SAVIOR OF THE UNIVERSE! Wonkagenda For Fri., August 30, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Yesterday Trump formally established the new headquarters of the US Space Command. In an unusually awkward and garbled teleprompter speech, Trump said America would be projecting its dominance to galaxies far, far away. Politico notes that Uncle Sam hasn't technically decided on where the final base of operations will be, and points out that US Space Command isn't really the "sixth branch of the military," nor is it the "Space Force". Fun Fact: As Chris Hayes pointed out last night, it takes an act of Congress to create a new branch of the military, so the administration is really just claiming credit for something that has existed since 1985.
President Donald Trump Gets Us One Step Closer To Space Force | All In | MSNBC www.youtube.com
In an interview with Fox News radio, Trump shouted that we're going to pull 8,600 US troops out of Afghanistan. Whether or not that actually happens is anyone's guess.
ICYMI: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is considering issuing 50-to-100 year US bonds in order to stop the administration from hemorrhaging another trillion dollars in tax payer money. Wall Street hasn't been too enthusiastic about the scheme, but Mnuchin (and Trump's TV economists) say issuing long-term bonds might smooth out the economic speed bumps and potholes they've created. Or at least they're something to point to and say "we're doing a thing!"
Mental health professionals are pushing back on the administration's attempt to link gun violence with mental health issues. Advocates for increasing mental health awareness say it's good the administration is thinking about spending Ameros and changing federal laws that restrict Medicaid payments on mental health treatments, but they're warning against simply "warehousing" the mentally ill, like in the 1950s. But doesn't stigma solve everything?
The US Surgeon General is warning that people, specifically teens and pregnant women, shouldn't shoot up their concentrated marijuana e-cigarettes. HHS Secretary Alex Azar says that Donald Trump will graciously donate his roughly $100,000 salary this quarter to a digital media campaign to bring awareness to the risks of marijuana use, which include the munchies, uncontrollable giggle fits, paranoia, absolutely phenomenal sport fucking, partying, and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "various forms of physical discomfort that peak within the first week after quitting and last up to two weeks." The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has even created a VERY SERIOUS infographic about marijuanas, and has some advice to avoid waking up half-naked in a truck stop bathroom, covered in feces, with a marijuana needle sticking out of your arm.
REAL TALK: there are medical concerns, although more research is needed. Maybe they could try Stigmatizing weed use!
Thanks in part to anti-vax cranks spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation on social media, there's a "reasonable chance" the US will lose its status as a country that has eliminated the measles, according to Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccinate your little brats!
Back in 2005, Elizabeth Warren and her daughter Amelia wrote a book about climbing your broke ass out of the poor house by using some rather common sense financial advice. In a shocking turn of events, Warren's 2020 campaign policies are consistent with the advice in her book, even mocking cigar smoking snake oil salesmen who hang out with Donald Trump.
Today is likely to be the last day the Federal Election Commission will be able to enforce election laws for awhile since there aren't enough people to form a quorum. The Trump administration could nominate more people, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell COULD vote on those nominations, but #MoscowMitch hasn't gotten around to bringing the only person Trump has nominated to the FEC to the Senate floor for a vote. Lovely election you got there, comrade America, be a shame if something happened to it...
Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is apologizing for a 1967 college skit called "cigar butts" where students crawled around on the ground in black face. Ivey, now 74, says she doesn't remember the skit, and won't resign. Luckily, there's an old radio interview with Ivey laughing about the skit, and a photos in her yearbook to jog her memory.
Gov. Kay Ivey and then-fiance discuss her performing in blackface in 1967 www.youtube.com
A gump humper was kicked out of an Arizona militia after his first outing, then went on his own border mission from God (or whatever) with friendly fellow who happened to be an FBI informant. He's been sentenced to 75 months after the informant documented him building illegal guns (since the dude couldn't own any on account of being a felon). The Washington Post reports the FBI wanted to hold off on arrest to see if he was part of a larger trafficking operation but decided he was too dangerous. They also got video of him training his dog: “'Go get him,' he reportedly told the dog. 'Go get him. Go get that Mexican.'" Still no job offers from the Border Patrol.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's move to suspend Parliament ahead of Brexit is not just driving the commoners insane, it's driving the EU mad too. The prospect of a "no deal" Brexit has lit a fire under the ass of snotty politicos who are finally promising to do ... something, but tea-sipping nerds familiar with British pomp and circumstance note that this is a calculated gambit by Johnson.
Hong Kong Democracy advocates Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and Andy Chan have been arrested ahead of another weekend of major protests. Organizers have called off the protests following police rejections of applications for marches and rallies. Yesterday NPR reported the annual pre-dawn rotation of Chinese troops stationed in Hong Kong had received increased attention from state-run media outlets, which published photos of armored personnel carriers traveling through a land border separating Hong Kong from mainland China, adding that Chinese troops had "grasped the ability to defend Hong Kong." The Washington Post adds that Wong and Chow were expected to meet with US lawmakers next month to discuss the situation in Hong Kong, and to help Congress craft a bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
Meanwhile, China has expelled a Wall Street Journal reporter after the paper published a damning report that accused the cousin of Chinese
dictator for life President Xi Jinping being involved in a complicated money-laundering scheme to help gamblers and suspected crime lords smuggle cash in and out of Australia.
Mexican's gang wars are back, and they're bloodier than ever, with cartels showing no hesitation in targeting people with children. Some Mexicans tell the AP they've grown numb and indifferent towards the violence.
Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has downgraded projections for coral from "poor" to "very poor" thanks primarily to climate change. A report released today by the agency also says coastal development, land-based water runoff, and general human fuckery (like illegal fishing) aren't exactly helping either.
Construction companies are desperately seeking greener alternatives to traditional building materials, and one Canadian company thinks it's found a possible replacement for concrete in -- you guessed it -- hemp.
Fox News's Neil Cavuto took issue with Trump shitposting about Fox News network "not working" for him anymore. Cavuto complained that Trump gets "pretty fair coverage at Fox," noting that (unlike many of his former colleagues) he doesn't actually work for the Trump administration, adding "My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you." Sad. [Video]
'We don't work for you': Fox News's Neil Cavuto keeps calling out Trump www.youtube.com
Maggie Haberman gossips that Trump's personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, has been unexpectedly quit-fired for LEAKING to reporters. Habes dishes that Westerhout cried on election night (just like Melon!) and Trump World felt she could never be trusted. Hopefully she releases her ghost-written tell-all book before the election.
Apple will stop storing voice recordings by default from devices that use Siri. The change comes after its voice assistant was found to be eavesdropping on people while they were talking and sexing. Apple adds that, following a Fall 2019 software update for all Siri-enabled devices, it will continue to create "computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve." Oh, baby. Oh, baby. Oh, baby.
Dame Peggington awoke with a curse and spat out the half burnt cigarette still resting between her lips. A copy of the pink-stained Financial Times had been draped across her sequin-covered breast, an empty handle of gin still clutched tightly in her claw. She blamed that miserable wretch, James Comey -- the architect of her demise -- (even if she could never prove it) for the precarious situation she found herself in. "HIS MEMOS," she bellowed, stumbling down the street in broken pumps filled with urine. "WHAT ABOUT HIS HIS MEMOS!"
Randy Rainbow is back with a new song about our pumpkin-spiced Cheeto Christ!
CHEETO CHRIST STUPID-CZAR - Randy Rainbow Song Parody www.youtube.com
And here's your morning Nice Time: Fury-ocious Tasmanian Devils! They don't actually create whirlwinds!
Tasmanian Devils at the Columbus Zoo www.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.