Trump as LBJ? White House officials say President Trump is prepared to use a combination of hug and hammer to try to rescue Republicans' repeal-and-replace plan for Obamacare.
Aides said a harbinger of Trump's involvement is a gentle tweet yesterday at a prominent critic of the legislation: "As I feel sure that my friend @RandPaul will come along with the new and great health care program because he knows Obamacare is a disaster!"
The news coverage is bearish ... Axios' David Nather and Caitlin Owens, "The Obamacare repeal is a mess" ... Axios' Jonathan Swan, "Conservative websites going to war against Trumpcare" ... AP: "Conservative backlash threatens to sink new GOP health bill" ... N.Y. Times front page, above fold, "G.O.P. HEALTH BILL MEETS A REVOLT." Wall Street Journal, ditto, "Health Bill Draws Fire From Foes In the GOP." HuffPost banner yesterday afternoon: "REPUBLICANS COME APART AT THE SEAMS."
A senior GOP source on the Hill was chill, saying some conservative groups are opposing the plan "because it's their business model": "Members are largely in a good place."
Yesterday's WikiLeaks release, "Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed" — starting with a supposed tranche of "8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley," Va. — claims that CIA surveillance can target smartphones and even smart TVs, "recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server."
"Apple says 'many' vulnerabilities in WikiLeaks dump have been patched," per Axios' Ina Fried: "It will work to fix the rest and urged customers to make sure they have the latest security updates."
Axios' Chris Matthews reports that the U.S. has more 26-year-olds than any other age cohort:
"The baby boomers came of age in the 1960s and 1970s — years that saw much faster economic growth than we have today. Millennials have been slow to acquire the trappings of adulthood like spouses, houses and children, but it's only a matter of time before they lean in to the sort of large purchases that can power a consumer-led economy."
I once watched a friend's son repeatedly poking a desktop screen, wondering why it was "broken."
Ross Douthat, the conservative N.Y. Times columnist, compares Trump to Jimmy Carter in "Why Republicans Can't Do Health Care":
David Ignatius column in WashPost, "The country's real-life spy thriller": "Trump's behavior over the past year, as allegations deepened of Russian covert action to help his campaign, has been comparable to his business life. ... This hyper-adversarial style has been on display with the Russia story."
"Spoiler alert: The Russians have already won.
Aussie native Jonathan Swan finds that his homeland is the latest host for the nationalist trend sweeping the globe:
"For all the talk about rising right-wing populist movements in Europe, there's something worth watching on the other side of the planet in Western Australia: An unusual alliance has formed between the mainstream center-right Liberal Party and the hardcore populist nationalist party One Nation, led by the controversial figure Pauline Hanson."
Instagram continues to copy Snapchat, per Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva: After copying Snapchat's Stories feature last year, Instagram has added stickers that users in certain locations can put on the photos and videos they share. Instagram's blatant copying of Snapchat has raised questions about the latter's ability to hold onto its users, especially given Instagram's bigger user base and more sophisticated tools for advertisers and brands.
Tinder has a version of its app for elite users: Tinder Select is an invite-only dating app for pre-vetted users, including CEOs, models, and other ultra attractive people, according to TechCrunch. The secret version has apparently been around for at least six months without the company saying a public word about it.
The Financial Times, in "The three Asian tech titans targeting US with jobs and investment," reports: "Trump has had a tetchy relationship with Silicon Valley to date, but three tech titans from the east have come bearing the very gifts that the US president seeks: investment, jobs and factories."
Justin Green boils down the plans of three Asian tech billionaires:
"Pope Francis' reforms spark revolt of the [Catholic] hard-right: The pontiff faces criticism for his stance on social issues, including support for Muslim refugees" — Financial Times Big Read, by James Politi:
"Emboldened by the rise of rightwing populists across the west, including the presidency of Donald Trump in the US, these internal critics have stepped up their attacks on the Pope's softer tones on social issues, as well as his policies of openness towards Muslim refugees and support for action on climate change. Nearly four years after Francis was elected as a non-European Pope capable of breathing new life into Catholicism around the world, he is arguably facing his sharpest backlash yet."
"A Cartoonist Savors His Favorite Art for The New Yorker" ... N.Y. Times' Jennifer Schuessler quotes Bob Mankoff, who announced last week that he's stepping down as cartoon editor of The New Yorker after 20 years, reflecting on his masterpiece, "No, Thursday's out. How about never — is never good for you?":
"This is my most famous cartoon, and the punch line has been ripped off on T-shirts, even a thong. That one is a little tricky — why would you have that on a thong? I now own the trademark to the phrase. Initially, the Trademark Office denied it, but I was able to show that my cartoon is actually where this phrase, which has been cited many times, comes from."