Shiny Normal Things Roundup
Yr Wonkette hopes you had a restful Thanksgiving and that none of you tried to deep fry a still-frozen turkey. We hear that's bad! Let's check in on the Biden transition and some of the completely normal goings-on we can look forward to!
Dogs Returning To The White House
Photo: Delaware Humane Association, 2018
January 20th will be a good day for dogs. After four years of no pets in the White House (apart from all the stray dictators Donald Trump had a fondness for), there will again be First Dogs, both of them German shepherds. Joe Biden was given one, Champ, when he became Barack Obama's vice president. The Bidens adopted the other, Major, in 2018. But don't believe the hype about Major being the White House's first rescue dog: The New York Times informs us that honor goes to Yuki, a mutt found at a Texas gas station by Lyndon B. Johnson's daughter Luci on Thanksgiving Day, 1966.
White House Historical Association
Also, the Clintons' cat Socks was also a rescue, so hooray for the White House having live animals again.
Kamala Harris, it should be noted, does not have any pets, but is a fan of dogs, also too. If she gets a dog of her own before 2024, you'll know what that means.
Dogs are always welcome in my Senate office – here are a few paw-licy advisors who regularly stop by.… https://t.co/g6QvbKCpWw— Kamala Harris (@Kamala Harris) 1555008667.0
GM Gets Religion On Electric Vehicles
With the Biden climate plan calling for a rapid transition to "ensuring 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be electrified," it's not terribly surprising that on Monday, General Motors announced it would be dropping its participation in the Trump administration's lawsuit to eliminate California's ability to set tougher fuel economy standards than the federal government's, a power granted to California in the 1970 Clear Air Act. Trump decided to get rid of the California exception after several automakers — Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW North America — agreed with California that they would build their cars to comply with that state's stricter standards rather than the weakened fuel efficiency rules Trump wanted. GM, Toyota, Fiat-Chrysler, and a number of other companies had initially joined the Trump effort, arguing that a single national standard would be better for business.
In April, Team Trump issued new rules that would roll back higher fuel economy standards put in place under Barack Obama, but with the change of administrations, those rules are almost certain to be done away with, possibly with a first-day executive order. So Monday's letter from GM chair and CEO Mary Barra to the leaders of environmental groups might be less a profile in courage than a company reading the writing on the wall (illuminated by very efficient LED lighting, at that).
Still, good on Barra and GM. Barra writes that GM is
inspired by the President-elect's Build Back Better plan which outlines a clear intention to expand vehicle electrification in the United States, create one million lobs, install 550,000 charging stations, and position American auto workers and manufacturers to win the race for electrification.
We believe the ambitious electrification goats of the President-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions.
The letter also urges the other auto companies that signed on to the Trump administration's lawsuit to drop their support and commit to moving toward an all-electric vehicle fleet. As Huffington Post reports, GM had previously announced that it's "testing a new battery chemistry that will bring electric-vehicle costs down to those of gas-powered vehicles within five years."
The Biden campaign has committed to reversing Trump's terrible environmental rules, but hasn't yet set a firm target for all new cars and light-duty trucks to have zero emissions. California's zero-emissions goal for cars is 2035, which seems like a good target since the US auto fleet tends to turn over on a 15-year cycle, apart from weirdos who want to keep their 1973 Chevys running forever. (Maybe those new GM batteries will be just the thing to convert Vlad the Impala.) So it may be that rescinding the Trump rule will require not just going back to the Obama-era standard, but something more vigorous.
How About An Immigrant Running DHS? Yes Please
Also on Monday, Joe Biden announced Alejandro Mayorkas would be his Secretary of Homeland Security. How's this for a change: When he served in the Obama administration, Mayorkas was among the designers of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Biden has pledged to reinstate, and wants to have Congress enshrine in law, with a path to citizenship. Mayorkas also helped negotiate Obama's reopening of relations with Cuba. He was born in Havana, and grew up in Los Angeles. He'll be the first Latino, and the first immigrant, to head the DHS.
When I was very young, the United States provided my family and me a place of refuge. Now, I have been nominated to… https://t.co/3AMKNSMNDE— Alejandro Mayorkas (@Alejandro Mayorkas) 1606155282.0
This town is full of smart, talented, and experienced people who are also jerks. The unifying theme of Biden's pick… https://t.co/da2soDHDTP— Susan Hennessey (@Susan Hennessey) 1606155286.0
Random Twitter Niceness, too!
This very brief, sweet story from Across the Pond is fun.
60 teenage boys then gathered on the other side of the fence shouting encouragement and chanted “feminism, suffrage… https://t.co/5QbZjxgyEK— Rose Brown (@Rose Brown) 1606401627.0
Lots of men in the replies to insist that well actually, no such thing could possibly happen, because they apparently don't know any actual teen boys, who are in fact capable of great sweetness AND weirdness. One of the best pair of replies pointed out exactly why: Kids can be terrific, even if they can also be monsters. Hell, that's what being a teenager is all about!
@NotoffPineapple @rbrowntweets yes, the instrumentalisation of something they've obviously all recently discussed i… https://t.co/HKdRzabLa0— liz crash (@liz crash) 1606466206.0
Also an excuse to repost one of my favorite dumb jokes:
Did you hear about the mansplainer who drowned in a cistern?
He drowned in a well, actually.
Also, I told Rebecca that this would be a thread of Nice Politics News, rather than the usual pet pictures, but it's a Sunday. and we started with dogs, so we'll close with a link to a very good thread of Dogs Holding Grudges. Such judgy dogs!
@laurenthehough “I can’t believe you won’t give up your children now that you have ME!” Sorry, pup, but I worked… https://t.co/0RC39Cchn4— Anoosh wishes U safe holidays! 😷 🕎🎄 (@Anoosh wishes U safe holidays! 😷 🕎🎄) 1606507185.0
@laurenthehough She actually fell asleep she glared at me so long https://t.co/E2i5mkxpdT— Rainkinsgreen (@Rainkinsgreen) 1606503506.0
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and don't let your pets guilt you into anything. OK, maybe a little treat.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.