Slipped through the cracks: April 16, 2018

The notes and quotes you may have missed

Published April 16, 2018 9:09AM (EDT)

Elon Musk (AP/Stephan Savoia)
Elon Musk (AP/Stephan Savoia)

Each day provides us a brand new news cycle, and it’s hard to keep up. Here’s a short list of the news and notes to keep you informed.

Bad news for Democrats?

If there is a blue wave coming, we're seeing an ebb in the tide. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, Democratic support has "dropped by more than half since the beginning of the year." And really, the Post notes, it's all about white people.

The survey shows the GOP making a more pronounced shift among white voters, who now prefer Republicans by a 14-point margin over Democrats, up from five points in January. Republicans lead by 60 percent to 31 percent among white voters without college degrees, slightly larger than an 18-point GOP advantage three months ago.

Who wants to defend Trump?

President Donald Trump is facing more and more legal problems. And it's going to be harder for him to defend himself with good lawyers. Here's CNN:

People close to Trump contacted New York attorney Steven Molo, a former prosecutor who specializes in white collar defense and courtroom litigation, in recent weeks following the departure of attorney John Dowd from Trump's personal legal team.

Molo is only the latest attorney to receive an invitation to help Trump during special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 campaign and any possible dealings with Russia. Other lawyers who declined to join Trump's team include former US Solicitor General Ted Olson; Emmet Flood, who's worked for multiple presidents; Robert Bennett, Bill Clinton's attorney in the Paula Jones litigation; and Bob Giuffra, of Sullivan & Cromwell.

Can taxes make the difference?

But not all is great in GOP-land. Because what should be the Republicans' biggest pitch — their tax cuts — isn't bolstering the party. Here's Bloomberg, summing up opinions on what the GOP can brag about:

-David Wasserman, editor of the Cook Political Report: “If they can’t run on tax cuts in a district Trump won by 20 [points] and win, where can they run on tax cuts and win?"

-Democratic strategist Mike Mikus: “Most middle-class Americans got a little extra money, but it wasn’t life changing. They’d prefer Social Security and Medicare is protected.”

-Beto O'Rourke: “The benefits flow to the wealthiest and to corporations that are already sitting on record piles of cash. I think Texans know that we can do a lot better.

Score one for human workers

Tesla, the electric car company owned by Elon Musk, has long pushed for the ability of artificial intelligence to replace human labor when it comes to building cars. But, in practice, it hasn't worked out too well.

The Guardian has the analysis of Musk's admission:

Elon Musk has admitted that automation has been holding back Tesla’s Model 3 production and that humans, rather than machines, were the answer.

The electric car maker’s chief executive said that one of the reasons Tesla has struggled to reach promised production volumes was because of the company’s “excessive automation”.

Asked whether robots had slowed down production, rather than speeding it up, during a tour around Tesla’s factory by CBS, Musk replied: “Yes, they did … We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts … And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing.”

“Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated,” Musk added later.

By Jeremy Binckes

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