kmusser: (Default)
Monday 4/3
  • Blackwater founder setup back channel for communications between DJT and Putin (source).
  • Justice Dept. to review, potentially drop civil rights agreements and investigations of local police departments (source) - including Baltimore.
  • Mexico looking to shift trade connections away from the U.S. (source).

Tuesday 4/4
  • Reactions to Syrian government's chemical weapons attack, DJT resigned to Assad remaining in power (source).

Wednesday 4/5
  • Bannon loses NSC seat (source).

Thursday 4/6
  • Nunes recuses himself from the House investigation on Russia (source).
  • On Gorsuch nomination to the supreme court, DEMs filibuster and GOP goes for "nuclear option" to avoid said filibuster, final confirmation likely tomorrow (source).
  • The U.S. attacks Syria (source).
  • Russia condemns attack, withdraws from agree cooperating with U.S. in Syria as response (source).

Friday 4/7
  • DJT meeting with Chinese president (source).
  • Russians call for meeting of U.N. Security Council (source).
  • Most of the world except for Syria, Russia, and Iran speak in support of attack on Syria (source).
  • I'm assuming Gorsuch gets confirmed.


Legislative action this week


Map of the week:

Hi

6 April 2017 17:03
kmusser: (Default)
Journal porting over from LJ is complete, this will be my new home for now. If we were friends over there, please do add me here, I will be deleting the LJ account after I get all my pictures off of it.
kmusser: (Nirvana Bliss Action)
Monday 3/27
  • Sessions threatens to withhold funding from states and local law enforcement that don't cooperate with immigration crackdown (source).

Tuesday 3/28
  • White House seeks to block Yates testimony on DJT-Russia connections (source).
  • More states now considering Medicaid expansion (source).
  • Executive Order overturning climate change policies, particularly Obama's Clean Power Plan, and indicating U.S. has no intention of abiding by the 2015 Paris Accord (source).

Let me talk about climate change for a moment. The Paris Accord isn't just a nice to have - it's more of a last ditch effort to avoid the worst of the global warming scenarios. And while most countries are still supporting the agreement, none are really taking it seriously. Here's a road map of what it would actually take to reach the Paris goal and some more background on how that goal was reached, why we need it, and what'll mean when we miss it. Just in case I have any climate change denialists reading - to put it simply, you're wrong, and what's more the climate really isn't going to give a fuck whether you belief in it or not. Personally I think it's already too late to stop significant warming, most of the scientific community shifted from debating whether it's happening to attempting to model the expected impacts some 20 years ago. Not preparing for it may be fatally short sighted.


Wednesday 3/29
  • EPA rejects pesticide ban (source).
  • Senate pushes ahead with its own Russia investigation, separate from House (source).

Thursday 3/30
  • DJT relaxes combat rules for U.S. forces in Somalia that protect against civilian casualties (source).
  • Flynn offering to testify in return for immunity (source) - so far no takers.


Legislative action this week


Map of the week:

  • Interactive noise map of the U.S. - perhaps a little misleading as it looks like the road noise modelling is based on the size of the road rather than the amount of traffic it actually receives, but still a cool looking map.
kmusser: (Nirvana Bliss Action)

Summary of Health Care Bill status from GovTrack - key change to bill was to remove requirement for insurance companies to provide a minimum level of coverage in their plans - Where key legislators stand on the bill.

Pulling the cabinet status section - Agriculture and Labor are still without a secretary, but it doesn't like there's going to be any action there for awhile.


Friday 3/17
  • DJT adds UK and Germany to the list of countries insulted (source).
  • Rex Tillerson threatens war with North Korea (source) - softens tone after talking to China (source).

Monday 3/20
  • DJT appoints aides to keep tabs on his own cabinet (source).
  • FBI says no evidence of wiretapping, is investigating Trump-Russia ties (source).
  • DJT delegates oversight of military operations to the Pentagon (source).
  • Canadians not thrilled with influx of people fleeing the U.S. (source).

Tuesday 3/21
  • U.S. bans electronics on flights from the Mideast (source).
  • New evidence of DJT's former campaign manager money laundering payments from pro-Russian Ukrainian party (source) - Manafort's ties to Putin.

Wednesday 3/22
  • GOP governors come out against DJT budget (source).

Thursday 3/23
  • Tillerson asks embassies to identify groups to discriminate against (source).
  • Senate votes to overturn Internet privacy protections (source).
  • GSA decides DJT's DC hotel does not violate lease (source).
  • CBO updates report on health care bill to reflect changes (source).

Friday 3/24
  • State Dept. grants permit for Keystone pipeline (source).
  • DJT tells House to pass health care replacement bill today or he's going to keep Obamacare (source).


Legislative action this week
kmusser: (Freedom)

Summary of Health Care Bill status from GovTrack - Where key legislators stand on the bill.

Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html. Hearings are happening this week. New confirmations since last week are Dan Coats (Director National Intelligence).


Sunday 3/10
  • DJT orders all Obama appointed prosecutors at DOJ to resign (source) - many of them promptly join anti-Trump organizations (source).

Saturday 3/11
  • Manhattan attorney Preet Bharara refuses resignation order, is fired. (source).

Monday 3/13
  • DJT's first cabinet meeting.
  • Executive order asks OMB to look for entire agencies that could be eliminated (source).
  • CBO report on healthcare replacement plan - 14 million to lose coverage in first year (source) - Full report.
  • DJT gives CIA free rein to conduct drone strikes (source).
  • DJT looking to severely cut UN humanitarian programs (source).
  • Elsewhere - Russia military deployment to Egypt and Libya (source).
  • Elsewhere - UK Parliament gives official go ahead for Brexit (source).

Tuesday 3/14
  • Snow

Wednesday 3/15
  • DJT promises to lower fuel economy standards (source).
  • House intel panel proceeds with formal investigation of leaks (source).

Thursday 3/16
  • DJT releases budget proposal - note this is basically his wish list, the actual budget will start in Congress (source) - source link contains details - recommended reading, there's a lot there including wiping out entire agencies (details on those). Congress has already said they plan to more or less ignore this.
  • Judges block travel ban (again) (source).
  • Senate panel finds no evidence for DJT wiretap claim (source).


Legislative action this week
  • Legislation awaiting DJT's signature

  • Legislation passed in the House, awaiting Senate

  • Legislation passed in the Senate, awaiting House

  • Legislation advancing in the House


    Map of the week:


  • kmusser: (Cryptic Bastard)

    Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html. No new confirmations this week.


    Friday 3/3
    • DHS considering plan of separating women from their children at the U.S. border (source).

    Sunday 3/5
    • DJT accuses Obama of "wiretapping" phones, wants an investigation, so far there is no supporting evidence for any such thing (source).
    • ICE using detainees as slave labor (source) - note, not new, source is a lawsuit originally filed in 2014, but a judge raised it to class-action status this week.

    Monday 3/6
    • DJT signs executive order for new travel ban to replace the one struck down by the courts - this one is essentially the same as the old one except Iraq is not on the list of banned countries and there is a delay for going into effect (starts 3/16) so as to not catch people mid-travel (source) - direct comparison of old vs new orders - and it's immediately challenged in court).
    • U.S. supported Kurdish forces cut-off last road to ISIL capital (source).
    • GOP introduces their Obamacare replacement plan (source) - note this still hasn't been formally introduced in Congress yet, committees are working on their separate bits of the bill, which in theory will then be put together into a single bill to vote on. So far it's cleared 2 committees.

    • TSA planning more intrusive "pat-downs" and expects travelers to complain to the police (source) - dear TSA, if your procedures weren't indistinguishable from sexual assault you might not have this problem.

    Tuesday 3/7
    • Pruitt hiring climate change skeptics for EPA (source)

    Wednesday 3/8

    Thursday 3/9
    • Pruitt denies that CO2 a leading contributor to climate change (source) - note: it is, this claim may be an excuse to end EPA's regulation of greenhouse gases.
    • Border crossings from Mexico have dropped (source).

    Friday 3/10
    • Tillerson ditching the media for diplomatic trip to Asia (source).
    • DOJ assigning more judges to immigration backlog (source).


    Legislative action this week

    Map of the week:

    kmusser: (cartographer's conspiracy II)
    Since my website is now old enough to drink I figured it's time to redesign it. Stripped it down so it's basically just a brief plug for my mapping, but it now has a small store section. Check it out at http://fantasymaps.com/
    kmusser: (Londo)

    Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html. Hearings are happening this week. New confirmations since last week are Wilbur Ross (Commerce), Ryan Zinke (Interior), Rick Perry (Energy), Ben Carson (HUD). List of vacant positions.


    Friday 2/24
    • Major news outlets blocked from covering WH press briefing (source).
    • WH officials also ask congressmen to help cover-up Russia story (source)

    Saturday 2/25
    • More on the more aggressive immigration enforcement taking place (source).

    Sunday 2/26
    • DJT cabinet working at damage control (source).

    Monday 2/27
    • Fact checking on DJT's claim of saving coal mining jobs, determining the truth is murky on this one, worth a read (source).
    • GWB wants answers on Trump-Russia ties, defends press (source).
    • New commerce secretary also has ties to Russia (source).

    Tuesday 2/28
    • Executive order to review definition of "water of the united states" (source) - significant as this definition determines what waters the Clean Water Act covers, it's also the basis for pretty much all of our wetlands regulations - and perhaps an easy target as the current definition is ridiculously broad (essentially any water, regardless of size, temporary or permanent, artificial or natural), but using Scalia's definition would leave most intermittent streams, wetlands, and artificial bodies of water unprotected.
    • DJT suggests anti-Semitic attacks might be "false flags" (source).
    • Reality check on budget proposal (source).
    • Summary of DJT speech to Congress.
    • FBI investigating wave of threats against Jewish centers and schools (source).
    • Fact-checking Sessions, the science is in on marijuana combating opioid abuse (source).
    • Sessions gives police departments ok to ignore civil rights (source).

    Wednesday 3/1

    Thursday 3/2
    • DJT transition team opted not to have any ethics training (source).
    • GOP pushing anti-free speech bills at the state level (source).
    • Airstrikes in Yemen resume (source).

    Legislative action this week

    Maps of the week:
    kmusser: (Freedom)

    Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html. Hearings are happening this week. New confirmations since last week are Scott Pruitt (EPA). Top levels of government still largely vacant.


    Friday 2/17
    • DJT calls the media the "enemy of the American people" (source).

    Saturday 2/18

    Sunday 2/19

    Monday 2/20
    • New national security advisor appointed (source).
    • Summary of planned anti-environment executive orders, stream protection rule repeal signed into law (source).
    • DJT is winning the war on tourism (source).

    Tuesday 2/21
    • U.S. aid to Syrian rebels halted (might be temporary) (source).
    • Increasing numbers of asylum seekers fleeing U.S. for Canada (source).

    Wednesday 2/22

    Thursday 2/23
    • Justice Dept. scraps plan to phase out private, for-profit prisons (source).
    • Bannon says they are working on the “deconstruction of the administrative state” and says many cabinet nominees were chosen specifically to dismantle their respective agencies (source).
    • Spicer threatens crackdown on marijuana (source).
    • NYT fact checking on trade - we have a trade surplus with many places (source).

    Friday 2/24
    • DJT wants more nukes (source).
    • Priebus asks FBI to help cover-up Russia story (source)

    In news elsewhere
    • Russian consul found dead in Athens (source) - for those counting I believe that's the fifth high level Russian diplomat to be found dead/killed since the election.


    Map of the week:

    kmusser: (Confusion)

    Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html. Hearings are happening this week. New confirmations since last week are Steve Mnuchin (Treasury), David Shulkin (VA), Mick Mulvaney (OMB), Linda McMahon (SBA).


    Friday 2/10
    • Immigration enforcement raids have started (source).
    • CNN corroborates some elements of the Trump dossier, namely the internal Russian government meetings (source)

    Monday 2/13
    • Michael Flynn (NSA) resigns over discussions with Russian ambassador (source).

    Tuesday 2/14
    • It's not just Flynn, DJT team had repeated contacts with Russia (source)
    • NYT article on your rights re electronic devices and traveling (hint, you don't have any)

    Wednesday 2/15
    • Secretary of Labor nominee withdraws his nomination (source)
    • WH proposes rules to steady insurance markets while ACA future being debated (source)

    Thursday 2/16
    • GOP have a health care replacement plan (sort of) (source).


    Maps of the week:
    kmusser: (Freedom)
    It's become pretty clear that the administration are making immigrants public enemy #1. I just want to state unequivocally that immigrants are not the enemy. The people that come are are those that are drawn to America's ideals, they have a more vested interest than anyone in "making America great". Repeated research has shown that the crime rate among immigrants is lower than among non-immigrants. We should be welcoming them, not blaming them for problems that they have nothing to do with.

    While I'm at it a shout out to my own immigrant ancestors:
    Gus Michul Sr. and Katherine who came from Lithuania in 1905
    Frank and Christina Flachbarth who came from Austria-Hungary in 1881
    Herbert and Hannah Broome who came from England in 1880
    John and Ricky Reinke who came from Germany in 1871
    Jacob and Mary Dauwalter who came from Germany in 1865
    William and Elizabeth Smith who came from Germany in the 1860's
    John Cravener who came from Ireland in the early 1800's
    and the Musser, Davis, Waugaman, Learn, Dormeyer, Guyer, and Yockey families that came over from Germany, France, Netherlands, and Switzerland in the 1700's. I'm glad all of them made it and played their part in making America great.

    This post inspired by the news that immigration enforcement sweeps have started: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/federal-agents-conduct-sweeping-immigration-enforcement-raids-in-at-least-6-states/2017/02/10/4b9f443a-efc8-11e6-b4ff-ac2cf509efe5_story.html
    kmusser: (America)

    Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html. Hearings are happening this week. New confirmations since last week are Betsy DeVos (Education), Jeff Sessions (Attorney General), Tom Price (HHS).


    Friday 2/3
    • Court blocks travel ban, airlines allowing visa holders to fly again (source.
    • Trust documents show DJT still in charge of his business empire (source)

    Saturday 2/4
    • WH shelving EO on re-opening CIA "black sites" (source).

    Monday 2/6

    Tuesday 2/7


    Let me take a brief interlude to sum up our legislative process, since lots of outlets are reporting that last item as if it was actually enacted. First a bill is introduced, usually in the House, but they can start in the Senate as well - lots and lots of bills are introduced, at the moment there are 1,450 bills, with another handful being added everyday. Those bills are assigned to one or more committees which decide whether the bill is worth being considered by the House or Senate as a whole. The vast majority of bills never make it past the committee stage (80-90% of bills die in committee), and this is why I usually don't consider bills being introduced as newsworthy, because being introduced doesn't mean it's going anywhere. If the committee decides to approve it, then it might have legs - in goes on to a full vote in the House or Senate. Once approved in one chamber the bill has to go through the whole process in the other chamber. If approved in the other chamber, and the versions are identical, then it goes to the president. If the versions are not identical the differences need to be hashed out and a revised bill needs to go through the process again. It is not a quick process, so far the current Congress has not gotten anything major all the way to the president. The House has passed a bunch of worrying legislation, but most of it hasn't been considered by the Senate yet. If you want to see where a given bill is in the process, I highly recommend govtrack.us, for example the above item on the EAC is at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr634 and has gotten to step two of the whole process.



    Wednesday 2/8
    • GOP votes to silence Sen. Warren for reading Coretta Scott King letter (source).

    Thursday 2/9
    • Appeals court rules travel ban unconstitutional - it'll go on to the Supreme Court (source).
    • Fact checking on crime rates.
    • Wanting to get in on the insulting other countries, Congressman Rohrabacher says Macedonia is not a country, Macedonia understandably a bit upset by this (source)
    • Confirmation that National Security Advisor Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador before being appointed (source).
    • DJT backs down on China (source)
    • GOP plans for stripping Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of power (source).
    • Actual Washington Post headline "Sean Spicer went full Melissa McCarthy today."

    Friday 2/10
    • Republican "town halls" getting nasty, even deep in GOP territory (source).


    Map of the week:

    • Visa's affected by the travel ban:



    kmusser: (Info whores)

    Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html. Hearings are happening this week. New confirmations since last week are Elaine Chao (Transportation) and Rex Tillerson (State).


    Previously
    • On inauguration day DJT filed as a candidate for 2020, allowing him to receive campaign contributions for the next 4 years (source).
    • In December, 19% of Russian oil giant Rosneft sold to unknown buyers (source - for the conspiracy minded, that's about the same amount that was promised to Trump in that unverified intelligence dossier).

    Friday 1/27
    • Anti-immigration Executive Order goes into effect and immediately causes chaos at most U.S. international airports and confusion among government officials (summary). Travel ban does not include exceptions for legal permanent residents (green card holders) or legal visa holders, an estimated 500,000 people (source). About 100-200 of them are caught mid-travel and detained at airports. ACLU wins a court order preventing deportations, but they aren't released either leaving detainees in limbo. Protests against the EO at many airports. Some of the detainees are refused access to lawyers. Also reports of Customs officials refusing to abide by the court order or to allow congressmen access to the detainees. Acting Attorney General Yates (an Obama appointee) says Justice Dept. won't defend EO and is immediately fired (source). Homeland Security allows release of green card holders starting Sunday (source). Numbers banned as of Tuesday. Later analysis reveals that including green card holders in the ban was intentional and Bannon's doing, overruling DHS advice (source) and that the EO was done without executive review. Lots of speculation out there that this may have been a deliberate move by Bannon to test reactions and loyalties of various groups.

    Saturday 1/28

    • Ex-KGB agent, possible informant for the Trump dossier, found dead (source).

    Sunday 1/29
    • The Guardian reports that last week's State Dept. resignations were really firings and that the State Dept. is being bypassed in foreign policy decisions (source).

    Monday 1/30
    • Executive order requiring repeal of two regulations for every new one and requires them to have a net cost of zero (text of EO) - personally I think it's so vague that it's unenforceable which may be why it hasn't been getting much attention.

    Tuesday 1/31
    • Steve Bannon asked to attend all National Security Council meetings (source). (a side note - he has not been technically appointed to the NSC, just asked to attend, appointment would require senate approval).
    • Foreign Policy article on Bannon's increasing influence on national security issues here.
    • DJT nominates Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court (source)
    • DJT shelves anti-LGBT executive order, will allow Obama's protections to stay source)
    • Reuters advice to its journalists covering the administration - just read it - that is definitely not normal.

    Wednesday 2/1
    • GOP changes senate rules to allow cabinet appointments to move forward without Dems (source).
    • Work proceeds on Dakota pipeline (source).
    • House votes to overturn two environmental regulations, one preventing mining companies from dumping in streams, and one requiring gas and oil companies to disclose when foreign governments pay for access (source).
    • DJT threatens Iran because of Yemeni rebels attacking a Saudi ship (because in Spicer-speak that's an Iranian attack on a U.S. vessel) (source).

    Thursday 2/2
    • Homeland Security anti-extremist program may change to be anti-Islam only, dropping efforts against white nationalist groups (source). (note this change has not actually gone through yet)
    • DJT insults Australia (source).
    • DJT approves his first counter-terrorism mission in Yemen, it doesn't go so well (source).
    • DJT team scraps Obama's plans for assault on final ISIL stronghold (source).
    • DJT wants to repeal law that prohibits churches from political campaigning while claiming tax-exempt status (source).
    • Some analysis of DJT's bizarre phone calls to world leaders.
    • DJT asks Jerry Falwell Jr. to lead education task force, wants to cut rules for investigating and reporting sexual assaults (Not the Onion, I'm still not making any of this up) (source).
    • Some sanctions on Russia eased, namely cyber-security sales (source).
    • Conway makes up a terrorist attack (source).

    Friday 2/3
    • Executive orders reducing Dodd-Frank restrictions on the financial industry and repealing "fiduciary rule" which requires financial consultants to act in their customers interests (source).
    • DJT waffling on Israeli settlements (source).
    • DJT's pick for EU ambassador considered "malevolent" by EU (source).
    • House votes to scrap background checks for people with mental health issues buying guns (source).
    • DJT threatens North Korea (source).
    • House votes to overturn BLM drilling restriction (source).
    • DJT issues sanctions against Iran (source).


    This week work kept me too busy to do the running tally I usually do and there was a lot of stuff, so most of this was compiled after the fact and I may have missed smaller stuff. Let me know if you saw something important I missed.

    Map of the week:

    • Obama's National Parks:

    kmusser: (Boggle)

    Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html. Hearings are happening this week. Confirmed so far are James Mattis (Defense), John Kelly (Homeland Security), Mike Pompeo (CIA), Nikki Haley (UN ambassador). There are still lots of vacancies in the administration (source)



    Monday 1/23
    • Executive orders: (source)
      • Withdraw U.S. from Trans-Pacific Partnership.
      • Federal hiring freeze
      • Forbid funding to international NGO's that perform abortions (Mexico City policy)

    Tuesday 1/24
    • Executive order revives Keystone and Dakota pipeline plans (source).
    • Journalists arrested for covering inauguration day protests (source)
    • Trump team doing more saber rattling at China and no one is sure if it's intentional or not (source)
    • FBI directory, James Comey to stay (source)
    • House passes HR 7 which would make the Hyde Amendment (the rule prohibiting Federal funds for abortion, in place as a temporary measure since 1976) permanent (source)
    • EPA ordered not to use social media or talk to press or have any new contracts or grants (source).
    • USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) ordered not to publish anything (source).
    • There appear to be similar bans for most science-oriented Federal agencies, though I haven't confirmed the others (source). More on this from WP here. For ARS at least, order is lifted the next day (source). NYT has more include quotes from long-time career staff that this is a routine transition thing and that Obama did the same.
    • National Park Service employees launch unofficial twitter channel here. Many many copycat twitter feeds follow suit, due to the nature of the medium there's no way to vouch for any of these, but they can be fun to read.

    Wednesday 1/25
    • Executive order to begin construction of Trump's "wall", boost immigration enforcement, and threaten Federal funding to "sanctuary cities" (i.e. most of them) - order does not include funding, which would still need to be appropriated by Congress (no, Mexico still isn't going to pay for it), notably order does not overturn Obama's "dreamers" order allowing children to stay, however does include asking homeland security to publish weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants (source). Responses in Mexico. Most cities that have responded so far have done so with some variation of "see you in court" with the notable exception of Miami which begins immediate crackdown.
    • Draft executive orders bans citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia from entering the country. Refugees from any country denied for 120 days. Tightens visa requirements including collection of biometric data and ideological screening for all visitors (source). Signing expected Friday.
    • Draft executive order that would allow CIA to open "black sites" and resume torture leaked - note this has not been signed and White House denies it is theirs, but multiple sources vouch for it (source) and a reminder that Trump is a fan of torture .
    • Dept. of State's entire senior management team resigns, no this is not normal, these are career staff, not political appointees (source).
    • DJT still going on about voter fraud, which I'll remind readers is not a thing, the only logical reason to try and convince people that it is is as a pretext for restricting the right to vote.
    • GOP having a retreat, working on legislative agenda, getting Trump to be in sync (good luck with that) some notes here.
    • Since U.S. is surrendering its role as world leader, China ready to step up and take on the role (source, more opinion than news, but an interesting one).

    Thursday 1/26
    • Mexican president Peña Nieto cancels meeting with Trump (source)
    • Steve Bannon says the media should "keep its mouth shut", calls the press the White House's opposition (source)
    • DJT proposes a 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay for his wall (because making Americans pay more for Mexican goods is totally the same as making Mexico pay, also trade wars are fun apparently) (source). If tweets are to be believed administration immediately back tracks, Spicer goes from "this is a decision the president has made" to "this is not a policy proposal, but an example of options to pay for the wall" in an hour.

    Maps of the week:

    P.S. I've have noticed an uptick in fake news from my liberal friends, esp. those copy/past things, a reminder to fact check before sharing. Also the real news is horrible enough, there is no reason to exaggerate it or make up more.

    kmusser: (America)

    Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html. Hearings are happening this week. Confirmed so far are James Mattis (Defense) and John Kelly (Homeland Security). There are still lots of vacancies in the administration (source)


    Friday 1/20 Day 1 activities (source)
    • Executive order allowing agencies to ignore some aspects of ACA, effectively eliminates the individual mandate which is the main incentive for insurance companies to participate in the exchanges. More detail.
    • Executive order freezing creation of new Federal regulations
    • Executive order overturning mortgage fee relief.
    • New White House website hawks Melania's businesses.
    • Fact checking DJT's inaugural speech - still fact-free.
    • National Park Service twitter feed closed for a day because they showed how small Trump's um, inauguration was (source) (don't expect any official estimates for Saturday's march)

    Saturday 1/21
    • DJT gives unhinged talk at CIA attacking the press and full of blatant lies about the crowds and weather on Friday - I mean I know people have short attention spans, but dude, it was yesterday, we can remember yesterday (source).
    • WH press secretary Baghdad Bob Sean Spicer does the same (source).
    • Justice Dept. clears Jared Kushner's appointment (source).
    • Not a news item per se, but I noticed with today's news a change in tone from main stream media sources in that they are willing to call outright lies lies. Meanwhile Kellyanne Conway calls them "alternative facts", I'm not making this up. (source)

    Sunday 1/22
    • DJT social media director fan of fake news and conspiracy theories (source).

    Monday 1/22
    • Executive orders: (source)
      • Withdraw U.S. from Trans-Pacific Partnership.
      • Federal hiring freeze
      • Forbid funding to international NGO's that perform abortions (Mexico City policy)


    Maps of the week:
    kmusser: (Buddy Christ)

    Stickied until the inauguration: Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html, new since last week include Agriculture. Hearings are happening this week, though GOP is caving to pressure to delay some some of them (source).


    Friday 1/13
    • Abortion ban introduced in Congress (source).
    • Congress threatens to cut security of embassies until Israel embassy moved to Jerusalem (source)

    Monday 1/16
    • DJT describes NATO as obsolete, European leaders are concerned (source).
    • DJT claims to have Obamacare replacement plan (source).
    • Ethics chief threatened by GOP for doing his job (source).
    • DJT open to lifting sanctions against Russia (source).

    Tuesday 1/17
    • Tom Price (health secretary nominee) accused of insider training, Betsy BeVos (education secretary nominee) hearing set to go ahead despite her not completing ethics review (source).
    • Betsy DeVos ok with de-funding public education, doesn't know anything about our education system, also kids might need guns because of bears (source).
    • UK sabotaging Middle East peace process to please Trump (source).

    Wednesday 1/18
    • Congress aiming to repeal DC local laws including gun control, abortion access, and euthanasia rights (source)
    • Trump team planning some dramatic budget cuts (source)

    Thursday 1/19
    • DJT wants military parades (source).
    • Transition team asking Virginia about potential toll roads (source)

    Friday 1/20
    • Inauguration day - if Trump does a bunch of day 1 stuff I'll do a special update for it, otherwise see you next week.
    kmusser: (bookpimp)
    Covering the 2nd half of 2016:

    Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie - This book won a ton of awards and deservedly so, some great world building and the best revenge tale since the Count of Monte Cristo. The lead character is a spaceship AI that manages to survive the destruction of its ship and is on the hunt those that betrayed it. Highly recommended, even to people that aren't normally sci-fi fans.

    Fix by Ferrett Steinmetz - Book 3 of his 'Mancer books and a great conclusion, this is a trilogy that ups its game with every book, the story goes in some unexpected, but very satisfying directions. As with the others recommended for urban fantasy lovers, though definitely read them in order.

    Merchant Princes, books 1 through 6 by Charles Stross - Stross' series about alternate dimensions and a select group of people that can travel between them and our Earth, coming from a world with only a medieval tech level and ruling it by stealing tech from ours. Things start to get complicated when the worlds discover each others existence as well as a 3rd steampunkish version of our world. Very different from his Laundry series, they lack the humor, but add lots of intrigue and some fantastic world building - this series would make a great RPG setting. Whether you like/dislike the Laundry books not necessary a good indication of whether you'd like these or not. Recommended for folks that like fantasy or alt history with a lot of political intrigue.

    Manleigh Cheese by James Crawford - some good urban fantasy set in DC as a food truck crew gets caught up in supernatural shenanigans involving fae. I like this more than Crawford's zombie books, the tone is a lot lighter and more fun and as a local I appreciated the local setting.

    Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson - I guess I been on an urban fantasy kick, this is another good one set in a not quite post-apocalypse Toronto as a poor Afro-Caribbean woman gets some supernatural assistance from the Loa in taking on the city boss.

    Hamilton by Ron Chernow - yes, I've succumbed to all things Hamilton and that includes reading the biography that inspired the show. This is a big book, but still pretty easy reading, Chernow's style is very engaging - and since Hamilton is involved in nearly everything, this makes a nice review of the founding of our country, though I will say it doesn't paint a very flattering picture of Jefferson. Definitely recommended.

    Seveneves by Neal Stephenson - a near-future sci-fi about a group of folks surviving in a space station as the Earth is destroyed, a interesting premise, but I found the writing to be very dry, more like I was reading a history about the events taking place than a novel.

    Key Out of Time by Andre Norton - a time travel story in which agents get trapped in the past on an alien world and help rally the locals to fight an interstellar threat, feels a bit dated now, but still a fun read.
    kmusser: (Angry God)

    Stickied until the inauguration: Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html, new since last week include VA secretary and naming Kushner, Trumps son-in-law, as senior advisor. Hearings are happening this week, though GOP is caving to pressure to delay some some of them (source). So far most of Trump's nominees have sought to distance themselves from Trump.



    From last week


    Tuesday 1/10
    • Anti-vaxxer put in charge of "vaccine safety" (I could not make this shit up if I tried) (source).
    • Intelligence agencies investigating reports that Russia has blackmail material on Trump (WP, NYT) - Full text of the allegations - note these are unconfirmed, it could very well be fictional, but that's some impeachment level material if true. 4chan users are claiming credit for making up the "golden showers" story (source). Allegations are of course denied by both Trump and Russia.
    • GOP plan to repeal Obamacare immediately not going so well, Ryan changes plan and now says repeal will be paired with replacement (source)
    • Summary of Jeff Session's Attorney General hearings (nothing too surprising here).

    Wednesday 1/11

    Thursday 1/12

    • GOP moves to de-fund the U.N. (source).
    • Despite link from Tuesday, Senate goes ahead and takes next step in Obamacare repeal without a replacement, passing budget resolution (source). (Only Rand Paul breaks ranks, thank you Rand).
    • Tillerman lies in hearings about never lobbying for Russia. (source).
    • NSA relaxes rules for data sharing (source). (note this will get flipped if Congress does their reverse all regulations from the last 60 days trick).
    • U.S. intelligence officials tell Israeli's to be careful what they share with us as it might get leaked to Russia and Iran (source).
    • Paul Ryan waffling on immigration (source)


    Maps of the week:
    kmusser: (V)
    Just going with bullet points this year:

    • I mostly failed to come out of hermit mode, will keep trying.
    • The finances have mostly recovered though, only travel out of state was a jaunt up to the Finger Lakes and one Chicago trip, but I'm hoping this year will have more.
    • I did succeed in reading more, will do a book update soon, but currently on Chernow's Hamilton biography which is great.
    • The year was obviously dominated by the train wreck of an election, the effects of which are just getting started, I'll be keeping up my little news summaries.
    • In gaming still addicting to EU IV, Stellaris and Civ failed to de-throne it. For board games, most played new game is probably Orleans.
    • So many celebrity deaths - first up on this years see them before they leave us list is Aretha Franklin.
    • Cubs win!
    • Faire without Pyrates :-(
    • Brunswick gains its own brewery!
    • Changes at work as my boss has been busy fighting cancer, the rest of us have had to pick up some of the slack, still going good though and hoping work can survive the Trump years as we did the Bush ones, just laying low and keep collecting data without calling too much attention to ourselves. On the plus side did a handful of freelance projects, so might increase that if thinks turn south.
    • A lot of change and 2017 promises more, one thing reading history has taught me is that our country has faced worse and survived, just hoping it can do so again.
    kmusser: (Info whores)

    Stickied until the inauguration: Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html - hearings begin this week, before background reviews are complete (source) Hearing schedule is here, note many are simultaneous to make following them more difficult.


    Friday 1/6

    • All U.S. ambassadors being withdrawn by inauguration day (normally they stay on until their replacements are approved) (source).

    • Congress looking to get started on that wall (and shockingly it would be U.S. taxpayers, not Mexico paying for it) (source)

    • Full report on Russian interference in the election.

    • House passes REINS act which would require congressional approval for all major regulations, act is unlikely to pass senate though (source)


    Sunday 1/8

    • WP article on Trump's non-cabinet advisors, who are not subject to conflict of interest laws (source)


    Monday 1/9

    • If Trump signs that bill rolling back the last 60 days of regulations the House passed last week, he'll also be signing away a chunk of his executive power to Congress (source).

    • Major Senate votes planned for Wednesday (simultaneous with cabinet hearings), mostly on the stuff the House passed last week, including Obamacare repeal. (source).

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