* I have a hunch that over the course of the next four years I’m going to find it difficult to communicate my reaction to events in a family-friendly manner. Such is the case today. So I’ll simply go with…
Now: Palestinian Pres. Abbas writes Putin asking he stop Trump plan to move US embassy to Jerusalem.
— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) January 13, 2017
* I hope that this is the kind of thing Speaker Ryan and other Republicans have to deal with more often in the coming days.
The bad optics that began Paul Ryan’s town hall: Ex-Reagan campaign worker thanks Obamacare for saving his life. pic.twitter.com/bacg2Qk3TL
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) January 13, 2017
* After Trump’s press conference this week, Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev says, “Welcome to my world.”
Congratulations, US media! You’ve just covered your first press conference of an authoritarian leader with a massive ego and a deep disdain for your trade and everything you hold dear. We in Russia have been doing it for 12 years now — with a short hiatus when our leader wasn’t technically our leader — so quite a few things during Donald Trump’s press conference rang my bells.
* Number 22 on our updated list of Obama’s top 50 accomplishments is short and sweet: “Diversified the Federal Bureaucracy – Appointed women and people of color to fill more than half of appointments to policy positions requiring Senate confirmation, including seventeen of thirty-one Cabinet positions.”
With the incoming Trump cabinet, we’re going backwards by more than 30 years.
President-elect Donald J. Trump’s cabinet is shaping up to have a smaller percentage of women and nonwhites than the first cabinets of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George Bush.
If Mr. Trump’s nominees are confirmed, women and nonwhites will hold five of 21 cabinet or cabinet-level positions. He has not yet named nominees for two additional positions.
“Donald Trump is rolling back the clock on diversity in the cabinet,” said Paul Light, a professor at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
* The Department of Justice made a major announcement today.
The Justice Department announced today that it has found reasonable cause to believe that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) engages in a pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. The department found that CPD officers’ practices unnecessarily endanger themselves and result in unnecessary and avoidable uses of force. The pattern or practice results from systemic deficiencies in training and accountability, including the failure to train officers in de-escalation and the failure to conduct meaningful investigations of uses of force.
The city of Chicago and the Justice Department have signed an agreement in principle to work together, with community input, to create a federal court-enforceable consent decree addressing the deficiencies found during the investigation.
Since that is probably the last of these announcements from the Obama administration, here is how their track record on the issue of police reform stacks up:
* As Adam Serwer notes, Jeff Sessions has promised to reverse that progress if he is confirmed as the next Attorney General.
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions indicated that as attorney general, he would move away from the aggressive oversight of police departments that had become a hallmark of the Obama-era Justice Department during his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday. Sessions testified that federal lawsuits against local law enforcement “undermine the respect for police officers and create an impression that the entire department is not doing their work consistent with fidelity to law and fairness.”
* Here’s more from the Obama administration today:
President Obama declared five new national monuments Thursday, ranging from a Birmingham, Ala., church bombed by segregationists to the coniferous forests of Oregon. He has now used his executive authority more than any other president to protect iconic historic, cultural and ecological sites across the country.
Three new monuments in the South, all of which have bipartisan support, exemplify Obama’s push to expand America’s shared national identity through the narrative it tells with its public lands. Two of them, in Birmingham and Anniston, Ala., were sites of violent acts perpetrated against African American children and an interracial group of civil rights activists. The third, in Beaufort, S.C., commemorates the period between the Civil War and the push for segregation in the 1890s when freed slaves worked to establish schools and communities of their own…
The president also enlarged once more the California Coastal National Monument, which was established by President Bill Clinton and expanded by Obama in 2014, and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, another Clinton monument, by roughly 42,000 acres in Oregon and 5,000 in California. Many environmentalists and scientists had argued the two protected areas needed a wider buffer to guard against the future effects of climate change.
* Finally, I’m going to get on my Minnesota high horse about this one and say that some of you guys in other states need to pick up your game. Here is the best selling singer, musical artist or band from each state.