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Your president doesn’t read.

This explains so much. It’s from The Atlantic article about Trump’s reading habits.

Ironically, it was the publication of a book this week that crystallized the reality of just how little Donald Trump reads. While, like many of the tendencies described in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, Trump’s indifference to the printed word has been apparent for some time, the depth and implications of Trump’s strong preference for oral communication over the written word demand closer examination.

“He didn’t process information in any conventional sense,” Wolff writes. “He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-­literate.”

Wolff quotes economic adviser Gary Cohn writing in an email: “It’s worse than you can imagine … Trump won’t read anything—not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers, nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored.”

This is related at length in Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury. No one has argued with the accuracy of this so far. The dude hates reading.

He gets all of his information from oral presentations. He doesn’t even like bullet point pages. He doesn’t skim. He curls up in bed with a good cheeseburger, not a book.

Even if you didn’t want a typical politician to shake things up in Washington, can we all agree that he should be able to sit down for five minutes and read his assignments??

The article goes on to discuss the briefing styles of former presidents and then suggests that maybe it’s because Trump is not a politician:

Meanwhile, Trump’s defenders could fall back on semi-plausible excuses, such as arguing that his information consumption was typical of the business world from which he had come. The AP reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis used charts and maps in the briefing on America’s role because that was “a way the businessman-turned-politician would appreciate.”


We’re doooooomed.

By the way, everybody who is anybody in Washington is at a meeting in Camp David this weekend.

Except for Jeff Sessions.


What does it mean? I have no idea. But let’s recall that Jeff recused himself on the Russia investigation. Also, Mueller may be ready to indict on obstruction of justice charges and there may be a succession crisis.

Or they all got together to drink cocoa and play Cranium.


There’s a new paper in Cell that finds that while human beings are unique as a species to prefer other helpful human beings, our close relatives, the bonobos, prefer jerks.

From the summary (don’t be a Trump now. It’s not a book):

Humans closely monitor others’ cooperative relationships [1, 2]. Children and adults willingly incur costs to reward helpers and punish non-helpers—even as bystanders [3, 4, 5]. Already by 3 months, infants favor individuals that they observe helping others [6, 7, 8]. This early-emerging prosocial preference may be a derived motivation that accounts for many human forms of cooperation that occur beyond dyadic interactions and are not exhibited by other animals [9, 10]. As the most socially tolerant nonhuman ape [11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17] (but see [18]), bonobos (Pan paniscus) provide a powerful phylogenetic test of whether this trait is derived in humans. Bonobos are more tolerant than chimpanzees, can flexibly obtain food through cooperation, and voluntarily share food in captivity and the wild, even with strangers [11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17] (but see [18]). Their neural architecture exhibits a suite of characteristics associated with greater sensitivity to others [19, 20], and their sociality is hypothesized to have evolved due to selection against male aggression [21, 22, 23]. Here we show in four experiments that bonobos discriminated agents based on third-party interactions. However, they did not exhibit the human preference for helpers. Instead, they reliably favored a hinderer that obstructed another agent’s goal (experiments 1–3). In a final study (experiment 4), bonobos also chose a dominant individual over a subordinate. Bonobos’ interest in hinderers may reflect attraction to dominant individuals [24]. A preference for helpers over hinderers may therefore be derived in humans, supporting the hypothesis that prosocial preferences played a central role in the evolution of human development and cooperation.

The hypothesis is that the traits of selfishness and deceit make jerks more attractive to other bonobos because they end up with all the stuff. So, presumably, you want to make friends with the bully on the playground who steals other bonobos lunch money because the bully will run a protection racket and has all the goods.

Draw your own conclusions.