Best Courses

As so often happens in these disasters, the best course always seemed the one for which it was now too late.

– Tacitus, The Histories circa 100 A.D.

This week’s featured posts are “The Coronavirus Genie Escapes Its Bottle“, “Does Anybody Know Who’s Electable?“, and “I’m Voting for Warren“.

This week everybody was talking about COVID-19

Everything I have to say about that is in one of the featured posts.

and the presidential race

Joe Biden got the win he needed in South Carolina. Super Tuesday is tomorrow, with Bernie Sanders expected to pick up the most delegates. Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer have dropped out. I explain why I’m voting for Elizabeth Warren in the Massachusetts primary.

BTW: Here’s something that should have been in my Warren article: Her name-that-billionaire interview with Steven Colbert.

I want to give some appreciation to Pete Buttigieg, who I have enjoyed listening to during this campaign. (I liked his book, too.) He and Warren have been far and away the most articulate of the candidates. I also want to give him credit for knowing just how far to go. His plan was on target until he got to Nevada and South Carolina, where it became clear that his efforts to reach out to voters of color were not going to work. Without them, there’s no way forward for him, so he dropped out. This should clarify the race for other candidates.

As I said in my electability article, I suspect Amy Klobuchar would run the best race against Trump if she could only get there, but I don’t see any way for her to get there. Her home state of Minnesota votes tomorrow, and I hope she has the sense to drop out afterwards.

but you should pay more attention to a court ruling

The DC Court of Appeals ruled against Congress in its suit to get Don McGahn to testify on Trump’s obstruction of the Mueller investigation. (I haven’t read the ruling yet; I hope to report on it in detail next week.) If this stands, Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch is more or less dead. The President gets to decide what evidence Congress can see or not see.

The 2-1 ruling was party-line. One of the judges claimed that Congress had plenty of other ways to negotiate with the President, but it’s hard for me to see any of them working. Yes, Congress could shut down the government until witnesses are brought forward. Or it could impeach the president again — though 34 senators would be enough to hold the line.

and you also might be interested in …

The Trump administration has negotiated an agreement with the Taliban to pull US troops out of Afghanistan. I’m skeptical about anything this administration does, but I’m inclined to wait and see on this one. I doubt it’s a good solution to the conflict, but there wasn’t going to be a good solution.

Turkey has started an offensive against the Assad regime’s forces in Syria. It’s not clear to what extent that will involve clashing with Russian forces supporting Assad. Turkey is a NATO country, though its relationship with the rest of NATO has been strained recently. But things get really dicey if Turks and Russians start fighting pitched battles.

The Justice Department has opened an office dedicated to denaturalization, i.e., undoing the process through which immigrants become U.S. citizens. Denaturalization was already a thing: If you committed fraud on your citizenship application and gave the government some other reason to want you gone (like recruiting for Al Qaeda), the Obama administration might take back your citizenship and deport you.

The worry here is that the Trump regime, which has already expanded the conditions for denaturalization, is planning to get much more aggressive, because it wants immigrants gone in general.

Over the past three years, denaturalization case referrals to the department have increased 600 percent. … Some Justice Department immigration lawyers have expressed worries that denaturalizations could be broadly used to strip citizenship, according to two lawyers who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

They cite the fact that the department can pursue denaturalization lawsuits against people who commit fraud, as it did against four people who lied about being related to become U.S. citizens. Fraud can be broadly defined, and include smaller infractions like misstatements on the citizenship application.

While we’re talking about immigrants who were naturalized under false pretenses, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about Melania Trump.

Hidden Figures mathematician Katherine Johnson died at 101. She lived long and prospered.

and let’s close with some medical advice

At times like these, it’s important to know which doctors you should listen to. Here’s a chart that boils it down.

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  • David Weissbard  On March 2, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Where is Dr, Who??????

    • thebhgg  On March 2, 2020 at 1:38 pm

      Top left. “The Doctor” is how they refer to themselves.

  • thebhgg  On March 2, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    That Dr. Huxtable placement 😬😬😬

  • David Goldfarb  On March 2, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    Doctor Strange belongs way farther to the right: before he was a sorcerer, he was in fact a licensed surgeon, one of the best in the world.

  • RidingAmokAG  On March 4, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    I *love* that Neil Patrick Harris is on the chart twice, in more or less inverse positions.

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