kmusser: (Confusion)

Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: 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:
kmusser: (America)

Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: 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, for example the above item on the EAC is at 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: Hearings are happening this week. New confirmations since last week are Elaine Chao (Transportation) and Rex Tillerson (State).

  • 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: 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: 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:, 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:, 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: - 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).

kmusser: (Londo)

Stickied until the inauguration: Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: - updates from last week include the U.S. trade representative, SEC. Hearings to begin next week (more on the hearings schedule).

Monday 1/2
  • House Republicans vote to downgrade Ethics Office, placing it under the (GOP controlled) Ethics committee rather than an independent bipartisan office and stripping it of most of its power (source). DJT and Paul Ryan criticize move. House Republicans reverse course the next day (source).

Tuesday 1/3
  • House votes in rule change to value all Federal land as $0, making it easier to sell off (source)
  • House approves rule allowing bill that would undo all Federal regulations done in the last 60 days en masse and proceeds immediately to pass said bill (source).
  • Full text of rule changes including the ones above and the ethics office business are at, also includes the rule forbidding any photography or video from the floor of the House and a bunch of rules limiting government spending, with explicit exceptions if that spending is somehow related to repealing Obamacare or the regulations mentioned above.

Wednesday 1/4

Thursday 1/5
  • House approves rule that would allow representatives to withhold pay from individual Federal employees (source).
  • Hearings on Russian hacking begin today, Trump still in denial. (source)
  • Trump plans on shrinking intelligence agencies (source)

Maps of the week:
  • Since we visited Mt. Vernon last week. Here's a map drawn by the General himself during his surveying days.
kmusser: (Vader)

Stickied until the inauguration: Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: - updates from last week include HHS, homeland security advisor.

Saturday 12/24
  • Trump's charity to shut down (source)

Sunday 12/25
  • Merry Christmas

Thursday 12/29
  • Obama issues sanctions against Russia, Trump still skeptical, but will meet with intelligence officials (source). Russia declines to retaliate.

Maps of the week:
  • Click for larger version, this is one of my own maps, which should be on display in the Old Post Office observation tower whenever they finally finish renovations.
kmusser: (Freedom)

Stickied until the inauguration: Status of cabinet picks and other appointments: - updates from last week include OPM, CIA, White House Counselor, National Trade Council, press secretary, and an advisor on regulatory reform.

Saturday 12/17
  • Followup on drone taken by China and negotiations for its return (source) and it is resolved (and was before DJT tweeted out his insults, which he would've known if he bothered to receive his intelligence briefings).

Monday 12/19
  • Electoral college makes Trump's win official

Thursday 12/22
  • DJT tweets support for Israel's west bank settlements
  • DJT tweets that he wants more nukes
  • Trump team asks State dept. to turn over all "gender-related staffing, programming, and funding" information (source)
  • Trump team gathering information about where to put their Mexico wall (or maybe just a fence) (source)

Maps of the week:

kmusser: (Cryptic Bastard)
And the evening commute, just to keep things even:

I'd Still be the Same - Dulaham
Further on up the Road - Eric Clapton
Whip It - Devo
Born Under a Bad Sign - Koko Taylor & Buddy Guy
Leaving on a Jet Plane - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Lots of Drops of Brandy - The Chieftains
Pick a Bale of Cotton - Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee
Balto - Enter The Haggis
Heist - Lindsey Stirling
Rescue Me - Bell Book & Candle
Our House - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Over the Mountain - The Glengarry Bhoys
Putting the Damage On - Tori Amos
Crawling King Snake - The Doors
The Saga Begins - Weird Al
One Small Girl - Once On This Island London Cast
The Abduction from the Seraglio - Mozart
Let It Go - The Piano Guys
I Shot the Sheriff - Eric Clapton
I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash
If I Could Reach Your Heart - Cirque de Soleil
Kilted Yaksmen Anthem - Ren & Stimpy
Circle - Sarah McLachlan
kmusser: (Cryptic Bastard)
This morning's commute:

Delirious - Prince
Boyko Dream - Scythian
Trust in Me - Etta James
Lancaster Gate - Enter the Haggis
Can't Help You Anymore - Sugar
You Spin Me Round - Dead or Alive
Love Shack - The B-52's
Tell Mama - Etta James
Miss Gordon of Park medley - Bonnie Rideout
Galway Girl - Brian Gaffney
Cruel - Tori Amos
Quicksilver - The Cruxshadows
Boozin' - John DuRant
Beaver Slide Rag - Slimpickins
I'm Not Your Stepping Stone - The Monkees
Running Two - Franka Potente (Run Lola Run)
So This Is Love - Disney (Cinderella)
Told You So - Barenaked Ladies
The Longships - Enya
Dean Cadalan Samhach - Capercaillie
Virus Alert - Weird Al
500 Miles - Peter, Paul & Mary
kmusser: (Info whores)
Stickied until the inauguration: Status of cabinet picks: - updates from last week include Secretary of State, Energy, Interior, White House Counsel, ambassador to Israel

Last week

  • Bipartisan board overseeing Voice of America and related stations to be dissolved and replaced by a president appointed CEO. (source, WP explanation)

Friday 12/9

Monday 12/12
  • Insults between DJT and China continue (source).
  • via twitter, DJT delays promised press conference on finances, restates that he'll leave business to children (who are on the transition team), but not do a blind trust

Tuesday 12/13
  • In depth Newsweek piece connects DJT's foreign policy calls and his international business interests (source)
  • DJT wants to fire NATO official (source).
  • Scientists are copying their data to non-government computers so that the administration can't delete it (source and yes, I've done likewise).
  • DJT threatens the careers of any electors that defect (source)

Wednesday 12/14
  • NYTimes in depth article on the Russian hacking, if you are unsure of what exactly was hacked, how, and how we know it was Russia, read this (source).

Thursday 12/15
  • GOP Freedom Caucus release a hit list of specific regulations they are targeting to get rid of (source, go directly to the list - I won't lie to you, it's pretty horrifying, the WP article only scratches the surface and missed little things like removing Net Neutrality - I have my paraphrasing of the full list at the bottom of this post).
  • Not really related to Trump/Pence, but in NC the GOP is stripping the governor's office of much of its power since a democrat won said office. (source)
  • DJT tweets continued denial of Russian involvement in the election
  • DJT wants to create "safe zones" in Syria, unclear what he means by that

Friday 12/16
  • Congressman floats idea of national surveillance program targeting Muslims after meeting with Trump (source)
  • China seizes U.S. vessel in South China Sea (source)

Non-U.S. news
  • Aleppo has fallen to the Syrian government, before the civil war Aleppo was Syria's largest city, its loss is a major blow to the Syrian rebels and a big win for Assad and Putin.

Map of the week:

Full GOP hit list )

kmusser: (Info whores)

Stickied until the inauguration: Status of cabinet picks: - updates from last week include Defense, HUD, EPA, Labor and the theme of choosing people opposed to the basic mission of the agencies they are to lead continues. (WP noticed that too). Dems concerned about how many are military (source). What a Trump cabinet interview is like.

Saturday 12/3
  • DJT has made a series of flippant phone calls to world leaders, NYT round up, Chinese protest call from Taiwan (source)

Sunday 12/2
  • DJT tweet support for 35% tariff, GOP and Pence not exactly on board (source1, source 2)

Monday 12/5
  • DJT tweets more insults at China in case they didn't get the message.
  • Obama leaves Trump a book entitled "Using Military Force for Dummies" (source).
  • Trump team forming a pro-Trump lobbying group (source).

Wednesday 12/6
  • Union boss factchecks DJT on Carrier deal, gets threats in response (source).

Thursday 12/8
  • GOP to investigate Russian tampering with elections (source)

Maps of the week:
CIA released a batch of declassified maps from over the decades
NYT summary about a new app mapping global water change

kmusser: (Info whores)
Stickied until the inauguration: Status of cabinet picks: (note, except for Bannon and Priebus, picks are unofficial until the inauguration, and afterwards will require senate approval before going into effect)

Last week
  • Trump is ignoring intelligence briefings (Pence is not) (source)
  • GSA is looking into issues with Trump's DC Hotel lease regarding conflict of interest (source)
  • FEC reports campaign finance violations (source)
  • NYT documents Trump's financial conflicts of interest internationally (source) BBC has more (source) WP has more on his stock holdings (source)

Sunday 11/27
  • DJT tweets baseless allegations of widespread election fraud.

Monday 11/28
  • DJT tweets threats at Cuba because reasons
  • DJT and team continue to simultaneously argue there was widespread voter fraud and that recounts are unnecessary. (source)
  • Dems call for investigatations into DJT finances (source)

Tuesday 11/29
  • DJT tweets shit on the 1st amendment, floats idea of stripping people of citizenship
  • SPLC documents post-election hate incidents (source)

Wednesday 11/30
  • DJT announces news conference for 12/15 to discuss his business arrangements
  • Trump/Pence bribe a factory in Indiana to stay put with tax breaks. (source)
  • Supreme Court hearing arguments on whether immigrants can be detained indefinitely/ have due process rights (source)
  • FBI gets expanded hacking abilities (source)

Thursday 12/1
  • DJT issues vague threats at companies that attempt to offshore (source).

Map of the week:

from Their algorithm did a few weird things, but still a cool looking map.

What is this?

This is the first of what will be a weekly post summarizing news about the Trump/Pence administration. My goal is to post only news/investigative journalism pieces, no op-eds, the only opinions/snark here will be mine (you’re welcome to post your own in the comments, though note that insults at your fellow commenters will be summarily deleted). I don’t know how long I’ll keep this up, but I hope to at least make it through the first 100 days, speaking of which I’ll specifically be on the lookout for actions related to implementing Trump’s 100 day plan. If you feel I’ve missed some important news, by all means let me know and I’ll add it (provided it follows the news, not opinion, rule and comes from a reliable source). Sources I check regularly include New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Trump’s twitter, and my own social media feeds.
kmusser: (V)
Ok, I've had a few days to think about the election.

To anyone who says it's going to be ok - maybe, but I doubt it. Part of the fear is having no idea what Trump will actually do since almost everything he says is a lie, but a bigger part is knowing that if at this point he decides to go full fascist1 there is no one that is going to stop him, and so far he appears to be following in Mussolini's footsteps.

I've seen a lot of posts pointing blame. Third party voters are not to blame, about 2% of the electorate votes third party every election, and despite the added press they got this time around, they did not get significantly more votes - there's no reason to think those voters would vote anything other than third party. The electoral college is not to blame, our presidential elections have never been a straight popular vote and both sides know the rules our elections operate under - at any rate the electoral college is not going anywhere. It boils down to we lost because we didn't convince enough voters that electing a racist, sexist, fascist asshole with poor impulse control was a monumentally bad idea. That should have been an easy sell, but Trump proved the better salesman.

I think a big part of that failure is that we don't talk to people that don't already agree with us. I've seen a lot of people asking for anyone who voted for Trump to leave their lives, I think that's a mistake. We need to convince more folks. It's hard to convince anyone that fear and anger aren't the answers or that immigrants and minorities are not the causes of their troubles if we don't talk. I refuse to tar all Trump supporters with his sins. I don't think most of them are really Trump fans, but they feared Clinton more, or just wanted to send a "fuck you" to Washington. I think they made a big mistake, but they're never going to see that if they are ostracized. Note this is not a call for unity (fuck appeasement) or a call to ignore bigotry, it absolutely should be called out whenever we see it - and if Trump supporters want us to believe they're not all bigots they need to join us in denouncing it. You don't need to be friends, this is simply a call to keep the lines of communication open2 3, even with people who disrespect you, because if we don't, how is that ever going to change? Some of my friends are literally in fear for their lives, either because the ACA could be repealed and they'd be denied health care, or from hate crimes from bigots that feel they don't have to hide any longer (a lot of specific incidents being passed around on facebook are false, but yes this is happening). Trump supporters need to know this, they need to see and hear about the consequences of their votes.

What to do next? Those of us with privilege enough to do so should help protect those most likely to bear the brunt of Trump's presidency, give to organizations that help immigrants, minorities, and women; support their businesses, bear witness and help if they're attacked. Don't be silent. To that end know that my house is a safe haven to anyone that should need it. Watch this administration, don't let our rights disappear without notice, a free press will likely be one of the first to go. Hope that none of this will prove necessary, but prepare in case it is.

1 I'm not using fascist as an insult here, if you don't know what fascism actually is I suggest you read up on it, because that is what we are facing.
2 oh lord, I'm agreeing with Glenn Beck, shoot me now.
3 and I know we need our safe spaces too, I'm not saying every channel should be open, just that if you close your bubble completely, no one will hear you.


kmusser: (Default)

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