Any Energy Dept employees turned into newts now better

Donald Trump's transition team backed away Wednesday from that questionnaire sent to the Energy Department asking for the names of any employees who had worked on projects or attended conferences involving climate change, insisting it was all a big mistake, and no, there was never any thought of purging employees, don't be silly, why would you think that just because the New Boss says it's a hoax invented by China? Gosh, you sciencey types are paranoid!

The Energy Department had refused to play ball, issuing a statement saying it would of course work with the new administration toward a smooth transition, but also saying it wouldn't squeal on employees who'd worked on science the Trumpers didn't like, so please sit on it and spin, you jerks. Only they said it nicer. It was one of the finer refusals to back down since the Battle of the Bulge, when Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe responded to the German surrender demand by sending back a reply simply reading "NUTS!"

And apparently it worked. Instead of an angry early morning tweetstorm promising to unleash hell on the troublemakers, the Trump transition team's reply was to insist the questionnaire had been sent by some newbie and was not official, no, not at all:

"The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol," Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said. "The person who sent it has been properly counseled."

We would prefer not to think about what "proper counseling" consists of in Trump Tower. It may involve electrodes.

The Reuters account notes, not without what sounds like some subtle snark, that "Spicer declined to comment further on the team's protocols."

A spokesperson for the Energy Department said Wednesday the Trump transition team's reversal on the questionnaire was a hopeful signal the transition would proceed smoothly.

Nonetheless, the Trumpers' questionnaire was enough to give scientists a good scare; since the memo went out late last week, scientists have been making a concerted effort to copy government-collected climate data onto independent servers, just in case somewhere down the line the Trump administration tries to elminate funding for climate research:

The efforts include a “guerrilla archiving” event in Toronto, where experts will copy irreplaceable public data, meetings at the University of Pennsylvania focused on how to download as much federal data as possible in the coming weeks, and a collaboration of scientists and database experts who are compiling an online site to harbor scientific information.

“Something that seemed a little paranoid to me before all of a sudden seems potentially realistic, or at least something you’d want to hedge against,” said Nick Santos, an environmental researcher at the University of California at Davis, who over the weekend began copying government climate data onto a nongovernment server, where it will remain available to the public. “Doing this can only be a good thing. Hopefully they leave everything in place. But if not, we’re planning for that.”

Yes, if that sounds a little like people trying to escape the Republic of Gilead for Canada, it's not a bad comparison. It's not paranoid when the president-elect is appointing climate change deniers right and left to his cabinet. If the Trump administration goes medieval on science, scientists could do worse than to act like the monks who preserved ancient "pagan" texts. Maybe there'll be a job boom for calligraphers.

Not long before the Trump disavowal, two Democratic members of Congress had warned Team Trump to be careful about thinking they could go messing with career civil servants:

Democratic U.S. Representatives Frank Pallone and Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the head of the transition, saying the team is entitled to select political appointees who share Trump's climate views, but that any effort to marginalize civil servants on the basis of their scientific analysis would be an "abuse of authority."

So hooray for now -- the purges are on hold at least until Trump is actually inaugurated and he can find a way to really make heads roll. The man's all about efficiency.

[Reuters via The Verge / WaPo]

Doktor Zoom

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.

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Nancy Pelosi is making news again today after her weekly press conference, mostly because she said this about yesterday's nutbag performance from President Stable Genius:

[T]his time, another temper tantrum — again — I pray for the President Of The United States. I wish him and his family, his administration and staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.

She prays for him. And she's just kind of suggesting that maybe the president is unwell, in his brain. She's being very subtle!

When Glenn Thrush asked afterward what kind of "intervention" she might be talking about, she suggested that Article 25 would be just fine.

But many folks out there right now are saying "BUT WHAT ABOUT INPEACH! They are not going to do an intervention, because the intervention is called INPEACH!" (They are taking her words very literally, it would seem.) Every other damn day lately, there is news about how "NANCY SAID INPEACH IS BAD" or "NANCY SAID TRUMP'S ACTIONS IS SELF-INPEACH-ATORY, WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN, NANCY!" and whatever else, we don't know, because we have muted all of Twitter until further notice. (Here is some news about the House Democrats' weekly meeting yesterday, most of which was about Democrats yelling INPEACH! while Nancy Pelosi gave them cold showers.)

Here's the thing:

In today's presser, Pelosi was clearer than ever about her feelings on impeachment -- she doesn't like it, and she'd really hate for the nation to get to a place where that's inevitable, she is just saying it would be truly terrible for them to have to do that -- but they might just be FORCED to go there. And wouldn't that be just terrible? Nancy Pelosi is praying about that just like she is praying for Trump, under a big oak tree that casts all the shade she threw at Donald Trump for her entire fucking presser.

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Happy Throwback Thursday! Remember Paul Manafort? He's still in jail, don't worry. But it looks like he might be getting some company soon from his old pal Stephen Calk, who just got indicted today by the Southern District of New York.

Calk was a simple CEO and COB at the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, but he had big dreams. He'd been an army pilot and a money guy, so he figured he was competent to be either Secretary of Treasury or Secretary of Army. He'd take Commerce or HUD, or even a cool ambassadorship to France, or the UK, or the UN -- he wasn't picky. Just any old position befitting a guy who is 100 percent going to be played by Michael McKean in the movie version of this nightmare.

Luckily Calk knew a guy on the inside. Sure that guy had recently been You're Fired from the Trump campaign for ratfucking the Ukrainian election, but Paul Manafort was still waving his bits all over Trumpland in the summer and fall of 2016, so Paul Manafort had the hookup that Calk needed. Luckily, Calk had what Manafort needed, which was MONEY. Manafort's fountain of untaxed cash had dried up since the Ukrainians gave his guy Viktor Yanukovych the boot, and he was in danger of losing multiple investment properties to foreclosure. So naturally Calk stepped up to the plate with $15 million in loans to keep the wolves at bay, because what are friends with more political ambition than scruple for, right?

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