Recently in Politics Category

Good news - education

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Trump is pulling the Federal Government out of the education business. From The Washington Times:

Trump to pull feds out of K-12 education
President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to start pulling the federal government out of K-12 education, following through on a campaign promise to return school control to state and local officials.

The order, dubbed the “Education Federalism Executive Order,” will launch a 300-day review of Obama-era regulations and guidance for school districts and directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to modify or repeal measures she deems a overreach by the federal government.

“For too long the government has imposed its will on state and local governments. The result has been education that spends more and achieves far, far, far less,” Mr. Trump said. “My administration has been working to reverse this federal power grab and give power back to families, cities [and] states — give power back to localities.”

He said that previous administrations had increasingly forced schools to comply with “whims and dictates” from Washington, but his administration would break the trend.

Very good news - to understand why, you just have to look at this graph from The Cato Institute:

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The Best Korea - heating up

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Now this would be an interesting briefing to watch - from the UK Telegraph:

US Senate summoned to the White House for North Korea briefing, as China’s Xi Jinping urges restraint from Donald Trump
President Donald Trump will take the unusual step of summoning all 100 senators to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on the continued concern over North Korea.

The senators will be briefed by Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, and James Mattis, the defence secretary. Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, will also speak to the assembled politicians.

And, while top administration officials routinely travel to Capitol Hill to address members of Congress on foreign policy and national security matters, it is unusual for the entire 100-member Senate to go to such an event at the White House, and for those four top officials to be involved.

I'll post a link if it shows up on C-SPAN

No love lost - David Crosby

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You might remember him - he was a musician a long time ago. From Breitbart:

War of Words after David Crosby Calls Ted Nugent and Donald Trump a ‘Pair of A**holes’
A public war of words erupted this weekend between rockers David Crosby and Ted Nugent after Crosby called Nugent an “a**hole” following his visit to the White House on Thursday.

Nugent — a vocal supporter of then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign — visited the White House Thursday with fellow musician Kid Rock and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. The 68-year-old “Stranglehold” singer posed for a picture with Trump in the Oval Office and gifted him a red-white-and-blue autographed guitar.

But a photo of the meeting posted to Twitter Thursday apparently caught the eye of Crosby, Still, Nash and Young co-founder David Crosby, who called Nugent and Trump a “pair of “a**holes” in a message on his Twitter account.

Nugent responded in an interview Thursday with 77WABC, calling Crosby a “lost soul” and a “doper.”

“David Crosby, he’s kind of a lost soul, and he’s done so much substance abuse throughout his life that his logic meter is gone,” Nugent said in an interview with the outlet’s Rita Cosby. “His reasoning and his depth of understanding is pretty much gone, so it doesn’t surprise me, I feel quite sad for the guy.”

“If you smoke enough dope, you just become overwhelmed with hate and ignorance,” he added.

Yeah - Crosby's done some decent music in his day but he should stay out of politics.

It is the little things that shows how much of a genuinely good man President Trump is.  From The Gateway Pundit:

Trump Uses Saturday to Visit Walter Reed and Present Injured Soldier with Purple Heart Medal
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump spent their time on Saturday visiting Walter Reed Hospital. During the visit President Trump awarded Sergeant First Class Alvaro Barrientos a Purple Heart.

Hillary would never have done this unless there was something in it for her.

Told you so - Marine Le Pen

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Thought that she would get a bump in popularity from the Islamic terrorist attack in Paris the other day. From England's The Telegraph:

Marine Le Pen gets poll boost after Paris attack as Donald Trump says her chances of victory have improved
Donald Trump has said the Paris terrorist attack would boost Marine Le Pen's presidential chances after a last-minute poll gave her a modest increase in support.

The US president said the shooting would "probably help" Ms Le Pen in Sunday's election, because she is "strongest on borders, and she's the strongest on what's been going on in France."

"Whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism, and whoever is the toughest at the borders, will do well in the election," he said. 

Yep - it is what the people want. Radical concept I know...

I wonder how long it will be before the USA and China join forces and launch an offensive against the Kim regime in North Korea. All the signs are pointing towards it. From Breitbart:

Tillerson Set To Chair UN Meeting on NK as U.S. Warships Head to Korean Peninsula
As U.S. warships head to the western Pacific Ocean to establish a presence near the Korean Peninsula, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is preparing to chair a meeting at the United Nations later this month focused on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, Voice of America reported.

The strike team, dubbed Carl Vinson, includes an aircraft carrier and will make its way from Singapore towards the Korean Peninsula, Aljazeera reported on Sunday.

The move is in response to the Communist regime’s “reckless, irresponsible” recent missile tests, a U.S. Navy official said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told reporters last week that Tillerson will oversee the April 28 meeting of the United Nations Security Council. The U.S. has chairmanship of the council for the month of April.

President Trump was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Florida White House at the time that Trump launched the missile attack in Syria. Shows that he is serious and not all hat and no cattle as was Obama. China has supported The Best Korea for a long time but they have gotten uppity and have overextended their reach - North Korea can now launch nuclear attacks on China and Japan. Time for a change. It will be interesting to see what T. Rex has to say to the Security Council.

Timing is everything - the Chinese

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Talk about perfect timing - from one of England's top tech websites - The Register:

'Evidence of Chinese spying' uncovered on eve of Trump-Xi summit
Evidence of Chinese cyber-espionage against the US has been uncovered on the eve of an important Sino-US presidential summit.

The "Scanbox" malware – used by nation-state threat actors associated with or sponsored by the Chinese government – has been discovered embedded on webpages on the US National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) site, Fidelis Cybersecurity reports.

The possible cyber-espionage was found ahead of President Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping taking place on Thursday and Friday. Items on the agenda are likely to include North Korea, trade and the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria.

Fidelis researchers have also discovered a similar threat campaign was conducted involving a site masquerading as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Nothing like putting President Xi between a rock and a hard place. We are seeing the work of an expert negotiator.

Senate voted 54-45 to approve - from Reuters:

In big win for Trump, Senate approves his conservative court pick
The Republican-led Senate on Friday gave Donald Trump the biggest triumph of his young presidency, confirming his Supreme Court nominee over stout Democratic opposition and restoring a conservative majority on the highest U.S. judicial body.

The Senate, which last year refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee to the court, voted 54-45 to approve Republican Trump's pick, Colorado-based federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, to the lifetime job. Three Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for Gorsuch.

Very good choice - since the nomination proceedings took so long, we the people have had a nice long time to look at Judge Gorsuch's record and we like what we see. The guy is a solid conservative.

25 promises - President Trump

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Don Surber takes a look at the top 25 campaign promises that Donald Trump made before his election - he made a list:

The top 25 promises President Trump has already kept
In business, a man is only as good as his word.

President Trump is a businessman.

You could not tell that by reading PolitiFact. That is why you come here.

PolitiFact listed as "in the works" his promise to forgo his salary as president. This week he donated his entire first quarter paycheck to the National Park Service. I suppose a partisan group of Fake Newsers could string this out for eight years and say "in the works," but that does not change the facts.

In the works? No, that is a...
PROMISE KEPT.

President Trump is fulfilling his promises.

Let us count the ways. After that first one on not taking a salary, let's move on to Number 2:
“First, I'm going to reinstitute a five-year ban on all executive branch officials lobbying the government for five years after they leave government. I'm going to ask Congress to pass this ban into law so that it cannot be lifted by executive order, right. Second, I'm going to ask Congress to institute its own five-year ban on lobbying by former members of Congress and their staffs.”
He signed the executive order on January 28.
PROMISE KEPT.

3. Then there's this one:
"We're going to cancel every needless job-killing regulation and put a moratorium on new regulations until our economy gets back on its feet."
He froze new regulations on January 20.

Ten days later, he ordered the removal of two regulations for every new regulation.
PROMISE KEPT.

4. Here's another one:
"We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths. Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions just sent out the letters.
PROMISE KEPT.

5. Next:
“I will appoint justices, who like Justice Scalia, will protect our liberty with the highest regard for the Constitution.”
He nominated Neil Gorsuch.
PROMISE KEPT.

Quite the list and Don has 20 more complete with links to what he said and what he did.

Hillary gets trashed by Bill Maher

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WINCE! - When someone to the left of left like Bill Maher says this - maybe she should just get out of politics after all. That would be nice:

Freedom

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Woke up this morning to a free England. Brexit is official.

From USA Today:

To recognize war heroes, Trump resurrects long-neglected 'Medal of Honor Day'
President Trump hosted the nation's most decorated war heroes at the White House Friday as part of a recognition of the rarely celebrated Medal of Honor Day.

"Each of you has risen above and beyond the call of duty in defense of our country, our people, and our flag. You have poured out your hearts, your sweat, and your tears like few others, and your blood — most importantly your blood — for the United States of America," Trump told about 25 Medal of Honor recipients in the Oval Office.

"You are the soul of our nation, and a grateful republic salutes you," he said.

In commemorating a day for Medal of Honor recipients — which technically falls on Saturday — Trump was resurrecting a holiday designated by Congress in 1990 but only officially observed once, on March 25, 1991. That was the anniversary of the first Army medals being presented in 1863 by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to to six members of “Andrews Raiders” for volunteering for a daring locomotive chase through Georgia during the Civil War. Except for a visit to Arlington National Cemetery by President Barack Obama in 2009, the day has been largely ignored by recent presidents.

The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor the nation can bestow — so high that even higher ranking officers salute those who wear the medal. There are now 75 living Medal of Honor recipients, a number that has declined over the years as heroes of past wars have died and presidents have presented fewer medals to service members from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Trump enjoyed endorsements of some Medal of Honor recipients during his campaign, and Friday's event could signal that he hopes to elevate the annual recognition.

"This is a great honor for me. These are very, very brave people standing behind me," Trump said. "I can say officially they are much braver than I am, O.K.? Do you agree with that, General?"

"I do, Mr. President," responded Defense Secretary James Mattis, a retired Marine general.

I love it - the House Joint Resolution was passed during the administration of G.H.W. Bush. I am surprised that G.W. didn't carry on the tradition. Not surprised that the other Administrations swept it under the rug.

I also love that President Trump subsequently discussed other things with the gathered press but he had the Medal of Honor recipients leave the room first so there could be zero implication that he had them there for political gain. This was their moment.

President Trump tweets - Germany

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Trump is owning the twittersphere - from England's The Sun:

DEBT COLLECTOR Donald Trump claims Germany owes the US and Nato ‘vast sums of money’ for defence of Europe against Russia
Tweeting a day after an awkward meeting with German leader Angela Merkel, Trump demanded Berlin should cough up billions of Euros more on defence.

Only the US and four other Nato members – including the UK – currently reach the alliance’s benchmark of spending on defence which is 2% of GDP.

But Germany spends a miserly 1.23% of its national income despite running a whopping £234 billion budget surplus.

The two leaders showed little common ground yesterday over a host of thorny issues, including Nato and defence spending.

And today Trump tweeted: “Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defence it provides to Germany!”

Germany is in arrears and needs to pony up the extra cash. They signed the treaty, they need to follow its rules instead of pissing away all of its money on feeding and housing the millions of young islamic males refugees.

President Trump's weekly address

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Just stumbled over this - he does a short heads-up about once/week - here is last weeks:

Here are the others - good stuff. Sort of like the Fireside Chats that President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave during his term in office.

February 25, 2017February 17, 2017February 10, 2017February 3, 2017January 28, 2017 - this is a lot more transparency than the last administration. The whole collection of White House videos can be found here: Featured Videos

Heh - President Trump

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From Facebook:

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And not a moment too soon

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From Townhall:

Sessions Has Asked Remaining Obama-Appointed U.S. Attorneys to Resign
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked the remaining Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys - 46 in all - to hand in their resignation. As he notes in his request, this is standard procedure when a new administration takes office.

Good - time to clean out the partisan deadwood. The New York Times is acting like this is unprecedented but it is not. Fake News again. Bill Clinton fired ALL of the U.S. Attorneys. As in all of them. All  93 of them. There was no scandal.

Nigel Farage at CPAC

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A wonderful 13 minute stemwinder:

Nigel was leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and is one of the driving forces behind England's very successful BREXIT

A look at President Trump

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Dilbert creator Scott Adams has a good insight on President Trump and why some people are not able to "get" him:

How to Evaluate a President
Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Mark Zuckerberg. Richard Branson. What do they all have in common, aside from wealth?

They all succeeded without the right kind of prior experience. Apparently they knew how to figure out what they needed once they started. I’ll bet they are all systems-thinkers, not goal-thinkers.

If you see the world in terms of goals, you might think President Trump has failed at every important goal so far. He didn’t get what he wanted on immigration. He hasn’t gotten his Supreme Court nomination confirmed. He hasn’t replaced Obamacare. He hasn’t defeated ISIS. He hasn’t done a lot of things he said he would do. He even had to fire General Flynn. President Trump is a big ol’ failure when it comes to goals.

Maybe that’s because Trump just started on the job. Success generally comes after you start. If you think success comes before you start, the world probably looks confusing to you.

A bit more:

Trump seems to be a systems thinker. I doubt he knew he would jump from real estate developer, to author, to reality TV star, to president. At least not in that order. Instead, he systematically accumulated money, persuasion skills, and personal connections until he had lots of options. Being president was one of them.

Now the world watches as an entrepreneurial systems-thinker with no government experience takes over the White House and tries to learn on the job. How did you expect that to go?

I expected some broken dishes, some firings, some chaos, and some rookie mistakes. We got all of that. But I also expect a systems-thinker to tame the chaos over time as he learns on the job. For example, the leaks will stop as soon as Trump fires the right people. He’ll figure out which meetings he can skip. He’ll know who to trust. He’ll learn where all the buttons and levers are. It’s a process.

Great analogy. Everyone is expecting another politician, not a sucessful businessman.

Now this would be wonderful - H.R.861

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I do not know if this will ever land on President Trump's desk but it sure would be nice - from congress.gov:

H.R.861 - To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency

Return environmental controls to the various states. For items like pollution crossing state borders, let Interior or some other agency handle this. The EPA bureaucracy is too entrenched and bloated to reform it - get rid of it entirely and build something different.

I am totally in favor of what the labor unions did in the 1900's but they have failed to adapt to changing times and they have become a political power more than a force of good for the average worker. The Boeing employees in South Carolina agree - from The Seattle Times:

Boeing’s South Carolina workers resoundingly defeat union
Nearly eight years after production workers at Boeing’s 787 manufacturing plant in South Carolina ousted the Machinists union, a much enlarged workforce voted decisively Wednesday to keep the union out.

The result was a blowout.

Out of the approximately 3,000 workers eligible to vote in North Charleston, 2,828 cast ballots, with 74 percent voting against the International Association of Machinists (IAM).

The labor climate in South Carolina:

The odds were always stacked against the IAM in South Carolina, a state that is politically and legally hostile to unions. It has the lowest percentage of union members of any state in the United States, 2.6 percent of employed workers.

And with membership not mandatory in a unionized workplace in a “right-to-work” state, the rate of union membership is even lower, just 1.6 percent.

National average is about 5%. I can see a place for unionization in some places - fire, police, hospitals, etc... but not schools, not government and definitely not industry.

Joy Villa sells records

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I posted yesterday about Joy Villa and the wonderful gown she wore to last night's Grammy Awards. It seems a lot of other people were curious enough to check out her music. Here is a screen-cap of the Amazon.com Best Sellers list:

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Not too shabby - number one spot for downloaded Album and number three spot for downloaded Song.  I wonder how the media will report this? They will not, that is their problem and why people are tuning them out.

From the Walnut Creek, CA East Bay Times:

Gov. Jerry Brown asks potential nemesis — President Trump — for aid
In December, Gov. Jerry Brown asserted California’s independence and blasted President Donald Trump for dismissing climate change.

On Friday, the governor turned to his potential nemesis for help — specifically, asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to declare a major disaster after the state was hammered by storms, floods and mudslides.

The request could be an early test of relations between the Democrats who run the nation’s largest state and the new Republican administration.
If California’s request is rejected, however, it might be difficult to pin it on a frosty relationship between the governor and the president, said Larry Gerston, professor emeritus of political science at San Jose State. “It’s an easy claim to make, but a hard one to prove,” he said.

FEMA considers many factors for disaster relief, including the severity of damage and cost, Gerston said. “It’s a very discretionary call by the president,” he said.

Naaaa - being that petty is a liberal move. Trump would never fall into that trap. There would be strings attached though - especially when CA has someone like Xavier Becerra as Attorney General. From Breitbart:

California AG Vows to Fight Trump over Federal Funds
California’s highest law enforcement official, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, echoed Golden State Democrats in their promise to wage battle against President Donald Trump to retain sanctuary policies that harbor illegal aliens in the state.

These poor saps are still operating as though President Trump were a Politician. He is not. He is a Businessman. Big Difference. Governor Brown needs something from the Federal Government. He will get it but there will be a good measure of Quid pro quo happening here. If anyone can help alleviate conditions in Oroville and the rest of the state it is FEMA - they have grown into an amazing organization. An example of what can happen when a branch of government is managed well.

Our school system - Jerry Pournelle

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Writer Jerry Pournelle has a few things to say about the state of the American Public School System and why Mrs. DeVos if the perfect person for the job:

Everyone needs competition, but no one wants any for himself; one reason our schools for two generations or more have been easily mistaken for an act of oppression settled on us by a foreign conqueror. There used to be built in competition: schools were mostly paid for by the people who used them, in small enough school districts that it was actually realistic for competent people – like retired military, or police, or business people or even teachers – to run for them. They were usually depicted in intellectual circles as bombastic idiots whose main objective was to keep costs down – Miss Brooks was always in the right and the Board in the wrong – but even in fiction it generally worked out to the benefit of the students. Not any more. The problems and dissents in today's world ignore the students, and work out to the benefit of the politicians, educrat unions, and teachers with tenure regardless of competence, and everyone knows this. Few politicians send their own children to public schools, especially not to any they actually manage. They know better. Jimmy Carter sent his kids to public schools, as I recall. Never heard of them since, but perhaps I do not pay close attention to such news.

Recently there was drama in the Senate, with the Vice President called to preside over, and cast the deciding vote in, the confirmation of Mrs. DeVos as Secretary of Education. Not a single Democrat voted for her, including New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, when not all that long ago served on the Board of the school choice organization Mrs. DeVos chairs. According to the Wall Street Journal ( The Real Democratic Party) Mr. Cory Booker hopes to run for President, and since it is impossible to raise the money of superdelegate votes for the Democratic Nomination without the support of the Educrat Unions, he went along with the party Line and voted against his one time friend.

The official reason for the extraordinary opposition to Mr. Trump’s non-political nominee is her lack of educational experience. Of course to gain acceptable professional experience you would have to come up through the ranks of the educrats and become one of them – or break your heart in a classroom in a system of education indistinguishable from and act of war against the American people since 1983. I would have thought it obvious that whomever Mr. Trump appointed to Education Secretary it would not be an “experienced professional.” Instead he chose a very wealthy school choice activist; sort of like choosing a community organizer to be President? But perhaps that it too snarky.

Much more at the site - Jerry covers a couple of subjects with each post - well worth checking out every couple of days.

Heh - a successful person always has an ace or two up their sleeve. From The Washington Post:

Trump considers writing ‘brand new’ immigration order
President Trump said Friday that he is considering rewriting his executive order temporarily barring refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country, indicating that the administration may try to quickly restore some aspects of the now-frozen travel ban or replace it with other face-saving measures.

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he would probably wait until Monday or Tuesday to take any action, and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said several options — including taking the case to the Supreme Court — were still on the table.

Trump hinted that the ongoing legal wrangling might move too slowly for his taste, though he thought he would ultimately prevail in court.

This will be fun to watch - the 9th Circuit rejected the law that Obama signed into being in 2015 which Trump was just enforcing. Now the fur flies...

Great news - Senator Jeff Sessions

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From the Associated Press:

Senate confirms Sessions for attorney general
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general in the Trump administration despite fierce Democratic opposition to the Alabama Republican over his record on civil rights and immigration.

The 52-47 nearly party-line vote capped weeks of divisive battles over Sessions, an early supporter of President Donald Trump and one of the Senate's most conservative lawmakers. After the vote was announced, Sessions' Republican colleagues applauded the outcome while barely a handful of Democrats did the same.

In a post-vote valedictory speech, Sessions alluded to the bitter partisanship and wished for more collegiality.

"Denigrating people who disagree with us, I think, is not a healthy trend for our body," he said.

Sessions is classy and brilliant - he will be perfect for the position. A lot better than that idiot Eric Holder. Time to clean out the Department of Justice.

She is talking to opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during PMQ -- a weekly event in which the prime minister stands in Parliament and answers questions.

He looks like a great choice. Young but has a bucket-load of experience and currently sits on the 10th Circuit.  Tyler O'Neil has a nice writeup at PJ Media:

5 Things You Should Know About Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump nominated appellate judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court. Trump fulfilled his pledge to select a nominee "in the mold of Antonin Scalia," for Gorsuch seems cut from exactly the same cloth.

Like Scalia, Gorsuch is both a textualist and an originalist — he interprets legal provisions as their words were originally understood, and not according to doctrines like the "Living Constitution." This is important, and points to how he will rule on pivotal cases if confirmed by the Senate.

1. Young but well qualified
Gorsuch, at the age of 49, would be the youngest Supreme Court Justice in 30 years (since Clarence Thomas was confirmed at age 43). But this relative youth does not translate to inexperience.

Gorsuch attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School, and then he clerked for Washington, D.C. Circuit Court judge David Sentelle. He also clerked for Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy in the years 1993 and 1994. Following these clerkships, he studied for a doctorate of philosophy at Oxford University under the legal philosopher John Finnis.

Next, he spent ten years at a law firm in Washington, D.C. and then worked for the Justice Department under President George W. Bush. Bush nominated him to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he has served ever since. This court covers Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Gorsuch was confirmed quickly and without controversy.

Seems like a great choice - the other four items at the site are worth reading as well. The Democrats are going to try to Bork him but he should get in - they just do not have enough people to block his appointment.

Michael Ramirez

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Gets it:

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One week in office

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President Trump on his first week in office:

Oh how I wish - Trump Executive Order

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From Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man:

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The USA and England

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Rapport seems to be better than ever - from the London Daily Mail:

What a special relationship! Trump gets touchy-feely with Theresa as he declares 'great days lie ahead' and reveals he's meeting the Queen (let's just hope he keeps his hands to himself that day)

Italics mine - come on now. Bias this blatent? Trump may have talked about it, Bill Clinton did it multiple times and Hillary covered for him.

President Donald Trump welcomed his first foreign leader to the White House on Friday, Britain's Theresa May.

The pair bonded over a bust of Winston Churchill in the American president's office and were later seen walking hand-in-hand from down the West Wing Colonnade on their way to a joint press conference.

Trump grabbed May's hand as they approached the cameras, patting it twice, and then letting it go.

May announced at a news conference that the Queen has invited Trump for a state visit to the UK and revealed that the president and first lady had accepted.

Trump and May opened a new chapter in the 'special relationship' between the allied nations as they met today for talks on trade, NATO and the fight against ISIS.

Emphasis mine again - this is amazing news. We have not had a State Visit with the Queen in years. The last Official State Visits were George W. in 2001, Bill Clinton informal in 2000, George H.W. in 1989 and Ronald Reagan 1988. Nixon did an informal meeting in 1970, J.F. Kennedy informal in 1961, Eisenhower an informal visit in 1959. Like I said, a State Visit is a very rare event and heralds a major diplomatic closeness with our best friend.

The first major winter storm hit the Pacific Northwest December 14th through the 17th. It was bad here - my pipes froze for ten days and these storms laid down the first of the ice that is still in my driveway today. The skiing was great at Mt. Baker but the rest of Whatcom County was greatly encumbered.

For all that we had here, Oregon was much harder hit with flooding and severe storm damage.

From today's FEMA Website:

President Trump Declares Major Disaster for Oregon
Release date: January 25, 2017
Release Number: HQ-17-004
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of Oregon to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe storm and flooding during the period of December 14-17, 2016.

Federal funding is available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by a severe storm and flooding in Josephine and Lane counties.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

This should have been declared within the first week after the storm abated, not over one month later. The last line about "available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures" is very good as this allows for immediate funding for infrastructure repair and they will figure out how to pay for it later. Stabilizing highways against earth movement, checking bridges, power lines, etc... This way, things are beefed up in the event another storm comes along.

President Trump's first Monday in office

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Winnie's back home

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From The Washington Times:

President Trump returns bust of Churchill to Oval Office
Winston Churchill is back in the Oval Office.

On his first day in office, President Trump brought back a bust of the legendary British prime minister to the West Wing, after President Obama had removed it. Mr. Obama replaced it with a bust of Martin Luther King Jr.

Reporters who were summoned to the Oval Office Friday night to witness Mr. Trump signing an executive order noticed the Churchill bust had been returned to the Oval Office.

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson had speculated that Mr. Obama removed Churchill’s bust in part because he is “part-Kenyan,” and was motivated by anti-colonial feelings. Mr. Obama refuted that, saying he had moved the bust to a place of prominence in his private office in the White House residence.

Not to demean Dr. King's legacy at all but I believe that Winston Churchill had the greater effect on world good than Dr. King. Churchill was one of the dozen people who turned World War Two around and won it for the allies. His memory deserves to be cherished. Besides, Dr. King has a very large (and Chinese made) monument on the Mall.

It is now official

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Donald Trump was sworn in a America's 45th president.

Should be an interesting eight years.

I really like that in his speech, Trump referred to himself three times while he referred to We The People 45 times. In Obama's farewell speech, he referred to himself 90 times. Big difference.

A great campaign slogan

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Shamelessly stolen from Mostly Cajun.

Trump meeting with M.L. King III

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From the London Daily Mail:

Donald Trump PRAYS with Martin Luther King's son to 'heal the nation': President-elect makes peace move after spat with civil rights icon John Lewis
President-elect Donald Trump prayed with the son of Martin Luther King Jr. at Trump Tower Monday, just days after the president-elect went after civil rights icon John Lewis on Twitter as someone who was 'all talk.'

Trump 'prayed with Martin Luther King III & discussed the legacy & work of his father #martinlutherkingday #MLKDAY' tweeted incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicier Monday afternoon.

Spicer included a photograph of Trump flashing a 'thumbs up' and posing next to King in front of a wall of grip-and-grin photos inside Trump's Trump Tower office. Included on Trump's 'me wall' are photos of him with John F. Kennedy Jr. and Ronald Reagan, and a 1990 copy of Playboy Magazine with Trump on the cover.

A source who was at the meeting said it had opened with a prayer about 'healing the nation', the Washington Post reported.

The prayer and reflection came on a day when Trump hailed the 'wonderful things' that King stood for – following a nasty online spat with civil Lewis, who is skipping Trump's inauguration after saying his election was 'not legitimate'.

Oh - and Representative Lewis? You also boycotted the George W. Bush inauguration - from this January 21st, 2001 article at the Washington Post:

"It's kind of gloomy," says Rep. John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who is dean of the Congressional Black Caucus. He boards the Capitol's underground subway en route to the swearing-in, then pulls a black ribbon from his suit pocket. "I've got a little pin to put on." It's a CBC protest pin. There's a small piece of paper attached: This ribbon represents the fact that the will of the people was not honored in the 2000 presidential election. That's how John Conyers feels about George W. Bush's big moment. "But we've got to keep on fighting," he adds.

Some members of the Black Caucus decided to boycott Inauguration Day; John Lewis, for instance, spent the day in his Atlanta district. He thought it would be hypocritical to attend Bush's swearing-in because he doesn't believe Bush is the true elected president.

Emphasis mine - a bit of a one-trick pony aren't you Mr. Lewis.

While John Lewis is sputtering about Trump not being his President, Dr. Martin Luther King's son is meeting with Trump. From ABC:

Trump to Meet With Martin Luther King Jr.'s Son Today
President-elect Donald Trump is expected to meet with Martin Luther King Jr.'s son to discuss the civil rights leader's legacy.

Trump's incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, announced on Twitter that the president-elect is meeting with Martin Luther King III today, the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Lewis is demonstrating grandstanding. Trump is demonstrating leadership.

Now this could be interesting

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From Politico:

Peter Thiel considering bid for California governor
Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire and outspoken Donald Trump supporter, is considering a 2018 bid for California governor, according to three Republicans familiar with his thinking.

Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook, has been discussing a prospective bid with a small circle of advisers, including Rob Morrow, who has emerged as his political consigliere.

Morrow has worked at Clarium Capital, the San Francisco-based investment management firm and hedge fund that Thiel started.

Those who have been in touch with the 49-year-old entrepreneur are skeptical that he’ll enter the race. He is a deeply private figure, and California is unfriendly territory for a Republican – particularly a pro-Trump one. The president-elect won just over 30 percent of the vote there.

But they add that Thiel has conspicuously yet to rule out a bid and that those around him continue to discuss it.

It would be worth his tossing his hat into the ring just to see the hippies heads exploding in righteous indignation. Same thing as I would love to see Trump's son Don Jr. run for NYC mayor if Hillary tries to run for that position. Punch back twice as hard!

Hope in Venezuela

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From Russia Today:

Venezuelan parliament votes to remove Maduro as president, claims he ‘abandoned’ office
Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament has passed a resolution saying President Nicolas Maduro has “abandoned” his post. The vote came despite a warning by the Supreme Court that it violates the Venezuelan Constitution.

A majority of the 106 deputies of the opposition-led National Assembly on Monday voted to adopt a resolution aimed at effectively ousting the Venezuelan president, declaring that he had “abandoned his post” due to his stewardship of the country’s stagnating economy – and calling for snap presidential elections. Prior to the vote conducted at the request of the opposition deputy Juan Pablo Garcia, MPs from Maduro’s own United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) left the room, El Nacional reports.

No word on this from DrudgeReport or Breitbart but Russia Today is usually pretty reliable. I hope that it is not too late to turn the Bolivarian Revolution around. Another socialist fever-dream consigned to the trashbin of history.

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