Are you sick of hearing about Trump appointees spending curiously large amounts of taxpayer money on things like private jet flights, barely disguised vacations, or new office furniture? Yeah, too bad—because it turns out Trump's U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, went on quite the office shopping spree. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spent more than $917,000 to furnish the two trade offices near the White House, according to contracts reviewed by The Post. That’s a significant increase compared to the last two trade reps. It's not just a significant increase, it's an enormous increase. Ron Kirk, President Barack Obama’s first trade ambassador, spent $237,000 on office furniture during the first 15 months of his term. His successor, Ambassador Michael Froman, spent $151,000 during a comparable time span, records show. All right, but at least the expenditures weren't for his own private office, right? They were for things like 60 sit-stand desks, top-notch Herman Miller office chairs, and nearly half a million bucks to a furniture company that «specializes in rich wood-finished desks and high-grade furniture fit for bosses.» That might or might not be overlavish spending; it's suspicious, but not overtly crooked. What might tip the scales on that is if Lighthizer's office tried to deflect blame with a thoroughly debunkable lie about it being Barack Obama's fault. Which they did, claiming that it was a «longtime, planned project» of the Obama administration—and the Obama team isn't just denying that such a thing existed, they're openly mocking Lighthizer's claim that the Trump administration's hands were tied on this one.
So, Donald J. Trump's first official state dinner was a thing that happened. The good news is that as far as we can tell nobody from the Trump family threw a pie. The less good news, of course, is that it was less a celebration of the good relations between the two countries than a celebration of folks Donald Trump personally either likes or is trying to extract favors from. So, a bunch of billionaires. There was Stephen Schwarzman, the billionaire chief of Blackstone and Trump confidant, and David Rubenstein, the Carlyle Group co-founder and Washington philanthropist. Luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault was in attendance, as were Apple CEO Tim Cook, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, KKR co-founder Henry Kravis, 21st Century Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Goldman Sachs Executive Vice President John F.W. Rogers. There was room for Donald's personal guests because he did not bother with the usual formalities of inviting congressional Democrats. He also didn’t bother to invite most of his own cabinet, or his top diplomat, for that matter. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was the only elected Democrat in attendance — but Apple’s Cook arrived with former Obama EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, now an executive at Apple, as his date. It's hard not to like Tim Cook. That's some high-quality trolling, right there. All right, fine, whatever. It's not like state dinners exist for any other reason than to allow America's most powerful people all be important together. We should just be glad that there was no international incident, given the frequency with which the Trump crew falls into international incidents. Nobody got hit with a pie, nobody threw a punch, and all the very important people got a fine meal and validating pictures of themselves with other important people. Still, everything is just a wee bit off, with this crowd. Just a wee bit off. Mnuchin arrived with his wife, Louise Linton, who wore a Roberto Cavalli gown. She said she was looking forward to “everything French,” and Mnuchin said he was looking forward to “more French.” Hmm.
● Today’s comic by Matt Bors is Two suspicious guys at the latest mass shooting: ● Who will stand up for Chikesia Clemons? Chikesia may be alive, but she has yet to see justice. The public outcry after last week’s Starbucks incident was swift and loud, resulting in national news stories, boycotts of the ubiquitous chain, and an announcement from Starbucks that it will shutter all of its national storefronts on May 29 for racial bias training. But so far, the public response on Chikesia’s behalf has been far more quiet. There’s been less media coverage, and Waffle House has released just a single statement essentially telling us all to “wait and see,” as though the video didn’t show plenty. Will America allow the suffering of Black women to go unchecked, when we are leading the fight for so many others? Want to thank Black women for defeating Roy Moore? For voting against Donald Trump? Protect us. Support us. Demand justice for Chikesia. ● xDidn't you just have a third baby? pic.twitter.com/rU4aftzyGG— Jacob Bacharach (@jakebackpack) April 25, 2018 ● Incels hope to be taken «seriously» following latest woman-hating murder spree. ● Drew Cloud is a well-known expert on student loans. One problem: he's not real. But don’t worry! The student-loan refinancing company that invented him is super sorry. ● Somehow I missed out on the whole Schoolhouse Rock thing, but for everyone else in my generation, here are five unforgettable Schoolhouse Rock songs. Composer Bob Dorough died this week. On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, everybody's in on the act! Greg Dworkin, Joan McCarter & Armando are on hand to talk Ronny Jackson, special elections, Toronto, Mulvaney’s pay-to-play confession & solicitation, NYT/Chozick/Clinton & the further abandonment of all rules, budgets, etc. x Embedded Content RadioPublic|LibSyn|YouTube|Patreon|Square Cash (Share code: Send $5, get $5!)
This is another big week for the Trump administration losing in court, on everything from Dreamers to women's health. Once again, a federal court has slapped down the administration, and this time it's particularly satisfying. Because it means Planned Parenthood has won. A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration from cutting short grants awarded to Planned Parenthood through a federal teen pregnancy prevention program. U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice on Tuesday issued a permanent injunction preventing the administration from ending the grants two years earlier than originally planned, saying that doing so would cause public harm. «The Court determines that the public interest weighs in favor of Plaintiffs, as it would prevent harm to the community ... and prevent loss of data regarding the effectiveness of teen pregnancy prevention,» Rice wrote. The administration had secretly cut $213 million in funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs, not informing the 80 some providers around the country that the funding was being cut off. Last week, in another of the suits brought against them, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled against the administration on behalf of Public Citizen, a consumer rights group in D.C., representing Policy and Research LLC, Project Vida Health Center, Sexual Health Initiatives for Teens and the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy—four of the groups which had funding eliminated. There are still other cases pending on this issue, but this means that for Planned Parenthood and the providers in last week's decision, the grants will have to be paid. No word on the administration’s intentions on appeal.
Republicans are getting tired of answering for Scott Pruitt. As much as they may say he’s doing “a good job”—meaning that he’s destroying not just the regulations that protect the air, water, soil and health of Americans, but the whole basis for the EPA—his pricey first class flights, even pricier chartered flights, still pricier use of military planes, and apparently endless laundry list of scandals is wearing out Pruitt’s welcome. With the inspector general already looking into: Pruitt’s $50-a-night luxury town home provided by a fossil fuel lobbyist. Pruitt’s big money house flip that appears to be an only mildly disguised bribe from another lobbyist. Pruitt’s routing around the White House to give two of his pals a big raise by stealing from a fund for outside experts—then lying about it. Pruitt’s $2 million a year personal security detail that he has defended even though a FOIA request to the EPA turned up no threats. Pruitt’s purchase of a $43,000 soundproof booth and other frivolous purchases. Pruitt’s $120,000 trip to Rome that included a private tour of the Vatican. Pruitt’s trip to Morrocco that not only still doesn’t have a final price tag, it doesn’t have a stated purpose or schedule. Pruitt has retaliated against EPA staff by dismissing, demoting or reassigning those who try to point out when he is breaking the rules. It’s time for Scott Pruitt to drop by Capitol Hill and do a little chatting. And he’s doing so at a point when Pruitt and the White House are not exactly singing in harmony. Two sources familiar with Pruitt’s preparation for the hearing say that the EPA has turned down an offer from the White House to help prepare the administrator for what is sure to be a bruising few hours of questions about the ethics and government spending controversies that have dogged him of late. One of the sources, a White House official, characterized the EPA’s response to the West Wing as “get lost.” Pruitt has become such a constant embarrassment that even Republicans are hoping he’s the one who gets lost. Meanwhile, Pruitt went ahead and unveiled his expected new rules for EPA “transparency.” And in Trump bizarro-world fashion … he didn’t allow the public in.
Campaign Action On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act—legislation that was proposed to protect the Mueller investigation from popular vote loser Donald Trump. But Sen. Chuck Grassley has drafted an amendment that could allow congressional Republicans to help Trump undermine the investigation and bury its findings. Here's the good part of the bill they are considering: it «requires the special counsel to prepare 'a report detailing the factual findings of the investigation' to the attorney general and to the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.» Greg Sargent talked with a law professor about the importance of that—it changes current special counsel regulations that require the attorney general or deputy attorney general make that report. “The Grassley amendment effectively cuts the deputy attorney general out of the process of deciding which reports by the Special Counsel get shared with Congress,” Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, tells me. “That would prevent even a Trump loyalist from burying potentially adverse findings by Mueller.” However, and the however is big: The Grassley amendment also contains language that would require the special counsel to notify the heads of the Judiciary Committee whenever “any change is made to the specific nature of scope of the investigation.” The problem here, Vladeck says, is that this language is so loosely worded that it could require Mueller to give Congress new information whenever minor investigative decisions are made. This, Vladeck says, could lead to selective leaking and other mischief along the lines of what we’ve already seen from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). “The question is whether the bill can be crafted to strike a balance between keeping Congress in the loop while preventing it from micromanaging the investigation,” Vladeck says. Sources say Democrats are privately objecting to this provision on these grounds, something that Politico also reports. […] But the amendment sets up several ways Republicans could actually prevent that from happening or do damage to the investigation in other ways, on Trump’s behalf. If Republicans continue to insist on the measure that facilitates micromanaging by Congress, that could drive away Dems and tank the amendment, killing the aspect of it that is salutary. Or, if the amendment does pass in this form, it actually could end up facilitating such GOP micromanaging. The congressional micromanaging part of this is really insidious because it's left extremely vague: Mueller would be required to report to Congress whenever «any change is made to the specific nature of scope of the investigation.» Any change. That means, regardless of whatever his brief from Rosenstein was—and i Rosenstein has given him broad investigative authority—it bring Congress in any time Mueller is investigating a new person or new crime that cropped up in the course of the investigation. For example, what if Mueller had to tell Nunes that Michael Cohen was a target of the investigation, and Nunes decided to tip Cohen off, giving him the opportunity to destroy evidence. This could very much chill the investigation, creating roadblocks for Mueller and hampering his ability to follow investigative leads. It should be a non-starter for Democrats on the Judiciary Committee precisely because of how determined House Republicans have been to interfere in and undermine this investigation. Maybe they're willing to trust their Republican colleagues in the Senate, but they sure as hell shouldn't be granting that benefit to the House GOP.
Former Republican FCC chairman Kevin Martin will take the lead on US lobbying efforts for Facebook in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, while chief privacy officer Erin Egan focuses on rebuilding trust in the company.
An AI system called Corti listens in on distress calls for signs of a heart attack and feeds info to human dispatchers. It's headed for wider testing later this year.
Two lucky winners will be able to project their navigation, infotainment and more, all within their line of sight with Hudly Wireless. This promotion ends May 9, 2018.
Analysts claim that the premium 2018 iPhone will support Apple Pencil.
When you're Elon, there's no reason stop with electric cars, rockets, flamethrowers and tube transportation.
Chinese auto startup Lynk & Co lays out its plan for penetrating the European market and it hinges on the 01 PHEV.
Sometimes, premature birth may happen because the baby's immune system essentially «rejects» the mother, like a person's body rejects a transplanted organ.
Netflix and BuzzFeed News are teaming up for a 20-episode documentary series called Follow This. According to Variety, the show will be less focused on breaking news and more on taking us behind the scenes to show how BuzzFeed News reporters put together specific stories. For example, in the clip below, BuzzFeed’s Scaachi Koul talks […]
To address parents’ concerns over inappropriate content on YouTube being seen by children, Google today is announcing an expanded series of parental controls for its YouTube Kids application. The new features will allow parents to lock down the YouTube Kids app so it only displays those channels that have been reviewed by humans, not just […]
Alexa can do just about everything if you ask it the right question in the right way. Today, it’s gaining a new skill, letting you move through artwork on the Mueral Canvas digital artwork frame. The company’s $595 device lets you browse artwork from new and emerging artists as well as publicly available classics. One of […]
Dolo is the kindness of strangers as an app. Where’s the prettiest place in the park? What’s the best thing on the menu? How do I skip the line? Dolo lets you leave helpful suggestions for anyone nearby. The new social app launches out of beta today to augment the world with serendipitous tips from […]
Sometimes, premature birth may happen because the baby's immune system essentially «rejects» the mother, like a person's body rejects a transplanted organ.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Lawyers for a British tourist who says he was badly hurt taking part in an illusion by Las Vegas Strip headliner David Copperfield in 2013 say they've found three other people who were injured in shows over the years. Attorney Adam Deutsch told a judge on ...
Legion has done a fantastic job of putting us inside the head (sometimes literally) of David Haller. It’s used experimental filming techniques to give us some idea of what it’s like to perceive the […] The post Legion Dives Into Someone Else’s Mind for a Change appeared first on Geek.com.
When NASA isn’t doing totally awesome things like launching new telescopes, exploring mars, or developing the Space Launch System, the organization does quite a bit to monitor the atmospheric and weather conditions on […] The post NASA’s Finding Holes in the Arctic Sea Ice, and It’s a Big Problem appeared first on Geek.com.
Is Avengers: Infinity War good? Yes! Oh, thank goodness! Yeah, because there was a chance in hell anyone wasn’t going to go see this regardless of what any critic had to say on […] The post MovieBob Reviews – AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR appeared first on Geek.com.
“A surprisingly honest and touching account of a trans girl surviving through sex work in Seattle. With excerpts published in the Eisner-nominated anthology ISLAND, the full-color volume, drawn and painted by REMY BOYDELL, […] The post Buy This Comic: The Pervert OGN appeared first on Geek.com.
Graphene is rapidly becoming known as one of the weirdest and most incredible substances we have. Now, physicists have announced that with it, they’ve been able to squeeze light into the space of […] The post Scientists Use Graphene to Compress Light Smaller than Should Be Possible appeared first on Geek.com.
Colin Cowherd reacts to reports that the Cleveland Browns are between quarterbacks Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield for the first overall draft selection. Which quarterback in the draft would be the best fit in Cleveland?
Sporting Kansas City’s match at the New England Revolution on April 28 will be televised on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus and FOX Sports Midwest Plus.
Nashville and Winnipeg met five times this season with the Predators winning the season series 3-1-1
The Twins' Logan Morrison is still struggling, but after calling out his hecklers at Yankee Stadium he probably has some new fans back home
CHESTER, Pa. (AP) Midfielders Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams have played their way onto the top tier of the U.S. player pool along with defender Matt Miazga, according to interim coach Dave Sarachan, who says the trio would receive strong consideration for a World Cup roster if the Americans were headed to Russia in June.
Contrary to some reports, Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson is looped into the team’s draft plans this season.According to NFL.com’s Michael Silver, Jackson was kept out of the loop last year under then-general manager Sashi Brown, but his replacement, John Dorsey, has handled things differently, and Jackson is aware of the team’s draft plans. It’s quite something that it has to be clarified that the head coach of the team with the first overall pick knows who the team is planning to take the day before the draft, but that’s the Browns for you. An earlier report about Jackson being left in the dark ensured that some clarification was needed, but apparently the Browns are running things a little more smoothly these days.