Good Monday morning, and wishing a peaceful, restful Memorial Day to you and yours. Pausing to remember a part of the beating heart of America that too often eludes us — the fallen, and the serving:
After a week abroad that gave him at least physical distance from the chaos in his West Wing, President Trump this week will confront decisions on three questions that will affect the rest of his term:
A ton of juice in a N.Y. Times front-pager, "Kushner's Role In White House Is Under Strain: Family Ties Tested as Russia Case Grows," by Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman and Sharon LaFraniere:"[T]he Trump-Kushner relationship, the most stable partnership in an often unstable West Wing, is showing unmistakable signs of strain.""The most serious point of contention between the president and his son-in-law ... was a video clip this month of Mr. Kushner's sister Nicole Meyer pitching potential investors in Beijing on a Kushner Companies condominium project in Jersey City.""In the following days during routine West Wing meetings, the president made several snarky, disparaging comments about Mr. Kushner's family and the visas that were clearly intended to express his annoyance ... Kushner did not respond, at least not in earshot."Trump, in a statement to The Times last night: "Jared is doing a great job for the country. I have total confidence in him. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person."P.S. Merkel say Europe must go it alone:
President John F. Kennedy was born 100 years ago today — May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Mass. He was 43 when he was elected, and lived 3 more years.
BuzzFeed's Ruby Cramer pulls off a Hillary Clinton story that reminds her colleagues of Jimmy Breslin's classic on JFK's gravedigger — an unsung everyman, just off the grand stage ...
"The Place Where Letters To Hillary Clinton Go: At just 30 years old, Rob Russo has been one of Hillary Clinton's closest aides for a decade, organizing and drafting her political and personal correspondence. After the election, his job changed as thousands of strangers starting writing to Clinton. Now he's living through the end of an era, one letter at a time."
Interviews with Russo over the last three years — before, during, and after the campaign — depict a career spent producing the materials that, as he describes it, "neatly catalogue the experience" of Hillary Clinton's life. So he was not prepared, a few days after the blow of Nov. 8, for the letters that started showing up in P.O. Box 5256, the one listed on Clinton's website. They came by the hundreds, most from people his boss had never met — all about the loss.
From the forthcoming New Yorker ... "A Reporter at Large: The Addicts Next Door — West Virginia has the highest overdose death rate in the country. Locals are fighting to save their neighbors — and their towns —from destruction," by Margaret Talbot:
Half of those who began using heroin before 1980 were white; nearly ninety per cent of those who began using in the past decade were white. This demographic shift may be connected to prescribing patterns. A 2012 study by a University of Pennsylvania researcher found that black patients were thirty-four per cent less likely than white patients to be prescribed opioids for such chronic conditions as back pain and migraines, and fourteen per cent less likely to receive such prescriptions after surgery or traumatic injury.
But a larger factor, it seems, was the despair of white people in struggling small towns. Judith Feinberg, a professor at West Virginia University who studies drug addiction, described opioids as "the ultimate escape drugs."
She told me, "Boredom and a sense of uselessness and inadequacy—these are human failings that lead you to just want to withdraw. On heroin, you curl up in a corner and blank out the world. It's an extremely seductive drug for dead-end towns, because it makes the world's problems go away. Much more so than coke or meth, where you want to run around and do things—you get aggressive, razzed and jazzed."
Caption contest winner: "Andrew, get off your phone."
Click du jour: Andrew yesterday (!) posted a montage of 33 classic Donald Trump front pages ("woods") from the N.Y. Post: "reminds me, one day in 2016 @natemcdermott [a KFILE reporter] went to @nypl and copied all the NY Post Trump covers from early 1990-1991."