With a new biography of Ulysses S. Grant out by the man who helped put Alexander Hamilton back in the center of 21st American popular culture, I’m late to the game to sing Grant’s praises. I have not read Chernow’s book. But I have been rereading Grant’s memoirs. I began writing this post at the end of last year when the valorization of Confederate military leaders was more at the center of our public debate. But these are issues of long standing, going on two centuries. They remain as present and consequential as they’ve ever been and Grant is at the center of that.
Here is what I am thankful for. It’s not the only thing I’m thankful for. It’s not what I’m most thankful for. But it is something I’m very thankful for and it is the thing I’m thankful for that relates directly to this site. So this seems like the place to give thanks.
We’re seeing a lot of coverage today of reports that US intelligence officials warned their Israeli counterparts to be careful sharing information with Donald Trump because he might be compromised by the Russians. This is not new information. Indeed, it is an example of just how much and how early we’ve known about the crisis in the White House, with still relatively little attention being given to the fact of it.
We have four editorial positions we’re currently hiring for. But today we’re announcing one that is uniquely important to me and the future of the organization, our first Prime Editor. This isn’t just an editor to help oversee our subscription content. It’s an editor to help oversee and shape a new way of covering the news that we’ll be doing exclusively within Prime. Please see the full listing after the jump. If you’re up for an exciting challenge and want to work in an expanding, vital newsroom, I encourage you to apply.
(Our other three open positions are: Senior Editor, Assistant Editor and a third reporter to join our Investigations Desk team.)
We now have a basic matter of statutory interpretation determining who is in fact acting director of the CFPB. My sense was that Leandra English had the stronger legal argument here, even if the President has greater powers to get his way in a case like this and likely enjoys more deference from the courts. But the fact the CFPB’s own top lawyer is siding with the President suggests that at a minimum it’s not clear cut in English’s favor. Again, this is a relatively straightforward conflict between two statutes. There are established frameworks judges use to decide which is the controlling law. So, for lawyer readers with experience in this kind of legal analysis, what’s your take? What are the questions we should be asking to help us understand how a judge might rule? Drop me a line at our comments email address linked under the TPM logo at the upper right.
In case you missed it, over the holiday I posted this list of holiday book recommendations. The response thus far has been very positive. So I may add some more. But here are my eight book recommendations – all history related.
Over the long weekend, I took a flyer on a lot of my normal writing, spent time with my family and collected notes on something I’m writing about U.S. Grant and the nature of writing. I saved up a number of articles I wanted to pore over and mine for new information about the Russia probe when the weekend was over. Here are the articles on my reading list today in Josh’s Reading List #7 (sub req).
Bruce Bartlett has spent many years in government, including service on the staffs of Representatives Ron Paul and Jack Kemp and Senator Roger Jepsen. He has been executive director of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, and deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department during the George H.W. Bush administration. A New York Times best-selling author, he’s published more than 2,100 articles in major national publications.
Bruce will be in the Hive to chat about his new book, “The Truth Matters: A Citizen’s Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks,” which focuses on the concept of “fake news” and offers solutions to combat it. Post your questions and join us on Thursday! If you’d like to participate but don’t have TPM Prime, sign up here.
As we watch the drama over the who gets to run the CFPB, let me note an issue of language.
Virtually every mention of the agency I’ve heard today refers to it as a “consumer watchdog agency”. That’s a reasonable definition. But it’s not a clear one, certainly not one that is clear in any political context. Let me suggest that “consumer” is not the important part of the name. Any Democrat should be saying the CFPB an agency to protect consumers from Wall Street banks. That is what it is. It’s meant to be a watchdog to monitor financial services institutions to protect consumers and insure that those financial services companies follow the law. ‘Consumer watchdog’ sounds soft and fuddyduddy-like. It just does.