Thursday, July 12, 2018

Last Call For Missing What We Had

A new Pew Research poll finds Americans greatly miss the last guy in the Oval Office, because you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

When asked which president has done the best job in their lifetimes, more Americans name Barack Obama than any other president. More than four-in-ten (44%) say Obama is the best or second best president of their lifetimes, compared with about a third who mention Bill Clinton (33%) or Ronald Reagan (32%).

Not yet halfway through his term, 19% say Donald Trump has done the best or second best job of any president of their lifetimes. That is comparable with the share who viewed Obama as one of the best presidents in 2011 (20%).

The survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 5-12 among 2,002 adults, asks people in an open-ended format which president has done the best job in their lifetimes. The analysis is based on their first and second choices.

About one-in-ten adults (12%) say John F. Kennedy did the best job in office during their lifetimes. But Kennedy is named as the best or second best president by about a quarter of those who were alive during his presidency: 24% of Baby Boomers and 25% of those in the Silent Generation.
People’s views of the best president of their lifetimes are partly tied to their ages. Millennials, who are currently ages 22 to 37, are far more likely than older generations to name Obama as one of the best presidents in their lifetimes: About six-in-ten Millennials (62%) view Obama as one of the top two, with nearly half, 46%, naming him the best president.

Older generations are much more likely than Millennials to name Reagan as one of the best presidents. Reagan was president before most Millennials were born.

Gen Xers (ages 38 to 53) are divided in their assessments: 45% of Gen Xers name Reagan, while nearly as many mention Obama (41%) or Clinton (39%).

As a young Gen Xer, Obama/Clinton is an easy one-two for me, but the sentimentality for Ronald Reagan is something I just don't get at all even though he's the first president I actually remember.  You can draw a straight line from Reagan to Trump today, the GOP has been a bunch of racist, bigoted, corporate dickbags my entire lifetime.

It's good to see that we miss Obama, but the people who think Trump's been the best president in their lifetimes are really hideous.

No Time For A Garbage Pie

Local pizza magnate and racist jackass "Papa" John Schnatter is in trouble again as news broke this week of a racist slur he used on a marketing conference call on racial sensitivity training in May, which should tell you exactly how successful Papa John's racial sensitivity training was.

Papa John's founder and former CEO John Schnatter resigned from the University of Louisville Board of Trustees on Wednesday after he admitted to Forbes that he used the N-word and 'hurtful language' during a training session on race in May.

The resignation was effective immediately, said board chairman J. David Grissom in a statement late Wednesday afternoon.

"After speaking with John, I’m confident that his comments, while inappropriate, do not reflect his personal beliefs or values," Grissom said. "No member of the board of trustees condones racism or insensitive language regardless of the setting. The University of Louisville embraces and celebrates diversity and is a supporter of all its students and stakeholders regardless as to their identity. The board appreciates his two years of service and thanks him for his generous support for so many years.”

The incident began with conference call with Papa John's executives and marketing agency Laundry Service that included a role-playing exercise for Schnatter to prevent public relations messes, Forbes reported in a story initially based on an unnamed source. Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online.

Schnatter responded by downplaying his statement last fall that NFL player protests have hurt his pizza business, according to Forbes.

"Colonel Sanders called blacks n----s," Schnatter said, before claiming the KFC founder never faced public backlash like he has received.

During the same conference call, Schnatter also said other remarks that the marketing agency deemed offensive, Forbes reported. Schnatter said that when he grew up in Indiana, people would drag black people behind trucks until they died, the source told Forbes.

In a statement released to Forbes Wednesday afternoon, Schnatter confirmed the allegations against him.

"News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true," he said. "Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society."

A separate statement by Papa John's, also released to Forbes Wednesday, condemned racism "and any insensitive language, no matter the situation or setting."

What a coincidence, Papa John's pizza has no place in my home, either.  And I used to work there after college, too, so I know how it's made.  Don't eat there, trust me.  Even if the founder wasn't a racist jackass, the pizza's still crap.

Oh and apparently late last night, Schnatter left the company completely after the fallout became, well, the last slice of pizza in his garbage pie life.

Papa John’s International Inc.’s Chairman John Schnatter resigned after coming under fire for making racist comments that battered the shares of the pizza chain he founded.

The independent directors of the company accepted Schnatter’s resignation, the Louisville, Kentucky, company said in a statement late Wednesday. Papa John’s will appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks, the company said.

Just seven months after exiting the CEO role over critical comments about the National Football League’s national-anthem dispute, Schnatter came under pressure following a media report that he used a racial slur and graphic descriptions of violence against minorities on a May conference call with a media agency.

I'm impressed it took this long for him to get fired.

That Whole Saturday Night Massacre Thing, Con't

The Senate voted 51-48 on Wednesday to confirm Brian Benczkowski as an assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, ending an 18-month delay in which its Criminal Division operated without a permanent leader.

Benczkowski, a Justice Department veteran who held top posts in the George W. Bush administration, had languished for months as critics raised questions about his legal work for a Russian bank and his close ties to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The attorney general praised Benczkowski on Wednesday after his confirmation was final and called attention to the central role he'll play within the department.

"At a time like this — with surging violent crime and an unprecedented drug epidemic — this position is especially important," Sessions said.

Senate Democrats had urged the White House to withdraw the nomination, citing "poor judgment," after Benczkowski acknowledged briefly performing legal work for Alfa Bank, which has ties to Russian government officials, in 2017.

"At a time when we need the Department of Justice's Criminal Division to help uncover, prevent, and deter Russian interference in our democracy, Mr. Benczkowski's choices so far have not inspired confidence that he is the right person to lead that fight," wrote Sens. Richard Durbin of Illinois and Dianne Feinstein of California, two of the longest-serving Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.

Senate leaders brought the matter to a head this week, voting 51-48 to end debate on the nominee.

Benczkowski has won support from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who said in a speech earlier this year that the nominee was "highly qualified."

Benczkowski has no prosecutorial experience, but he played a major behind-the-scenes role in managing the daily affairs of the Justice Department late in the Bush administration. He also led the transition team at DOJ for the incoming Trump era.

Now, why is this important?

Because the latest Trump regime DoJ org chart states that the number three official at the Justice Department is the head of the Criminal Division.  Behind his former boss Jeff Sessions, and Rod Rosenstein.

Which mean should Rosenstein be fired, Robert Mueller's boss would almost certainly become Benczkowski, a person with no prosecutorial experience whatsoever, somebody already tainted, if not compromised by Russian money laundering, and somebody who worked for Donald Trump's campaign directly. And no, he hasn't said that he would recuse himself should that become the case.

Do we understand the problem now?  Because when Trump tries to fire Rosenstein, he now has the perfect flunky to replace him, ready to go to slow down or even end the Mueller probe.  When the previous number three official at the DoJ, Rachel Brand, announced her resignation in February, I said that her replacement would be expected to swing the axe on Mueller should Rosenstein be fired.  Brand was afraid she'd be asked to oversee the Russia investigation, and that's part of the reason why she resigned.

I said back then that Trump would have time to make a careful selection of somebody already willing to follow his orders on Rosenstein, and even should Trump somehow be talked out of firing Rosenstein, as head of the Criminal Division, Benczkowski could cause serious damage to the investigation through leaks to Trump or by delaying requests from Mueller's office.

The last piece of the puzzle Trump needs to make his move on Rosenstein and Mueller just fell into place.

Stay tuned.


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