FROM Gus Faucher
Economic Trouble in an Election Year For the first time since the markets reopened after September 11, the Federal Reserve today stunned Wall Street by making an emergency cut in interest rates. In 2001, it was a half a percentage point; today it was three-quarters, a week earlier than expected, and bigger than any such cut since 1982. The Dow plunged anyway, then went back up in supposedly hard-hit sectors, including home-repair and high finance. Overall, the markets were down. Is a recession around the corner or already here? The White House and Congress are working up a " fiscal stimulus package ." Will it make things better or worse? What's the role of election year politics?
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.