News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
This is an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
One-third of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents polled selected Biden as their choice to take on President Trump in 2020.
Other popular choices included Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with 13 percent and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at 9 percent.The Hill
Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) were also possible candidates.
Biden has consistently polled ahead of other Democrats and Trump in a number of surveys about potential 2020 showdowns.
But the former VP has not yet said whether he plans to run, saying last week that he is not running for president “at this point.”
Early in his presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump dismissed political data as an “overrated” tool. But after he won the Republican nomination, his team began building a database that offers a pipeline into the heart of the party’s base, a comprehensive list including the email addresses and cellphone numbers of as many as 20 million supporters.
Now, consultants close to the Trump campaign are ramping up efforts to put that database — by far the most sought-after in Republican politics — to use, offering it for rent to candidates, conservative groups and even businesses.
It is an arrangement that has the potential to help the Republican Party in key midterm races, while providing a source of revenue for President Trump’s campaign and the consultants involved.
It has also set off concerns about diluting the power of one of Mr. Trump’s most potent political assets, while raising questions about whether his team is facilitating the sort of political profiteering that he disparaged during his campaign.New York Times
It was once argued that the trees would help save Florida’s Panhandle from the fury of a hurricane, as the acres of forests in the region would provide a natural barrier to savage winds that accompany the deadly storms.
It’s part of the reason that tighter building codes — mandatory in places such as South Florida — were not put in place for most of this region until just 11 years ago.
And it may be a painful lesson for area residents now that Hurricane Michael has ravaged the region, leaving sustained damage from the coast inland all the way to the Georgia border.
“We’re learning painfully that we shouldn’t be doing those kinds of exemptions,” said Don Brown, a former legislator from the Panhandle who now sits on the Florida Building Commission. “We are vulnerable as any other part of the state. There was this whole notion that the trees were going to help us, take the wind out of the storm. Those trees become projectiles and flying objects.”AP
One irony of the crisis over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi is the opportunity it has provided Turkey to polish its image.Bloomberg
It’s not just that a Turkish court on Friday finally released the American pastor Andrew Brunson, who had been detained for nearly two years. The Turkish authorities have blown the whistle on the Saudis, leaking surveillance footage and dossiers of the Saudi team alleged to have murdered Khashoggi in the face of stonewalling from Riyadh. They also claim to have audio and video evidence showing that Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate this month.
Now prominent Turkish leaders are sounding like spokesmen for Human Rights Watch. “The fate of Khashoggi is a test for the whole world with respect to freedom of expression,” former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu tweeted.
During normal times, therapists say, their sessions deal with familiar themes: relationships, self-esteem, everyday coping. Current events don’t usually invade. But numerous counselors said Trump and his convulsive effect on America’s national conversation are giving politics a prominence on the psychologist’s couch not seen since the months after 9/11—another moment in which events were frightening in a way that had widespread emotional consequences.
Empirical data bolster the anecdotal reports from practitioners. The American Psychiatric Association in a May survey found that 39 percent of people said their anxiety level had risen over the previous year—and 56 percent were either “extremely anxious” or “somewhat anxious about “the impact of politics on daily life.” A 2017 study found two-thirds of Americans’ see the nation’s future as a “very or somewhat significant source of stress.”
These findings suggest the political-media community has things backward when it comes to Trump and mental health.
For two years or more, commentators have been cross-referencing observations of presidential behavior with the official APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual’s definition of narcissistic personality disorder. Journalists have compared contemporary video of Trump with interviews from the 1980s for signs of possible cognitive decline. And even some people on his own team, according to books and news reports, have been reading up on the process of presidential removal under the 25thAmendment of the Constitution—fueled by suspicions that the president’s allegedly erratic and undeniably precedent-shattering approach to the Oval Office might prove eventually to be a case of non compos mentis.
A more plausible interpretation, in the view of some psychological experts, is that Trump has been cultivating, adapting and prospering from his distinctive brand of provocation, brinkmanship and self-drama for the past 72 years. What we’re seeing is merely the president’s own definition of normal. It is only the audience that finds the performance disorienting.Politico