UPDATED: Without warning, after hours, House GOP dismantles ethics watchdog

Update: They've backed down because Trump warned them it would be a distraction from taking away healthcare and giving tax cuts to rich people.

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics -- created in 2008 after three Congressmen were jailed for corruption -- has been stripped of its powers by the House GOP, who held an after-hours vote, with no notice, on Monday night. Read the rest

Indiana's "educational achievement" bonuses: teachers in rich schools get 20x more than those in poor districts

Indiana is one of many GOP-led states that assume that the poor performance of schools in poor neighborhoods is the fault of bad teaching -- and not, say, systemic poverty, the absence of funds raised by rich parents, hunger, mass incarceration -- and so teachers are offered bonuses for "improving" their students' outcomes, which generally means their standardized test scores (since presumptively bad teachers can't be trusted to evaluate their students' qualitative improvements). Read the rest

Gingrich: Trump should illegally hire his relatives, profit from inside dealing, and then pardon them

Newt Gingrich did a radio interview where he said that Donald Trump could fill his White House with his family members, allow them to enrich his businesses with insider deals, and then just pardon them, because "Technically, under the Constitution, he has that level of authority." Read the rest

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's MIDAS program had a 93% error rate and falsely accused 20,000 workers of unemployment fraud

Under the cruel austerity of Michigan governor Rick Snyder -- whose policies led to the mass-poisonings of children in Flint -- any claims for unemployment insurance were vigorously investigated, with the state operating on the assumption that any worker who claimed a benefit was probably committing fraud. Read the rest

NYC will cease retaining data that Trump could use for mass deportations

IDNYC is New York City's ID card program, and it has served as a critical means for undocumented migrants to get identity papers that they can use to establish utilities accounts, bank accounts, and so on. The city has announced a change to the program's data-retention policy, vowing to purge information that might be useful in the mass deportations promised by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Read the rest

Congressional Science Committee tweets link to Breitbart climate denial by self-confessed bullshit artist

James Delingpole is an invective-hurling anti-climate science columnist who has candidly admitted that he doesn't bother to read scientific papers, calling himself a "an interpreter of interpretations." Read the rest

The Beastie Boys' Ad-Rock designed a shoe whose profits will go to Planned Parenthood

Vegan shoe company Keep's $97 Ramos midtop sneaker was designed by Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, and will ship in February, with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, a vital woman's health organization under sustained assault from Republicans, who use lies about the rare abortions the organization performs to enrage and focus its low-information base, without any regard for the millions of women who rely on PP for basic health services (and the much smaller number who use PP for abortion). Read the rest

As North Dakota governor orders "emergency evacuation" at Standing Rock, Water Protectors ask court for an injunction

Jack Dalrymple, the Republican governor of North Dakota, has ordered an "emergency evacuation" on the unceded treaty lands owned by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, where protesters have endured potentially lethal, unconstitutional violence from law enforcement, including the use of water cannons as antipersonnel weapons in subzero temperatures and the use of tear-gas cannisters as projectiles fired into crowds of protesters. Read the rest

If blue-collar workers want better jobs, they need unions, not Trump

Even though the majority of American workers would like to join a union, America's anemic labor laws scare them away from it -- after all, if you're fired for attempting to unionize, all your boss owes you is back pay, a sum so trifling that business groups call it a "hunting license." Read the rest

Trump's anti-net-neutrality FCC: filling the swamp with his own alligators

Trump campaigned on "draining the swamp" of the industry insiders who enjoy a revolving door relationship with the regulatory branch, moving from industry to government and back again. But his actions speak louder than his words. Read the rest

Trump's Hamilton tweetstorm: calculated distraction from fraud settlement, or fragile mediocrity?

Yesterday, Donald Trump's news cycle was dominated by two stories: first, that the president-elect of the United States of America had a well-developed sense of the sanctity of the theatre, such that any on-stage politicking shocked his conscience to the core; second, that he had settled a lawsuit over Trump University, handing $25,000,000 to people whom he had defrauded. Read the rest

When Mike Pence came to Hamilton, the cast added a special afterword, just for him

Vice President-elect Mike Pence went to see Hamilton last night; he was booed on the way to his seat, but afterward, the cast acknowledged him with a brief set of remarks written by the show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda: "We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf all of us." Read the rest

19 questions to frame a reconciling conversation with your opposite-voting loved ones

Michael Barbaro proposes that you sit down over a meal with a loved one who voted in a way you find incomprehensible and indefensible and have each of you discuss 19 questions, while not letting "imperfect word choices tank the conversation," forgetting "the policy debate for now," and assuming "the other person has generally good intentions." Read the rest

People who voted for Trump knew their shot at the elites was fired through the guts of their neighbors

Laurie Penny says we've done enough listening to "real people" -- that the working-class whites who deplore racism and were not duped by Trump are done no favors by lumping them in with their neighbors who voted for a confessed rapist and white supremacist who believes in torture and mass deportations. Read the rest

Trump Administration: a climate denier for the EPA, a Goldman-Sachs banker for Treasury

Donald Trump, who once claimed that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese has indicated that his EPA transition team will be led by Myron Ebell, who claims that accession to the Paris Climate Accord is unconstitutional, that global warming is "modest" and "nothing to worry about" and even that "a warming trend would be good for other people" because "more people die from blizzards and cold spells than from heat waves." Read the rest

Glenn Beck's "decency" doesn't extend to answering questions about why he was such an asshole

Glenn Beck has made a big deal of his new resolution to "try out decency" -- that is, to stop saying things like Obama is literally the antichrist who will open FEMA concentration camps due to his "deep-seated hatred of white people." Read the rest

Donald J Trump: "No matter who wins, at least I had fun" (The Onion)

The Onion is apparently struggling to satirize an election that is so absurd it can only be called "self-satirizing," but they scored a hit with their op-ed by Donald J Trump: "No Matter What Happens Tomorrow, At Least I Had Fun." Read the rest

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