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Weekend link dump for July 16

What part of DO NOT TOUCH was unclear to you?

Somehow, this is not satire. I got nothing.

“This, of course, presents a problem for marketers: How do you sell food to a group of people that American culture has harassed into a near-universally fraught relationship with your products? It turns out the answer is easy: Just give them something to do with food that isn’t eating it.”

“This is why Senate Republicans are having so much trouble with the health care bill. The Republican health care effort is the most unpopular legislation in three decades — less popular than the Affordable Care Act when it was passed, the widely hated Troubled Asset Relief Program bank bailout bill in 2008, and even President Bill Clinton’s failed health reform effort in the 1990s.”

“The GOP’s health care effort began with the premise that Obamacare is bad and must be repealed and replaced. But repeal and replace is a means to an end, not an end itself. The end, in theory, is the post-replacement health care system — a system that aligns with the GOP’s vision of how health care should work. But that vision is absent. When we asked eight Republican senators to tell us what the health bill was meant to achieve, we got eight different answers, and most of them were incoherent.”

“But in Fayette County and 779 other mostly rural counties across the country — the vast majority of which went for Trump — more than half the children rely for coverage on Medicaid and the related Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, according to a Times analysis of county voting data, census data and Medicaid enrollment data.”

“The head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit in charge of deportations has directed his officers to take action against all undocumented immigrants they may cross paths with, regardless of criminal histories. The guidance appears to go beyond the Trump administration’s publicly stated aims, and some advocates say may explain a marked increase in immigration arrests.”

That was no ordinary Russian lawyer that Fredo Trump met up with.

Yes, you can safely ignore those Jayden K. Smith Facebook messages.

RIP, Deborah Grayson Carpenter, champion for models with disabilities.

“So I would recommend that Twitter immediately suspend Trump’s account. They should do so not only because it’s in the public interest, but because he has violated many of their own rules.”

“These geniuses may not have constructed an intricate conspiracy, but it’s as if they desperately want everyone to believe they did.”

“This, then, is Junior’s official explanation: I thought we were colluding to ratfck the Democratic candidate, and the presidential election in general, but then she started talking about getting the mobsters’ money back. Bitch set me up.

“The best defense of Trump’s associates, at this point, is they were too dumb to know what they were doing — a defense that doesn’t work when it includes experienced international operators like campaign manager Paul Manafort and ex-Defense Intelligence Agency Director Michael Flynn. Donald Trump Jr.’s own defense of himself is that he attempted to collude with Russian agents but they didn’t have any useful information and so he didn’t.”

“This is what ought to register: The scheme appears to have been put into play by a Putin regime official and a Putin-friendly oligarch who was Trump’s business partner in Russia—and Trump’s son, son-in-law, and campaign manager all joined in. (A pop singer, a Russian lawyer, and a talent manager all had supporting roles.) Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort were looking to collude with a foreign power to gain an advantage in the election—an allegation the Trump team has repeatedly and passionately denied.”

“Trump is saying that he took the meeting because he had, in fact, been promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton from a Russian source, but that it was no big deal because the lawyer didn’t deliver. Interesting way of thinking about it, Don. Let’s ask anyone who appeared on To Catch a Predator how that argument holds up in court. Oh, sorry. They’re not answering the phone. Because they’re probably in jail now.”

“Future historians and present day pundits will have a lot to say about all of this. Many of those things will have great bearing on the future of our nation and on Trump Jr.’s continued freedom. But, I’m afraid that in all that important discussion we’ll lose track of one of the most salient points: This is so embarrassing. Fortunately, I have plenty of time for the curation of schadenfreude. Here’s six petty points about the most embarrassing parts of this whole imbroglio.”

Some casting trivia for Game of Thrones, if you’re into that sort of thing.

RIP, Chuck Blazer, controversial former FIFA executive.

“No matter how Trump Jr. thinks political researchers spend their days, opposition research is not a dark art. (I’m not sure I’d even consider it any kind of art.) When done well, it’s a thoughtful, directed process of compiling known facts and figures about relevant life and career elements of an opponent to bolster an argument. But even when done badly, opposition research still has nothing to do with what Trump Jr. did. There are lines that trained and talented political operatives wouldn’t cross. The emails Trump Jr. released Tuesday show he has no idea where they are.”

“How strong is Aaron Judge? Strong enough to make actual rocket scientists look stupid.”

“These are the facts: Jared Kushner held suspicious meetings with Russians officials and operatives that he failed to disclose when he applied for a security clearance. If he weren’t the president’s son in law, he’d have been frogmarched out of the White House long ago. Why does he still have access to America’s biggest secrets?”

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