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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.


On the 12th day of the shutdown, Donald Trump did doodly squat. We got a bunch of grammatically incorrect tweets, a braindead lecture on border security, and some bonus huffing and puffing from Senators Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell. Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the incoming minority leader, says Trump told congressional leaders they should swing by the White House on Friday for another futile and stupid gesture.

After House Democrats are formally sworn in later this morning, they're expected to immediately vote on a spending measure to end the government shutdown, but last night McConnell told reporters that he won't bring the bill to the Senate floor anyway since he knows Trump won't bother signing it.

On the Senate floor last night Mitch McConnell thanked Chuck Schumer for caving in (again) and allowing him to steamroll 24 Trump nominees to a range of empty chairs. The positions span a wide and long vacant swath of federal government, from ambassadorships to two FCC commissioners, numerous inspectors general, and deputies at State. If you're into the nerdy stuff, the Republican-operated Senate Cloakroom Twitter account has the (mostly correct) full list of the voice-vote.

After being sworn in, the House will move to vote on a number of rule changes designed to wash away some of the stank Republicans left in their wake. Among the changes are strengthening the 72-hour rule for bills before a floor vote, and laying the foundation for AOC's "Green New Deal." There's also new ethics rules created to ban sex in the cloakroom, sideline grifty reps like Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins, and overhaul protection for victims of sexual harassment on the Hill. It's about time!

The most controversial of the new rules is the pay-as-you-go (or PAYGO) rule, which requires any new spending measures to be off-set by new revenue. The whipper-snappers caucus is complaining that this an unnecessary austerity measure designed to neuter climate change and healthcare legislation, but the grumpy olds note that paygo has led to budget surpluses in the past. TLDR: Neither is incorrect, and paygo gives Blue Dogs cover in 2020, but the "balanced budget" fantasy won't stop Trump and Republicans' trillion dollar tax grifts.

Nancy Pelosi is EVERYWHERE this morning. There's a profile in WaPo where Trump admits she has bigger balls than he does. There's also a Today Show interview where Pelosi says she won't give him one bloody cent for his goddamn wall, and won't rule out indictment and impeachment proceedings. Over at Politico, there's a rundown on how Pelosi has the caucus in lock-step, no matter how much they bitch.

When the 116h Congress is sworn in later this morning we'll have one of the most diverse governments in history ... at least on the left. The Republicans are still the party of old white guys.

The House Ethics Committee released its report on outgoing Rep. Tom Garrett, the crappy boss who DEFINITELY made his staffers pick up his dog shit and dry cleaning. The Committee's 47-page report notes Garrett's alcohol abuse, and his wife's stonewalling of the investigation to hide things she personally ordered his "fucking disrespectful and STUPIDLY [sic] shortsighted" staffers to do -- tasks which were often shortened to the acronym "TAMMY," the auto-corrected phrase for, "Tom asked me to tell you." Normally the Treasury Department would force Garrett to pay for abusing public resources and make him personally reimburse staffers, but the Garretts have already been run out of Washington with pitchforks, flaming pens, and legal pads. Typical.

North Carolina's outgoing Republican rep for the 9th District, Rep. Robert Pittenger, says he won't seek reelection if an investigation into Republican ballot fuckery triggers a special election. Fun Fact: In December WaPo noted that Pittenger bitched about "ballot stuffers" in Bladen County after losing his primary.

Y'all! Take a look at Ryan Zinke's handwritten resignation letter. Our first thought was he paid a toddler at TGI Fridays to dictate his beer-soaked ramblings in crayon, but the Twitterati wonders if he used the blood of an endangered animal. You be the judge!

The Senate has scheduled the confirmation hearing for William Barr, Trump's nominee for attorney general for Jan. 15 and 16. Looks like poor Meatball will soon be fun-employed (again)!

ICYMI: An Army unit stationed in Grafenwöhr, Germany, was banned from "engaging in sexual intercourse, acts that are sexual in nature, or acts that are done with the intent to sexually gratify." The order was eventually rescinded just after Christmas when the brass realized it was easier to just give soldiers more stuff to do instead banning them from "kissing, rubbing, humping, grinding, cuddling, and lap dancing."

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ripped federal lawyers and a lower court judge for repeatedly screwing over a Stanford graduate student who was accidentally added to the no-fly list back in 2004. The court found the government acted in "bad faith" by dragging the case out for years, and that the lower court was stingy as hell in awarding fees to attorneys. Per the brutal ruling, "The government played discovery games, made false representations to the court, misused the court's time, and interfered with the public's right of access to trial. Thus, the government attorneys' actual conduct during this litigation was ethically questionable and not substantially justified." #ColdBlooded!

Bernie Sanders's 2016 campaign wasn't all roses and sunflowers, according to a new investigation by the New York Times. Like many other campaigns in 2016, some female staffers complained about sexual harassment. There was also some pretty bad pay disparity.

Tucker Carlson ran a butthurt segment about how feminism is ruining the world because wives are emasculating men with their big, throbbing paychecks.

Millions of Indian women have formed a 385-mile human chain in protest of gender inequality. The so-called "women's wall" is in response to India's historically male-dominated culture that has even banned women from some religious temples on the basis that they might be bleeding from their wherevers.

China says it landed a space robot on the dark side of the moon, but all they found was a dumb monolith that kept telling the rover to smack another rover with a tapir bone. No Pink Floyd jokes!

A Florida Man got his ass beat at McDonald's after he assaulted a small, female employee on New Year's Eve because he had to ask for a straw. Unfortunately, the employee's fight-or-flight response was "fight." The man went to jail.

And here's your morning Nice Time! PAINTED PUPPERS!!

Painted Dog Pups Explore Outside www.youtube.com

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or lying in a gutter taking photos.

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Can we just say that when Fox idiot Maria Bartiromo sounds like the sane person in a situation, that is a worrisome situation? That is what happened when Donald Trump -- who's just had a fantastic Infrastructure Week, assuming it is Infrastructure Week, and we always do -- sat down for what was supposed to be an easy breezy "You're the best!"/"No YOU are, Mister President!" interview with his beloved Fox pals.

Instead Maria Bartiromo had to ask the question on everybody's mind, which is WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU OH MY GOD, or, more clearly, is there a reason you have spent this entire week of your presidency picking a fight with a dead guy, who somehow seems to be winning that fight, because you are literally so stupid and incompetent you LOSE FIGHTS TO DEAD GUYS?

She said it nicer than that, though.

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Last fall, after Wisconsin voters rejected Gov. Scott Walker's reelection bid and chose Democrat Tony Evers instead, Republicans in the state legislature got very busy doing anything they could to limit the power of the incoming governor and the new Democratic attorney general, Josh Kaul. Hey, voters may have chosen Evers, but that didn't mean Rs had to let Democrats actually govern, now did it? As Republican state House Speaker Robin Vos rather notoriously said at the time, the lege had to act because "We are going to have a very liberal governor who is going to enact policies that are in direct contrast to what many of us believe in." So in a two day "extraordinary session," the Republicans shifted power from the executive branch and gave those powers to the legislature, which conveniently remained in Republican control thanks to gerrymandering. Scott Walker signed the bills and then began his career as an idiot on Twitter.

Yesterday, a Wisconsin judge found the entire lame duck session violated the state constitution, and invalidated the laws it passed. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess said in his decision the Wisconsin constitution is quite specific about when the legislature can meet, and nope, the "extraordinary session" didn't meet the constitutional requirements, so sorry guys, you didn't follow the rules and your laws ARE MOOT.

The Associated Press lawsplains the constitutional neener-neener:

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