No End In Sight. Wonkagenda For Thurs., Jan. 24, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Later today the Senate will vote on two bills with the potential to end Trump's shutdown, now entering Day 34. Republicans will introduce a bill with $5.7 billion for Trump's border wall (or steel slats, or whatever) while Democrats will put forth a stopgap spending measure to fund the government through Feb. 8, though nobody expects either to pass. Politico reports that hardline conservative activists are getting fed up (no pun intended) with Trump's border BS, but Trump appears to be digging in, telling a conference call of 500 state, local and community leaders, The Heritage Foundation, and other Tea Party wackjobs that he's going all in on his damn wall after appearing to propose protections for DACA recipients.
Late last night Trump postponed the State of the Union address after Nancy Pelosi told Trump to get fucked and rescind the invitation for him to address a joint session of Congress in the House. In a tweet, Trump called it "her prerogative," as if he ever had a choice.
Air traffic controllers, who already work as much as 10-hour days, six days a week, are being forced to wait tables and shuttle millennials around in Lyft/Uber just to make ends meet. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association issued a dire warning yesterday highlighting a "growing concern for the safety and security" of pilots, flight attendants, and the general public thanks to Trump's shutdown. Multiple local news outlets are reporting ATCs at airports large and small are passing out leaflets to travelers at airports across the country, asking them to call their representatives and tell them to end Trump's shutdown.
Policy nerds are worried that Trump's shutdown could not only affect the roll out of tax returns thanks to IRS workers essentially striking, but it could have lasting effects as people reconsider careers in civil service.
The administration seems to be realizing that government shutdowns are hard to win now that Mick Mulvaney has asked the heads of federal agencies for a list of programs in danger from Trump's shutdown. WaPo reports that the General Services Administration is now warning agencies with satellite offices that Uncle Sam might not be able to pay the rent this month.
Due to Trump's shutdown, the GOP has postponed its annual retreat scheduled for Jan. 30 through Feb. 1 because some GOP legislators thought it would look bad if they were caught staying in a fancy hotel and playing golf while government employees were working without pay and struggling to buy food and pay their bills.
WaPo reports that Jared Kushner has been playing government during Trump's shutdown, believing that Democrats will eventually bend to Trump's will. The White House is bragging that master dealmaker Jared is an expert on law and policy, even if he had to revise his security clearance disclosure forms over 40 times.
White House legislative affairs director Shahira Knight wants to GTFO of Trump's White House of horrors just seven months into the job. Trumpworld is denying that she's leaving the sinking ship, but Politico gossips about Knight's expletive-filled conference call with Stephen Miller over ending birthright citizenship, and cites unnamed sources (natch) close to Mick Mulvaney as saying he's already looking for people (cough Jared Kushner cough) to become the White House's liaison to Congress.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar doesn't feel like talking to House Democrats who are investigating Trump's baby jails. HHS officials have offered to send lackeys, including Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson and head of the refugee office Jonathan Hayes, but the committee told them to piss off seeing as how they weren't even around when Trump and Stephen Miller started plotting to throw Central American refugees in baby jails and tent cities.
The Pentagon says it doesn't give a damn what SCOTUS or Trump say, the DOD isn't changing its transgender policy (yet). The military community's reaction to Trump's transban is best illustrated by Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who tweeted, "When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter on that dusty field in Iraq, I didn't care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white, male or female. All that mattered was they didn't leave me behind."
California Democratic Senator and 2020 candidate Kamala Harris went on Rachel Maddow last night for her first interview and it was AMAZEBALLS! [Morning Maddow]
Kamala Harris Calls On Americans To Step Up, Cites 'Inflection Moment' | Rachel Maddow | MSNBCwww.youtube.com
A judge in North Carolina has declined to certify the race in the 9th Congressional District due to the ongoing investigation into election fuckery involving Republican Mark Harris. The judge notes there's technically no law that requires proof that irregularities affected the election, but also cited multiple election officials' refusal to certify the laughably fucked results.
GOOD NEWS: Iowa's "fetal heartbeat" law has been ruled unconstitutional by a district court judge. As usual, Republicans are vowing to fight the ruling, complaining that a magic and invisible boogeyman is crying about their va-jay-jays.
A measles outbreak near Portland, Oregon, is being blamed on anti-vaxxers who think chewing on twigs and berries is safer than decades of proven medical science. Officials in Clark County, Washington, have now declared a public health emergency, and health officials are warning that the number of infected persons is likely to rise above the current 23 confirmed cases.
A couple of redneck edgelords in Fayetteville, Arkansas, are whining about being able to wear the Confederate flag. After school officials told them to take that racist crap off, students began painting the flag on their hands and faces, and screaming about Southern pride. One brat was ultimately suspended for refusing to take off their historically racist hoodie, telling a local reporter for KARK, "I'm going to put hashtag history not hate on my hands. I'll still keep putting the flag on my face."
The former head of US spec ops ninjas "Big Stan" McChrystal is crying in Foreign Policy about not being able to start a land war in Iran with the state-sanctioned assassination of his rival, Qassem Suleimani, head of the Quds Force. #HesRunning
Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump are passing jerk off notes that praise each other ahead of their next meeting.
Despite assurance from Trump's corporate controlled piece of shit FCC chairman Ajit Pai, telecom companies spent less money after net neutrality was repealed. Not only are companies like Comcast reducing investments and dragging their collective asses creating internet infrastructure in flyover country, they're hiking up fees and establishing data caps as people use internet more than ever before. #ThanksTrump
Yesterday we told you Michael Cohen is shaking his in boat shoes about testifying before Congress after Trump started threatening him and his family. This morning, Vanity Fair's Emily Jane Fox is gossiping (again) that Cohen will do whatever House Democrats want, provided they can ensure Trump doesn't send a squad of ninja assassins.
Read this passage from former Trump goon Cliff Sims's new book about how Kellyanne Conway is a cold-blooded and calculated LEAKER who talks trash from both sides of her mouth. Per Sims, "It became hard to look long at her without getting the sense that she was a cartoon villain brought to life ... She seemed to be perennially cloaked in an invisible fur coat, casting an all-knowing smile, as if she'd collected 98 Dalmatians with only 3 more to go."
A new study out of Texas A&M University has found that the demise of local newspapers has led to an increasingly polarized country where people are unable to hold local officials accountable, or encourage the civil discourse that keeps people from being idiots.
Multiple news and digital media outlets will lay off staffers, including Buzzfeed, Yahoo, HuffPo, and Gannett. Buzzfeed is expected to lay off 15 percent of its staff across the board, possibly now that everyone has realized Facebook's "pivot to video" scheme was a crock of shit. You know who hasn't laid anyone off? Wonkette, because you are good and send us money!
And here's your morning Nice Time! IT'S FIONA! She a two-year-old ball of sass today, and PLUS she just became a half-ton of fun! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FIONA!!!
Baby Hippo Fiona's 2 Year Highlights - Cincinnati Zoowww.youtube.com
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Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or in a gutter taking photos.