December, 2016

Perry May Be Pressed to Resume Nuclear Testing

New York Times: “A central mission of the nation’s weapons laboratories is to ensure that the country’s nuclear weapons still work if needed. To do that, the government has long relied on a program that avoids the need for underground testing, instead using data from supercomputers and laboratory experiments and inspecting the warheads.”

“But some nuclear analysts say that the Trump administration is likely to face decisions that could upend the bomb program, leading to a resumption of testing and perhaps a new global arms race if they are mishandled. Adding to the concern is Mr. Trump’s choice of a politician with no expertise in nuclear or technical matters, former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, to lead the Energy Department, which runs the nation’s nuclear-weapons labs and the safeguards program.”

White House Readies Efforts to Punish Russia

“The Obama administration is close to announcing a series of measures to punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election, including economic sanctions and diplomatic censure,” the Washington Post reports.

“The administration is finalizing the details, which also are expected to include covert action that will probably involve cyber-operations, the officials said. An announcement on the public elements of the response could come as early as this week.”

Ryan’s Crackdown on Protests May Not Be Constitutional

Politico: “Paul Ryan’s new crackdown against protests on the House floor — a direct response to the Democrats’ gun-control ‘sit-in’ last summer — is prompting questions from experts in both parties about its constitutionality. As part of a House rules package members will vote to approve in early January, House GOP leaders want to empower the sergeant-at-arms to fine lawmakers up to $2,500 for shooting video or taking photos on the chamber floor. But experts say Ryan’s proposal may run afoul of Article 1 of the Constitution, which says ‘each House may … punish its Members for disorderly behavior.’

“For more than 200 years that has been interpreted to mean any contested sanctions against lawmakers must be approved by the full House with a floor vote, attorneys steeped in congressional legal matters say.”

Trump’s Boyhood Home for Sale

Politico: “After languishing without a buyer for months, the five-bedroom Tudor in Jamaica Estates, New York, was sold Dec. 16 to a buyer who will auction it to the highest bidder in January… That’s a quick turnaround for any house flip, but it’s an especially bold undertaking in a time of rising mortgage rates and winter market doldrums.”

“To generate interest in a sale, Paramount is circulating a copy of the president-elect’s birth certificate, which shows the home’s Wareham Place address. His father, Fred Trump, a developer, built the 2,000-square-foot house in 1940.”

Wall Street Journal: As home prices rise, house flipping makes a comeback.

The First 3 Bills Trump May Sign

Playbook: “The buzz bouncing around town: the Republican-controlled House is looking to take up three bills immediately after new members are sworn in next week: THE REINS ACT, legislation that would require Congress to approve new major regulations, MIDNIGHT RULES ACT, which allows Congress to disapprove of late-stage administration regulations en masse. Also: a RESOLUTION DISAPPROVING OF THE U.N.’S RECENT ISRAEL ACTION.”

“This is important, because it will give President-elect Donald Trump three bills he would be likely to sign early in his presidency.”

Battle Brewing Between U.S. and U.N.

“Even before Donald Trump’s inauguration as president, Congress is planning to escalate the clash over the U.N. Security Council’s anti-Israel resolution into a full-on conflict between the United States and the United Nations,” the Washington Post reports.

“If Trump embraces the strategy — and all signals indicate he will — the battle could become the Trump administration’s first confrontation with a major international organization, with consequential but largely unpredictable results.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda Promises to Keep Fighting

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda told the Daily Beast that “we’re going to have to fight” for what we believe in during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Said Miranda: “You don’t want to go backwards when it comes to our LGBT brothers and sisters; you don’t want to go backwards when it comes to the disenfranchisement of voters of color. We have to keep fighting for the things we believe in, and it just made that very clear: I know who I am, and I know what I’m going to fight for in the years to come. That felt like the tonic of it.”

‘Washington Post’ Expands In the New Year

“Twenty-sixteen was the year The Washington Post came of age — again. In its audience growth, in the ambitiousness of its journalism, in its impact on the American conversation, the Post became the U.S.’s fourth national newspaper company, joining The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today,” according to Politico.

“Now, come 2017, the Post seems to be doing something unique in daily journalism: It is adding journalists early in the year.”

Howard Wolfson: The media blew overall in 2016, but there were noteworthy exceptions, and here they are.