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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 30,070

Journal Archives

The Scariest Nuclear Threat Might Be in the White House

July 26, 2017 at 8:19 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

Michael Lewis has a must-read piece on the Department of Energy — from the “ceremonial and bizarre” role of energy secretary Rick Perry to the Trump administration’s apparent total disinterest in the agency.

In his confirmation hearings to run the department Perry confessed that when he called for its elimination he hadn’t actually known what the Department of Energy did—and he now regretted having said that it didn’t do anything worth doing.

The question on the minds of the people who currently work at the department: Does he know what it does now? D.O.E. press secretary Shaylyn Hynes assures us that “Secretary Perry is dedicated to the missions of the Department of Energy.” And in his hearings, Perry made a show of having educated himself. He said how useful it was to be briefed by former secretary Ernest Moniz. But when I asked someone familiar with those briefings how many hours Perry had spent with Moniz, he laughed and said, “That’s the wrong unit of account.” With the nuclear physicist who understood the D.O.E. perhaps better than anyone else on earth, according to one person familiar with the meeting, Perry had spent minutes, not hours. “He has no personal interest in understanding what we do and effecting change,” a D.O.E. staffer told me in June. “He’s never been briefed on a program—not a single one, which to me is shocking.”



Reince Priebus Marginalized

July 26, 2017 at 8:30 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

Washington Post: “Typically, the job of firing staffers — even those in the press shop — would be left to the chief of staff, but Priebus has found himself increasingly isolated in recent days, with few areas of the White House reporting directly to him.”

The New York Times reports that Priebus “is still on the bubble and said to be looking for a graceful exit of his own.”



Many Republicans Favor Shutting Down Media Outlets

July 26, 2017 at 11:45 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

A new Economist/YouGov poll finds that Republicans favor having courts “shut down media outlets” for “biased or inaccurate” stories by a 45% to 20% margin, with 35% unsure.



Murkowski Unfazed by Trump Criticism

July 26, 2017 at 10:57 am EDTBy Taegan Goddard

After President Trump tweeted that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) “really let the Republicans, and our country, down” by voting against the motion to proceed on health care legislation, the Alaska senator told NBC News, “I am in a position where I’m not looking to reelection until 2022.”

She added: “And quite honestly, I don’t think it’s wise to be operating on a daily basis thinking about what a statement or a response that causes you to be fearful of your electoral prospects.”



Brooks Would Vote to Oust McConnell

July 26, 2017 at 11:45 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who is running in a special Senate election in Alabama, said he will not vote to keep Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as majority leader if he wins the race, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Brooks: “Inside the Republican conference, Mitch McConnell has got to go. He’s the head of the swamp of the U.S. Senate.”



Rep. Scalise discharged from hospital weeks after shooting, beginning rehabilitation

Source: The Washington Post

By Dana Hedgpeth July 26 at 12:08 PM

Rep. Steve Scalise, who was wounded six weeks ago when a man opened fire at a GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., was discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

MedStar Washington said Wednesday that the House majority whip was discharged a day earlier and will begin intensive inpatient rehabilitation. The hospital also said in a brief statement that he is “in good spirits and is looking forward to his return to work once he completes rehabilitation.”

The gunman, James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old unemployed home inspector from southern Illinois, died after the shootout. Scalise and four others were injured in the incident.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/rep-scalise-discharged-from-hospital-weeks-after-shooting-beginning-rehabilitation/2017/07/26/e4c49ad2-721a-11e7-9eac-d56bd5568db8_story.html

NYT: Interim Ethics Chief Pushed To Consult WH Before Taking Actions

Source: Talking Points Memo

By CAITLIN MACNEAL Published JULY 26, 2017 12:28 PM

The official tapped by President Donald Trump last week to serve as the interim director of the Office of Government Ethics has pushed for the agency to consult with the White House before responding to congressional inquiries or issuing new policies, according to a Wednesday New York Times report.

Walter Shaub, who resigned as director of OGE earlier this month, had slammed the White House’s decision to appoint David Apol last week in a statement that suggested the Trump administration chose someone who would favor the White House. Per the Times:

Already, according to staff members at the Office of Government Ethics, Mr. Apol has advocated consulting with the White House before he issues certain policies — like one establishing rules related to legal defense funds that some Trump administration officials are setting up. He also wants to check with the White House before the office sends letters to members of Congress who have raised questions about White House ethics matters.

Apol formerly served as the general counsel at the agency. Had the White House not intervened to appoint an interim director, the chief of staff at OGE would have automatically taken over that role.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/david-apol-office-government-ethics

McCain: Transgender Individuals 'Should Be Allowed' To Serve In Military

Source: Talking Points Memo

By ESME CRIBB Published JULY 26, 2017 12:36 PM

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Wednesday said transgender individuals “should be allowed to continue serving” in the military and “treated as the patriots they are” in response to President Donald Trump’s announced ban.

“The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter,” McCain said in a statement.


McCain called Trump’s statement “unclear” and said many transgender individuals in the military “are serving honorably today.”

“Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving,” he said. “There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity.” McCain said the Defense Department is “currently conducting a study” on the “medical obligations” and “impact on military readiness” of allowing more transgender individuals to serve.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/mccain-transgender-individuals-should-be-allowed-military-trump

Republican Study Committee chief: Ryan promises budget vote in September

Source: Politico

By SARAH FERRIS 07/26/2017 11:52 AM EDT

The House GOP budget resolution is finally headed to the floor — just not until September.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker says he has struck a deal with House Speaker Paul Ryan to revive the fiscal blueprint, in exchange for dropping demands for a full GOP omnibus this week.

The legislation, which is crucial to unlocking the Republican plans for a tax overhaul this fall, has been stalled for months amid Republican infighting. But in a one-on-one conversation with Walker, Ryan committed Tuesday to allowing a vote on the budget the first week the House returns from August recess, according to a senior congressional aide.

In return, Walker said he would stand down on his push for the House to take up a trillion-dollar fiscal 2018 omnibus this week, rather than the current plan to advance a four-bill package.

Walker agreed to withdraw his "minibus" amendment, which would have forced a vote on all 12 spending bills.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/26/mark-walker-budget-vote-september-240985

Ernst opposes Trump's ban on transgender troops

Source: Politico

By BURGESS EVERETT 07/26/2017 12:37 PM EDT

President Donald Trump's new plan to ban transgender people from the military is running into opposition from a key ally: Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the veteran said Ernst has served with people "from all different backgrounds" and that gender is not a vital indicator of someone's military prowess.

"She believes what is most important is making sure servicemembers can meet the physical training standards, and the willingness to defend our freedoms and way of life," the spokeswoman said. "Americans who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be afforded that opportunity."

Trump said on Wednesday that the United States "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/26/trump-transgender-troops-joni-ernst-240989?lo=ap_b1

Sen. Ernst Joins GOP Chorus Criticizing Trump’s Transgender Military Ban

By MATT SHUHAM Published JULY 26, 2017 12:54 PM

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined a growing list of Republican senators on Wednesday criticizing President Donald Trump’s announced ban on transgender individuals’ military service.


Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL), John McCain (R-AZ) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have expressed similar criticisms of Trump’s Wednesday announcement.

The Des Moines Register’s Jason Noble told Iowa’s senior senator, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), about Ernst’s position, and reported that Grassley said he respected Ernst’s opinion.


A proposed amendment to prohibit the Pentagon from paying for servicemembers’ gender reassignment surgeries was recently defeated in the House of Representatives.

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