Shutdown somehow spares tourist site in Trump hotel


Historic Clock Tower atop Trump Hotel in DCKaren Bleier/Getty

❝ Smithsonian museums are closed. There are no federal staffers to answer tourists’ questions at the Lincoln Memorial. And across the United States, national parks are cluttered with trash. Yet despite the federal government shutdown, a historic clock tower at the Trump International Hotel remained open Friday for its handful of visitors, staffed by green-clad National Park Service rangers…

The Trump administration appears to have gone out of its way to keep the attraction in the federally owned building that houses the Trump hotel open and staffed with National Park Service rangers, even as other federal agencies shut all but the most essential services…

❝ A watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the GSA, seeking documents explaining why the tower was open, how it continues to be funded, and any communications between the agency and the Trump Organization, the president’s company. Trump gave up day-to-day management of the firm in 2017 but continues to receive earnings from its operations.

At the very least, this smells funny.” Said Noah Bookbinder, the group’s executive director.

I wouldn’t call the smell of anything involving our fake president “funny”.

You have to wonder who is worse: the Ignoranus-in-Chief or the nutballs who support him

❝ President Donald Trump ranted about immigrants, attractive generals, the difficulty of being president and more on Wednesday in his first televised appearance of the year.

In a rambling and often disjointed conversation, the president led reporters and members of his Cabinet through his thinking on issues ranging from immigration to military strategy to the very role of the presidency…

❝ Trump claimed there are more than 30 million undocumented immigrants…experts’…estimated there were 10.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. as of 2016.

❝ In one extended rant, Trump put forth his theory that Afghanistan was responsible for turning the Soviet Union into Russia, shared his thoughts on military strategy to fight terrorism and then claimed he would have been a good general. Trump avoided the draft five times.

❝ He complained about being ‘all alone’ over the holidays, ‘except for all of the guys out on the lawn with machine guns.’

Read ’em all and weep, folks. Especially those of you who didn’t show up on Election Day 2016 because Trump’s defeat was a “sure thing”.

Climate Change Hasn’t Disappeared — Only the Courage to Fightback [inside the Beltway]

❝ Thirty years ago, this magazine published “The End of Nature,” a long article about what we then called the greenhouse effect. I was in my twenties when I wrote it, and out on an intellectual limb: climate science was still young. But the data were persuasive, and freighted with sadness. We were spewing so much carbon into the atmosphere that nature was no longer a force beyond our influence—and humanity, with its capacity for industry and heedlessness, had come to affect every cubic metre of the planet’s air, every inch of its surface, every drop of its water. Scientists underlined this notion a decade later when they began referring to our era as the Anthropocene, the world made by man…

❝ There are at least four other episodes in the earth’s half-billion-year history of animal life when CO2 has poured into the atmosphere in greater volumes, but perhaps never at greater speeds. Even at the end of the Permian Age, when huge injections of CO2 from volcanoes burning through coal deposits culminated in “The Great Dying,” the CO2 content of the atmosphere grew at perhaps a tenth of the current pace. Two centuries ago, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was two hundred and seventy-five parts per million; it has now topped four hundred parts per million and is rising more than two parts per million each year. The extra heat that we trap near the planet every day is equivalent to the heat from four hundred thousand bombs the size of the one that was dropped on Hiroshima.

Good science, sound politics, live through articles like this. RTFA. Ignore the Luddites infesting the White House, the Trumpublican Party. Time to fight for better – not backwards – folks.

American politicians learned nothing from the collapse of the Roman Republic

❝ If you were a Roman citizen around, say, 200 BC, you probably would have assumed Rome was going to last forever.

At the time, Rome was the greatest republic in human history, and its institutions had proven resilient through invasions and all kinds of disasters. But the foundations of Rome started to weaken less than a century later, and by 27 BC the republic had collapsed entirely.

❝ The story of Rome’s fall is both complicated and relatively straightforward: The state became too big and chaotic; the influence of money and private interests corrupted public institutions; and social and economic inequalities became so large that citizens lost faith in the system altogether and gradually fell into the arms of tyrants and demagogues.

This is more than a deja vu moment. The article confronts American greed, corruption, ignorance, bigotry and – did I mention – greed. Read it, please. If your favorite Congress-critter or President is a Trumpublican, you know that they won’t.

Nude selfie has turned up in probe of Trump and Russians


Is this the photo in question?

❝ A Russian company accused of bankrolling efforts to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign says that a “nude selfie” is among the materials collected by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in his ongoing probe…

Concord is owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a Russian businessman known as “Putin’s chef” because of his close relationship to Russian President Vladimir Putin…

Concord is the sole defendant to appear in court in the indictment of Russian entities under Mueller.

So far…

Fake President wants to turn this into an oilfield profit center


Click to enlargeFlorian Schulz

Rated as one of National Geographic’s 100 best photos of the year 2018…With the Sadlerochit Mountains rising in the distance, two muskoxen mosey through a scene devoid of the human touch. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest protected areas in the U.S. and one of the wildest places left on Earth—at least for now.

Trump wants to open this up to exploitation for oil companies.

This is our reality — with Trump in the White House

❝ In just two years, President Trump has unleashed a regulatory rollback, lobbied for and cheered on by industry, with little parallel in the past half-century. Mr. Trump enthusiastically promotes the changes as creating jobs, freeing business from the shackles of government and helping the economy grow…

❝ The trade-offs, while often out of public view, are real — frighteningly so, for some people — imperiling progress in cleaning up the air we breathe and the water we drink, and in some cases upending the very relationship with the environment around us…

❝ …Trump is already on track to leave an indelible mark on the American landscape, even with a decline in some major pollutants from the ever-shrinking coal industry. While Washington has been consumed by scandals surrounding the president’s top officials on environmental policy — both the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior secretary have been driven from his cabinet — Mr. Trump’s vision is taking root in places as diverse as rural California, urban Texas, West Virginian coal country and North Dakota’s energy corridor.

Trump’s indelible mark is one leading to sickness and decline. The first centered on the mass of Americans employed in almost every industry. The second the predictable result of supply-side economics – a failure in every aspect of economic history excepting only the minds of a small number of perpetually greedy economists and politicians.