Good Day Sky Dancers!
The news from around the country is not good as radical republican Governors seeking the Trump base to run in 2024 grind their states into a march back to the Dark Ages. Meanwhile, the folks coming behind them may be worse. Take Louisiana’s AG Jeff Landry, please! This is a read-out of what he’s been doing to us in New Orleans because we’ve got better things to do than hunt pregnant women who may want abortions and ensure they’re forced to give birth. This is from Jezabel: “Louisiana Delays Critical Flood Response Funds to New Orleans Over Abortion Politics, AG Jeff Landry just delayed a $39 million line of credit for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board the city won’t enforce the new abortion ban.” This story is reported by Lorena O’Neil.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) successfully urged the Louisiana Bond Commission on Thursday to delay a $39 million future line of credit for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board–which the city needs for its flood response–until city officials agree to enforce the state’s abortion ban. The move comes right at the start of hurricane season, on the same day New Orleans has issued a flood advisory.
The financing that’s being held hostage would, specifically, be used to build a power station for the Sewerage & Water Board to help combat flooding. Melinda Deslatte, a research director at Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, live-tweeted today’s meeting, in which Republican politicians decided to punish New Orleans, a Democratic stronghold in the state, for defending abortion rights in the wake of a near-total ban. (Officials in New Orleans, including even the police, have vowed not to enforce the state’s new ban, which has already pushed out all three of its abortion clinics.)
Read more about the impact on the City at the link. Here’s more from investigative reporter Sam Karlin living in the city. The NOPD will not make arrests but now say they will investigate.
We currently have a police shortage typical of many big cities these days. Why put our police to work on this ridiculousness and make a big deal of it? Landry seeks to replace John Bel Edwards as Louisiana’s governor next year. Will Louisiana’s three big cities that lost their abortion clinics and the surrounding areas come out to ensure he doesn’t get into the position to Desantis/Abbott our state into White Christian Nationalism? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, a shocking story presented on MSNBC by Alex Wagner shows that “DeSantis imposes extreme culture war framing on nuanced U.S. civics.” This includes downplaying the role of slavery in the country, promoting Scalia and his strict views on originalism, showing that slave-owning founders didn’t like slavery with no citations to the quotes, and promoting the idea that the founders really wanted a country that was essentially a Christian state with no separation between that religion and the state. It even includes a cartoon of the idea of a porous and fluid fence rather than a wall. This is all wrapped up in a seminar aimed at getting Florida’s educators to join in clearly White Christian Patriarchal Nationalism propagandizing.
Please watch and see the appalling materials as a young Florida Civics Teacher reveals the material and its shortcomings. A discussion with Professor Jelanie Cobb follows.
Also, DeSantis has instigated an “election crimes” law. According to The Washington Post, “DeSantis’s new election crimes unit makes its first arrests. The targets are folks who are formerly-incarcerated individuals that voted.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the first arrests made by the state’s new elections police force Thursday: Twenty people previously incarcerated for murder or sexual assault who he said had illegally voted in the 2020 election.
The GOP-led Florida legislature passed a bill creating the Office of Election Crimes and Security earlier this year at DeSantis’s behest. While the 2020 election went smoothly in Florida — DeSantis called it the “gold standard” for elections — the governor has said there are still issues and conservative lawmakers have sought to further tighten voting regulations.
The governor — widely considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate — heralded the arrests, saying the unit had “sprung into action to hold individuals accountable for voter fraud.” DeSantis said they had been arrested for violating the rules of a constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters in 2018 that allows formerly incarcerated people to register to vote — except for those who committed felony sexual assault or murder.
“This is just the opening salvo,” DeSantis said. “This is not the sum total of 2020.”
But voting groups and experts said that if anything the initial arrests indicate Florida’s election system is robust and crimes rare. Some expressed concern that the new unit could have a chilling effect, particularly on vulnerable groups of voters, such as formerly incarcerated people who are legally entitled to vote.
“It’s 20 people out of millions of voters,” Michael McDonald, an expert on voting and a professor of political science at the University of Florida. “These arrests are inconsequential to the integrity of the electoral system.”
DeSantis made the announcement flanked by law enforcement officers in Broward County, which has the most registered Democrats of any county in Florida. The arrests came about six weeks after the office opened and five days before the state’s primary election.
A Florida judge has stopped parts of DeSantis’ “Stop Woke” Act. This is from The Insider: “Florida judge blocks parts of DeSantis-backed ‘Stop WOKE Act,’ saying the state has turned into the upside-down world from ‘Stranger Things’.” Kimberly Leonard is the reporter on this piece.
A federal judge has suspended partial enforcement of Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act,” a bill that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed that restricts how companies and schools discuss race.
DeSantis signed the bill into law in April. It would limit race-based teachings in schools, and the way that private companies carry out mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings. Companies that have 15 employees or more could face civil lawsuits if someone accuses them of violating the law.
In his opinion, Chief US District Judge Mark Walker blocked the employer portion of the law, saying it violated free speech. He compared the law to Netflix’s blockbuster science-fiction hit, “Stranger Things.”
“In the popular television series Stranger Things, the ‘upside down’ describes a parallel dimension containing a distorted version of our world,” Walker, a nominee of then-President Barack Obama, wrote in his opinion. “Recently, Florida has seemed like a First Amendment upside down.”
“Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely,” Walker continued. “But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely.”
The governor’s press office told Insider on Friday that it planned to appeal the decision.
“Judge Walker has effectively ruled that companies have a first amendment right to instruct their employees in white supremacy,” said communications director Taryn Fenske. “We disagree and will be appealing his decision.”
The law targeted what many Republicans call “critical race theory.” Formally, critical race theory examines racism in US institutions stemming from slavery and the Jim Crow era. Democrats have argued it’s mostly taught in law schools, and defenders of DEI trainings say it’s necessary to prevent implicit bias, discrimination, and racism.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your future Orwellian Republican State!
There are three articles today that show a disturbing future for anti-Trump Republicans like Liz Cheney. This first one is from Ben Jacobs writing for VOX. “The Never Trump wing of the GOP never had a chance. Liz Cheney’s loss made clear Trump’s GOP detractors have little electoral sway.”
The bad news for Never Trump Republicans this week wasn’t just that Liz Cheney lost the primary for her Wyoming congressional seat on Tuesday. It wasn’t even that she lost by such an overwhelming margin. It was that her loss fit a pattern in which the GOP’s voters have roundly rejected Republican after Republican who voted to impeach Trump. Only two of the 10 House Republicans who did so will even be on the ballot in November — one of whom is running in a district that Joe Biden won by more than 10 percentage points in 2020.
It’s clear at this point that the Republican Party is a pro-Trump party, and that its voters recoil from candidates who are ardently opposed to the former president. The results of this primary season — and Cheney’s loss in particular — show a Never Trump wing on the verge of extinction.
Cheney’s loss follows those this year of Reps. Peter Meijer of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, and Tom Rice of South Carolina, among those Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. Another four Republican House members who voted to impeach — Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, John Katko of New York, and Fred Upton of Michigan — opted against even running for reelection.
This continues a trend within the GOP since Trump took office, as Republican critics like Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona have opted not to seek reelection, while others, like Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, lost their primaries.
“I’m unaware of any Republican primary where the organizing principle that Trump is a bad guy was ever successful,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a close Trump ally in Congress who had been campaigning against Cheney since days after her impeachment vote, told Vox. “Republicans might have squeaked through who were not pro-Trump, but those candidates had some other organizing principle. Liz Cheney didn’t, and that’s why she lost so badly.”
Even an ardent Never Trumper like Tim Miller, a former top Republican operative and author of a recent New York Times bestseller, Why We Did It, conceded that Trump won the battle for the soul of the GOP. “A lot of people misunderstand what is happening in this moment and think the Republican Party might somehow go back to being the party of Liz Cheney and Paul Ryan,” Miller said. “It’s never going back — at least not any time on the horizon.”
Wait! There’s more! Susan Glasser says it’s “Trumpism vs Hopium”.
By Wednesday, Eric Trump was bragging about his father as one of the all-time great political assassins. “Last night, my father killed another political dynasty, and that’s the Cheneys,” he told the Newsmax host Eric Bolling. “He first killed the Bushes, then he killed the Clintons. Last night, he killed the Cheneys. He’s been rino hunting ever since he got into politics, and last night he was successful again.” Trump’s story, as narrated by his son, is that of a political axe murderer—a grim reaper of the “Republican in Name Only” establishment. In the Trump lexicon, “killer” is a compliment. Donald Trump himself has bragged about this, explaining that the term constituted high praise from his ruthless father, Fred, who taught him to be one.
The family must be so proud. Trump has zealously stuck to the paternal creed. From the start, he has been an almost uniquely destructive force in American politics, a leader not only willing to blow anything up that stands in his path but one who glories in the act. The result has been a Republican Party transformed almost entirely into Trump’s Republican Party. Nearly all of those who stood against him have been purged or defeated or have cravenly renounced their previous views. “She may have been fighting for principles,” Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesperson, said, after Cheney’s loss, “but they are not the principles of the Republican Party.” Which is as close to an inarguably true statement as has ever been issued by the Mar-a-Lago government in exile. The Republican Party’s ideology these days is simply whatever-Trump-wants-ism, as it made clear when it did not even bother to issue a new policy platform at its 2020 convention, settling instead for a simple resolution saying that it was for Trump. Being a classy winner, though, is clearly not part of the emerging party doctrine. After the Wyoming results came in, Budowich posted to Twitter a video compilation of Trump dancing, set to the tune of “na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye,” along with the message “Bye bye, @Liz_Cheney.”
The results of this midterm season so far have shown how nearly complete Trump’s Republican triumph already is. Dozens of election deniers who have adopted the former President’s lies about his 2020 election loss have won Republican nominations, up and down the ballot. Only two of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6th insurrection are still in the running to remain in Congress. And, of course, polls show that Trump himself remains a strong front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024. The headlines after Tuesday’s voting would have been inconceivable in the immediate aftermath of his failed effort to hold onto power: “Trump’s dominance in GOP comes into focus,” the Washington Post said. “Cheney’s Wyoming defeat is a win for Trump and a decisive blow to fading GOP establishment,” the Los Angeles Times declared. “Cheney’s defeat end of an era for GOP; Trump’s party now,” the Associated Press said. So why are Trump’s opponents—at least some of them—feeling in any way optimistic?
May I have some hopium, please? Like, lots of it?
But, over the summer, a new school of what might be called “Trumptimism” has taken hold among some Democratic strategists and independent analysts. In the mess of our current politics, they discern a case for optimism—history-defying, experience-flouting optimism that maybe things won’t work out so badly after all in November. “In the age of Trump, nothing is normal,” Simon Rosenberg, the president of the liberal think tank the New Democrat Network and a veteran strategist, told me, on Thursday. “Nothing is following traditional physics and rules, so why would this midterm?”
Follow the link to read the rationale behind the assertion. Meanwhile, the Republican with the most fluid values ever discourages Liz Cheney from running for President. “What Mitt Romney says about Liz Cheney possibly running for president”. If this man ever had a hope to make any of us sorry he couldn’t hold any higher office he’s blown it now.
As Rep. Liz Cheney contemplates her next move after losing the Republican primary in Wyoming this week, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney says he wouldn’t encourage her to run for president.
“I’m not going to encourage anyone to run for president. I’ve done that myself, and that’s something I’m not doing again. I don’t know if she really wants to do that. She would not become the nominee if she were to run. I can’t imagine that would occur,” Romney told the Deseret News on Thursday.
Cheney, he said, might run for other purposes but “I’m not in collaboration with that effort.”
Remember, this is from the man that put his dog on the top of his car while driving fast. He’s all in it for the convenience.
And yet, the Biden Administration really tries to get us all back in to America he envisions. He’s even thrown us a “United We Stand” Summit so leaders can show that it’s possible. “Statement by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on The White House “United We Stand” Summit.”
On Thursday, September 15, President Biden will host at the White House the United We Stand Summit to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety, highlight the response of the Biden-Harris Administration and communities nationwide to these dangers, and put forward a shared vision for a more united America.
President Biden decided to run for president after the horror of the hate-fueled violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Since taking office, his Administration has consistently taken steps to counter hate-motivated violence — from signing the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, to releasing the first-ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, to signing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant legislation in three decades to reduce gun violence.
Even as our nation has endured a disturbing series of hate-fueled attacks, from Oak Creek to Pittsburgh, from El Paso to Poway, from Atlanta to Buffalo, Americans remain overwhelmingly united in their opposition to such violence. The United We Stand Summit will bring together heroes from across America who are leading historic work in their communities to build bridges and address hate and division, including survivors of hate-fueled violence. The summit will include a bipartisan group of federal, state, and local officials, civil rights groups, faith and community leaders, technology and business leaders, law enforcement officials, former members of violent hate groups who now work to prevent violence, gun violence prevention leaders, media representatives, and cultural figures. It will feature a keynote speech from President Biden as well as inclusive, bipartisan panels and conversations on countering hate-fueled violence, preventing radicalization and mobilization to violence, and fostering unity.
As President Biden said in Buffalo after the horrific mass shooting earlier this year, in the battle for the soul of our nation “we must all enlist in this great cause of America.” The United We Stand Summit will present an important opportunity for Americans of all races, religions, regions, political affiliations, and walks of life to take up that cause together.
Is this possible given that the states that have more wildlife and vacant land still control entire states and send 2 senators to the District? Will, this 30% that includes Racists, Gun Toting Militias, White Christian Militias, Incels, and folks that hate independent women and the GLBT community really coming around to uniting with the rest of us?
This is from the HRC link above. It’s from The Washington Post.
Biden will deliver a keynote speech at the gathering, which the White House says will include civil rights groups, faith leaders, business executives, law enforcement, gun violence prevention advocates, former members of violent hate groups, the victims of extremist violence and cultural figures. The White House emphasized that it also intends to bring together Democrats and Republicans, as well as political leaders on the federal, state and local levels to unite against hate-motivated violence.
Biden, a Democrat, has frequently cited 2017’s white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, with bringing him out of political retirement to challenge then-President Donald Trump in 2020. He promised during that campaign to work to bridge political and social divides and to promote national unity, but fulfilling that cause remains a work in progress.
Sindy Benavides, the CEO of League of United Latin American Citizens, said the genesis of the summit came after the Buffalo massacre, as her organization along with the Anti-Defamation League, the National Action Network and other groups wanted to press the Biden administration to more directly tackle extremist threats.
But how do we solve a problem like Greg Abbott, Marjorie Taylor Green, Ron DeSantis, Jeff Landry, Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, and all the the other Trump Zombies?
Vote them out if we can! I’m not sure his voters can be shamed into embracing the American Dream ever again.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
I’ve got nothing to say, because we all know this is fucking never going to change. Fuck these Republicans and their thoughts and prayers:
End this post with this thread here:
This is an open thread…
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I have one of those summer colds now. I can barely talk since my Thursday night lecture and my entire head feels like something is using ice picks to get out of it. The other headache I now have is what to do with the roof over the newer edition to the house. It has to be replaced and there is structural damage to some of the beams that support the roof. I have an old school style roof which means no plywood. It means sold pine beams. Needless to say, little old semi-retired lady is not in the position to deal with all of this.
But, I still feel like I’m in better shape than our country right now. I really can’t imagine what the Oval Office is going to look like when Kremlin Caligula returns to it. I’m thinking he’ll bring that Persian Whore House motif with him and that all the soldiers that enter the door will think they’ve entered one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. Same ethos. I’ve found what other people think the redecoration job will look like.
Let’s face it. Trump has no idea what it means to be President or American. He only knows what it means to be Donald Trump and that is a very dark, shallow, and insane person. It’s time for him to go.
The Economist has an op ed up to that end. They explain that “U-turns, self-regard and equivocation are not what it takes.” I think that’s way too kind but then, they’re British aren’t they?
Start with the ineptness. In last year’s presidential election Mr Trump campaigned against the political class to devastating effect. Yet this week he has bungled the simplest of political tests: finding a way to condemn Nazis. Having equivocated at his first press conference on Saturday, Mr Trump said what was needed on Monday and then undid all his good work on Tuesday—briefly uniting Fox News and Mother Jones in their criticism, surely a first. As business leaders started to resign en masse from his advisory panels (see article), the White House disbanded them. Mr Trump did, however, earn the endorsement of David Duke, a former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
The extreme right will stage more protests across America. Mr Trump has complicated the task of containing their marches and keeping the peace. The harm will spill over into the rest of his agenda, too. His latest press conference was supposed to be about his plans to improve America’s infrastructure, which will require the support of Democrats. He needlessly set back those efforts, as he has so often in the past. “Infrastructure week” in June was drowned out by an investigation into Russian meddling in the election—an investigation Mr Trump helped bring about by firing the director of the FBI in a fit of pique. Likewise, repealing Obamacare collapsed partly because he lacked the knowledge and charisma to win over rebel Republicans. He reacted to that setback by belittling the leader of the Senate Republicans, whose help he needs to pass legislation. So much for getting things done.
Mr Trump’s inept politics stem from a moral failure. Some counter-demonstrators were indeed violent, and Mr Trump could have included harsh words against them somewhere in his remarks. But to equate the protest and the counter-protest reveals his shallowness. Video footage shows marchers carrying fascist banners, waving torches, brandishing sticks and shields, chanting “Jews will not replace us”. Footage of the counter-demonstration mostly shows average citizens shouting down their opponents. And they were right to do so: white supremacists and neo-Nazis yearn for a society based on race, which America fought a world war to prevent. Mr Trump’s seemingly heartfelt defence of those marching to defend Confederate statues spoke to the degree to which white grievance and angry, sour nostalgia is part of his world view.
Trump’s infrastructure council has melted into nothing. His Arts Commission resigned en masse. After all, who wants to be associated with a NAZI apologist?
The remaining members of a presidential arts and humanities panel resigned on Friday in yet another sign of growing national protest of President Trump’s recent comments on the violence in Charlottesville.
Members of the President’s Committee are drawn from Broadway, Hollywood, and the broader arts and entertainment community and said in a letter to Trump that “Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed.”
“Reproach and censure in the strongest possible terms are necessary following your support of the hate groups and terrorists who killed and injured fellow Americans in Charlottesville,” the commissioners wrote in a letter sent to the White House on Friday morning. “The false equivalencies you push cannot stand. The Administration’s refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill. We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions.”
“Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values,” they added. “Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too.”
Republicans are beginning to get verbal about Trump’s lack of veracity and morality. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker’s response was muted but unusual in that he has been a Trump ally.
Sen. Bob Corker slammed President Donald Trump’s handling of the racially motivated protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, charging that the President “has not demonstrated he understands the character of this nation.”
The Tennessee Republican told reporters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Thursday that he thinks there must be “radical changes” within the White House.
“The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,” Corker said, according to a video posted by local news website Nooga.com.
“He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today, and he’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that,” Corker added.
Corker is the latest Republican senator to criticize Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville protests. Trump attacked two other Republican senators — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona — on Twitter on Thursday morning over their criticisms of him
South Carolina Senator Scott–a Republican African American—gave an interview and spoke strongly against Trump’s words and actions.
In an interview with VICE News on Thursday, he condemned the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville and questioned the president’s moral authority following the tragedy. “I’m not going to defend the indefensible…[Trump’s] comments on Monday were strong. His comments on Tuesday started erasing the comments that were strong. What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happened. There’s no question about that.” Scott added that the president hasn’t reached out to him to discuss Charlottesville.
Mitt Romney’s Facebook page is catching some interest by the usual mainstream Republican suspects. Mitt still wants to believe he’s the White Horse. (I can’t believe I’m writing about Mittens again, gawdesses help me!)
The potential consequences are severe in the extreme. Accordingly, the president must take remedial action in the extreme. He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize. State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis–who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat–and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute. And once and for all, he must definitively repudiate the support of David Duke and his ilk and call for every American to banish racists and haters from any and every association.
Trump’s white supremacist supporters are likely to start acts of desperation as city as states rush to remove Confederate Monuments and public buildings and roads named after Confederate traitors. Calls are being made in Arlington, VA to rename Washington-Lee High School. Native-American lawmakers in Montana have asked for removal a a fountain in Helena memorializing the Lost Cause. WTF is Montana doing with a Confederate memorial? I can understand the the role the lost cause has in the south as it led to Jim Crow and forced segregation but MONTANA? There’s very little historical or educational use of a fountain in Helena. Pull the damn thing down!
A Confederate fountain in Helena, Mont., is set for removal from a city park after Native American lawmakers petitioned the city council, according to a report on Thursday.
The Helena City Commission directed City Manager Ron Alles to remove the granite fountain from a downtown park on Tuesday, although no official vote was held on the matter, the Independence Record reported.
Helena Mayor Jim Smith was previously opposed to removing the century-old memorial, until violence during a white supremacist rally protesting the removal of a Confederate statue in Virginia on Saturday claimed the life of a 32-year-old woman.
“I believe the time has come for the removal of the fountain,” Smith said, the Record reported.
The decision follows a number of other cities choosing to remove Confederate statues following the deadly Charlottesville rally, which was organized by white nationalist and white supremacist groups.
The ACLU has historically defended the right of all Americans to exercise Free Speech. They have now added a caveat. They will not defend any one that protests carrying firearms.
The American Civil Liberties Union took a new stance on firearms Thursday, announcing a change in policy that it would not represent hate groups who demonstrate with firearms.
ACLU executive director Anthony Romero told The Wall Street Journal that the group would have stricter screenings and take legal requests from white supremacist groups on a case-by-case basis.
“The events of Charlottesville require any judge, any police chief and any legal group to look at the facts of any white-supremacy protests with a much finer comb,” Romero told the Journal. “If a protest group insists, ‘No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms,’ well, we don’t have to represent them. They can find someone else.”
The ACLU has come under fire after it filed a lawsuit in defense of the organizers who planned the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., after city officials denied them a permit to hold the rally around a statue of Robert E. Lee, which is set to be removed.
Everybody is still watching Bannon and his position in the White House. The news yesterday was about Bannon basically drunk dialing the press. He was probably among the many surprised to read himself in print. We’re still on Bannon Death Watch.
A decision is imminent from White House chief of staff John Kelly on whether Steve Bannon will keep his job, according to administration officials with knowledge of the situation:
- Bannon, who has run afoul of Trump in the past, is now suspected by the president of leaking about his West Wing colleagues. And Trump resents the publicity Bannon has been getting as mastermind of the campaign.
- Many West Wing officials are now asking “when,” not “if,” Bannon goes.
- Chief of Staff General John Kelly has been reviewing Bannon’s position.
- A recent deluge of media coverage of Bannon — including Bannon’s explosive conversation with the American Prospect — have not escaped either the president’s or Kelly’s attention.
One White House source twists the knife: “His departure may seem turbulent in the media, but inside it will be very smooth. He has no projects or responsibilities to hand off.”
It seems Kelly isn’t plugging the leaks. He’s not stopping the President from doing and saying vile things spontaneously in front of the press and–as always–on Twitter. How long before we get this hot mess moved out of the White House with his little sidekick Governor Enabler?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Today is the last day of 2013. Tonight at midnight, we’ll bid adieu to another year. I can’t say I’m sorry to see this one go.
There will be lots of celebratory fireworks in cities around to world tonight; the revelry has already begun in New Zealand. USA Today:
New Zealand rang in the New Year with multicolored fireworks erupting from Auckland’s Sky Tower at midnight Tuesday as thousands of cheering revelers danced in the streets of the South Pacific island nation’s largest city.
Early pyrotechnic shows erupted over Sydney Harbor, dazzling hundreds of thousands viewers ahead of the main event in Australia and Dubai will later try to create the world’s largest fireworks show to ring in 2014.
Unfortunately we’ve also seen some scarier explosions in the past couple of days. Yesterday afternoon there was another accident in North Dakota involving the transport of crude oil. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports: Cassleton, N.D. residents flee town after oil train explosion. So far the evacuations are still voluntary and only about 65% of the 2,400 residents of Cassleton have left their homes.
The explosion happened shortly after 2 p.m. Monday after a BNSF grain train derailed and crashed into a crude oil train near Casselton, which is 20 miles west of Fargo, causing tank cars to explode in towering mushroom-cloud flames. No one was injured in the crash….
In the initial hours after the explosion, authorities told residents to stay indoors to avoid the smoke. Later, when residents were urged to evacuate, some drove to Fargo, where a shelter had been set up for them.
BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth said the train carrying grain derailed first, then knocked several cars of the oil train off adjoining tracks. BNSF said both trains had more than 100 cars each….
“It was black smoke and then there were probably four explosions in the next hour to hour and a half,” said Eva Fercho, a Casselton resident who saw the fiery aftermath.
The cars were still burning as darkness fell, and authorities said they would be allowed to burn out.
The derailment happened amid heightened concerns about the United States’ increased reliance on rail to carry crude oil. Fears of catastrophic derailments were particularly stoked after last summer’s crash in Quebec of a train carrying crude from North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch. Forty-seven people died in the ensuing fire.
The explosions Monday afternoon sent flames and black smoke skyward outside of Casselton, about 40 kilometres west of Fargo. Investigators couldn’t get close to the blaze and official estimates of how many train cars caught fire varied….
Ryan Toop, who lives less than a kilometre away, said he heard explosions and drove as close as about two city blocks to the fire, which erupted on a day when temperatures were below zero.
“I rolled down the window, and you could literally keep your hands warm,” Toop said.
The tracks that the train was on pass through the middle of Casselton, and Cass County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tara Morris said it was “a blessing it didn’t happen within the city.”
No kidding. I’d say that’s a pretty big understatement. Here’s some raw video of the explosion.
In Russia, there are fears that two suicide bombings on Sunday and Monday signal “that a terrorist campaign may have begun that could stretch into the Winter Olympics.” AP via ABC News:
In the wake of Sunday’s bombing at the city’s main railway station and Monday’s blast on a trolleybus, police reinforcements and Interior Ministry troops have been sent into the city, regional police official Andrei Pilipchuk was quoted as telling the Interfax news agency. He said more than 5,200 security forces are deployed in the city of 1 million.
The Health Ministry said three more victims died on Tuesday, raising the toll to 34 — 18 from the station bombing and 16 from the bus. Officials said 65 other people were hospitalized with injuries.
Volgograd authorities have canceled mass events for New Year’s Eve, one of Russia’s most popular holidays, and asked residents not to set off fireworks. In Moscow, festivities were to go ahead but authorities said security would be increased.
There has been no claim of responsibility for either bombing, but they came only months after the leader of an Islamic insurgency in southern Russia threatened new attacks on civilian targets in the country, including on the Winter Games that are to begin Feb. 7 in Sochi.
After their enthusiastic defense of the racism, sexism, pedophilia, and homophobia of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Roberts, you’d think right-wingers would hesitate to attack a mild commentary involving race on MSNBC, but you’d be wrong.
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry and the panelists on her Sunday morning show drew criticism Monday for poking fun at a Romney family photo that included their adopted African-American grandson, Kieran Romney.
Harris-Perry had the panelists attempt to caption a Romney family photo, which included all of Mitt Romney’s grandchildren.
Harris-Perry joked that Kieran Romney would marry Kanye West’s daughter, North West.
“Could you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?” she asked.
Panelist and comedian Dean Obeidallah said the photo “really sums up the diversity of the Republican party.” And actress Pia Glenn started singing “one of these things is not like the other.”
Steve Benen took a look back at the Sunday political talk shows to see what proportion of the guests were from the Democratic and Republican parties. We knew this already, but it’s stunning to see it in a graphic.
The general impression is rooted in fact: the Sunday shows love Republicans. “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” “This Week,” “State of the Union,” and “Fox News Sunday,” hoping to reflect and help shape the conventional wisdom for the political world, collectively favor GOP guests over Democratic guests every year, but who were the big winners in 2013?
The…chart shows every political figure who made 10 or more Sunday show appearances this year, with red columns representing Republicans and blue columns representing Democrats. For 2013, the race wasn’t especially close – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) easily came out on top, making 27 appearances this year. That works out to an average of one appearance every 1.9 weeks (or 2.25 Sunday show appearances a month, every month for a year).
Incredible, isn’t it? Newt Gingrich doesn’t even hold any office and, as Benen points out, “hasn’t served in public office since resigning in disgrace 15 years ago” was in third place in front of Dick Durbin, the supposedly powerful Senate Majority Whip.
According to Mike Konczal of The New Republic, 2013 Was a Bad Year for Wall St. Lobbyists.
Last year, nobody thought that banks would face tougher holding requirements for capital, that regulations of the financial derivatives markets would advance, or that the final Volcker would be a pretty good start instead of an incoherent mess. Yet that is what appears to have happened in 2013. So what caused it? And how it might apply to future political goals?
The successes of 2013 were partially driven by the failures of Wall Street in 2012. The multi-billion dollar trading losses from JPMorgan Chase known as the “London Whale” changed the dynamics for financial reform in a way that took a year to realize. JPMorgan had been leading the charge against reform, arguing that the effort was over-harsh and destructive, and that Wall Street had already cleaned up its act on its own. Indeed, the big concern in 2012 was that Wall Street would convince enough moderate Democrats that Dodd-Frank had gone too far in certain respects, and that Congress would stop regulatory action before it was even completed. This fell apart right alongside the multi-billion dollar losses in JPMorgan’s position. Though various bills to remove parts of Dodd-Frank would pass the House by Republican votes, these efforts failed to generate moderate Democratic votes in the Senate after the Whale trade became public.
Read the rest at the link.
Hey did you know that dolphins like to get high? Read about it at The Independent: Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around.
In extraordinary scenes filmed for a new documentary, young dolphins were seen carefully manipulating a certain kind of puffer fish which, if provoked, releases a nerve toxin.
Though large doses of the toxin can be deadly, in small amounts it is known to produce a narcotic effect, and the dolphins appeared to have worked out how to make the fish release just the right amount.
Carefully chewing on the puffer and passing it between one another, the marine mammals then enter what seems to be a trance-like state.
The behaviour was captured on camera by the makers of Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, a series produced for BBC One by the award-winning wildlife documentary producer John Downer.
Hey, why is that surprising? Lots of animals probably enjoy altered states of consciousness. Have you ever seen a cat on catnip? What about a big cat?
Finally, I highly recommend these two posts on the NSF/Snowden story by NSFWCORP writers now publishing at Pando Daily, Mark Ames and Yasha Levine respectively.