Al Smith Charity Dinner Crowd Rains Boos on Donald Trump (Daily Beast link): Thursday’s Al Smith Memorial Dinner offered America the opportunity to take a desperate breath from the trash swamp America’s been drowning in for the last year and a half. It delivered, but then again, 45 minutes of footage of a stranger yelling would have been more enjoyable than most of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Al Smith, the white tie event’s namesake, was the first Catholic to run for president, and the multi-thousand dollar per plate ticket price supports Catholic charity work. For reasons that might seem opaque to the casual observer, this particular charity event features almost every four years the two major party presidential candidates delivering jokes from behind a podium. It’s the world’s fanciest open mic.
What’s the difference between an open mic comic and Donald Trump? One spends hours every week spitting idiotic lines in front of an audience of hopeless losers in hopes that they’ll gain fame, and the other is a comedian.
The Republican nominee for president hit some high notes, like the plagiarism joke about wife Melania’s Republican National Convention speech, which was cribbed in part from a speech Michelle Obama had given. But then he gestured to his wife, ordering her to stand up while the crowd cheered, a bizarre break in momentum.
He further lost the crowd with a joke about Hillary Clinton hating Catholics that was met with boos. Then came another one about Donna Brazile sharing all of the jokes from the dinner in advance. More boos. Then one about Hillary Clinton destroying Haitian villages, which was borderline inscrutable and met with silence. If Trump is half as effective at bombing ISIS as he is at bombing stand-up routines, he’s ready to be commander-in-chief.
Donald Trump Heckled by New York Elite at Charity Dinner (New York Times link): Donald J. Trump began this quadrennial exercise in campaign humility and self-deprecation on Thursday by comparing himself to the son of God — just another “carpenter working for his father” in his youth.
By the end, facing cascading and uncomfortable jeers from a crowd full of white ties and gowns, he had called Hillary Clinton Catholic-hating, “so corrupt” and potentially jail-bound in a prospective Trump administration.
“I don’t know who they’re angry at, Hillary, you or I,” Mr. Trump said sheepishly from the dais, turning to his opponent amid the heckling.
It seemed clear to everyone else. Mr. Trump was being booed at a charity dinner.
So it went at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in Manhattan, a presidential campaign ritual of levity and feigned warmth — upended, like so much else in this election season, by the gale-force bid of Mr. Trump.
Breaking with decades of tradition at the gathering once he took the microphone, Mr. Trump set off on a blistering, grievance-filled performance that translated poorly to the staid setting, stunning many of the well-heeled guests who had filed into the Waldorf Astoria hotel for an uncommon spectacle: an attempted détente in a campaign so caustic that the candidates, less than 24 hours earlier, declined to shake hands on a debate stage.
Trump sides with Putin over U.S. intelligence (Politico link): Donald Trump angrily insisted on Wednesday night that he is not Vladimir Putin’s “puppet.”
But at a minimum, in recent months he has often sounded like the Russian president’s lawyer—defending Putin against a variety of specific charges, from political killings to the 2014 downing of a passenger jet over Ukraine, despite the weight of intelligence, legal findings and expert opinion.
Wednesday, for instance, Trump dismissed Hillary Clinton’s assertion that Russia was behind the recent hacking of Democratic Party and Clinton campaign emails. “She has no idea whether it’s Russia or China or anybody else,” Trump retorted. “Our country has no idea.”
As Clinton tried to explain that the Russian role is the finding of 17 military and civilian intelligence agencies, Trump cut her off: “I doubt it.”
On Oct. 7, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a joint statement saying that the U.S. intelligence community “is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.” That finding has also been relayed directly to Trump in the classified national security briefings he receives as a major party nominee.
Amid 'rigged' election charges, Russia wants to monitor U.S. vote (USA Today link): In an apparent move to embarrass the United States over Donald Trump's claims of a "rigged" presidential election, Russia sought to send monitors to U.S. polling stations for the Nov. 8 vote, Russian media revealed Thursday.
The bid was sharply rebuffed by the State Department, and one state election official threatened criminal action if Russian monitors showed up, according to state-controlled Izvestia daily and broadcaster RT.
State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner called the Russian effort a "PR stunt" and denied that the United States blocked Russian diplomats from observing the election.
A spokeswoman for Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, who received a request to allow Russian monitors, called it a "propaganda ploy."
"We've allowed observers from overseas in the past from other countries, never from Russia," Meg Casper said. She added that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security also "told us not to do this."
Trump, who is behind in most polls, has complained for weeks about potential election fraud. In Wednesday night's debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Republican nominee refused to say whether he would abide by the results on Election Day.
With Empty Rooms and Bookings Plummeting, Trump Hotels Are Taking a Beating (NBC News link): Donald Trump may already be calling for a recount of votes in what he claims will be a rigged election — but he may also want to recount the empty rooms at his hotels.
The Republican presidential nominee's actions out on the campaign trail don't seem to be doing much for occupancy rates at his chain of five-star Trump-branded hotels.
Bookings at the newly opened Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue also seem to be bearing the brunt of this contentious election cycle.
When it had its soft opening in September, rack rates for the basic 410-square "deluxe" rooms started at over $575 a night.
Checking the hotel's online booking site, that same room type is now available for an unrestricted rate of $505, with a discount to $404 for AAA members, for at least the next two weekends and for the weekend after the presidential election.
By comparison, when searching Expedia for a five-star hotel in Washington, D.C., next weekend, a room at the St. Regis Washington, D.C. is available for $655 a night, while the Hay-Adams and others show as sold out.
The Trump family plans an official ribbon-cutting and press conference for the D.C. hotel on October 26, but for now, it's the falling room rates that are getting noticed.
Despite its prime location and promotional mentions by Donald Trump himself, "empty rooms have forced hotel to reduce rates during the peak season," noted New York Magazine.
24/7 Wall St used educational attainment data from the U.S. Census Bureau to rank all 50 states in terms of higher education level. The results were not surprising to those who pay attention to our national discourse.
All ten of the most educated states in the United States voted for President Obama in 2012. The ten most educated states were Minnesota, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado, Massachusetts. Only one of the ten least educated states (Nevada) voted for President Obama in 2012.
The ten least educated states were:
1). West Virginia