Following the Supreme Court's determination that there was no good reason to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the Trump administration has abandoned its pursuit of the project. Read the rest
John Quiggin's essay about "Transactional Trumpism" really nailed it for me: if the story is that Republicans chose Trump as their candidate because they were sure that he would enact "the Republican agenda" they didn't get a very good deal: all Trump has managed is the bare minimum that any Republican would have done, putting far-right ideologues on the Supreme Court and handing gigantic tax-breaks to the super-rich. Read the rest
When Elizabeth Warren inaugurated the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one of her prime targets was subprime/payday/predatory lenders; and the lenders' lobbyists went on an all-out blitz, eventually prevailing under Trump's CFPB boss Mick Mulvaney. Read the rest
The federal appeals court in the DC circuit has overturned the FCC's decision to make it effectively impossible for people on tribal lands to make use of the federal "Lifeline} program that provides cheap broadband access to poor communities. Read the rest
An appeals court in the Federal Circuit is hearing arguments today from plaintiffs who say that Donald Trump's FCC Chairman -- and former telcoms exec -- Ajit Pai violated federal law when he overturned Net Neutrality without considering millions of public comments and expert opinions on the proposal. Read the rest
In many ways, Richard Grenell was the perfect pick for Trump's ambassador to Germany: a longtime Fox News pundit and John Bolton protege whose vanity and narcissism cause him to lash out constantly (and undiplomatically) at the nation he's meant to be charming, and whose thin-skinned insecurity sends him into spirals of misery and approval-seeking a the first hint of criticism. Read the rest
Michael Lewis is a national treasure, whose gift for explaining how finance grifters think and operate has spawned a whole genre, which he dominates with books like Liar's Poker (an insider view of the S&L crisis); The Big Short (a character-driven, crystal-clear explainer on the financial engineering that led to the 2008 crisis), and Flash Boys (the shitty math and bafflegab behind high-speed trading); and now, The Fifth Risk: an astounding and terrifying book about the experts who fill the ranks in the US government and the Trump-administration grifters who are destroying the work they do to keep us from dying of tornadoes, nuclear accident, food poisoning and a million other dangers, large and small. Read the rest
Donalddaters.com is an app for people who want to have sex with white supremacists; it launched today and promptly leaked all 1600 of its users' data: "users' names, profile pictures, device type, their private messages — and access tokens, which can be used to take over accounts." Read the rest
The British government has been immobilised by Brexit preparations: hundreds of millions of pounds paid by insurers to the government to rebuild from flooding are sitting idle in savings accounts because no one can spare the time to spend them; ministers won't schedule out-of-London meetings because being away during a key vote would endanger the whisper-thin Tory majority; UK workforce productivity has fallen off a cliff while workers struggle to make preparations for the uncertain future; the government is incapable of legislating because the whole calendar is filled with Brexit bills; junior ministers are barely showing up for work because they don't believe they'll have careers after Brexit; the NHS's overriding priority is Brexit preparation -- everything, from top to bottom, is crumbling. Read the rest
The UK Conservative Party's annual conference is about to kick off in Birmingham, and the Tories have distributed an app ahead of time to all attendees: senior ministers, government officials, members of the press, party members, and others. Read the rest
The Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia have filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, asking it to reinstate the Network Neutrality rules killed by Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Read the rest
I think we can safely say that the United States government's response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria was a rolling clusterfuck. Cronyism, red tape and terrible management practices on the part of FEMA, the National Guard and, in many cases, ill-equipped private contractors, turned what should have been a swift government controlled cleanup and restoration effort into a miserable quagmire. Many Puerto Ricans, a year after having their lives torn apart by hurricane-force winds and flooding, are still without permanent housing.
Difficult as it might be to believe, the ineptitude at every level of the government, both federal and territorial, has reached a new low. This past week, a large cache of donations--10 semi trailers full of medical supplies, diapers, food and water--that should have been handed out to Puerto Ricans in need of sustenance and other necessities, was found by an employee of Puerto Rican radio station Radio Isla. In a video taken by one of the radio station's employees, it's apparent that the supplies were left to rot.
According to Splinter, when the word got out that the rotting supplies had been found, the head of the National Guard for the region came up with an excuse for why the supplies had been left to ruin:
Read the rest
The Adjutant General of Puerto Rico, Brig. Gen. Isabelo Rivera, explained today that the merchandise stored in containers at the State Election Commission facilities, related to the collection center to help the victims of Hurricane Maria, will finish with its distribution in the next few days.
With Trump poised to exact high tariffs on goods from China, it's tempting to declare the gadget party over: everyone is going to pay through the nose for electronics, from makers to Apple, and that's the end of the story, right? Read the rest
In the rush to vote through Trump's trillion-dollar-plus tax gift to the super-wealthy, Congressional Republicans voted on unfinished drafts full of notes, erasures, and incoherencies, with no one really sure what they were casting a vote in favor of. Read the rest