‘World Leaders on Twitter’

Twitter on Friday published a blog post in which the company explains why it won’t ban heads of state from its platform. Of course, “world leaders” is really a euphemism for “Donald Trump.” Twitter writes:

Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.

What Twitter is saying is, despite Trump’s proclivity for threatening nuclear war, they won’t take action because apparently threatening war isn’t in violation of their terms of service.

Tim Cook Comments on US Exiting Paris Accord

John Paczkowski reports for BuzzFeed on an internal memo that Cook sent to employees about the news this week that President Trump decided to withdraw from the Paris Accord. In the memo, Cook wrote: "I spoke with President Trump on Tuesday and tried to persuade him to keep the U.S. in the agreement. But it wasn’t enough."

Cook followed the memo by tweeting that "Apple is committed to fight climate change and we will never waver."

Trump's Managerial Style

Excellent piece by Ashley Parker for The Washington Post on Trump's treatment of staffers in the White House. My read is Trump belittles and berates in his authoritarian way.

This part, however, reads to me like complete bullshit:

“President Trump has a magnetic personality and exudes positive energy, which is infectious to those around him,” Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, said in a statement. “He has an unparalleled ability to communicate with people, whether he is speaking to a room of three or an arena of 30,000. He has built great relationships throughout his life and treats everyone with respect. He is brilliant with a great sense of humor . . . and an amazing ability to make people feel special and aspire to be more than even they thought possible.”

Trump doesn't strike me as a person with a "magnetic personality" that "exudes positive energy." But what do I know? I'm just a snowflake liberal.

On Gabe Fleisher and 'Wake Up To Politics'

Great NYT profile of Gabe Fleisher, a 15-year-old kid reporter, who runs the Wake Up To Politics daily newsletter. As Stuart Emmrich writes, Fleisher has quite a following:

The free newsletter, which he has been writing in some form since he was 8, is a surprisingly sophisticated, well-researched summary of the day’s political news. It counts among its subscribers Gene B. Sperling, contributing editor at The Atlantic; the MSNBC anchor Steve Kornacki; Major Garrett, chief White House correspondent for CBS News; the “Daily Show” correspondent Roy Wood Jr. (who on Twitter called Wake Up “one of the best political newsletters to hit my inbox”); the author Mark Halperin; and Jim VandeHei, the founder of Axios and a founder of Politico — as well as reporters for The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today, many of whom are among Gabe’s nearly 5,000 Twitter followers. (Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, is also a follower.)

This story is the best thing I've read in a while. I subscribed to the newsletter.

Macron Defeats Le Pen in 🇫🇷 Presidential Election

Alissa J. Rubin, reporting for the New York Times:

Emmanuel Macron, a youthful former investment banker, handily won France’s presidential election on Sunday, defeating the staunch nationalist Marine Le Pen after voters firmly rejected her far-right message and backed his call for centrist change, according to partial returns.

Mr. Macron, 39, who has never held elected office, will become the youngest president in the 59-year history of France’s Fifth Republic after leading an improbable campaign that swept aside France’s establishment political parties.

Kudos to the French for not doing what we Americans did with Trump.

On Trumpcare and Special Education

Erica L. Green, reporting for the New York Times:

With all the sweeping changes the Republican bill would impose, little attention has been paid to its potential impact on education. School districts rely on Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor, to provide costly services to millions of students with disabilities across the country. For nearly 30 years, Medicaid has helped school systems cover costs for special education services and equipment, from physical therapists to feeding tubes. The money is also used to provide preventive care, such as vision and hearing screenings, for other Medicaid-eligible children.


The new law would cut Medicaid by $880 billion, or 25 percent, over 10 years and impose a “per-capita cap” on funding for certain groups of people, such as children and the elderly — a dramatic change that would convert Medicaid from an entitlement designed to cover any costs incurred to a more limited program.

As someone who received services as a student and later worked in special education classrooms, this part of the AHCA really pisses me off. Special Ed funding is already woeful, and this is a double whammy for families who need medical care for their students.

To Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan for sheparding this bill: 🖕🏼

'The New York Times Reporter Trump Can't Quit'

I've been meaning to link to this for a while. CNN's Dylan Byers wrote a terrific profile of Maggie Haberman, the NYT's White House correspondent. I follow her on Twitter and she's wonderful. If you aren't already following her, I highly suggest doing so.

There may be no reporter Trump respects, and fears, more than Haberman. He may bash and beat up on the Times, and her, but he inevitably returns to her to share his thinking and participate in interviews. He does so because, in addition to having known her for so long, he knows that she matters, that she will not treat him with kid gloves but not be unfair either, that she commands the respect of the political communities in both Washington and New York.

"I think he respects her diligence, her fairness, her intelligence and the investment she's put into the relationship," said Michael Barbaro, a colleague of Haberman's at the Times.

On James Comey and the Clinton Email Scandal

Yesterday's (April 24, 2017) episode of The Daily is the best one yet. I'm loving this show, and this episode is a must-listen if you haven't already. (To listen in Overcast, click here.)

'Mother Jones' Magazine Sees a Surge in Support

Great profile of the publication by Dominic Fracassa for the San Francisco Chronicle:

Editor in Chief Clara Jeffery describes the Mother Jones voice as “your smart, savvy, sometimes sarcastic friend who knows a lot about politics and current events and really cares about what’s happening to our democracy.”

Given the banner year Mother Jones had in 2016 — capped off by its designation as the 2017 Magazine of the Year by the American Society of Magazine Editors — it seems that news consumers are listening.

As a nonprofit organization that relies on subscriptions and donations to make up 70 percent of its operating budget, the magazine is poised to reap the rewards of a shift in the way journalism is paid for. As the Trump administration ramps up its antagonistic posturing toward the media, calls have gone out across the country for the public to provide direct financial support to media outlets providing essential journalism.

I recently subscribed to Mother Jones, something I probably should have done long ago considering how long I've followed them online. Their voice does lean progressive, but their reporting is fair and, crucially, accurate. MoJo is an exemplar of journalism done right.

Tim Cook Responds to Trump's Muslim Ban

In a company-wide email, Cook writes:

I've heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support.

There are employees at Apple who are directly affected by yesterday's immigration order. Our HR, Legal and Security teams are in contact with them, and Apple will do everything we can to support them. We're providing resources on AppleWeb for anyone with questions or concerns about immigration policies. And we have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company.

A good response, but compare Cook's to that from Box CEO Aaron Levie:

With all due respect to Cook, Levie's statement is, in my view, much more impactful.

'Which Android Phone Does Donald Trump Use?'

Alex Dobie, writing for Android Central:

Trump's personal Android phone is more than likely a Samsung Galaxy S3, released in 2012, and which last received a software update in mid-2015, with firmware based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

As noted in the intro, we don't know for sure that Trump is still using this specific Galaxy S3. The two NYT reports conflict on whether he turned it in, or is still using it to fire out tweets from the White House. But if he is, and it's the same consumer GS3 model he was apparently using as of February 2016, it's safe to say it's a good three years out of step with the latest Android security updates. Many Android security scares have come and gone since the GS3 got its last update in August of 2015.

White House Website Purged of Disability Reference

Shaun Heasley, reporting for Disability Scoop:

A section on disabilities was one of more than two dozen issues listed prominently on the homepage of whitehouse.gov during former President Barack Obama’s tenure.

The outgoing administration’s site featured information on expanding education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act and a video tour of the White House in sign language, among other materials.

Now, however, links to the disability pages return an error.

Like with women and people of color, I fear Trump's administration will be very unkind to people with disabilities and their supporters. Yet another reason why we're in for a very long and very tumultuous four years.

'A Letter to Today's Young People'

Marco Arment:

Most people in the world are good, and want to be good to each other. Whether they vote that way or not, far more Americans believe in progressive, liberal, inclusive views than regressive, aggressive, conservative ones.

Young people know this better than anyone, because young people are overwhelmingly liberal, even more than older people. That’s not because you’re inexperienced — it’s because you’re right. Your generation is, by definition, further ahead on the march of progress than everyone else. It is literally you who cause the progress as older people die and you rise into power.

Marco is generally correct that Trump's reign of terror won't last forever—thank goodness for the Twenty-Second Amendment—but Trump's presidency is unprecedented on all sorts of levels. Democrats could win the White House and Congress in the future, but the damage a Trump administration could do to America is potentially irreparable. That's why the prospect of President Trump is so bone-chilling—we don't know how the hell Trump will govern the nation, but early indications are it's not going to be pleasant for scores of people. Personally, I'm terrified to see what Trump might have in store for people with disabilities. What's going to happen with my rights?

Trump won't be in office forever, but the damage he could inflict very well may be.

Tim Cook Sends Letter to Employees on Election Results

Jon Russell reports for TechCrunch on Cook's message to staff about the election.

Like everyone who hoped for a Clinton victory on Tuesday night, it's been a rough couple of days for me, but I'm heartened by Cook's reference to MLK's quote on moving forward. The country's future is uncertain, but keeping positive and continuing to do good is all anyone who feels like me can do. As Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech, Trump is going to be president, but we can keep doing good things and push our ideas forward.

'Donald Trump Is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the Establishment'

Matt Flegenheimer and Michael Barbaro, reporting for the NYT:

For Mrs. Clinton, the defeat signaled an astonishing end to a political dynasty that has colored Democratic politics for a generation. Eight years after losing to President Obama in the Democratic primary — and 16 years after leaving the White House for the United States Senate, as President Bill Clinton exited office — she had seemed positioned to carry on two legacies: her husband’s and the president’s.

Her shocking loss was a devastating turn for the sprawling world of Clinton aides and strategists who believed they had built an electoral machine that would swamp Mr. Trump’s ragtag band of loyal operatives and family members, many of whom had no experience running a national campaign.

It's unfathomable to me that the President-Elect is a man not endorsed by a single major newspaper, but by the KKK. Trump is a man who mocks and disparages minorities—women, LGBT, people of color, and people with disabilities—who's going to run America for the next four years.


'As a Disabled Person, I Implore You Not to Vote for Donald Trump'

Great piece by Robyn Powell for Bustle:

Maybe Trump was mocking Kovelski, maybe he wasn't. The truth is, none of us will ever really know for certain. Nonetheless, given Trump’s long history of disregard for people with disabilities, I am inclined to believe he was in fact mocking the reporter. What I can say is that when I saw the video of Trump appearing to mock someone with the same disability I have, I was appalled. When I was younger, I often experienced this kind of ridicule — but you never expect to see such behavior from an adult. It was truly shocking to see such a horrific act, in front of thousands of people, enacted by someone who wants to be president. Indeed, I will never be able to get the image of him appearing to mock the reporter out of my head, nor will I ever be able to respect someone who has seemingly shown such disrespect.


If Trump becomes president, my life and the lives of other Americans with disabilities will be forever changed — I believe for the worse. We will have a president who continues to violate laws that are intended to expand opportunities for us. A president who couldn’t bother to learn about our issues. And above all, a president who has repeatedly disrespected us.