Friday Morning Open Thread: Value for Money

I know, I’m stepping on Dave’s turf, but I enjoyed the seasonal concept!

Speaking of seasonal themes, maybe we call this one “Mr. Potter bolts awake, screaming”:

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters is proposing a new direction for the House Financial Services Committee, which she will almost certainly lead in the next Congress, Axios has learned.

Between the lines: The most notable proposed change: is lumping oversight of “International Financial Institutions” — which could mean anything from the World Bank to foreign banks — with the existing Terrorism and Illicit Finance subcommittee, while scrapping the Monetary Policy and Trade subcommittee.

As word leaks out about the proposal, it’s catching the attention of foreign banks. It’s a strong signal that Waters is not just talking about going after the likes of Deutsche Bank, sources familiar with the proposal tell Axios.

“[Waters has] not been shy about the direction and focus she would take if she got the gavel; she’s just now literally putting it in writing which got folks’ attention. Sort of like, “oh…she wasn’t kidding!”, the source who shared the proposal with Axios told us via text…

Other proposed changes to the House Financial Services Committee include dropping insurance from the “Housing and Insurance” subcommittee, and renaming it “Housing and Community Development.”

Waters also proposed to swap “Consumer Credit” with “Consumer Protection” for the current Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit subcommittee.

There’s also a new proposed subcommittee, solely focused on diversity and inclusion within the financial sector, as first reported by Politico Pro and Reuters

Politico reports that some of Waters’ fellow Democrats (wittingly or not) are doing their job to terrify the banking miscreants by telling them that the Scary Black Lady is not only capable of, but eager to, perform a financial colonoscopy upon those who’ve grown fat and lazy under the ‘rule’ of the current Thief-in-Chief. And the mere touch of Rep. Waters’ hand can shatter a healthy young man’s public esteem — just ask Michael Tracey!

Speaking of “let us savor….”

Tom MacArthur, Republican Congressman of the New Jersey 3rd, has lost his reelection bid:

The AP called the race today, which came as a surprise to MacArthur. Per TPM:

The Associated Press may have called his tight race for his Democratic opponent, but Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) isn’t quite ready to concede.

MacArthur seemed surprised when TPM asked him about the Wednesday AP call as he walked to the House shortly before 3 p.m. ET.

“I hadn’t even seen the AP call,” he told TPM when asked about the news. “I have no reaction because I haven’t seen it.”

Thanks, Angry Dad in Scrubs.

Quick Note On A Developing Story

The plane is isolated, and CDC officials are checking passengers. It appears that some of the passengers are being released.

An earlier report on ABC said that the number of sick passengers was 100, which now appears to be wrong. The symptoms reported are fever and coughing.

As you might expect, there are panicky tweets that try to be humorous. But, as usual for an incident that gets the public eye, early reports are likely to be inaccurate.

One speculation I’ve seen is that this may be related to food poisoning, although the reported symptoms don’t check out in my limited knowledge of such things.

What the symptoms seem to fit with is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, which is serious but seems to be not easily transmitted. It’s one of the viruses the public health people keep an eye on for possible epidemics. It will probably take a day or more to figure out exactly what the illness is.

As usual, take anything you read with a grain of salt, and don’t spread rumors.

Repub Venality Open Thread: Unserious People, Serious Problem

So it turns out that Darla Shine, who is married to the man who used to expedite Roger Ailes’ workplace sexual harassment and who has just been hired by Donald Trump, is the sort of lazy white suburban racist who whines endlessly in public about not being able to use the n-word. And also, of course, about how vaccines cause autism, especially in those darker-skinned kids, because you know their genes just aren’t resilient like ‘normal’ peoples’ or something. Per the Washington Post:

The wife of Bill Shine, the new White House deputy chief of staff for communications, has come under scrutiny for racially charged remarks and unfounded medical theories posted to her Twitter account, according to a report by the website Mediaite.

Darla Shine, a former television producer and the author of a book about the joys of being a stay-at-home mom called “Happy Housewives,” reportedly made statements questioning why white people would be labeled racist for using the n-word while black people would not, defending the Confederate battle flag and highlighting instances of black-on-white crime.

Shine’s Twitter account has since been deleted…

Shine also tweeted stories that put forth debunked information about the danger of vaccines at least a dozen times, Mediaite reported. Any link between autism and vaccines has been disproved by various studies over the years.

“Biggest national security threat is autism!” she wrote in a tweet that tagged Trump, according to HuffPost. “How can we run a country when half of all boys will be autistic by 2050?”

“1 out of 10 black boys has autism,” she wrote in another tweet.

She also implied that the addiction treatment drug Suboxone, not racism, induced Charleston, S.C., church shooter Dylann Roof to kill nine black parishioners.

“Yes lets blame the Confederate Flag instead of Big Pharma and the psychiatric violence inducing Suboxone Dylan Roof was taking,” she wrote in 2015, according to Mediaite…

Of course, when one of his own precious class is threatened, Erick “Voice of the GOP Gate Community” Erickson was compelled to leap to her defence…

(Erickson once called Justice Souter ‘a goat-fucking child molester’ on Twitter, which contrasts badly with his more recent professional-Christianist grifting, which is one reason why he’s so tender towards other white grifters’ Kinsley-gaffe tweets.)

Read more

Gun Violence Open Thread: Heartbreaking

The mother of a teenage girl killed earlier this month in a massacre at Santa Fe High School in Texas tells PEOPLE she challenged President Donald Trump‘s views on gun violence during his Thursday meeting with survivors of the mass shooting and families of the victims.

Trump, 71, repeatedly called the gunman “wacky” while speaking at the gathering, at a Houston military base, according to Rhonda Hart…

She then explained that her daughter had anxiety, Asperger’s syndrome and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and “took medicine daily.”

“I said, ‘[The shooter] might have been depressed, but he wasn’t wacky.’ But if that kid needed help, he needed to have proper access to it,” Hart says, “meaning you shouldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act [one of Trump’s cardinal promises] and get them the help they need and take away the stigma of mental illness.”

She says she told Trump, “Mental illness needs to be addressed.”

“I said all that and he didn’t say anything,” she says. “He was just like, ‘Uhhhh …’ ”

So… when do we get to the part where I talk about my bigly Electoral College win?

Per The Hill:

The mother of a Texas school shooting victim said that in a recent meeting with families, President Trump repeatedly suggested arming teachers as a way to combat school shootings…

Hart, who is an Army veteran, told the AP that she suggested employing veterans in schools to serve as guards, and that he responded, “and arm them?”

“It was like talking to a toddler,” she said…

Reverse-Midas Open Thread: Adieu, Dr. Jackson

Had this post all written & scheduled, checked the twitters one last time before going to bed…


Of course, Trump hasn’t got the guts to actually fire anybody, especially someone who might be tempted to admit on the record that maybe Lord Smallgloves’ physical status was not quite so magnificently godlike as is currently the pretense. Also, how long will it take to find a replacement who can juggle the Oval Office Occumpant’s Adderall / sedative dosages correctly? Politico‘s ‘Morning Playbook’:

… THE PRESIDENT’S NOMINEE to run the beleaguered VA has never managed more than a small cadre of people, and is now up for a job that involves managing the second-largest government agency, a department with 377,000 employees. He has also been accused of dishing out prescription drugs recklessly, allegedly passed out drunk at a hotel during a presidential trip, is said to have banged on a woman’s door after a night of drinking and allegedly crashed a government car after boozing at a Secret Service going-away party. Jackson has denied many of these allegations.

THE GENERAL CONSENSUS: Dr. Jackson will withdraw, which will give the president a chance to nominate a vetted candidate that the Hill can confirm. This is an election year. Republicans want the president to make things easy for them…

Given the information currently available, I kinda feel sorry for Dr. Jackson. He seems to be a perfectly competent mechanic for human machinery; Murphy the Trickster God knows that neither admirals, doctors, nor mechanics are generally famed for their temperance and humility. You might well trust your mechanic with your wallet, if not your life… but you wouldn’t necessarily propose he be promoted to CEO of General Motors. Or Microsoft.

But that’s the problem: Everyone Trump touches ends up the worse for it!

It would be funnier if there weren’t so much hanging on the resolution of this issue…

Upbeat Open Thread: Why We Fight

For our lives, the lives of our loved ones, and those of strangers we’ll never meet. Because it’s the right thing to do, of course. But also, to WIN!

Jim Newell at Slate:

Costello, a 41-year-old serving in only his second term, announced over the weekend that he will not run for re-election. What would have been a challenging race became near-impossible when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court redrew the state’s congressional lines, turning the state’s 6th Congressional District from an R+2 to a D+2 seat, and one that Hillary Clinton would have won by 10 percentage points in the 2016 election. Costello has called for the Pennsylvania judges behind the new map to be impeached.

Costello described the health care fight as the most “intense” experience of his brief political career, “period.” He remembered being one of the 15 or so members who would decide the fate of the House GOP health care bill and “getting it from all angles.” (He voted against it.) When you’re serving in a swing district in this environment, he said, “you have to know every single issue, and why you’re voting the way that you are, and to be able to explain it. Because you will get asked about it by everyone.”

“The way that these bots work”—“B-O-T-S,” he spelled it out to me, presumably referring to those deluging him with talking points—“and these Indivisible people, it’s not like they think for themself, they’re just told what to say,” he said. “They’ll take what some other expert told them to say, like Topher Spiro, or whatever that guy’s name is.” That is indeed the name of the excitable Center for American Progress policy fellow who built up quite the Twitter presence during the health care fight by imploring his followers to flood congressional phone lines.

“It’s not as though the criticisms or questions are illegitimate, but you are on the spot for answering them,” Costello said. “And so you have to be very well-prepared, and you just have to accept that no matter what you say, it’s not going to be good enough, the next criticism’s going to come at you. Which is fine.”…

“People in any district, but especially in [suburban] districts, they want to know that their member of Congress is looking out for them, not for any particular party,” he said. “It could be trying to get EPA funding for the remediation site, it could be a public transportation project. It could be forcefully fighting for DACA, or pushing back against getting out of the Paris accord. Or trying to stabilize the health insurance marketplace.” …

These ‘bots’, or constituents — whatever — they want me to act like I represent THEM! They aren’t content that I’ve learned all my lines and made a very good on-camera presentation, they want me to WORK, not just ACT! It’s as though I was being paid to represent… them!

No wonder the poor bastid looks so stunned; he feels his efforts have somehow been misrepresented.