Messy, messy, messy

The details keep coming. Josh Dawsey, Robert Costa and Ashley Parker of The Washington Post take us Inside the tense, profane White House meeting on immigration. Costa teases via tweet, “Last Thursday, as the news from the immigration meeting exploded, many senior WH aides headed to Cafe Milano to toast Dina Powell. And President Trump was telling friends he thought his comments, which he has since denied, would play well with his base.” As Daniel Drezner points out, “This is the second time Trump’s staff has been caught flat-footed because they were at a Georgetown restaurant.” Also, who hasn’t mistaken “house” for “hole”? In a nutshell, though, “So Stephen Miller, Kelly and the ultra conservatives are the ones tanking the bipartisan immigration deal,” tweets Blair Miller.

So “Why did Democrats blink in December and not shut down government over DACA? Why may they blink again. Right here,” says Nicholas Riccardi, who links to the latest from Jonathan Martin, Michael Shear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times, As Shutdown Talk Rises, Trump’s Immigration Words Pose Risks for Both Parties. Dawsey says it a “Good read from @jmartNYT and crew on the collision course between messy immigration politics, messy 2020 politics and the mercurial Trump.” But Christopher Hooks thinks “the idea that swing state voters are making decisions about whether to vote or not based on the individual day-to-day records of their incumbent senators seems like such a fundamental misreading of the moment, or even the decade.” Andy Kroll makes one thing clear: “Cannot make this stuff up Cannot make this stuff up Cannot make this stuff up Cannot make this stuff up Cannot make this stuff up Cannot make this stuff up Cannot make this stuff up Cannot make this stuff up Cannot make this stuff up.”

Meanwhile, Rob Tornoe directs us to this: “Today, on MLK Day, ICE deported Jorge Garcia, a married father of two in Detroit who has lived in the U.S. for 30 years. He was brought here when he was 10 by undocumented family members, making him too old to qualify for DACA. No record. Paid taxes.” He links to After living in U.S. for 30 years, metro Detroit immigrant is deported to Mexico, by Niraj Warikoo of the Detroit Free Press

What a time to be alive!

Another big story from The Wall Street Journal, this time by Kate O’Keeffe and Aruna Viswanatha, U.S. Warned Jared Kushner About Wendi Deng Murdoch. Tweets Paul Kane, “What a time to be alive! Murdoch's wife had affair with Tony Blair, ending their marriage. She's buds with Javanka. Some US intel think she's using them for Beijing's secret bidding. Oh, this story broken by WSJ -- Rupert's paper.” And this sounds familiar: “You seriously can’t make this up...” says Baker Machado.

In a new op-ed for The New York Times, The President and the Porn Star, Michelle Goldberg writes, “In any other administration, evidence that the president paid hush money to the star of ‘Good Will Humping’ during the election would be a scandal. In this one it has, so far, elicited a collective shrug.” 

And another piece from The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey and Robert Costa making the rounds is Kevin McCarthy relishes role as Trump’s fixer, friend and candy man. “Romantic comedy theory looking pretty good in this new @jdawsey1 @costareports story,” thinks Benjy Sarlin. Oliver Darcy highlights this: “WaPo: Kevin McCarthy had a staffer sort through Starbursts and pull out the cherry and strawberry flavors for a gift to Trump.” So maybe the piece should come with a trigger warning? As Michelle Hackman tweets, “This story gave me traumatic flashbacks to the time my sister-in-law made a band of us sort the pinks and greens out of an industrial-sized bag of awesome twosomes to match her bridal shower theme colors.” 

The Senate’s push to overrule the FCC on net neutrality now has 50 votes, Democrats say, reports The Washington Post’s Brian Fung, which sounds like good news, but James Vincent has the Debbie Downer take: “Bit of a misleading headline — the democrats need one vote .... but also Donald Trump's signature.”

The decline of local journalism

Here’s “A challenge to our democracy getting far too little attention -- the decline of local journalism. There are still amazing pieces being written. But I suspect a reckoning for the collective, staggering loss of reporters asking questions in city after city,” tweets Shelby Grad. He links to OC Register and other Digital First Media newspapers face ‘significant’ layoffs, by Tracey Lien of The Los Angeles Times. Daniel Tedford reiterates: “These news websites and publications, which I work for, are the only places covering numerous communities throughout SoCal. There is no replacement or alternative.” Frank Girardot agrees: “These are deep, deep cuts that will affect a talented group of journalists and hobble critical reporting efforts.”

Full-on fascist

Fair warning: This is a disgusting article. Ben Judah tweets, “I hate, I just hate, having to constantly tweet about antisemitism but this is what a pro-Kremlin website is now publishing (includes attacks on me and my father, @timjudah1).” He’s referring to It's Time to Drop the Jew Taboo, by Charles Bausman on Russia Insider. Joshua Yaffa’s take: “Not this wasn’t the case before, but anyone who publishes on Russia Insider should be filthily ashamed.” Andrew Roth calls it “That moment when the Putin apologist rag goes full on fascist.” Tweets Michael Weiss, “I know irony is dead and we're living in a post-truth Mad Max hellscape, but do realize that Russia Insider was selling the claim that Ukraine had been taken over by neo-Nazis and that this was a bad thing. Now?”

Inside the mind of one of the greatest writers of all time

Things aren’t all bad. As Pamela Paul tweets, “Philip Roth may have officially retired from writing, but he wrote his answers in this interview. And - lucky for us - it shows.” She links to No Longer Writing, Philip Roth Still Has Plenty to Say, by Charles McGrath of The New York Times. “What a beautiful interview. Do read this look inside the life and mind of one of the greatest writers of all time, Philip Roth,” urges Frida Ghitis. Adds David Grann, “(This is an amazing interview and Roth's email replies are the most beautifully written pieces).”

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