Don’t look directly at it

First things first: The great American eclipse is finally here, as The Washington Post’s William Wan and Sarah Kaplan remind us, and that Solar eclipse is coming with nearly $700 million tab for U.S. employers, reports Reuters’ Kimberly Chin. Rig up your pinhole camera and try to steer clear of the massive traffic jams on the path of totality. NASA has live coverage here.

This will leave a mark

“The man in the White House is reckless and unmanageable, a danger to the Constitution, a threat to our democratic institutions,” writes The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board in yesterday’s editorial, Enough is Enough (111,000+ shares). Tweets the LA Times, “It's time for Republicans to stand up to Trump.” Says Charlie Sykes, “This will leave a mark (it's also dead on).” 

Mark Murray of NBC News has the details on the latest NBC/Marist polls: Trump's Approval Rating Stands Below 40 Percent in Three Key Midwest States (23,0000+ shares). He notes that in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, more than six in 10 voters say Trump’s conduct as president has embarrassed them. Says Glenn Thrush, “Battleground polls suck. But NBC/Marist MI-PA-WI has Trump deep in the 30s. More imp’t: two-thirds ‘embarrassed.’”

Then there’s this: Some Liberty University Grads Are Returning Their Diplomas To Protest Trump, as NPR’s Alex Wong and Sarah McCammon report. Tweets NPR, “Liberty University graduates are protesting university President Jerry Falwell Jr.'s ongoing support for Trump.” The piece quotes Chris Gaumer, a 2006 graduate and former SGA president, who says, “I’m sending my diploma back because the president of the United States is defending Nazis and white supremacists.”

Jeremy Peters and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times have “The tick-tock of all tick-tocks: masterful reporting on Bannon's demise,” tweets Robert Draper, of Bannon Was Set for a Graceful Exit. Then Came Charlottesville. Tweets Haberman, “To say Bannon was fired isn't right word - long back and forth over weeks and agreed-upon date. It was still messy.” She adds, “A key sentiment expressed to @jwpetersNYT and me by many - WH staff see Kelly as likely the last hope for normalcy.”

To that point, here’s Why top White House officials won't quit Trump, as explained by Axios’ Mike Allen. Tweets Axios, “‘You have no idea how much crazy stuff we kill.’ Senior Trump Admin. officials on why they stay.” Related: White House aides can’t stop talking about President Trump like he’s a toddler, says Daniel Drezner of The Washington Post, who is now explaining and curating the “Trump-as-toddler” Twitter thread. Tweets Drezner, “If you're having problems finding my Trump-as-toddler thread, bookmark this page. It'll be updated weekly.”

In the meantime, Steve Bannon Readies His Revenge, as Gabriel Sherman writes in Vanity Fair. “The war on Jared Kushner is about to go nuclear,” he says. “Really looking forward to the Bannon-Kushner feud ending with the mutually assured destruction of both these idiots,” Drezner tweets.

The deep roots of white supremacy

“Well I know how I'm spending the rest of the morning,” says Sarah Weinman, who links to A Most American Terrorist: The Making Of Dylann Roof, by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah for GQ. It’s “Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah with an unforgettable story about Dylann Roof and the deep roots of white supremacy,” tweets Christopher Cox. Notes Aaron Morrison, “Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah is not on Twitter so I can’t @ her. But you should read her longtail on Dylann Roof.” 

This is, wow

“Who could have predicted the President’s latest outrage? Barack Obama and anyone, really,” writes The New Yorker’s David Remnick in his new piece, Donald Trump’s True Allegiances. In fact, “This is, wow. Barack Obama literally predicted last week in November,” tweets Perry Bacon Jr. “Read Remnick,” tweets Michael Kruse, because, as Scott Bixby tweets, “When Remnick takes the gloves off, he really takes the gloves off.” Adds Nancy LeTourneau, “As always, David Remnick nails it!” 

And while we’re talking about predictions, “Nobody could’ve predicted ---> Secret Service depletes funds to pay agents because of Trump's travel, large family,” tweets Bill Harnsberger. He links to the exclusive from USA Today’s Kevin Johnson, Secret Service out of money to pay agents because of Trump's frequent travel, large family (130,000+ shares). Notes Maggie Haberman, “In on-record invtu, Secret Service director says the agency has already hit mandated caps protecting Trumps/homes.” But “Some folks who had a LOT to say about Presidents golfing and wasting money for 8 years sure are quiet now…” tweets Stephen White

South Asia strategy

Defense Secretary Says Trump Has Settled on an Afghan Strategy, as Michael Gordon, Eric Schmitt and Maggie Haberman report for The New York Times. Tweets Haberman, “POTUS set to clear path for likely deployment of thousands of troops to Afghanistan as part of strategy for region.” She adds, “‘It is a South Asia strategy; it not just an Afghanistan strategy,’ Mr. Mattis said.” As CNN’s Eli Watkins notes in Mattis confirms new Afghan strategy decided (12,000+ shares), Trump will announce the strategy in an address at 9 PM ET tonight.

Meanwhile, “Scary pattern of ships with missiles running into things,” tweets Chris King. He’s referring to Five sailors injured, 10 missing after U.S. Navy destroyer collides with a merchant ship, as Anna Fifield reports for The Washington Post. The piece notes that President Trump “responded to reporters’ questions about the collision by saying: ‘That’s too bad,’” before later tweeting, “Thoughts & prayers are w/ our @USNavy sailors aboard the #USSJohnSMcCain where search & rescue efforts are underway.” Get ongoing updates from the U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs at USS John S. McCain collides with merchant ship near Strait of Malacca.

Crackerjack reporting

In their new piece for The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere, David D. Kirkpatrick and Kenneth Vogel report, Lobbyist at Trump Campaign Meeting Has a Web of Russian Connections. Tweets Vogel, “The Russian-American lobbyist who met w DJT Jr & Kushner has much deeper ties to Russian gov't than previously known.” “Soldier, Student, Lobbyist, Question Mark?” tweets LaFraniere. Tweets Karoun Demirjian, “NYT deep dive on other Russian in Trump Tower mtg: closer to the Kremlin than we realized.” “Crackerjack reporting,” says Karl Vick.

RIP Dick Gregory, Jerry Lewis

Two comedy legends died over the weekend. In The New York Times, Clyde Haberman has the obituary for Dick Gregory, Who Found Humor in the Civil Rights Struggle (118,000+ shares). Tweets Haberman, “My @nytimes obit on a man who transformed cool humor into a barbed force for civil rights.” Read more from CNN’s Dean ObeidallahDick Gregory's devastating, and funny, attack on racism

At Variety, Richard Natale and Carmel Dagan broke the news that Jerry Lewis Died: Comedy Legend Was 91 (465,000 shares). Duane Byrge and Mike Barnes have the tribute in The Hollywood Reporter, Jerry Lewis, Nonpareil Genius of Comedy, Dies at 91 (75,000 shares), one that prompted Merriam-Webster to tweet, “We're also tracking ‘nonpareil’ (having no equal), used in Hollywood Reporter obit.”

The patriarchy made me do it

“DAAAAMN,” says Alanna Bennett. She links to Joss Whedon Is a 'Hypocrite Preaching Feminist Ideals,' (31,000+ shares), the guest blog by Whedon’s ex-wife, Kai Cole, posted on The Wrap. Thom Dunn asks, “Does this mean I need to update my resume & remove the part that says ‘Beat Joss Whedon in armwrestling one time?’” “Unbelievable. Geek feminist hero Joss Whedon had multiple affairs AND BLAMED THE PATRIARCHY,” tweets Christina Lee. Tweets Holly Green, “Act 56 in my play, Vocal Male Feminists Are Almost Always Shit.” “lol of course joss whedon is a jerk of course,” says Michelle Lopez. “Joss Whedon, call your office,” says Matt Mackowiak

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