It's only been four days since it was revealed that Herman Cain settled sexual harassment claims when he ran the National Restaurant Association, but the pace at which he's reversed and changed his story only seems to be accelerating.
It's only been four days since it was revealed that Herman Cain settled sexual harassment claims when he ran the National Restaurant Association, but the pace at which he's reversed and changed his story only seems to be accelerating. It took days for Herman Cain to change his mind about whether he remembered a settlement over the sexual harassment claims against him, a day to change his mind about who was behind it, and mere hours to change his mind -- twice! -- over whether his former campaign consultant stabbed him in the back by leaking the story. But just because people talk about the "accelerated" news cycle all the time doesn't mean they forget things more quickly. Unfortunately for Cain, there is video of him making all these contradictory statements -- not to mention the paper records of what actually happened at the National Restaurant Association way back in the 1990s that will probably come out eventually. But to help you keep up, here are the key points so far.
Sunday, October 30
Politico gave Cain's campaign 10 days to respond to the story, and then reporter Jonathan Martin confronted him. "I'm not going to comment," Cain said. When Martin pressed him, Cain replied, "Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?"
Monday, October 31
Cain tells the National Press Club, "I was falsely accused of sexual harassment ... It was concluded after a thorough investigation that it had no basis. As far as a settlement, I am unaware of any settlement. I hope it wasn't for much, because I didn't do anything. But the fact of the matter is I'm not aware of any settlement that came out of that accusation."
Tuesday, November 1
Cain campaign manager Mark Block told reporters at National Journal’s Election 2012 Preview, "Mr. Cain has never sexually harassed anybody. Period. End of story." But he then hinted he knew Cain had made unwanted comments recently: "As the hours go by, it's interesting that we even hear from a radio talk show host of Iowa that a receptionist thought that Mr. Cain’s comments were inappropriate."
Then Cain was interviewed by Fox News' Greta van Susteren and suddenly remembered a settlement. How much was it for? "Thousands, but I don't remember a number. But then [the general counsel] said, The good news is because there was no basis for this, we ended up settling for what would have been a termination settlement ... Maybe three months' salary or something like that, just vaguely trying to recall it."
Later Tuesday, Cain addressed a whole Fox panel. Charles Krauthammer asked him why he couldn't remember a settlement earlier that day, but suddenly remembered on van Susteren's show. Cain said he was just confused by the word "settlement." Cain explained, "Well, it wasn't intended to be Clintonian. It was simply using the word 'agreement,' which in business organizations that I have run, whenever there has been an employee leaving, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, we would generally call it an agreement. So that was the perspective from which I got around to that after trying to recall what was happening 12 years ago.
Cain added that racist liberals were behind the charges. "I believe the answer is yes, but we do not have any evidence to support it. ... Relative to the left, I believe that race is a bigger driving factor."
Wednesday, November 2
But Cain changed his mind about who was behind the story after a third woman told the Associated Press she'd been harassed. Cain decided Rick Perry's campaign was to blame, telling Forbes:
"I told my wife about this in 1999 and I’ve got nothing to hide ... When I sat down with my general campaign consultant Curt Anderson in a private room in our [Senate] campaign offices in 2003 we discussed opposition research on me. It was a typical campaign conversation. I told him that there was only one case, one set of charges, one woman while I was at the National Restaurant Association. Those charges were baseless, but I thought he needed to know about them. I don’t recall anyone else being in the room when I told him."
Anderson works for Perry now. When asked about the charges, Anderson denied having ever heard the story, and was like, What are you guys talking about? I like Herman Cain.
Thursday, November 3
Block told Fox the campaign changed its mind; Anderson wasn't the source after all. "All the evidence that we had of what transpired in the last two weeks added up that Mr. Anderson was the source. We were absolutely thrilled he came on your show and said that it wasn't because Mr. Cain had always had the utmost respect for him." So much respect that he didn't bother to call Anderson and ask, Hey did you rat me out? Block continued, "We accept what Mr. Anderson had said and we want to move on with the campaign."
Later that same day...
Cain went on Sean Hannity's radio show, apparently having not gotten the memo about the truce with Anderson. First, he blamed Forbes for the accusations against Perry. "A reporter did this research and came up with these facts, we didn't ... That was the reporter that wrote the report for Forbes," Cain said, according to The Hill. And yet! Cain still blames Perry, saying he didn't "see any other way this could have come out" and "there aren't enough breadcrumbs that leads us to any other place." And yet!! Cain's not even entirely sure he told Anderson about the sexual harassment claims. "I am almost certain that I did. … This is why we want to get off this merry-go-round," Cain said.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
The MIT economist Peter Temin argues that economic inequality results in two distinct classes. And only one of them has any power.
A lot of factors have contributed to American inequality: slavery, economic policy, technological change, the power of lobbying, globalization, and so on. In their wake, what’s left?
That’s the question at the heart of a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, by Peter Temin, an economist from MIT. Temin argues that, following decades of growing inequality, America is now left with what is more or less a two-class system: One small, predominantly white upper class that wields a disproportionate share of money, power, and political influence and a much larger, minority-heavy (but still mostly white) lower class that is all too frequently subject to the first group’s whims.
As the president nears his hundredth day in office, he seems increasingly concerned about how he’ll measure up.
As he approaches his hundredth day in office, Donald Trump appears to be suffering—once again—from an acute case of presidential status anxiety.
In public, of course, he has labored to play it cool, strenuously insisting (and insisting, and insisting) that he does not care about the “first hundred days” metric that historians and pundits have used to evaluate the success of new administrations since FDR. Trump has called this milestone “ridiculous” and “artificial”—a meaningless media fixation. And yet, the less-than-laudatory press reviews seem to have left him seething. For evidence, look no further than the president’s pathos-drenched Twitter feed, where he recently took to vent, “No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!”
In 1985, Neil Postman observed an America imprisoned by its own need for amusement. He was, it turns out, extremely prescient.
Earlier this month, thousands of protesters gathered at Washington’s National Mall to advocate for an assortment of causes: action against global climate change, federal funding for scientific research, a generally empirical approach to the world and its mysteries. The protesters at the March for Science, as scientists are wont to do, followed what has become one of the established formulas for such an event, holding clever signs, wearing cheeky outfits, and attempting, overall, to carnivalize their anger. “Make the Barrier Reef Great Again,” read one sign at the March. “This is my sine,” read another. “I KNEW TO WEAR THIS,” one woman had written on the poncho she wore that soggy Saturday, “BECAUSE SCIENCE PREDICTED THE RAIN.” Three protesters, sporting sensible footwear and matching Tyrannosaurus rex costumes, waved poster boards bearing messages like “Jurassick of this shit.”
President Trump, in an interview with Reuters, also said while he would “love to solve things diplomatically … it’s very difficult.”
President Trump says “[t]here is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea.” The comments, which were made to Reuters in an interview, come two days after senior members of his administration, in a joint statement, tried to defuse tensions with the communist state, saying the U.S. remained open to talks.
Trump suggested in the interview that while he would “love to solve things diplomatically … it’s very difficult.” The subject of North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program has been a U.S. priority since at least the Clinton administration—though efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula began during the George H.W. Bush administration. But despite bilateral and multilateral diplomatic efforts undertaken by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, North Korea’s nuclear technology has improved, and many experts believe that it could be capable of firing a nuclear-armed missile that could reach Seattle in the next few years.
“Somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25 million books and nobody is allowed to read them.”
You were going to get one-click access to the full text of nearly every book that’s ever been published. Books still in print you’d have to pay for, but everything else—a collection slated to grow larger than the holdings at the Library of Congress, Harvard, the University of Michigan, at any of the great national libraries of Europe—would have been available for free at terminals that were going to be placed in every local library that wanted one.
At the terminal you were going to be able to search tens of millions of books and read every page of any book you found. You’d be able to highlight passages and make annotations and share them; for the first time, you’d be able to pinpoint an idea somewhere inside the vastness of the printed record, and send somebody straight to it with a link. Books would become as instantly available, searchable, copy-pasteable—as alive in the digital world—as web pages.
New presidents often err by either trying to impose their will on Congress or being too hands-off. Trump is on course to commit both errors on his top two legislative priorities.
Mucking up an interaction with Congress is a rite of passage for every new president—usually on health care, and especially for those with limited experience in Washington.
The twin pitfalls for a new president are the same ones the great Tommy Lasorda described in his approach to baseball: “I believe managing is like holding a dove in your hand. If you hold it too tightly you kill it, but if you hold it too loosely, you lose it.” A president can try to push his vision aggressively on Congress, risking backlash from members—let’s call that the Bill Clinton approach. Alternatively, he can try to hang back and let Congress act, risking the chance that without presidential leadership, members will come up with something he doesn’t like, or even worse that they can’t pass. We’ll call that the Barack Obama approach.
Recent border battles have once again redrawn the lines of the metro area.
On the Saturday before Election Day last November, Jason Lary, a former insurance executive, crouched on a rough patch of grass at the center of a busy intersection 20 miles outside of Atlanta in DeKalb County. Lary was holding a hammer, and he tapped carefully on the thin wire base of a campaign sign. “My hand is like Fred Flintstone’s right now because I banged my hand in the night,” he said, noting his latest sign-related injury. This hazard, though, was worthwhile: “If you don’t start [the sign] with your hand, it will bend. It takes longer—guys are 10 times faster than I am. But my sign’s still gonna be up.”
This was a non-trivial advantage for Lary, who for the past month had begun most mornings with a kind of ground-game whack-a-mole. He would put up signs under the cover of night, only to have his opponents dislodge them by hand or, when that failed, run over them with their cars. Nevertheless, Lary was feeling good. “My opposition? Worn down,” he told me. “They don’t even have any more signs. And I kept a stash, knowing this time was coming. This is not my first picnic with nonsense.”
Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang was right that "privilege" is a problem, but not about why.
Poor Tal Fortgang. (Well, perhaps “poor” isn’t the right word.) Not long ago, the Princeton freshman’s white male privilege was known only to those in his life. Then he published an essay about this privilege in a conservative student publication, arguing that because his ancestors had struggled, he personally doesn’t benefit from unearned advantage. If he’s not privileged, no one should be asking him to check his privilege, right? After all, some of his advantage was earned; he just doesn’t happen to be the one who earned it.
Because “privilege” is clickbait, Fortgang’s piece made the rounds, culminating in the New York Times interviewing his classmates about his privilege and whether he had, in fact, checked it. The consensus is that he did not. Fortgang’s privilege has now been checked not only by his classmates and Facebook friends but by the entire Internet.
All over America, people have put small "give one, take one" book exchanges in front of their homes. Then they were told to tear them down.
Three years ago, The Los Angeles Times published a feel-good story on the Little Free Library movement. The idea is simple: A book lover puts a box or shelf or crate of books in their front yard. Neighbors browse, take one, and return later with a replacement. A 76-year-old in Sherman Oaks, California, felt that his little library, roughly the size of a dollhouse, "turnedstrangers into friends and a sometimes-impersonal neighborhood into a community," the reporter observed. The man knew he was onto something "when a 9-year-old boy knocked on his door one morning to say how much he liked the little library." He went on to explain, "I met more neighbors in the first three weeks than in the previous 30 years."
The House voted to extend federal funding for another week, averting a shutdown to buy more time for negotiations on a large spending bill.
President Trump isn’t getting a health-care vote to mark his 100th day in office, but he won’t be saddled with a government shutdown, either.
The House voted on Friday morning to extend federal funding for another week past a midnight deadline as negotiators try to reach an agreement on a large spending bill for the remainder of the fiscal year. The Senate is expected to sign off on the measure later on Friday.
Democrats had briefly threatened to hold up the stopgap measure if Republicans tried to jam through their stalled American Health Care Act. But GOP leaders still can’t find enough support among their members for the proposal, and their decision on Thursday night to again put off a vote defused—for now—the shutdown threat.