school with. Coates’s childhood in an all-black part of Baltimore—a neighborhood where everyone lived in fear of both street gangs and the cops—had about as much in common with my childhood as kids growing up in Karachi or Moscow. As a child my friends and I had almost nothing to fear—especially not the police, whom we saw as kindly, well-meaning protectors. Sioux Falls was probably more diverse in the 1980s than Coates’s childhood neighborhood, but barely (my neighborhood, on the other hand, wasn’t—it was all white). Only after I moved to Minneapolis for college did I meet people really different from me—one of my college roommates was black, while another was Muslim.
I’ve thought a lot about Between the The World and Mesince November 8, especially when I hear the ubiquitous talk of liberal elites living in their coastal and big city bubbles. Between the World and Me reminds me that everyone lives in their own bubble—urban, poor, rural, gay, Vietnamese, black, evangelical, Jewish, white, rich, Lutheran, Baptist, etc. How many bubbles do I live in now? I have no idea, but at least I’m better able to understand everyone else’s bubbles too.
On Monday, President Trump issued a proclamation declaring January 20—the day of his inauguration—“National Day of Patriotic Devotion.” In 2009, Barack Obama declared his own inauguration to be a “Day of Renewal and Reconciliation.”
So we asked our Politics & Policy Daily readers what they would call their Inauguration Day if they were elected president. We got dozens of thoughtful—and hilarious—responses. Here are some of our favorites:
“A Day of Grateful Living,” suggested by Seth Langston
“Day of Reflection, Compassion, and Service,” suggested by Sue R.
“A Day of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and, Finally, Acceptance,” suggested by Tucker Perry
“National Day of Pinot Noir, French Bread, and Salami,” suggested by Dan
“Just Another Wonderful Day of Opportunity,” suggested by Michael O’Meara. He adds:
Responsibly using the powers granted to each person by the U.S. Constitution, we can take pride in our efforts to make incremental improvements each and every day; thus, making every day just another day of wonderful day.
P.S. The declaration would be followed by a recording of the song, “What a Wonderful World,” sung by Louis Armstrong.
“Day to Start Walking Our Talk,” suggested by Rozella Stewart
“National Dance in the Streets With Men in Kilts Day,” suggested by Victoria Medaglia. She adds:
And I would do so well before the fact so the boys could all kilt themselves out. I speak from experience when I say there’s nothing sexier than the swing of a kilt in full waltz or reel.
“National Honor-the-Facts Day,” suggested by Steve Ross
“A Day of Gratitude to The Middle Class,” suggested by Joanne Allard. She adds:
[I would] use it to promote understanding of how fragile an institution it is, yet how profound are its benefits. The slogan might be, ‘What lifts my brothers and sisters, lifts me as well.’
“National Day of Glass-Ceiling Smashing,” suggested by Sierra Chandler
“Day of Thanks That the Donald Is No Longer President,” suggested by Bob Morrison
From Michele Gildner:
My inauguration day would be called “Inauguration Day” because it’s not my day so much as it’s the United States’ day. And for me to declare the day this or that, simply because I like a theme or slogan, or I think it might help me make my mark on the office, feels rather unseemly, especially in this unseemly time. Pathetic even.
“I’m President and You’re Not Day,” suggested by Bob Hails
Several readers went with “National Ice Cream for Everybody Day.” From Katherine Hix:
I wouldn’t have any parties or bands or parades; I would give free ice cream to whoever showed up, and it would not be soft-serve chocolate and vanilla. It would be heavy-duty high-test ice cream in lots of flavors. Fun!
“Day of Integrity and Kindness,” suggested by Kathleen Ward
“The Day Ending Inaugural Proclamations,” suggested by Ken Bate
And Bert Woodall would call his Inauguration Day simply “Martha.”
On Monday, February 20, we’ll celebrate Presidents’ Day. So this week, we asked our Politics & Policy Daily readers: What U.S. president do you admire most—and why? We received dozens of thoughtful responses, but here are a few of our favorites.
For Dolores Oliver, the answer is George H. W. Bush. She admires his ability to “work beyond ideological barriers”:
First, Bush was willing to resist pressure to aggressively brag about the fall of the Soviet Union. This approach reminded me of Lincoln’s commitment to welcoming back the South after the Civil War. He worked hard to respond with humility and support to bring the former Soviet satellite countries into the international community and eventually Russia too. Had the West come out with a prideful, bellicose attitude, perhaps we would be far worse off in our relationship with Russia than we are currently.
Secondly, he was willing to stand firm against great pressure within his party against the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Instead, he recognized the need to give individuals with disabilities the opportunity to function independently, thus empowering many who otherwise would be homebound.
Third, he was willing to stand firm against tyranny when Saddam Hussain invaded Kuwait. He worked carefully and wisely to merge together a coalition of more than thirty countries to remove Iraqi forces and liberate Kuwait in under four months.
Lastly, he was willing again, against great pressure, to acknowledge the need to increase taxes—which would eventually lose him a second term.
On a similar note, Mary Shannahan chose President Jimmy Carter because he “walks his talk”:
I admire him because of his integrity while in office. Since his term ended, he’s facilitated peace on a global level and supervised integrity, or lack of it, in elections throughout the world. Here in the States he’s active with Habitat for Humanity. His principles are guided by his faith.
From Jennifer Poulakidas: “LBJ, for sure”:
What President Johnson was able to accomplish during his tenure is undeniably amazing and advanced our country in many very significant ways. AND, he was able to get a majority of the Congress to join him! The Civil Rights Acts, the Voting Rights Act, the first ESEA and HEA bills, the Immigration Act of 1965, the establishment of Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid and Work Study, creation of the National Endowments of Humanities and the Arts—the list could continue.
Paul E. Doherty suggested President Harry Truman, who he calls a real “man’s man.” Why?
He probably made more difficult decisions than any other president, and right or wrong, he made them in the best interest of our country. He truly meant it with the sign on his desk in the Oval Office that said “The Buck Stops Here!” After leaving the White House he went back to Independence, Missouri, to live the rest of his life with his family. Truly a great American!
Reader Cindy Simpson would have some questions for FDR:
If he were in office today, he’d probably be impeached: Did he know about Pearl Harbor? If so, when, and if not, why? And what about those affairs—for both him and his wife?
But I admire Franklin D. Roosevelt. I believe he led this country through a very difficult time—he helped to get people relief and employment during and after the Great Depression; established social security, the SEC, and the FDIC; and navigated the U.S. entry into WWII (though of course, it wasn’t all good).
For college student Zubair Merchant, it’s a tossup between two young presidents, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama:
Both men had a passion and honor in office that I think is characteristically unique to them. It also helps that they were young and inspirational presidents and that I am in college.
I think that 50 percent of the presidency is policy and 50 percent is rhetoric. On the policy side you can debate that JFK didn’t have time to do much, yet Obama (I believe) moved this country forward in a way that we haven’t seen in a long time (he’s the liberal Reagan, but cooler). On the rhetoric front, they are, in my view, the most inspirational presidents in history, and their youth carried a message that is unparalleled.
Finally, Christopher Wilson didn’t support Barack Obama during his candidacy, but says he still admires him the most—“without question”:
When someone is observed with such scrutiny and vigilance, they cannot escape their faults. President Obama had his. The pivot of his leadership was changing an opinion of what had been a strong conviction—not for the purpose of politics and remembrance—but because he knew it was the right thing to do! Specifically, having held strong opposing views of [same-sex marriage], President Obama made a remarkable turnaround and went full throttle in securing rights and becoming a quiet champion for the community—this in spite of his own personal beliefs. That’s rarely seen in politics, and applaudable.
Lastly, he gave the face of the president its most human touch. His humor, casual style, personal interests, candor and confidence were his beauty. I, like many others were able to connect with and see him for who he was ... a great father, husband, brother, uncle, son, friend and human being.
Thanks for your comments, and stay tuned for next week’s Question of the Week contest.
On Tuesday, President Trump outlined his plans to increase defense spending and invest in America’s infrastructure. This week, we asked Politics & Policy Daily readers where they would allocate extra funds if they were in charge of the country’s budget. Here are some of our favorite responses.
The vast majority of respondents, including Stella Porto here, would invest more in education:
If I controlled the federal budget, I would strengthen basic public education. Provide more access to pre-school education. Make college more affordable. Expand community colleges. Develop re-training programs for those who jobs have been eliminated by automation or other economic trends.
Everything in the country depends on the level of education of its people—absolutely everything, from preventing illness, choosing a better lifestyle, to raising kids responsibly, to choosing elected officials, to fighting for important causes, etc. Citizenship depends on education. Access to good education is at the root of equality.
Chuck Barnes, a retired university faculty member and geologist, suggested funding a year or two of universal service for high school graduates:
I don’t mean military service, although that could be one option. Other options would include a wide range of work and/or training to help create a wide range of social service, training, physical work, military service, etc. This would accomplish two interrelated goals: 1) recognizing that we are such a great nation and that 1-2 years of service are a debt that should be paid for the privilege of being an American; and 2) helping young people from disparate worlds to interact in positive ways, while growing up and maturing.
Donna Hoffman, a former English and drama teacher, thinks America should invest in a new kind of education:
I would take that fictional extra money and put it into the National Endowment for the Arts and change from our current, terrible system of education to the Montessori System used in Europe and in private school systems around the U.S. Yes, our education system needs an overhaul, but it needs to be done by Europeans not Americans who are so enmeshed in what we’re doing now that they cannot see the forest for the trees.
Susan Berkow said she wouldn’t increase military spending because it “is already big enough” but she would spend more on support for veterans.
Connie Hellyer said investing in advancing reproductive rights for women around the world would be a “three-fer” because access to contraception “improves women’s health and ability to enter the labor force,” “improves children’s health,” and “relieves pressure on the environment.”
John Friedin would use the extra money to conduct “scores of scientifically run experiments with guaranteed basic income for all.” More on basic income here.
Jerry Purmal would focus on eliminating student debt:
In order to reduce the time over which each student’s debt lingers, those EXTRA funds would be applied to pay the annual interest on student debt, thus permitting the student’s obligatory loan payments—following graduation and gainful employment—to be entirely credited to reduction of each student’s principal sums interest-free.
Finally, in a time of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” Ken Prahl was thinking about how to learn from some of the lessons of 2016:
I’d use the funds to set up adult-education classes on critical thinking, what it is, and how to perform it—also explaining how history can be described using different narratives and giving examples of different narratives tied to various ideologies.
On Wednesday, a Northern Virginia school district shut down for the day after a number of staff members asked for the day off to participate in “A Day Without a Woman,” a protest to highlight the contributions of women to society. A few weeks ago, a number of restaurants and fast-food chains closed down for “A Day Without Immigrants” to spotlight immigrant contributions in the United States.
So this week, we asked Politics & Policy Daily readers to fill in the blank with a group of people that deserves to be commemorated: A Day Without ______. Our first entry comes from Leslie, who recommends holding “A Day Without Daycare” in order to show:
(1) how important daycare services are to productivity
(2) how parents’ need for daycare is critical (so that they can work)
(3) how much families rely on unpaid daycare help from relatives and friends
Similarly, Brooke proposes a “Day Without Caregivers”—of any kind:
Schools would have no after-care and closed daycares would mean many workers would stay home. By doing our own care work, we would all appreciate how much work it is, how lovely it is to be present for each other, and how hard it is to be present for each other.
Once, when I lived in Bangladesh, a friend’s father was hospitalized. We took turns cooking for him (and the rest of the family) because the hospital did not provide food, maintaining his shadow “chart” so that we had a record of everything that happened to him, and sitting with him so that he always knew someone by his side. In a day without caregivers, we would honor caregivers and the relationships of care that are part of individual and social health.
Sally would agree:
The purpose of the commemoration is to highlight a group which is historically underappreciated, substantially underpaid for their labor, and taken for granted, yet would be sorely missed all around the country. Caregivers—for frail and disabled folks—fit. Now that baby boomers are reaching the stage of needing caregivers, we need to shine a light on how necessary they are for the people they serve and their families. The hard part about this choice is that caregivers can’t simply vanish for a day without endangering people’s lives.
Another reader proposes “A Day Without Cooks” to help recognize their importance in society and in families, adding “In China, there is an idiom: ‘The God of the people is food.’” Emily suggests “A Day Without Working Parents,” and Lynn can’t pick just one group of people; she wants to honor garbage collectors, janitors, teachers, and nurses.
Andrew wonders how Americans would fare for 24 hours without petroleum products:
This would be especially shocking for those on the left and in Congress who like to make the domestic oil and gas industry their perpetual whipping boy—modern healthcare, manufacturing, cheap/safe food, sanitation, all manner of things depend on plastics and petrochemicals. A similar argument could be made for the financial services industry—both are backbone industries upon which the economy runs, so their success (and their compensation) is a testament to how critical and integral to our daily lives and quality of life they are.
White males, police officers, doctors and nurses, (even) politicians.
I don’t seriously propose this, but rather point out that we all play a part in society and the economy, and the whole premise of the “day without” is to draw attention to the contributions of certain groups of people. Like a multi-legged stool, if you remove one of the legs, things get a little wobbly. I’m more of an advocate for everyone doing their jobs, doing them well, and letting your accomplishments speak for themselves.
Chris thinks a good group to commemorate might be older, retired Americans who serve as volunteers in museums, hospitals, and schools:
Many people believe retired Americans are just living it up and collecting their social security and Medicare. We are doing some of that; we’ve earned it. But, we’re also contributing every day in many many ways.
Catherine figures a day without her fellow Millennials might be enlightening: “I think that might indicate to our elder detractors how hard and how much we work in our current economy.” Avid question-responder Howard thinks “A Day Without the Mainstream Media” would help put things in perspective:
Without them, we’d be relegated to the likes of Breitbart, Alex Jones’s Infowars, Daily Caller, The Blaze, American Pravda (aka Fox “News” Channel) and their counterparts on the nutty left (although there aren’t nearly as many).
Finally, Joseph Luchok simply hopes for “a day without Twitter.”
This week, in honor of March Madness, we asked Politics & Policy Daily readers: If you had to pick a lawmaker to coach your team and take it to the Final Four, who would you pick—and why?
Eileen is one of several readers who thought of Arizona Senator John McCain:
His military service and his ability to survive as a POW held by the Vietcong are a tribute to his character. Equally impressive is his courage as a Republican to speak out when he sees something is wrong. He did this recently in asking President Trump to show evidence of wiretapping by former President Obama or to stop talking about it.
But after some consideration, Eileen decided she’d rather have Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as her team’s coach:
His energy, enthusiasm, clear thinking, and ability to decipher complex issues and explain them in simple terms is more than impressive. He is a role model for all people, no matter their race, nationality, or religion. He gets my vote for the above reasons. He is my go-to guy. If there is a job to be done, he can be counted on to do it.
For reader Adela, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is the obvious choice:
Can’t you just see her on the court cheering on her players? She’d be a dynamo! And she’d defend her team like a mother tigress. No ref would dare to argue with her if she knew she was right. She would, no doubt, get ejected from many games because she’d be warned, but, nevertheless, she’d persist!
Another suggestion for Warren—plus some notable support staff—comes from Barbara:
Warren is feisty, and would have high expectations of her team players as well as her assistant coaches. Everyone would know they needed to play their best game, both on the court and off. As a player, you would know Coach Warren would be fair and have your back. You would know not to cross her or be dishonest with her lest you incur her “come-to-Jesus” and get benched.
Her players and assistant coaches (Hillary Clinton, teaching community-building skills by listening and bringing together players, parents, community, and fans; Tammy Baldwin, teaching loyalty and team building skills; Michelle Obama, teaching healthy-eating and exercise-training skills; Barack Obama, team adviser) would be dedicated to helping each player be their best as a student athlete, in their coursework, and as a global citizen.
Tricia picks 84-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg to take her NCAA team to the final four. Here’s why:
She’s tougher than nails, smarter than a whip, she does her homework, and she perseveres to the end. She’d have a few tricks up her sleeve and our team would be the winner against unimaginable odds. It would be my—and her—thrill of a lifetime.
Dirk of Holland, Michigan, chooses a congressman from his home state to bring his team to victory—Republican Representative Bill Huizenga:
He’s got the spine, imagination, and drive to get ’er done. He’s also Dutch-American, which means he’s hard-headed, a great coach to those alongside him, and knows his people well.
Kennedy recommends South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, “because Lindsey Graham.” And finally, Bruce has a joke about the popular vote:
Come on! It would have to be Trump. Even if the other team scored more points, you’d somehow still win.
“Wealth work” is one of America’s fastest-growing industries. That’s not entirely a good thing.
In an age of persistently high inequality, work in high-cost metros catering to the whims of the wealthy—grooming them, stretching them, feeding them, driving them—has become one of the fastest-growing industries.
Low-skill, low-pay, and disproportionately done by women, these jobs congregate near dense urban labor markets, multiplying in neighborhoods with soaring disposable income. Between 2010 and 2017, the number of manicurists and pedicurists doubled, while the number of fitness trainers and skincare specialists grew at least twice as fast as the overall labor force.
While there are reasons to be optimistic about this trend, there is also something queasy about the emergence of a new underclass of urban servants.
He understands men in America better than most people do. The rest of the country should start paying attention.
Every morning of my Joe Rogan experience began the same way Joe Rogan begins his: with the mushroom coffee.
It’s a pour-and-stir powder made from lion’s mane and chaga—“two rock-star mushrooms,” according to Joe—and it’s made by a company called Four Sigmatic, a regular advertiser on Joe Rogan’s wildly popular podcast. As a coffee lover, the mere existence of mushroom coffee offends me. (“I’ll have your most delicious thing, made from your least delicious things, please,” a friend said, scornfully.) But it tastes fine, and even better after another cup of actual coffee.
Next, I took several vitamin supplements from a company called Onnit, whose core philosophy is “total human optimization” and whose website sells all kinds of wicked-cool fitness gear—a Darth Vader kettlebell ($199.95); a 50-foot roll of two-and-a-half-inch-thick battle rope ($249.95); a 25-pound quad mace ($147.95), which according to one fitness-equipment site is a weapon dating back to 11th-century Persia. I stuck to the health products, though, because you know how it goes—you buy one quad mace and soon your apartment is filled with them. I stirred a packet of Onnit Gut Health powder into my mushroom coffee, then downed an enormous pair of Alpha Brain pills, filled with nootropics to help with “memory and focus.”
Meritocracy prizes achievement above all else, making everyone—even the rich—miserable. Maybe there’s a way out.
In the summer of 1987, I graduated from a public high school in Austin, Texas, and headed northeast to attend Yale. I then spent nearly 15 years studying at various universities—the London School of Economics, the University of Oxford, Harvard, and finally Yale Law School—picking up a string of degrees along the way. Today, I teach at Yale Law, where my students unnervingly resemble my younger self: They are, overwhelmingly, products of professional parents and high-class universities. I pass on to them the advantages that my own teachers bestowed on me. They, and I, owe our prosperity and our caste to meritocracy.
Two decades ago, when I started writing about economic inequality, meritocracy seemed more likely a cure than a cause. Meritocracy’s early advocates championed social mobility. In the 1960s, for instance, Yale President Kingman Brewster brought meritocratic admissions to the university with the express aim of breaking a hereditary elite. Alumni had long believed that their sons had a birthright to follow them to Yale; now prospective students would gain admission based on achievement rather than breeding. Meritocracy—for a time—replaced complacent insiders with talented and hardworking outsiders.
Hundreds of skeletons are scattered around a site high in the Himalayas, and a new study overturns a leading theory about how they got there.
In a kinder world, archaeologists would study only formal cemeteries, carefully planned and undisturbed. No landslides would have scattered the remains. No passersby would have taken them home as souvenirs, or stacked them into cairns, or made off with the best of the artifacts. And all this certainly wouldn’t be happening far from any evidence of human habitation, under the surface of a frozen glacial lake.
But such an ideal burial ground wouldn’t have the eerie appeal of Skeleton Lake in Uttarakhand, India, where researchers suspect the bones of as many as 500 people lie. The lake, which is formally known as Roopkund, is miles above sea level in the Himalayas and sits along the route of the Nanda Devi Raj Jat, a famous festival and pilgrimage. Bones are scattered throughout the site: Not a single skeleton found so far is intact.
Days after considering the implementation of universal background checks, President Donald Trump has sidelined the issue.
Three days after a pair of mass shootings in Ohio and Texas that left 31 people dead, President Donald Trump was preoccupied with visions of a Rose Garden ceremony.
His daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, had proposed the idea of a televised Rose Garden appearance as a way to nudge her father toward supporting universal background checks. The president had recently suggested he was open to the gun-control measure, tweeting, “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform.” To be sure, this was similar to how he’d responded to other mass shootings during his 31-month presidency, and each time, the push for action fizzled. But the prospect of a Rose Garden ceremony, his daughter thought, where Trump could sign a document and call it “historic” and “unprecedented”—and receive positive media attention—might be the best chance of yielding real change.
AM stations just wanted to keep listeners entertained—but ended up remaking the Republican Party.
No one set out to turn the airwaves into a political weapon—much less deputize talk-radio hosts as the ideological enforcers of a major American political party. Instead the story of how the GOP establishment lost its power over the Republican message—and eventually the party itself—begins with frantic AM radio executives and a former Top 40 disc jockey, Rush Limbaugh.
In the late 1980s, AM radio was desperate for new content. Listeners had migrated to FM because music sounded better on there, and advertising dollars had followed. Talk-radio formats offered a lifeline—unique programming that FM didn’t have. And on August 1, 1988, Limbaugh debuted nationally. At the outset, Limbaugh wasn’t angling to become a political force—he was there to entertain and make money. Limbaugh’s show departed from the staid, largely nonpartisan, interview and caller-based programs that were the norm in earlier talk radio. Instead, Limbaugh was a consummate showman who excited listeners by being zany and fun and obliterating boundaries, offering up something the likes of which many Americans had never heard before.
Can straight men and women really be best friends? Their partners are wondering, too.
In 1989, When Harry Met Sally posed a question that other pop-cultural entities have been trying to answer ever since: Can straight men and women really be close friends without their partnership turning into something else? (According to The Office, no. According to Lost in Translation, yes. According to Friends … well, sometimes no and sometimes yes.) Screenwriters have been preoccupied with this question for a long time, and according to a new study published in the Journal of Relationships Research, the question is also likely to be on the minds of people whose romantic partners have best friends of the opposite sex.
For the study, Eletra Gilchrist-Petty, an associate professor of communication arts at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Lance Kyle Bennett, a doctoral-degree student at the University of Iowa, recruited 346 people, ranging in age from 18 to 64, who were or had been in a heterosexual relationship with someone who had a different-sex best friend. When they surveyed participants’ attitudes toward cross-sex best friendships, they found that people who are engaged to be married look more negatively on those friendships than married, single, or dating people. They also found that people who are skeptical of cross-sex best friendships in general are more likely to “lash out” at their partner when they feel threatened by the partner’s best friend—as opposed to constructively communicating with their partner, or with the friend, about the situation.
Law-enforcement agencies can arrest terrorists, but they cannot settle existential arguments about the nature of American democracy.
The massacre in El Paso, Texas, has, for the moment, reminded Americans of the danger posed by far-right terrorists. Former national-security officials have demanded that the U.S. government “make addressing this form of terrorism as high a priority as countering international terrorism has become since 9/11.” Retired Marine General John Allen and the former senior U.S. diplomat Brett McGurk have argued that far-right extremism poses “an equal threat” as jihadist groups such as ISIS.
This is incorrect. White nationalism is a far greater threat to American democracy than jihadism, and always has been. But there are actually two challenges posed by white nationalism: One is the threat posed to American communities by attacks like the one in El Paso, which law enforcement can and should prevent. The other is the threat the ideology the attackers support poses to American democracy, which can be defeated only through politics, and only by the American people themselves.
As the climate warms up, cool summer evenings are becoming a distant memory.
Every summer until fifth grade, my family took the same vacation to the same town on the Jersey Shore. The days were about as idyllic as possible: lots of sunshine, elaborate sandcastles, afternoon pizza from a few blocks away. At bedtime, when the breeze came in off the ocean, we turned off the cranky AC unit in the living room and cracked the windows. I laid in the top bunk in the salt-clean air and listened. And I’m not sure if the sound I heard—a gentle whoosh that rose and fell—came from the ocean or the street. Half-remembered waves, it turns out, arrive and depart at the same pace as light-controlled traffic. Growing up in New Jersey, you learn that a very thin barrier separates the human world from the natural world.
College isn’t providing an effective engine of upward mobility for most Americans.
This article was updated on August 20, 2019 at 5:53pm
A native of small-town Missouri who excelled at Stanford and Yale Law School, Josh Hawley, the junior senator from Missouri, is keenly aware of how higher education can serve as a springboard into the elite and the challenges facing those it leaves behind. But that’s not to say he’s a cheerleader for the higher-education industry. Like many on the right, the senator often speaks of the higher-education sector as a kind of cartel, one that has left America’s non-college-educated majority out in the cold.
At a recent gathering of conservatives, for example, Hawley drew a straight line from the declining economic prospects of non-college-educated workers to a number of social maladies. “Just about any American worker without a four-year college degree will have a hard time in the cosmopolitan economy. Maybe that’s one reason why marriage rates among working-class Americans are falling, why birth rates are falling, why life expectancy is falling. All the while, an epidemic of suicide and drug addiction ravages every sector, every age group, every geography of the working class.”