Tuesday ReadsPosted: August 30, 2022 | |
Many of you know that I was born in North Dakota and have a long family history there as well as in Minnesota. We moved away when I was a child; but both sets of grandparents were still there, so we often went back to visit. I’m the eldest child in my family, and my other siblings don’t remember much, if anything, about North Dakota, or even about our paternal grandparents. My mother’s parents eventually moved to Indiana.
I’ve heard stories about North Dakota from my parents all my life and I guess for that reason, I still have an emotional attachment to the place. I took two trips up there with my parents, and we found the places my parents were born and grew up–my Dad in Fargo and my Mom in Hope and Lisbon. we also visited the North Dakota State campus in Fargo, where my parents met in a political science class, and Grand Forks, where my Dad got his masters degree at the University of North Dakota. We also explored the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and visited several historical sites.
It might sound strange, but when we were there, I had a real sense of belonging, a feeling that “This is where I came from.” Now my Dad is gone and my Mom has lost most of her memories–at least she can’t talk about them anymore. My Mom used to tell me that I was the only one who could carry on those memories for them.
Do I sound nuts? I don’t know. What triggered this reverie was an article in Smithsonian Magazine: See the Incredible Sunflower Superbloom in North Dakota.
North Dakota is one of the nation’s top sunflower-producing states, using the cheery yellow flowers for everything from bird seed mixes to cooking oils.
But before North Dakota’s many hardworking farmers start to harvest this tasty crop, the state comes alive with the golden hue of thousands upon thousands of sunflowers, all blooming together at the same time.
Known as a “superbloom,” the jaw-dropping phenomenon occurs every year toward the end of summer. Spring planting was delayed this year in North Dakota and other northern states because of cold, wet weather—but that also means that sunflowers in some parts of the state are still blooming.
Right now, many of the state’s sunflower fields are in peak bloom, with nearly all flowers showing off their delicate yellow petals. As such, the state has earned a reputation as “the best place in the United States to experience the vast sunflower blooms,” says Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota’s tourism director, in a statement.
I found this interesting:
Ukrainian immigrants first began planting sunflowers when they moved to North Dakota in the late 19th and early 20th centuries following the passage of the Homestead Act of 1862. Sunflowers are still an important plant for Ukrainians, both symbolically and economically. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, Ukraine was the largest exporter of sunflower oil in the world, though the war has largely halted production, per the New York Times’ Christine Hauser.
As well as this scientific fact:
When they’re young, sunflowers turn their heads toward the sun as it moves in the sky, a behavior known as heliotropism. But as they mature and start to produce seeds, they mostly point east, which scientists have learned helps the plants attract bees and ultimately reproduce.
Quite a few artists have painted sunflowers, and I’ve illustrated this post with some of those works.
On to today’s news…
Trump is melting down on his imitation twitter. So far, he has posted 60 times on Truth Social, including highlighting garbage from Q-anon and 4-chan.
Jake Epstein and Nicole Gaudiano at Insider: Trump posts dozens of memes attacking Biden, the FBI, and others as the former president’s allies beg him to keep quiet.
In the weeks since the FBI’s unprecedented search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the former president’s allies have pleaded with him to stop publicly commenting on the raid and fight the Justice Department’s investigation in the courts.
Trump isn’t listening.
On Tuesday morning alone, Trump has taken to his Truth Social platform over four dozen times to share memes and posts attacking his political enemies. Some posts are memes attacking President Joe Biden or other Democrats, while others are baseless election fraud claims or attempts to delegitimize the FBI.
One post in particular from Tuesday morning shows a photo of Trump with the false caption, “TRUMP WON,” in reference to the 2020 presidential election. The former president then reposted the photo and wrote that the “FBI has advanced this fact even further.”
Another post included a photo with a caption that read: “81 million votes… and I’ve never seen a pro Biden hat, shirt or flag in my life.” Trump reposted the photo and said, “It is rather amazing, isn’t it?”
Trump earlier demanded in an all-caps filled message that he be reinstated as the “rightful winner” of the presidency or that a new election for president be held “immediately” — a request with no basis in constitutional law.
If only there were some way to speed up the investigation and take this man off the streets.
It is hard to read this as anything other than the obvious: a man who is terrified he might be going to jail.https://t.co/0bQJqLMJz4— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) August 30, 2022
Please, let him go to jail. . . please.
Republicans are getting nervous about what Trump’s insane behavior will mean for them in the upcoming midterm elections. Politico: ‘There’s enormous frustration’: Trump forces Republicans off-script… again.
The investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of classified national security records is forcing Republicans into a strained defense during a pre-midterm sprint in which they’d much rather be talking about Joe Biden.
After having decried the FBI’s search of the ex-president’s home, many Trump defenders went silent uponthe release on Friday of the probable-cause affidavit that revealed the extent of Trump’s efforts to hold onto the top-secret documents. GOP worries about the developments of the case and Trump announcing a 2024 run before November are giving way to a subtle, broader warning about putting the former president too much on the ballot this fall.
“Republicans should focus on defeating Democrats, and every Democrat should have the word Biden in front of their name,” said Trump ally and former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich. “The Republican focus should be to win the election in November. Trump will do a fine job defending himself. He’ll be fine.”
Some top Republicans acknowledge the growing angst and concern, as it’s become clearer that Trump may have been warehousing some of America’s most sensitive secrets in an unsecured basement — and even refused to turn them over when the National Archives and Justice Department tried to recover them. One top Republican fundraiser asked to describe the mood among donors, said, “There is enormous frustration.”
“The question is, is there willingness to express that frustration,” the fundraiser added. “I don’t know the answer to that. But there is real frustration, and with the exception of people who are too stupid to understand the need to be frustrated, it is nearly universal.”
Strained defenses and private frustrations are familiar emotions for some Republicans during the Trump era. But the stakes are particularly high this fall, with projections of a red wave in the House getting dimmed to a smaller GOP majority and as Sen. Chuck Schumer appears potentially poised to remain in control of the Senate.
Republican hopes for winning back the Senate are looking worse all the time. Sahil Kapur at NBC News: Here are the signs Republicans’ hopes for a ‘red wave’ are receding ahead of the 2022 elections.
Last fall, Republicans held high hopes of a “red wave” in the 2022 elections after they stormed to power in blue-leaning Virginia and nearly won the governor’s race in New Jersey. While Democrats were demotivated, the GOP base was on fire.
But in recent weeks, numerous data points have indicated Republican prospects of a smashing victory are dimming. While the president’s party tends to perform poorly in midterm elections, there are signs it is shaping up to be an unusual year, potentially enabling Democrats to hold one or both chambers of Congress.
Some of the bad signs for the GOP:
- A Democratic victory in a bellwether election. The starkest sign of a shifting landscape came last week in the Hudson Valley, a highly competitive district north of New York City that has mirrored the national landscape for years. It voted for Joe Biden in 2020, Trump in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2012. In a red wave climate, Democrats would have no business winning the special House election. Yet Democrat Pat Ryan defeated Republican Marc Molinaro in a test of each party’s preferred message. Ryan ran on protecting abortion rights, combating gun violence and battling corporate greed, while Molinaro sought to make the election a referendum on Biden, inflation and “one-party” rule in Washington.
- Persuadable voters are trending toward Democrats. The latest NBC News poll, conducted this month, included an unusual finding for midterm elections: Persuadable voters in the midterm election are tilting toward Democrats, the party in power. This group accounts for about 25% of respondents, who float between the parties and tend to be male, moderate, independent and exurban. They preferred Republicans by 6 points in the combined NBC News polls of January, March and May. But in the August poll, they leaned toward Democrats by 3 points.
- The GOP’s “enthusiasm” edge is shrinking. In March, the NBC News poll found that Republicans held a 17-point “enthusiasm” advantage over Democrats — that is, their voters were more likely to express high interest in voting this fall. In the August poll, the GOP advantage fell to 2 points.
- Mitch McConnell is downplaying expectations in the Senate. McConnell, the Republican leader, isn’t sounding too bullish about his prospects to capture control of the Senate, having predicted just two weeks ago, “There’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate.” That may be a product of the shifting environment, along with a phenomenon McConnell described as “candidate quality.” A series of first-time Republican contenders are struggling in competitive races against seasoned Democratic politicians. Recruitment failures in states like New Hampshire and Arizona have led GOP governors to decline to run.
Read the rest of the bad omens at the NBC link.
Today is the day the DOJ is supposed to file it’s response to the Trump request for a Special Master to review the government documents that the FBI recovered in its search of Mar-a-Lago. Yesterday the judge agreed the DOJ response could be 40 pages long. It looks like Merrick Garland is planning to spell out in detail what Trump is suspected of doing.
Tierney Sneed and Paul LeBlanc at CNN: DOJ to file lengthy response to Trump’s request for a special master to oversee Mar-a-Lago search review.
The Justice Department on Tuesday will file publicly in court its response to former President Donald Trump’s bid for a special master to oversee the FBI’s review of materials seized in the Mar-a-Lago search.
The agency was granted permission by Judge Aileen Cannon of the Southern District of Florida to file up to 40 pages after it said the 20-page limit set by the local rules of the court wasn’t sufficient to “adequately address the legal and factual issues raised by” Trump’s filings.
Cannon, a Trump appointee, did not set a specific deadline for the Justice Department’s filing beyond requesting it “on or before” Tuesday. The judge also ordered the agency to file under seal more details about what it seized from Trump’s resort, and a notice laying out the status of its review of the materials.
Trump must file his reply to the Justice Department by 8 p.m. ET Wednesday night, per Cannon’s order, and the judge has scheduled a hearing for Thursday to consider Trump’s request for a special master — a third-party attorney appointed by a court to oversee part of a certain case. Notably, Cannon has already signaled a “preliminary intent” to grant Trump’s request, which could bring new complications to the DOJ’s closely watched investigation.
Yesterday the DOJ said it has already reviewed the documents.
The Justice Department, meanwhile, has already signaled that it is using an internal filter team to review the seized items and separate material that could be subject to privilege claims.
In a court filing Monday, the agency said it has identified “a limited set of materials” from its search of documents taken from Mar-a-Lago that potentially contain material covered by attorney-client privilege and is in the process of addressing privilege disputes.
Meanwhile, Trump has hired a new attorney who may be more competent than that ones currently representing him. Marc Caputo at NBC News: Trump hires former Florida solicitor general in criminal probe of Mar-a-Lago documents.
Chris Kise, Florida’s former solicitor general who served on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ transition team, inked a contract to represent Donald Trump in the criminal case that resulted in the FBI search of the former president’s home in Mar-a-Lago, according to two sources with knowledge of the discussions.
Kise, who declined to comment, began negotiations with Trump shortly after the FBI’s search of his Palm Beach estate Aug. 8. Numerous other criminal defense attorneys have said they couldn’t represent the former president in the Southern District of Florida, citing the all-consuming job of representing Trump or his reputation as a penny-pinching problematic client with a history of having rival advisers who backstab one another, according to five people with knowledge of the legal effort.
Other attorneys declined because their firms wanted to avoid the political blowback of representing such a divisive figure, according to those in Trump’s orbit who say thatKise is considering leaving the firm of Foley & Lardner — where he had briefly represented Venezuela’s government two years ago when hostilities with the United States ran high — to take the job.
Kise has won four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous ones before the Florida Supreme Court, and he also has a reputation as a skilled political knife fighter. In the waning days of the 2018 governor’s race, Kise widely publicized damaging information about Democrat Andrew Gillum secretly accepting free tickets to the Broadway show “Hamilton” from undercover FBI agents, in contravention of Florida’s ethics laws. Gillum, who denied wrongdoing, went on to narrowly lose to DeSantis and was indicted earlier this year following the FBI investigation.
Read the rest at the link.
We’ll have to wait until Thursday for the hearing in Judge Cannon’s court to learn more about how the investigation of Trump’s theft of highly classified government documents is going. Personally, I can’t wait!
What’s on your mind today? Please feel free to discuss any topic you wish in the comment thread below.