Not the least that can be done

The Senate has had a busy day.

First, Senators Scott (R-SC) and Rubio (R-FL) temporarily allied with a unified Democratic caucus to assemble a minimum blocking coalition to a nominee for a lifetime appointment on the 9th Circuit Court:

And then a bit later in the afternoon, the entire Senate told the White House to get a clue that it was being trolled by Putin:

So the Senate as a body and individual Senators in a closely divided body found ways to assert their institutional and personal prerogatives.

Baby Steps

Open thread



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Split Screen


 
Snarky, Cynical stuff below the fold…
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That Plutonium In San Antonio And Live Stream Putin-Trump Press Conference

A couple of reporters who take their job to be spreading maximum fear about nuclear radiation have found a story in San Antonio, Texas.

Staff from Idaho National Laboratory were picking up cesium and plutonium sources from a laboratory and left them in their rental car overnight. The car was broken into and the sources and other equipment stolen.

That was carelessness and should be looked at in the light of other careless incidents in the DOE system. When I’m traveling, I always bring in anything from the car that looks like it might be worth stealing. Even the stuff that is worth stealing but doesn’t look that way.

But the sources probably contain a few milligrams of cesium and plutonium. I haven’t done the calculations, but it probably would take a couple hundred years to accumulate enough plutonium for a fission bomb and cesium for a “dirty bomb” at that rate.

But the article goes on at length about bombs and such, as these reporters often do. It’s a strategy of fear for clicks, or perhaps these two really are terrified of anything to do with radiation. They also hyperventilate at the thought of terrorists taking the long view and waiting a couple of hundred years to get that TERROR BOMB.

IT’S ALL AROUND US! BE VERY AFRAID!

 

There’s not enough happening today, so here is the live stream of the two-president press conference.



Sunday Night Open Thread: That Helsinki-ng Feeling…


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By Their Works Shall Ye Know Them

With Trump and his Trumpkins — aka the entire Republican power structure — the extremes of grotesque behavior serve a purpose: in the disgust they evoke, they distract us from the point of the whole exercise.  That would be, of course, extracting as much cash as possible through the exercise of arbitrary power.

Today’s example — actually, now about a week old — comes from griftmonger supreme Scott Pruitt.  All the grandiose corruption, stiffing aids for hotel rooms, buying a Maxwell Smart cone of silence, unobtanium-infused skin cream and the rest was the sizzle. The steak was wrecking the environment at the behest of one corporate master or another.  This was true to the bitter end:

In his last act as EPA Administrator on Friday, Scott Pruitt vacated an Obama-era ruling that dramatically restricted sales of polluting “glider” trucks.

What are glider trucks, you may ask? (I did.)  Do they serve any useful social purpose?

You be the judge:

The glider trucks, led by manufacturer Fitzgerald Glider Kits, are new truck bodies and frames fitted with old, diesel engines that pre-date emissions controls.

Those engines emit as much as 43 times the carcinogenic particulate matter and 13 times as much smog-forming nitrogen oxides as modern diesel truck engines. In the presence of sunlight, nitrogen oxides form smog, which has been linked to asthma.

The whole thing was a scam, exploiting a loophole that was supposed to allow the reuse of new engines if a rig was totalled, but instead installing pre-2007, high polluting engines in new truck bodies.

Pruitt used a debunked and then retracted study that claimed the highly polluting engines were somehow magically transformed into cleaner ones in their new clothes in a move that bars the EPA from enforcing the Obama-era rules this year and next.

I’m not sure exactly what Pruitt’s profit-center is here, given that everyone — and I mean everyone — hates these things.

Manufacturers such as Virginia-based heavy-truck maker Volvo, Illinois-based Navistar, and Cummins, which makes diesel engines in Indiana, all opposed Pruitt’s efforts to keep the loophole open, as did UPS, which buys thousands of long-haul trucks. Name-brand truck and engine makers have invested millions in developing the cleaner engine technology.

“I cannot recall an issue with such a breadth of opposition,” Paul Billings, national senior vice president for advocacy at the American Lung Association told the Washington Post.

Was this simply bidnezz–some quid pro quo between Pruitt and the one truck company making a buck of these shit-spewing rigs? Or was this just one last f**k you to liberals on the way out?

I guess it could be both, or rather, it was certainly the latter, plus whatever personal corruption Pruitt was able to extract from the deal.  But my point (and I do have one, besides generalized disgust and impotent rage) is that this his how Trump’s administration rolls, and it’s exactly as the Republican Party and its paymasters intended it to.

While the gaudy scandals dominate our attention and most of the media effort, the executive departments and agencies are keeping very busy, creating or gutting rules, making decisions, operating almost completely unexamined, in ways that transfer wealth to the chosen few, and risk and consequences to everyone else.

I’m not sure there’s a shovel big enough to clean manure pile these assholes are depositing in our stable.

Pace Adam:  I’m doing a really crappy job staying frosty these days.

Open thread.

Image: Elihu Vedder, Corrupt Legislation, mural in the main reading room, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, 1896



Send Lawyers and Money

If you want to do something to help the kids that ICE and the Trump administration has held hostage for political goals, my sister’s best friend since kindergarten needs support.

We’ve helped Melanie in the past. Let’s help her again as she heads to El Paso

 

DONATION LINK HERE:

 

Support Critical Legal Services on the El Paso, TX/Ciudad Juarez, MX Border through Election Day (11/6/18)

Since July 2015, the Attorney on the Move project has given 100% pro bono legal services to hundreds of immigrant clients around the United States. Most recently, the project was based in Tucson, Arizona—70 miles away from Nogales, Mexico. I worked on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border and represented dozens of asylum seekers in their court proceedings in the Eloy, Florence, Tucson, and Phoenix immigration courts. I have recently published op-eds about family separation in USA Today and The Huffington Post.

And on July 14, 2018, I will be moving to the border to El Paso, Texas through Election Day (11/6/18) to give pro bono help to detained asylum seekers directly affected by the family separation/family detention crisis.

Your gift will support the following work—to be done on a 100% pro bono basis:

  • There are several amazing and scrappy local immigration advocacy groups in El Paso. I’ll be working very closely with the Executive Director of Las Americas (the ED is also currently the only lawyer on staff). We will be sharing responsibilities during my time in El Paso so that the ED has more capacity to focus on longer-term growth.
  • I’ll be creating from scratch, an on-the-ground pro bono program so that more volunteer lawyers from all over the country are able to come and represent more asylum seekers—especially as family detention expands onto nearby Ft. Bliss and legal counsel is urgently needed. This on-the-ground volunteer program will be similar in nature to those at the 3 other family detention centers in the U.S.: Dilley & Karnes City, TX and Berks, PA. The program will involve other volunteer lawyers coming to El Paso to prep asylum seekers for their Credible Fear Interviews (CFIs) and other legal needs.
  • Similarly, I will be creating a system for triaging urgently needed intakes of asylum seekers.
  • I will also be directly representing a number of detained asylum seekers affected by family separation/family detention in greater El Paso.
  • …and more to be determined upon arriving in Texas.

I am grateful to be in community with you all during these wild times. It’d be an honor to receive your support so that these urgent legal services can be provided to asylum seekers in El Paso, Texas.

In solidarity,

Melanie Gleason, Esq.

Founder, Attorney on the Move



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Real-World Heroes

When a man with a shotgun shattered the glass door of the Capital Gazette newspaper office and began to shoot, Wendi Winters stood up…

Janel Cooley, a survivor of the shooting that killed Winters and four others, spoke about her experience for the first time in an interview with The Capital. She said she watched from under her desk as the 20-year newspaper veteran rose to meet her attacker.

Winters charged forward holding a trash can and recycling bin, said Cooley, a sales consultant. Winters shouted something like, “No! You stop that!” or “You get out of here!” like she was warding off an unwanted dog.

“She may have distracted him enough that he forgot about me because I definitely stood up and was looking at the door,” Cooley said. “I’m sure he wasn’t expecting … anyone to charge him.”

Winters’ colleagues agree she saved their lives. Of the 11 employees in the office during the attack, six survived…

Winters once gave fellow reporter Rachael Pacella the shirt off her back when Pacella spilled gasoline on her clothes before an important interview. She checked in on photojournalist Paul W. Gillespie incessantly after his brother died. Intern Anthony Messenger, who started at The Capital weeks before the attack, said Winters always tried to make him feel comfortable.

From the details her family has of the attack, Winters’ son Phoenix Geimer said, “It sounds like her.”…

Davis has a snapshot in his mind of everyone where they were when the gunman blasted in, he said. Winters was originally at her desk. Messenger said he remembers seeing Winters there with a puzzled look on her face as the attack began.

As Pacella and Davis hid, they heard the same shots Cooley did. Then there was a pause. They thought it was over.

The pause, Davis said, could have been Winters intervening. It gave Pacella time to get up from under her desk, run for the back door and then hide between filing cabinets.

“I think that Wendi doing what she did served as enough of a distraction that maybe he didn’t see us,” Pacella said. “I absolutely think that Wendi Winters saved my life.”