Author: By Alexandra Petri

It is too bad I have been silenced

A Starbucks coffee shop. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) It is with a heavy heart, and profound regret for the current state of media in America, that I have dragged my laptop to a Starbucks to pen this column. But I think it is important that we understand the degree of oppression we are up against. I regret to say: I have been silenced. I expressed an opinion, and people criticized that opinion. And since that day, my voice has never been heard again. I am entombed where none can hear my jangling bells, for doing nothing more than walking down the...

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Donald Trump to Americans: Go incorporate yourself

(Andrew Harnik/Associated Press) Some weeks I just want to give it all up and become a large corporation. Being a human has only been a source of pain and inconvenience. I require periodic food and water. After a few days of subsisting entirely on coffee, I start to become nervous and irritable. I cannot stay awake indefinitely. I have to exist in the physical world, which means that I am never the right temperature, and that I sometimes have to stand in lines. I bang my head on low doorways. People yell at me when I walk down the sidewalk....

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Donald Trump’s Cabinet assembly instructions

Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump’s pick to head the Treasury Department. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Congratulations! The American people have given you the formidable responsibility of assembling a Cabinet. The best Cabinet ever, you promised! And with none of the problems of previous Cabinets. And without any ties to plutocrats or the grotesque handful of corporations, like Goldman Sachs, that are squeezing the life out of the American people. You will not let the American people down! 1. Surreptitiously Google “What is a Cabinet?” 2. The first thing that comes up is some sort of rap battle from that cursed musical “Hamilton.” 3. Okay. This is fine. You can do this. 4. FIFTEEN DEPARTMENTS? 5. If you had only known you would have had more children. 6. Okay, you had better write these departments down. Where is a pen? 7. “How is the Cabinet coming?” Melania Trump asks. “Fine,” you say, holding up a pen. “Huge progress.” 8. Mitt Romney has called you eight times. You wonder why. 9. “The Cabinet,” you read online, “includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments — the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Attorney General.” This is too many. No. 10. Sit with your head in your hands in an attitude of desperation...

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A sneak peek at Trump’s speech

There he is, Mr. America. (Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images) Cleveland — I have been lucky enough to secure an advance copy of the speech Donald Trump is to give tonight, the final night of the GOP convention! It follows.  Hello, Cleveland! Hello, America! I’m — well, frankly, I’m a little embarrassed for you. This got out of control, didn’t it? Quite frankly, I did not expect to be here. This has all been a HUGE misunderstanding. I was repeatedly reassured by EVERYONE who knew what they were talking about that there was NO WAY I could POSSIBLY win the nomination. This was good to hear, because I have literally no plans for governing (“Build a wall” and “Make Mexico pay for it!” hardly qualify as a plan), and, until a couple of weeks ago, my campaign organization consisted of me pretending to be multiple employees with names like “John Barron” and “John Miller.” Everyone kept insisting that I could not possibly survive last summer and that I could not possibly win the nomination, and — now here I am. You were the experts, and I trusted you. I thought, “These people would not still have lucrative jobs if they could be ENTIRELY WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING with impunity.” But you were all wrong, and now I am very frightened that no one knows how to turn this off. I did everything you...

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Trump-Pence marriage is off to a rocky start

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump introduces Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, right, during a campaign event to announce Pence as Trump’s vice presidential running mate on Saturday in New York. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press) CLEVELAND — The marriage of Donald Trump and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is not off to a great start. Donald Trump introduced Pence as his running mate as if it were a painful duty, in a series of long digressions about himself that he had to keep dragging back on track, perhaps hoping that if he talked about himself long enough the situation might resolve itself. (Admittedly, this is Donald Trump’s approach to everything.) Looking at Mike Pence during his first interview side by side with Donald Trump, you had the sense that he had not yet realized that he would have to tell Donald Trump a different story every night in order to keep his head. It would be a lie to say that they had anything like a natural, easy chemistry together. They have the easy, natural rapport of Lando Calrissian and Darth Vader just when the deal has started to turn. Donald Trump and Mike Pence sitting next to each other doing an interview is like that episode of “Law & Order: SVU” where the stepfather is a suspect and Olivia Benson can’t get him out of the interview. Mike Pence looks like a ventriloquist’s dummy who is slowly realizing that...

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Dallas and American ‘contradictions’

President Barack Obama. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst) Some people on the Internet seem to be confused. “In the aftermath of twelve people being tragically shot for no reason in Dallas,” they wonder, “how will Black Lives Matter be able to continue being upset about people getting tragically shot for no reason in other places?” “How will the Black Lives Matter movement square its criticism of police with this deadly shooting of five police officers?” It doesn’t seem hard. Its agenda is “people don’t deserve to be shot for no reason” and that the category of “people who don’t deserve to be shot for no reason” explicitly includes black people. There’s no contradiction here. Other people are busy being eloquent with grief and rage, but I can at least make some analogies to help explain why this line of thinking is bad. There is such a thing as constructive criticism. It’s like if you said, “I want ice cream machines not to malfunction and kill people,” and then everyone said, “So, you hate ice cream machines?” No. You just want the ice cream machine to do its job, and not kill people. You are not opposed to what it is supposed to be doing, just to what it is actually doing. You are all for it doing what it is supposed to do! What it is supposed to do is great! Or...

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‘And they all lived happily ever after’: If fairy tales went like the Megyn Kelly-Trump interview

(Jack Rowand/ABC via Associated Press) “And they all lived happily ever after.” In general, fairy-tale endings are horrifying. The fact that the man you were forced to marry because your father got lost in the woods and made an ill-advised promise is an enchanted prince and not a hedgehog does not actually make this a good outcome.  And the Donald Trump-Megyn Kelly “happily ever after” was no exception. The long-awaited encounter with the Fox News journalist was, to borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill, as hard-hitting as being savaged by a dead sheep. (Kelly: “Set the scene for me, because I know where I was when I was on the receiving end of a lot of those tweets. But I’ve always wondered where you were. I’m picturing a crushed velvet smoking jacket, chaise lounge, slippers. . . .” Trump: “Maybe not as fancy as that.”) In case this was not a sufficiently penetrating inquiry, she also asked about Trump’s favorite movie (“Citizen Kane“) and favorite book (“All Quiet on the Western Front“).  After months of Trump bullying Kelly for her defiance, the oddly friendly chat was an uncomfortable capitulation. You half-expected her to announce that “God be blessed, it is the blessèd sun. But sun it is not, when you say it is not, And the moon changes even as your mind.”  But for Trump, this was the fairy-tale ending he had long awaited. Well, that is it. Well done Megyn —...

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Donald Trump is terrible. Good thing there’s this ‘nominee’ guy!

Whoever this is, it’s not the Nominee. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) Donald Trump is a problem. He has a 65 percent unfavorable rating. He is prone to firing off unexpectedly at the mouth. He either doesn’t understand or actively wants to destroy the credit of the United States. If you’re a senator running for reelection and his name shows up at the top of the ticket, you might as well tie an albatross around your neck and head out to sea. So what to do? Speaking Trump’s name gives him power. He is like Voldemort in that regard. (Also, he is immortal and cannot die as long as his Towers survive. His buildings are his horcruxes and contain fragments of his soul.) The trick is not to speak his name. But fortunately for senators in tough, competitive seats, there is another option. You don’t have to endorse Trump. You can just support the Nominee of the Party. These are not the same thing at all! They are quite different. The Nominee is everything Trump isn’t. Here’s Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) talking about Trump: “I have strong disagreements with Mr. Trump.” Here’s McCain talking about the Nominee: “The nominee of the party, the party of Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt, has my support.” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) won’t endorse Trump. In February, she said, “There’s no place in our society for racism and bigotry, and I...

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