We Resist: Day 727

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One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

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Earlier today by me: Thinking Out Loud About the Mueller Investigation and Kirsten Gillibrand Announces Candidacy for President. And late yesterday: I Hate Him So Much.

Here are some more things in the news today...

If you can't view the image embedded in the tweet, Pelosi has also published her letter in its entirety at the Speaker's website.

She's so good: "Unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th." No government, no big-time address for a man who has an insatiable hunger for attention. Smart.

In other shutdown news...

Erica Werner at the Washington Post: Trump Administration Calling Nearly 50,000 Back to Work, Unpaid, as Shutdown Drags On. "The Trump administration on Tuesday said it has called back tens of thousands of federal workers to fulfill key government tasks, including disbursing tax refunds, overseeing flight safety, and inspecting the nation's food and drug supply, as it seeks to blunt the impact of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The nearly 50,000 furloughed federal employees are being brought back to work without pay — part of a group of about 800,000 federal workers who are not receiving paychecks during the shutdown, which is affecting dozens of federal agencies large and small."

Casey Quinlan at ThinkProgress: Federal Workers and Contractors Rethink Government Work as Shutdown Drags On. "Last Friday, many federal workers missed their first paychecks since the shutdown began on December 22 over demands from [Donald] Trump that Congress fund a $5 billion wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. On Saturday, the shutdown became the longest in U.S. history, currently stretching into its fourth week, at 26 days. ThinkProgress spoke with federal workers and contractors who are making tough choices about whether or not to look for other jobs, or stay in the federal government even if they are able to get back to work soon. The employees quoted in this story asked not to be identified by their actual names out of fear of retaliation."

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Cheyenne Haslett at ABC News: Damage Inflicted by Shutdown Shaves Off Projected U.S. Economic Growth as of Day 26. "Unpaid federal workers and contractors have started selling personal property, creating small businesses, and spending more time with old friends. ...The Waterfords hoped to receive their normal three paychecks this week: one for Albert's retirement from the Coast Guard, one for his job as a civilian, and an additional check for his disability from the Veterans Affairs. But because of the shutdown, the couple has started a 'furlough sale' to supplement lost income — selling saddles, halters, bridles, and items on social media. 'I called it a furlough [sale] because it is more of an urgency now,' Kate Waterford said. 'It's really made us re-evaluate our whole lives.'"

Dell Cameron at Gizmodo: FCC Trying to Postpone Net Neutrality Lawsuit over Shutdown, But It Probably Won't Work. "In a motion before the District of Columbia appeals court, the FCC's counsel wrote that the shutdown would prevent the agency and relevant Justice Department employees from taking part in oral argument next month as scheduled, citing limitations on voluntary work by government employees during the lapse in appropriations. ...The odds aren't in the FCC's favor. In a 2-1 opinion issued last week, the D.C. Circuit denied a similar request while noting it's typical for the court to do so. The judges also mused that the government always shows up and argues its cases anyway."

Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann at NBC News: Shutdown, Brexit Wobble the West. "Vladimir Putin has to be smiling after the last 24 hours. In the United States, [Donald] Trump's push for a border wall has now partially shut down the federal government for 26 days and counting. And in Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May 'suffered the biggest parliamentary defeat of any British prime minister in history Tuesday as lawmakers of all stripes crushed her plan to leave the European Union,' per NBC News. ...And, oh by the way, guess which country meddled in the 2016 elections in Britain and the United States?"

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Jonathan O'Connell and David A. Fahrenthold at the Washington Post: T-Mobile Announced a Merger Needing Trump Administration Approval; the Next Day, 9 Executives Had Reservations at Trump's Hotel.
Last April, telecom giant T-Mobile announced a megadeal: a $26 billion merger with rival Sprint, which would more than double T-Mobile's value and give it a huge new chunk of the cellphone market. But for T-Mobile, one hurdle remained: Its deal needed approval from the Trump administration.

The next day, in Washington, staffers at the Trump International Hotel were handed a list of incoming "VIP Arrivals." That day's list included nine of T-Mobile's top executives — including its chief operating officer, chief technology officer, chief strategy officer, chief financial officer, and its outspoken celebrity chief executive, John Legere.

They were scheduled to stay between one and three days. But it was not their last visit.

Instead, T-Mobile executives have returned to [Donald] Trump's hotel repeatedly since then, according to eyewitnesses and hotel documents obtained by The Washington Post.

By mid-June, seven weeks after the announcement of the merger, hotel records indicated that one T-Mobile executive was making his 10th visit to the hotel. Legere appears to have made at least four visits to the Trump hotel, walking the lobby in his T-Mobile gear.

These visits highlight a stark reality in Washington, unprecedented in modern American history. Trump the president works at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Trump the businessman owns a hotel at 1100 Pennsylvania.

Countries, interest groups and companies like T-Mobile — whose future will be shaped by the administration's choices — are free to stop at both and pay the president's company while also meeting with officials in his government. Such visits raise questions about whether patronizing Trump's private business is viewed as a way to influence public policy, critics said.
This is a violation of the Emoluments Clause, which is why we have been in constitutional crisis since the day Trump took office.

[CN: Sexual assault]

Staff at the Daily Beast: Trump's Climate Plan Is Worse Than Doing Nothing, Says Study. "Donald Trump's climate-change plan will make matters worse than if he did nothing at all, according to new Harvard research. Greenhouse-gas emissions will 'rebound' under the Trump policy, researchers say, because the plan postpones the retirement of coal-fired power plants. Carbon-dioxide emissions will be 8.7 percent higher in some states by 2030 when compared to having no policy at all."

[CN: LGBTQ hatred] Rebecca Klein at the Huffington Post: Karen Pence Is Working at a School That Bans LGBTQ Employees and Kids.
Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, started at a job this week teaching art at Immanuel Christian School in Northern Virginia. It's not a school where everyone is welcome. In a "parent agreement" posted online, the school says it will refuse admission to students who participate in or condone homosexual activity. The 2018 employment application also makes candidates sign a pledge not to engage in homosexual activity or violate the "unique roles of male and female."

"Moral misconduct which violates the bona fide occupational qualifications for employees includes, but is not limited to, such behaviors as the following: heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites," says the application.

The application says that the school believes "marriage unites one man and one woman" and that "a wife is commanded to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ." The application asks potential employees to explain their view of the "creation/evolution debate."

The "parent agreement" asks parents to cooperate in its "biblical morality" policy. Under this policy, parents are to acknowledge the sanctity of marriage as a strictly heterosexual practice. Families who condone, practice, or support "sexual immorality, homosexual activity, or bi-sexual activity" go against the principles of the school, per the document.
What a horrible family they are. By the way, this isn't the fist time Karen Pence has taught there: She also taught at the school while Mike Pence was serving in Congress. They also sent their daughter there.

[CN: White supremacy] Josh Israel at ThinkProgress: 'Find Another Line of Work': Republicans Finally Call for Steve King to Resign. "After years of racist comments and actions, it appears the walls are finally closing in around Rep. Steve King (R-IA). Following his most recent comments endorsing white nationalism, Iowa newspapers and his own Republican colleagues are calling for him to resign from the northwestern Iowa Congressional seat he has held since 2003." Another interesting bit of timing, giving that King has been openly racist for the entire time he's held his seat.

A few days ago, Kate O'Neill posted a cheeky but also gravely serious response to the "10-year challenge" on Twitter: "Me 10 years ago: probably would have played along with the profile picture aging meme going around on Facebook and Instagram. Me now: ponders how all this data could be mined to train facial recognition algorithms on age progression and age recognition." Since then, she's written a must-read piece for Wired on the challenge and what we might be doing by participating in it: Facebook's '10 Year Challenge' Is Just a Harmless Meme — Right?
Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics, and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g. how people are likely to look as they get older). Ideally, you'd want a broad and rigorous data set with lots of people's pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart — say, 10 years.

Sure, you could mine Facebook for profile pictures and look at posting dates or EXIF data. But that whole set of profile pictures could end up generating a lot of useless noise. People don't reliably upload pictures in chronological order, and it's not uncommon for users to post pictures of something other than themselves as a profile picture. A quick glance through my Facebook friends' profile pictures shows a friend's dog who just died, several cartoons, word images, abstract patterns, and more.

In other words, it would help if you had a clean, simple, helpfully-labeled set of then-and-now photos.

[CN: Addiction; exploitation] Joanna Walters at the Guardian: OxyContin Maker Expected 'a Blizzard of Prescriptions' Following Drug's Launch. "A member of the Sackler family, which owns OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, told people gathered at the prescription opioid painkiller's launch party that the event would be 'followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition.' Top Purdue figurehead Richard Sackler made the comments in the mid-1990s, according to court documents filed on Tuesday afternoon in a case brought by the Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey. The case accuses the company and its executives of 'deceiving' patients and doctors about the addictive and deadly risks of the groundbreaking narcotic pills." And of being sociopathic monsters, basically. JFC.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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