Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast and his take on Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees:
By my count, Ben Carson, nominated by Donald Trump to be his HUD secretary, makes the fourth designee who seems to oppose the very mission of the department he’s about to take over. There’s Jeff Sessions at Justice, who isn’t likely to be enforcing many civil rights cases or pursuing many antitrust violations. Tom Price at Health and Human Services, who wants to dismantle the same Obamacare that it’s HHS’s job to implement and who more broadly will bring a ferociously anti-statist world view to an agency that embodies the state’s concern for its citizens’ health and well being—especially its female citizens, who have extra reasons to worry about Dr. Price. And finally there’s billionaire Betsy De Vos for Education, who’s basically against, y’know, public education.
Critics of the Carson choice complain that he’s totally unqualified because he has no background whatsoever in housing. Well, if you wanna get technical about it, that’s true. But as the Beast’s Gideon Resnick wrote the other day, Carson has actually shown interest in public-housing issues for some time. The problem is that his interest is pretty much of the “public housing is social engineering” variety, even to the point where he (inevitably) compared the things the government does to house its poorest people to socialism and communism.
When it comes to standing up to Trump, Coons really is winning the “most spineless” derby. In a recent Slate Podcast Coons spends 15 minutes rephrasing all of Dahlia Lithwick’s questions about the beating that the Constitution is already taking, without ever answering any questions.
The closest he comes it an answer is to opine, from on high, about that fact that the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution sets up a “fascinating conflict” between originalists and people who think that the Constitution is a living document. Could there be a more entitled approach to Trump’s multiple and egregious conflicts of interest? “fascinating conflict” JESUS!
Perhaps no issue defines who Carper represents in the Senate and who he doesn’t represent in starker terms than his leadership in screwing families down on their luck in favor of the big banks and credit card operations. MBNA, to be more specific.
In Carper’s world, any feigned empathy consistently takes a back seat to the banking and financial interests who fund his campaigns. While there is so much to dislike about his record, this issue, in my opinion, is the clarion call for his replacement in 2018.
You see, Charles Cawley and MBNA had a dream. A dream that came to them almost every day and night. They dreamt of a world where down-on-their-luck folks could no longer get out from under huge credit card balances by declaring bankruptcy. No exceptions.
The dream was funded by campaign contributions. Huge sums of money dating back to the early 1990’s. One of the earliest beneficiaries of MBNA’s largesse was then-Sen. Joe Biden.
A couple of takeaways from yesterday’s NJ front pager from Adam Duvernay.
1) Coons is signaling a desire to just be left alone for four years. Fat chance of that happening. History has its eyes on this Congress. Will it be the one that sells out the Republic for a little peace and quiet and some highway money? The coons response to that appears to be a stage whisper, “Hell yes”
“The problem for the Democratic Party is not that its policies aren’t progressive or populist enough,” writes Fareed Zakaria in a Washington Post op-ed. “They are already progressive and are substantially more populist than the Republican Party’s on almost every dimension. And yet, over the past decade, Republicans have swept through statehouses, governors’ mansions, Congress and now the White House. Democrats need to understand not just the Trump victory but that broader wave…Hillary Clinton’s campaign, for instance, should have been centered around one simple theme: that she grew up in a town outside Chicago and lived in Arkansas for two decades. The subliminal message to working-class whites would have been “I know you. I am you.” It was the theme of her husband’s speech introducing her at the Democratic convention, and Bill Clinton’s success has a lot to do with the fact that, brilliant as he is, he can always remind those voters that he knows them. Once reassured, they are then open to his policy ideas.”
Hat tip out there to Donviti who pointed me to these Election Result Maps for Delaware put together by First Map. The maps are all broken down by Representative District and Election District, and the races covered are the President, Governor, U.S. Representative, Lt. Governor, Insurance Commissioner and State Senators and Representatives. It is an instant bookmark for me, and I will even link to it on side right column on the front page.
CNN’s Brian Stelter:
Let’s tell some truths about lying, because the way Donald Trump lies has people rethinking some of the basic premises of journalism, like the assumption that everything a president says is automatically news. When President-elect Trump lies so casually, so cynically, the news isn’t so much the false thing he said, it’s that he felt like he could just go ahead and say it, go ahead and lie to you. That’s the story. [...]
Court cases involving Trump have shown that he lies even when the truth is really easy to discern. And that’s what we’re seeing all again now. That’s why I think fact-checking is important, but the framing of these stories is even more important.
Take Trump’s promotion of this voter fraud conspiracy idea. He said on Twitter “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” The journalistic impulse was to say something like “Trump claims he won the popular vote.” I would suggest to you that better framing is “Trump lies again, embracing a far-right-wing conspiracy theory.”
See, focusing on the falsehood createsmore confusion and gives the lie even more life. And that’s the wrong way to go. Focusing on Trump’s tendency to buy into BS gets to what’s really going on here. This calls for more reporting and for reporters to show our work, to show that we actually know the truth.
Finally and exact. If what Trump is saying is a lie, the word lie should be in the headline. Trump lies again. Exactly.
The Constitutional principle of civilian control of the military is a bunch of old-timey bullshit in the opinion of Senator Chris Coons. It might be anyway. He is studying it. I wonder what other parts of the Constitution are relics that might need shit canning? It isn’t an idle question because trump’s cabinet is shaping up to be one that will challenge Senators like Coons to decide how much of the Constitution still matters.
New York Times: “When Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of the House of Representatives, called Donald Trump shortly after the Nov. 8 election, they talked about domestic policy and infrastructure. But when Ms. Pelosi raised the specific subject of women’s issues, the president-elect did something unexpected: He handed the phone over to another person in the room — his 35-year-old daughter, Ivanka.”
Jonathan Chait: “Consider how the world looked eight years ago. The Republicans lost power amid having let Osama bin Laden and his followers escape in Afghanistan, launched a failed war on the basis of misleading intelligence, managed a scandal-ridden administration stuffed with hacks, handed off an economy plunging into the worst crisis since the Great Depression, and had its outgoing president’s approval ratings bottoming out in the 20s. Barack Obama leaves office with a growing economy throwing off wage gains up and down the income ladder, and with a president whose approval rating has risen into the upper 50s. Some conservative intellectuals tried to grapple with their party’s governing failure in the Bush years, but their mental exertions wound up having no bearing at all on the circumstances that brought their party back to power. Sometimes there is no moral, just a bunch of stuff that happens.”
“The party that needs to search its soul about whether it has the capacity to govern competently is not the one out of power. And what should concern Democrats is not whether they’ll get back in power but what will be left of the country when they do.”
What’s it mean? The funds generated by the 2003 Christina School District referendum (10 cent referendum) that went to pay for 4 specific district programs will now be shared between District schools and all Charters and Choice schools that have Christina resident students attending them, it’s straight up division. Total revenue from $0.10 tax, divided by total number of Christina resident students enrolled in District, Charter, and Choice schools going forward (FY 18 and beyond).
For the current fiscal year (FY 17), Christina will take the total generated revenue from the $0.10 referendum (approximately $5.5 million according to the settlement), divide it by the total number of students and make payments to the appropriate schools by December 3oth. In addition to a one time payment in the amount of $150,000 to each of the plaintiff charter schools, which totals $2,250,000.
If you want to get past the hackey “purisists” vs. “pragmatists” arguments, this is a pretty good read.
…from the desk of R.E. Vanella.
Like a Woodpecker With a Headache
The house at 1410 Quotidian Street was not the nicest on the block. It was in a category neighborhood people referred to as run-down. Not dilapidated or unoccupied, but in some manner of general disrepair and lazy upkeep that usually suggests one of two situations; an elderly or infirmed homeowner who lacked the resources or ability to manage proper maintenance, or occupied by a renter. In this case it was the latter.
It looks like a few Republican Senators are trying to clip Paul Ryan’s wings when it comes to his plan to move forward on privatizing Medicare.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, was blunt about the outlook for a major Medicare overhaul. “I think we should leave Medicare for another day,” he said. “Medicare has solvency problems. We need to address those, but trying to do that at the same time we deal with Obamacare falls in the category of biting off more than we can chew.”…
Most Senate Republicans agreed that there was still a lot of work to do on Obamacare before the topic of Medicare changes could even come up in the Senate. “I’m all for a kind of step-by-step approach, so let’s do one thing at a time,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told TPM. “A step-by-step approach makes a whole lot more sense as opposed to something big and comprehensive. We don’t do big, comprehensive very well here in Washington, D.C.”…
“It’s just too much to bite off,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told TPM. He added that he thought Ryan’s plan was “worthy of consideration,” but that ultimately any changes to Medicare should be considered in a bipartisan manner.
While the Senator resist going on the record as being for or against the Trump/Ryan plan (which technically isn’t a fleshed out plan but an expressed desire to end Medicare) a Carper aide has provided me with this:
Nutshell: 4-3. Settlement accepted. What remains to be seen is how the best interests of our students are being served by taking the settlement. Once the language is made public, we’ll get a good idea of what each board member believes is in the best interest of our kids.
Lots to enjoy, including a legit contender for Best Song of the Year. See if you can guess which one. BTW, The Japandroids are back!: WARNING: NSFW!: I’m a sucker for Bon Iver…even when it’s not Bon Iver: See ya at year’s end with…the 50 Best Songs of the Year! I know you can hardly […]