DEALS: I’ve told you about the card that pays you $500 to carry it (after you’d spent $3,000) and gives you 4% back on your dining and entertainment.  (Granted, you’d get 90% back if you stayed home with a pizza and watched TV.)  Now, here’s Seated, an app that suggests restaurants you might want to try — and that gives cash rewards at Amazon, Lyft, or Starbucks if you do.  For example, were I to make a reservation at a restaurant a short walk from me today — a restaurant I already like, by the way — and were the check to be $52 or more “pre-tax-and-tip” — I’d get 24% back.  (And another 4% off the entire bill if I paid with that credit card.) Thanks, Brian!

INTRODUCING HOTLIST.VOTE: Designed especially for college kids who may have the option of registering with either their campus or their home address.  You enter your zip code, and if it’s not in a contested Congressional district, it invites you to try your other zip code, where your vote would matter more.

THREE CORROBORATING WITNESSES:  They all say he lied under oath.  Should he go to jail?  Certainly not.  Should he lose his current amazingly good lifetime job?   Realistically not.  But should he have been given a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court?  These three Yalies say no.  Your view?  Do you think there’s a chance the three of them (and Dr. Ford) are telling the truth?  Does it matter?

MINORITY RULES: With sixty-eight times as many people as Wyoming, California  nonetheless has the same number of Senate seats.  This is how the Founders wrote the Constitution, to be sure; but did they ever imagine there would even be a state called Wyoming?

This is the current state of our democracy, where Republicans have lost the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections but control all three branches of government.

They’re fine with that, too. The Founders, after all, said only propertied white men had the right to vote.

As to the Court, the 78% of us who are not Catholic are now in the minority.  At 22% of the U.S. population, Catholics hold a majority of seats on the Court.

THE US-MEXICO-CANADA TRADE DEAL: As analyzed by the Peterson Institute (Pete Peterson was Nixon’s Commerce Secretary):

. . . it could have been worse . . . the pact succeeds in partially updating the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by imposing new obligations for enhanced environmental policies and labor practices, curbing state-owned enterprises, and fostering digital trade. These provisions improve incrementally but usefully upon the high standards for these policy areas developed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the three countries signed onto during the Barack Obama administration, only to have President Donald Trump cancel the treaty in his first week in office. In these areas, not very contentious in North America, the provisions in the USMCA set some good precedents for future trade accords.

. . . [But] contrary to President Trump’s claims, the new pact . . . imposes new restrictions that will impede regional trade and investment, stifling the potential for economic growth. On autos, the deal is innovative in a perverse way: It is the first free trade agreement (FTA) negotiated by the United States that raises rather than lowers barriers to trade and investment. It adds layer upon layer of costly new regulations that producers must follow to qualify for NAFTA’s low tariffs—layers virtually certain to drive up costs of autos for consumers and very likely reduce US jobs in the auto sector. . .

. . . The implications of the deal for other sectors are mixed and not very significant. . . . [In all], a step backwards on trade and investment in the United States and the region as a whole that, while not as damaging as it could have been, will do little or nothing to help workers, consumers, and the economies of North America.



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