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Rothstein Files: Caleb Swanigan’s season for the ages

1. Caleb Swanigan is having a season for the ages

Take the videos and pictures of this kid and put them away; we may never see another big man have a season of this type of production level in a very long time.

Purdue s broad-shouldered sophomore power forward has tallied double-doubles in 24 of 27 games this season and has had three games with 20 or more points and 20 or more rebounds.

Thanks to a refined diet along with a relentless approach, Swanigan has become far and away the best player in the Big Ten this season and will lead the Boilermakers to what should be a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.

He s averaging 18.9 points and 13.0 rebounds while shooting a blistering 48.3 percent from long distance. By comparison, Swanigan averaged 10.2 points and 8.3 rebounds last season as a freshman while only shooting 29.2 percent from three-point range.

This is a bona fide first-team All-American and a legitimate contender for the Wooden Award.

Purdue is 22-5 overall heading into Tuesday s games at Penn State.

2. Tyler Dorsey is the key for Oregon s long-term potential

The Ducks were able to beat Colorado on Saturday by 34 in Eugene with Dorsey only tallying a modest eight points, but to play deep into the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, Oregon will need Dorsey to score the ball at an elite level.

Dana Altman s squad is 11-1 in games this season where Dorsey scored 16 or more points, and his ability to make outside shots opens up the floor for everyone and gives Oregon a legitimate secondary option behind Dillon Brooks.

Dorsey has attempted five or more three-point shots in seven consecutive games and is 17-43 from long distance during that span.

It s going to take that type of consistency (39.5 percent) for the Ducks to get back in the same position they were a year ago when they fell to Oklahoma in the Elite Eight after winning both the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles.

3. Duke can further cement its status this week

The Blue Devils have won seven games in a row and are trending towards potentially being one of the favorites entering the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Mike Krzyzewski s team will next play back-to-back road games at Syracuse and Miami two teams that are currently projected to be in the field of 68 and two more victories in those games will only continue to enhance the notion that this squad is capable of being the unit that many thought it would be prior to the start of the season.

Syracuse and Miami aren t world beaters, or even potential second-weekend teams in the NCAA Tournament, but if Duke were to beat both of those teams this week it would give the Blue Devils five consecutive road victories. That s awfully impressive considering how good the ACC is this season.

Duke is currently 22-5 overall and 10-4 in conference play a game behind North Carolina.

This and That:

Here s an amazing stat on UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball: Prior to Saturday night s win over USC, the 6-6 point guard only attempted four mid-range shots on the entire season. This kid is either scoring the ball in the paint or shooting it from three-point range. That s a sign of somebody knowing what he s good at and also being good at what he knows. It s hard to argue with the results.

You have to wonder if John Calipari is going to find more minutes for Mychal Mulder after his performance on Saturday at Georgia. The 6-6 wing had nine points in 14 minutes and gave Kentucky another shooter that could space the floor. The Wildcats need makers, and Mulder is a maker despite his defensive liabilities.

Troy Caupain is taking things to another level with his ball security. Cincinnati s senior point guard has a combined 26 assists to just two turnovers in his last five games.

A word to the wise put Arizona s Chance Comanche on your early breakout list for next season. The 6-11 big man will get a major increase in minutes in 17-18 if Lauri Markkanen goes to the NBA as expected and recent results show he ll be more than up to the task. Comanche tallied 13 points and seven rebounds in Saturday s win at Washington as he stepped in for Dusan Ristic, who missed the game with injury.

Pitt the 13th-place team in the ACC has beaten both Syracuse and Florida State in the last two weeks. This is the best league ever in the history of college basketball from top to bottom, and frankly, it s not that close.

Will Wade now has an overall record of 47-16 as VCU s head coach. The 34-year old has kept the Rams program at an elite level despite a slew of massive personnel departures when he got the job in 2015.

Florida sophomore Kevarrius Hayes now becomes the X-Factor for the Gators following John Egbunu s season-ending ACL tear. How did the 6-9 big man do in his first start against Mississippi State? Nine points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks in 25 minutes of work. This is a major name to monitor moving forward into March.

Notre Dame freshman T.J. Gibbs has given Mike Brey quality mileage as a freshman. The New Jersey native hasn t been a huge offensive contributor, but can affect the game in other ways. The 6-3 guard has a combined five steals in his last two games and should be another great program guy in South Bend. He is the brother of former Pitt guard Ashton Gibbs and former Seton Hall and UConn guard Sterling Gibbs.

La Salle is the type of team that could steal a bid at the Atlantic 10 Tournament in Pittsburgh because of its overall offensive prowess. Need a scouting report on the Explorers? Check them out Tuesday night against Rhode Island. Tip off is at 6 ET on CBS Sports Network.

Harvard is now starting four freshmen Seth Towns, Justin Bassey, Bryce Aiken, and Chris Lewis alongside Siyani Chambers. Tommy Amaker s squad is 16-7 overall and in second place in the Ivy League behind Princeton.

Jon Rothstein has been a college basketball insider for CBS Sports since 2010 and is the lead college basketball columnist for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the host of the College Hoops Today Podcast[1] via Compass Media Networks, which is available via iTunes. Rothstein is also a regular in-studio correspondent for both WFAN and CBS Sports Radio. He currently lives in Manhattan.

Rothstein Files: Caleb Swanigan's Season For The Ages

References

  1. ^ College Hoops Today Podcast (itunes.apple.com)

Spotlight on green news & views: Regime scrubs gov’t website for kids to erase climate warnings

CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Liberal in a Red State writes WTF? Republicans just passed a law so assholes can shoot and trap hibernating bears and wolves[1]: First off, what kind of piece of shit person do you have to be to kill bears and wolves (along with other animals) for sport and pleasure? They want to allow people on federal lands to hunt and track the last of the remaining endangered wildlife with high powered rifles, insidious traps (that are indiscriminate in what they trap and torture), shoot from helicopters, kill from ATVs and snow mobiles. And now, thanks to the GOP House vote today, these assholes can go into the dens of hibernating mother bears and mother wolves and their babies and shoot and trap them all. WHAT. THE. F*CK. I am serious. Really, what kind of piece of shit, heartless, soulless person gets their thrills killing sleeping mothers and their babies even if they are just animals. […] We have to put pressure on the Senate to stop this. I held my nose and called my two Georgia GOP Senators offices. And complained politely but passionately for this cause and several others. For Isakson I left a voicemail. For Perdue, I talked to a staffer, who was very polite, looked up the number of the bill and seemed to take down my complaints.

Spotlight On Green News & Views: Regime Scrubs Gov't Website For Kids To Erase Climate Warnings

OceanDiver writes The Daily Bucket – very early spring color[2]: No blooms here yet in the PNW islands. I ve been sighing over flowers and bright colors from other parts of the country lately, so I sought out what we have in the way of color up here right now, mid-February. Here s a little snapshot of what I m seeing that s colorful. Some are seasonal, while others are always around but show up more against the winter grays and dull greens of our maritime Northwest, like the madrona tree above.

Walter Einenkel writes Republicans pass bill through House repealing wildlife regulations that ended bear cub killing[3]: Taking a page out of the grizzly-paranoid Education secretary[4] Betsy DeVos mind, Alaska s Republican Senator Dan Sullivan and Representative Don Young have pushed for a bill that would repeal rules finalized this past summer by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. Those rules include:[5] Same day airborne hunting of bears, wolves, and wolverines; Use of traps, snares, and nets for killing bears; Killing of wolves and coyotes from May 1 to August 9; Killing of bear cubs or mothers with cubs (except for subsistence hunts where this is traditional); and Use of bait to kill brown bears. Yesterday, Rep. Young was able to get disapproval of the rule through the House and next up is the Senate. […] This is on public land, mind you, and is all a part of the Republican movement to take control over those lands in order to privatize t[6]hem under the guise of doing the bidding of gun-toting Americans everywhere.

Walter Einenkel writes Republican government pulls down animal abuse database and gets shamed into doing the right thing[7]: If you are writing a story for a film or a television show or a cartoon there are a few rules about how to quickly establish good guys and bad guys. One of the more famous rules of thumb is if you introduce a character who is nice to a puppy the audience will instantly know that that character is good. One of the other rules is never have your protagonist do something so heinous that the audience will never trust them again for example, hurting an animal. A little over a week ago, the Republican Party and the Trump administration tested this tried and true theory[8]. A leading U.S. animal advocacy group on Monday threatened to sue the federal government after the Agriculture Department suddenly pulled[9] “invaluable” information from its website regarding animal welfare at thousands of facilities across the country. The Humane Society of the United States[10] sent a letter to the Justice Department, saying the group would pursue legal action if the Agriculture Department did not reverse its recent decision to discontinue a search tool that made inspection records and violations at animal facilities publicly accessible.

Besame writes Daily Bucket: rescuing endangered bunnies from a flood[11]: Heavy winter rains in California are a welcome respite from drought, but also troublesome. Leaking reservoir threats, landslides, and flooded roadways throughout the state are severe enough to be declared a federal disaster[12]. The intense rainfall has even affected bunnies who live only in riparian habitat. Riparian bush rabbits are flooded out of their homes in the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge (SJRNWR) in the southern portion of California s Central Valley. And the refuge staff is busy finding and rescuing the endangered bush rabbits[13] stranded amidst the flood.The small cottontail rabbit lives in riparian oak forests with a dense understory of wild roses, grapes and blackberries. They stay within a few feet of cover in their small home ranges. A decade ago, refuge staff built up high refugia bunny mounds within the floodplain and planted shrubs on high levees for rabbits to wait out floods. The SJRNWR has 35 mounds and 8 miles of vegetated levees but still some bunnies are trapped by flood waters and unable to reach high grounds. Spotting the rabbits isn t easy.

ban nock writes New York Times Goes Trophy Sheep Hunting[14]: Last week the New York Times had a long form article by an award winning sports writer on Bighorn Sheep Hunting[15]. The NYT is an unusual place to read an unbiased account of such a thing. As with many other forms of hunting, sheep hunting is directly responsible for the conservation of the various wild sheep of North America. There are few wild sheep, even after years of conservation, all that s needed to kill a carefully nurtured herd if for a sheep rancher to keep sheep in close proximity to their wild cousins and disease often decimates the wild herd down to extirpation. […] Sheep habitat is in rocky steep terrain with good visibility. They like to see predators a long way off and have places where they can easily escape. There are many such places in the western United States, unfortunately it s hard to establish new sheep populations in areas of good habitat. Sheep need to be captured and relocated. That s where obsessed sheep hunters come in.

6412093 writes The Daily Bucket–Emergency Repairs Open Damaged Spillway, Avert Flooding of Frog Mitigation Area[16]: The heavy rains continued in Northwest Oregon. The golf course where I work was closed 3 weeks already this year. It never closed before, in 20 years. I m trying to pave a path in my backyard. But the paver stones interrupt the stormwater flows and the flooding water backs up towards my house. I built an underdrain beneath the pavers, and the water flowed rapidly through it, but not rapidly enough.

CLIMATE CHAOS

John Crapper writes Rethinking the Daily Kos Focus – Open Letter to Kos[17]: The stated overall goal of this site as defined by you Markos is to elect more and better Democrats. That is a laudable goal but I m going to argue it s time for a rethinking and adjustment. There is a crisis afoot in the world that needs our focus and attention. It is not incompatible with the current goal of this site. That crisis is climate change. With the election results we just had in 2016 it is more imperative than ever to give this issue the attention it deserves. I m going to argue in this post it is time to adjust the Daily Kos overall mission to that of electing more and better Democratic Climate Hawks. Personally I d prefer removing the Democratic label and just say Daily Kos is about electing more and better Climate Hawks, after all climate change is a bipartisan issue, but that is probably asking too much.

JC78 writes Will geoengineering be necessary?[18] [W]hile I am heartened by the increasing utilization of renewables, I am somewhat fearful to the apparent increasing rate of climate change occurring. So a question to well-read environmental Kossacks out there: given the factors already mentioned, as well as the pace of cultural acceptance that there is a problem, and the speed of legislative acknowledgment of it, do you think that we will need to use geoengineering to avoid the worst effects? And does that answer change depending on the type of geoengineering employed? Note that for the various factors, I m thinking globally, not just the US.

DarkSyde writes Polar ice reaching alarming low levels at both ends of the Earth[19]: Sea and land ice at both poles crept toward alarming seasonal lows this week. Freak heat waves in the high Arctic have kept ice[20] from forming at the usual winter rate, and now summer down under is taking its toll on the world s largest ice sheets[21]: Sea ice in the Antarctic is at its lowest level since records began while the Arctic is on track for another historic new low. According to figures from the US National Snow & Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), sea ice in the Antarctic covered just 2.3 million square kilometres on 12 February compared to the average between 1981 and 2010 of more than three million on that day. Warmer temperatures do more than directly melt the ice and feed runaway polar amplification[22] of global warming. More energy in the surface troposphere, the part of the atmosphere we and just about everything else lives in, means more wind, faster evaporations and sublimation, leading to bigger weather systems and storms. The precise activity that further stirs and helps break up icy formations, especially tongues and large shelves of ice floating on top sea of polar seas.

jkozma writes Complexity, conspiracy and climate change[23]: While searching for an online copy of Dr. Lucky’s column, I came across another recent article from IEEE Spectrum, interesting albeit disheartening, Congress to Curtail Methane Monitoring[24]. It may be a stretch, but I see a connection with the above discussion: Global warming… is not a moving issue for Republican leaders or President Donald Trump, who reject the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. What moves them are complaints from industries that burdensome regulations unnecessarily hinder job growth and in the case of methane rules domestic oil and gas output. Regulations can be harmful or helpful[25], and their effect on jobs shouldn’t be the only measure of their value[26], but if simplicity is your only guide, deregulation wins every time. Even if Trump himself does not[27], many in his base believe unequivocally his assertion that global warming is a hoax.

OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT

Dan Bacher writes Trump administration exempts three CA oil fields from water protection rule at Jerry Brown’s request[28]: As soon as I heard on election night that Donald Trump was going to be the next President, I predicted on Twitter, Facebook and in conversations with friends that Governor Jerry Brown, in spite of his gree image, would try to make a deal with Trump to build his legacy project, the environmentally destructive Delta Tunnels, and expand fracking and other oil drilling in California. Sure enough, Jerry Brown has been working hard since the election to pressure Trump to support the Delta Tunnels, going so far as to praise Trump s infrastructure plans in his state of the state. Departing from his prepared remarks, Brown remarked, I say, Amen to that, Brother! in reference to Trump s focus on new infrastructure. (www.dailykos.com/…[29]) Then this week, we discovered that the administration of Brown s so-called Brother, Donald Trump, has granted requests from Brown s regulators to exempt three aquifers near the Fruitvale, Round Mountain and Tejon oilfields in California s Kern County from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

Dan Bacher writes Disaster Declaration for Hoopa Valley Tribe Approved, Tribes Win Legal Victory for Salmon[30]: On February 14, President Donald Trump declared a major disaster exists for the Hoopa Valley Tribe, located on the Trinity River in Northern California, and ordered Federal aid to supplement the Tribe s recovery efforts in the areas affected by a severe winter storm from January 3 to January 5, 2017. […] The disaster declaration comes in the wake of major legal victory against the federal government by the Hoopa Valley Tribe, Yurok Tribe, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen s Associations (PCFFA), Institute for Fisheries Resources, and the Klamath Riverkeeper. On February 8, a U.S. District Court judge ordered federal agencies to immediately take steps to protect juvenile coho salmon after several years of deadly disease outbreaks in the Klamath River. Klamath River coho salmon are listed as threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. These fish are central to the cultural identity and survival of Tribes along the river, and commercial fishermen rely on California s second largest salmon producer for their livelihoods.

CANDIDATES, STATE AND DC ECO-RELATED POLITICS

Mark Sumner writes Democrats scramble to delay Pruitt vote … as McConnell quashes every effort[31]: A judge in Oklahoma has ordered that thousands of letters between EPA nominee Scott Pruitt and fossil fuel companies, letters long hidden by Pruitt s office, be made public starting next Tuesday. The Senate is in recess next week, so delaying the Friday vote on Pruitt until the following Monday would literally take nothing from the Senate s calendar. But it s not going to happen. Republicans are pushing Pruitt s vote through on Friday, so that it can be held before any of the letters are available. In the Senate chamber on Friday morning, Sen. Jeff Merkley rose to request that the vote be delayed until all the letters were released. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made sure he was present in the nearly empty Senate chamber, and the Kentucky Republican objected to the request. Sen. Merkley then asked to move the vote to the next morning that the Senate is in session. Literally the only difference this would make would be allowing senators to see some of the letters from Pruitt s time as Oklahoma attorney general before they vote. McConnell objected.

Mark Sumner writes EPA employees put jobs on the line as Republicans try to force Pruitt vote in advance of evidence[32]: Almost from the moment that Scott Pruitt was named as Trump s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, employees of the EPA have been risking their careers to object.[33] Nearly 450 former Environmental Protection Agency employees Monday urged Congress to reject President Trump s nominee to run the agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, even as current employees in Chicago sent the same message during a noon rally.
And with Pruitt s vote scheduled for Friday evening, they re still at it.[34]

Meteor Blades writes Executive orders come Friday as EPA braces for impact[35]: Reuters reports[36] that staffers at the Environmental Protection Agency were told in a Tuesday meeting to prepare for a few executive orders Friday from Pr*sident Trump, who seeks to reshape the agency. A senior EPA official who briefed employees said to expect two to five such orders. No specific topics were mentioned. A range of possibilities exists from modest to draconian. For instance, one is likely to forbid the EPA from overruling federal and state regulatory/permit decisions unless in clear violation of established law. At best, the orders will weaken or attempt to weaken the agency s rule-making and enforcement powers. […] The orders are dedicated to wounding or wrecking the 47-year-old agency, but in addition to these orders, a panoply of other approaches is also underway, either to demolish or profoundly damage the EPA.

Michael Brune writes Unfit to Serve at EPA[37]: The news this week was full of reports about how former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to his bosses, his colleagues, and the American people. In his resignation letter, Flynn wrote that he had provided incomplete information about his dealings with Russia. Then, in his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Flynn was asked to resign due to eroding trust in his ability to do the job. Incomplete information and eroding trust are perfect descriptors of another one of this president s picks: the just-confirmed new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt. […] During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt misled, failed to answer, and stonewalled Congress about his political fundraising practices and refused to disclose just how cozy he is with the oil and gas industry. When asked during his confirmation hearing whether he had ever solicited funds from fossil fuel companies, Pruitt claimed he was unable to remember. Sure enough, though, plenty of correspondence proves that he did exactly that.

Mary Anne Hitt writes We Will Resist Scott Pruitt and Keep Fighting for Clean Air and Water[38]: Scott Pruitt is the most controversial and dangerous EPA chief ever. He will start work next week with a dark cloud of opposition and contention over his head. So now what? We continue the resistance! We hold accountable those senators who voted for Pruitt s confirmation. We fight back in court. We talk to our friends and get them involved when Pruitt attempts to rollback our bedrock air, water, and climate protections. Here are some specific things you can do right away: 1. Show up a the town hall meetings your Members of Congress are holding next week during the Congressional recess, February 20 – 24, and demand they push the EPA and Pruitt to not bow to the coal, oil, and gas industry. You can find the town hall meetings near you in this spreadsheet created by the Town Hall Project 2018[39]. […[

Spotlight On Green News & Views: Regime Scrubs Gov't Website For Kids To Erase Climate Warnings

Colby A writes An Ode to Black-Hearted Scott Pruitt, like a Dark Tone Poem[40]: I m new, and know I’m supposed to talk up the good stuff, like Michael Brune and Bill McKibben and the Millions in Marches that have been #resisting. And I do. But Is there a more carnival-barker looking rat-faced con man anywhere to be found? This guy has the looks and the mien of a guy who couldn’t even pass muster as a bad used-car salesman. Pruitt resists freedom of information requests and is a sock-puppet for the fossil fuel industry. He scampered around his confirmation hearings with the guilty, furtive glances and carriage of a man who doesn’t want anyone to look into his briefcase or his soul — for fear of being jailed immediately for what is revealed. This guy is emblematic of this administration’s favored dark, black-hearted enabler trampling on the public good for his own and his destructive special-interested financiers’ own best interests.

ClimateDenierRoundup writes Senate Debates and Likely Confirms Pruitt for EPA Admin. Next Up, Red Queen for Head of Neurology[41]: A little over two months after the Walrus nominated the Carpenter to disassemble the EPA, it looks like finally, the time has come. Barring something truly frabjous[42], the Senate will confirm Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the agency he has sued 14 times. His nom comes despite the fact that he appears to have lied under oath[43] about his (lack of) action as Oklahoma Attorney General to fight pollution. Suffice to say that the oysters of the EPA, generally happy as clams to fight pollution[44], are none too pleased about new leadership. Nearly 800 former EPA employees[45] signed a letter to the Senate in opposition to Pruitt and are otherwise protesting[46] and calling their senators[47]. In addition to rolling back regulations to safeguard the sea becoming boiling hot (okay maybe not literally boiling, but perhaps oxygen-less[48] ), what else are they worried about?

pauciscerebri writes The First of Many Massive Environmental Rollbacks Under Trump-Ryan-McConnell Is Now Complete[49]: Today Trump signed into law a fasted-tracked legislative disapproval of a Clean Water Act regulation called the Stream Protection Rule intended to limit harm to waterways and water quality from activities like inundating streams with rock and gravel debris from mountaintop removal mining. From Bloomberg s story[50] about today s signing. The Interior Department, which spent seven years crafting the rule, had said the regulation, which updates 33-year-old regulations, will protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, primarily in Appalachia. It is meant to stop the practice of dumping mining waste in streams and valleys during mountaintop mining. They estimated compliance with the regulation would cost $81 million a year, or 0.1 percent or less of aggregate annual industry revenues, it said.

ENERGY

Nuclear

Joieau writes Fukushima #2 Kills the Scorpion[51]: Ongoing efforts to find what’s left of the missing core of unit-2 at the Daiichi nuclear facility have been making some news this month on remote control and robotic approaches to the round inner-containment pedestal ‘room’ directly beneath the vessel, that houses the control rod drives. In our last installment[52], the RC “cleaner” robot tasked with chipping off enough hardened corium lava from the metal grate catwalk to the CRD entry to allow the IRID robot ‘Scorpion’ to get much closer to a 2-meter diameter melt hole in the grating in order to get accurate radiation readings and photos of what’s underneath and how far down it is. Useful information in the lingering questions about where, exactly, the bulk of corium resulting from total meltdowns of units 1, 2 and 3 at the facility in 2011 went. Overnight Wednesday Scorpion made its entry[53]. It relayed some images and video, and apparently made it as far as the hole, and was able to confirm the same kind of damage to the inside-the-pedestal CRD grating as well. Which makes entry to the pedestal proper at the CRD level impossible with robots that can’t fly. TEPCO did not report how long Scorpion was able to function in the unfriendly containment environment before it met its untimely end[54].

Pipelines & Other Oil and Gas Transport

rebel ga writes Feb. 15 – Standing Rock Sioux vs. Energy Transfer in House Committee Hearing[55]: It s fascinating to watch respective witnesses, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Councilman getting 6 minutes and STEM-teacher/mom getting abruptly cut-off after 6 minutes, in their opening statements to House Energy & Commerce Committee (Subcmte. On Energy) Hearing Wednesday this week (slide forward video to 2:53:50 run to 3:05:50) No, the pipeline is not finished, the water protectors are not beaten. Yes, the Practical fight and Prayerful fight at Standing rock continues in full vigor. In the video (5:03:00 thru 5:13:39) you can see how for-real the fight is in the terse 10 minutes of exchanges between Congressman Markwayne Mullin [R-OK-2], the Witness Councilman and Congressman Raul Ruiz [D-CA-36].[56][57]

AGRICULTURE , FOOD & GARDENING

AngryChihuahua writes The Seeds of Resistance[58]: We are experiencing the birth of The Resistance, continuing the struggle of the freedom fighters and revolutionaries that came before us. We have a legacy to protect. We are tending the garden of democracy’s history. Planting our own seedlings while nurturing those we inherited. Protecting those in bloom when the elements turn hostile. There stands the tree of liberty first watered with tea brewed in Boston harbor and the blood of patriots. Rugged and weathered the trunk scarred from attacks with bullets and blades, blistered by fire, losing branches in violent storms, enduring the rare brutal winter when it seemed the sun would never return and still it’s roots push deeper and spread farther. Walk through the old grove of the abolitionists tended carefully and often in secret until it could no longer be contained. Mahogany and ebony are thick here along with Douglas firs and a garrison of beech trees. White pines and poplars with branches from which once hung strange fruit. These are rough, knotty and gnarled, pocked from cannon ball and musket shot.

Kishik writes Saturday Morning Garden Blog: February 2009-2016[59]: Photo diary.

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

Walter Einenkel writes About 56,000 bridges in the United States are ‘structurally deficient’[60]: Almost 56,000 bridges are structurally deficient, says American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).[61] The five states with the most deficient bridges are Iowa with 4,968, Pennsylvania with 4,506, Oklahoma with 3,460, Missouri with 3,195 and Nebraska with 2,361. The eight states where at least 15% of the bridges are deficient are: Rhode Island at 25%, Pennsylvania at 21%, Iowa and South Dakota at 20%, West Virginia at 17%, and Nebraska, North Dakota and Oklahoma at 15%. Democrats have called Donald Trump and his Republican Party s bluff about infrastructure projects, offering up a serious 10-year trillion-dollar plan[62].

References

  1. ^ WTF? Republicans just passed a law so assholes can shoot and trap hibernating bears and wolves (www.dailykos.com)
  2. ^ The Daily Bucket – very early spring color (www.dailykos.com)
  3. ^ Republicans pass bill through House repealing wildlife regulations that ended bear cub killing (www.dailykos.com)
  4. ^ grizzly-paranoid Education secretary (wildernesswatch.salsalabs.org)
  5. ^ Those rules include: (wildernesswatch.salsalabs.org)
  6. ^ Republican movement to take control over those lands in order to privatize t (www.dailykos.com)
  7. ^ Republican government pulls down animal abuse database and gets shamed into doing the right thing (www.dailykos.com)
  8. ^ Republican Party and the Trump administration tested this tried and true theory (time.com)
  9. ^ suddenly pulled (www.washingtonpost.com)
  10. ^ Humane Society of the United States (blog.humanesociety.org)
  11. ^ Daily Bucket: rescuing endangered bunnies from a flood (www.dailykos.com)
  12. ^ declared a federal disaster (www.latimes.com)
  13. ^ endangered bush rabbits (www.fws.gov)
  14. ^ New York Times Goes Trophy Sheep Hunting (www.dailykos.com)
  15. ^ Bighorn Sheep Hunting (www.nytimes.com)
  16. ^ The Daily Bucket–Emergency Repairs Open Damaged Spillway, Avert Flooding of Frog Mitigation Area (www.dailykos.com)
  17. ^ Rethinking the Daily Kos Focus – Open Letter to Kos (www.dailykos.com)
  18. ^ Will geoengineering be necessary? (www.dailykos.com)
  19. ^ Polar ice reaching alarming low levels at both ends of the Earth (www.dailykos.com)
  20. ^ have kept ice (weather.com)
  21. ^ world s largest ice sheets (www.independent.co.uk)
  22. ^ runaway polar amplification (thinkprogress.org)
  23. ^ Complexity, conspiracy and climate change (www.dailykos.com)
  24. ^ Congress to Curtail Methane Monitoring (spectrum.ieee.org)
  25. ^ harmful or helpful (www.bloomberg.com)
  26. ^ shouldn’t be the only measure of their value (www.washingtonpost.com)
  27. ^ Trump himself does not (www.washingtonpost.com)
  28. ^ Trump administration exempts three CA oil fields from water protection rule at Jerry Brown’s request (www.dailykos.com)
  29. ^ www.dailykos.com/… (www.dailykos.com)
  30. ^ Disaster Declaration for Hoopa Valley Tribe Approved, Tribes Win Legal Victory for Salmon (www.dailykos.com)
  31. ^ Democrats scramble to delay Pruitt vote … as McConnell quashes every effort (www.dailykos.com)
  32. ^ EPA employees put jobs on the line as Republicans try to force Pruitt vote in advance of evidence (www.dailykos.com)
  33. ^ object. (www.dailykos.com)
  34. ^ still at it. (mobile.nytimes.com)
  35. ^ Executive orders come Friday as EPA braces for impact (www.dailykos.com)
  36. ^ reports (www.reuters.com)
  37. ^ Unfit to Serve at EPA (www.dailykos.com)
  38. ^ We Will Resist Scott Pruitt and Keep Fighting for Clean Air and Water (www.dailykos.com)
  39. ^ Town Hall Project 2018 (docs.google.com)
  40. ^ An Ode to Black-Hearted Scott Pruitt, like a Dark Tone Poem (www.dailykos.com)
  41. ^ Senate Debates and Likely Confirms Pruitt for EPA Admin. Next Up, Red Queen for Head of Neurology (www.dailykos.com)
  42. ^ frabjous (theweek.com)
  43. ^ appears to have lied under oath (fusion.net)
  44. ^ clams to fight pollution (www.capecodtimes.com)
  45. ^ Nearly 800 former EPA employees (www.huffingtonpost.com)
  46. ^ otherwise protesting (insideclimatenews.org)
  47. ^ calling their senators (www.nytimes.com)
  48. ^ perhaps oxygen-less (www.washingtonpost.com)
  49. ^ The First of Many Massive Environmental Rollbacks Under Trump-Ryan-McConnell Is Now Complete (www.dailykos.com)
  50. ^ Bloomberg s story (www.bloomberg.com)
  51. ^ Fukushima #2 Kills the Scorpion (www.dailykos.com)
  52. ^ In our last installment (www.dailykos.com)
  53. ^ Scorpion made its entry (www.fukuleaks.org)
  54. ^ it met its untimely end (www.fukuleaks.org)
  55. ^ Feb. 15 – Standing Rock Sioux vs. Energy Transfer in House Committee Hearing (www.dailykos.com)
  56. ^ video to 2:53:50 (democrats-energycommerce.house.gov)
  57. ^ Mullin [R-OK-2], the Witness Councilman and Congressman Raul Ruiz [D-CA-36]. (democrats-energycommerce.house.gov)
  58. ^ The Seeds of Resistance (www.dailykos.com)
  59. ^ Saturday Morning Garden Blog: February 2009-2016 (www.dailykos.com)
  60. ^ About 56,000 bridges in the United States are ‘structurally deficient’ (About%2056,000%20bridges%20in%20the%20United%20States%20are%20’structurally%20deficient’)
  61. ^ American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). (www.usatoday.com)
  62. ^ 10-year trillion-dollar plan (www.dailykos.com)

Michael Flynn, General Chaos

I said, Fetch Chardonnay, not Riesling.

By this point, the Justice Department had informed Trump officials of concerns about Flynn s conversations with the Russian Ambassador and his public accounting of them. The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama Administration, told the White House that she worried Flynn might be vulnerable to blackmail by Russian agents, the Washington Post reported. Yet Flynn remained an important player in national-security matters. He was always in the room, and on every call, one Administration official told me.

Each morning, Flynn attended Trump s intelligence briefing the President s Daily Brief. Bannon joined occasionally, as did Mike Pompeo, the director of the C.I.A., and Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff. Flynn conferred with senior intelligence officials on how to best tailor the briefing for Trump. Presidents are particular about how they receive information, Michael Morell, a former acting C.I.A. director, who prepared and delivered the President s Daily Brief to several Presidents, told me. George H. W. Bush preferred text on a half page, in a single column, limited to four or five pages; the briefer read fifteen to twenty pages aloud to George W. Bush, who preferred more material and liked to discuss it with the briefer; Barack Obama studied the material alone, over breakfast. Trump s briefings were being shaped to address macroeconomics, trade, and alliances, Flynn told me, in a telephone conversation earlier this month. The P.D.B. is not always about just your enemies.

Congress created the National Security Council in 1947, in the hope of establishing a more orderly process for co rdinating foreign and defense policy. Six years later, Dwight Eisenhower decided that the council needed a chief and named the first national-security adviser a former soldier and banker, Robert Cutler. The position evolved into one of enormous importance. McGeorge Bundy, who served under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, regarded himself as a traffic cop controlling access to the President. Under Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger dramatically expanded the role, often meeting directly with the Soviet Ambassador, and bypassing the State Department.

The temptations of power nearly overwhelmed Ronald Reagan s Presidency, in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair, when national-security staffers were discovered to be running covert actions involving Iran and Central America. The scandal prompted some to call for the national-security adviser to become a Senate-confirmed position. Heading off these demands, George H. W. Bush chose a retired general, Brent Scowcroft, who had held the job under Gerald Ford, to return to the role, confident that Scowcroft would respect the lines between intelligence work, military operations, and policymaking. He will be an honest broker, Bush said.

Since then, according to Stephen Hadley, George W. Bush s second-term national-security adviser, the honest broker has become the model for Republican and Democratic Administrations alike. That meant overseeing a process that is fair and transparent, where each member of the council can get his views to the President, Hadley said. In late November, Hadley met with Flynn, who was seeking advice, at Trump Tower. Hadley left the meeting optimistic that Flynn meant to act as a facilitator in the traditional way.

I feel like everybody s podcasting and nobody s podlistening.

In mid-June, 2010, the magazine piece, The Runaway General, appeared. McChrystal was quoted calling Vice-President Joe Biden shortsighted for his opposition to the surge in Afghanistan; one aide mocked Biden as Bite Me ; and another aide dismissed Jim Jones, Obama s first national-security adviser, as a clown. Obama fired McChrystal the day after publication. Flynn chafed at the decision. It s hard to see someone you know have to go through that, a close associate of Flynn s told me. You don t heal from that overnight.

Flynn prepared to leave Afghanistan, as McChrystal s successor, David Petraeus, brought in his own staff. Before Flynn departed, he stopped by the Joint Intelligence Operations Center to say goodbye. Speaking to dozens of analysts, Flynn delivered a forty-five-minute lesson, covering some of the bloodiest engagements in American history: the Battle of Antietam, in 1862, when twenty-three thousand people were killed or wounded in a single day; Operation Torch, in 1942, when several hundred soldiers died establishing beachheads in North Africa as part of the Allied invasion. His point was that no one in Washington can ever appreciate what is happening on the battlefield, and that there aren t as many Americans dying now as before, the intelligence analyst who worked with Flynn said. But it was confusing, and these would be the same kind of discussions you d have with him about the nature of the insurgency you d leave his office and spend an hour trying to figure out what he was trying to say.

I said, I wonder what it means, not Tell me what it means.

Employees started to complain. Many sought reassignment with other agencies. Morale was in the toilet, Shelby said. To higher-level observers, Flynn looked like this bold leader, willing to make changes in the face of opposition. But, the further down you went, the more negative impact there was, because it was complete chaos.

Moreover, Flynn could be sloppy with numbers and details misstatements that his staffers derided as Flynn facts. His habit of chasing hunches also exasperated some staff members. In September, 2012, after the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate and annex in Benghazi, Flynn urged an investigation into an Iran connection; his insistence that Iran was involved stunned subordinates, according to the Times. (Flynn denies that he asked for a probe.) An intelligence analyst who worked with Flynn during this period told me that his iconoclasm sometimes went too far. By nature, Flynn takes a contrarian approach to even the most simple analytic issues, the analyst said. After Benghazi, I remember him using the phrase black swan a lot. What s a black swan ? He was looking for the random event that nobody could predict. Look, you certainly have to keep your eye on the ball for that, but there s a reason why it s a black swan. You shouldn t dedicate a ton of time to that.

In 2013, Flynn arranged a trip to Moscow to speak to a group of officers from the G.R.U., Russia s intelligence agency, about leadership development. His decision to go was a controversial one. Flynn believed that there were opportunities to find common ground with Russia. But Steven Hall, the C.I.A. s chief of Russia operations at the time, was skeptical. He wanted to build a relationship with his counterparts in the G.R.U., which seemed, at best, quaint and na ve, Hall told me. Every time we have tried to have some sort of meaningful co peration with the Russians, it s almost always been manipulated and turned back against us.

Several months after Flynn returned from his Moscow trip, he hoped to reciprocate by inviting several senior G.R.U. officers to the United States. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, cautioned him against it. Russia had recently annexed Crimea, and Russian special-forces operatives were fomenting a violent clash between rebels and Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine.

By then, Flynn had become a target of scorn for many inside the department. His deputy, David Shedd, became one of his harshest critics, and did little to hide his disdain. I was walking by the front office once and heard David Shedd say, I m going to save the agency from the director, Simone Ledeen, who works in counter-threat finance at a multinational bank, said. Ledeen had worked for Flynn in Afghanistan, at the office for the director of national intelligence, and in the D.I.A., doing threat-assessment research. (She is also Michael Ledeen s daughter.)

Normally, a D.I.A. director serves for three or more years, but, in late 2013, Clapper and Michael Vickers, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, were concerned about the tumult inside the agency and told Flynn that his tenure would last just two years. Flynn unsuccessfully tried to extend his term when his successor s nomination was delayed. Shedd later became the acting director.

On August 7, 2014, at a ceremony in the atrium of the D.I.A. s headquarters, Flynn retired from the military, after thirty-three years. His wife and two sons attended, as did Michael Ledeen. The senior military intelligence official, who was present, told me that Flynn was obviously bitter: He was loading up, and he was not going to go quietly.

Flynn, who was fifty-five, began fashioning a post-military life. He started his own business, the Flynn Intel Group, which offered clients a range of private intelligence and security services. He did some freelance consulting and also worked with SBD Advisors, a strategic consulting firm whose roster included the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen; former chief of the Special Operations Command Admiral Eric Olson; and other retired military officers. In January, 2015, Flynn signed with Leading Authorities, a speakers bureau, which promoted his expertise in leadership, cybersecurity, and terrorism.

Look, until there s a Tinder for pandas, we have to meet the old-fashioned way: being locked in a room together by scientists.

On Fox News, NBC s Meet the Press, CNN, and elsewhere, Flynn became increasingly critical of the Obama Administration. He lashed out at the Iran nuclear deal, the Administration s ISIS strategy, and its approach to radical Islam generally. Several Republican hopefuls preparing to run against Hillary Clinton asked for his advice. Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, brought Flynn on as an informal adviser for her Presidential bid. She told me that she found him refreshing. He is a very down-to-earth, approachable guy, she said. She was also impressed by his candor. Flynn, she said, doesn t pull punches.

In August, 2015, Flynn went to New York to meet Trump for the first time. They were scheduled to talk for thirty minutes; the conversation lasted ninety. Flynn was deeply impressed. I knew he was going to be the President of the United States, he told me.

Two months later, Flynn appeared on RT, the English-language Russian television channel, formerly known as Russia Today. The outlet was widely regarded as a propaganda arm of the Kremlin, even before a recent U.S. intelligence report on Russian hacking and the Presidential election said that the channel had become an important part of a Kremlin-directed campaign to undermine faith in the US Government. Flynn discussed the civil war in Syria, where Russian jets were flying bombing sorties in support of President Bashar al-Assad s regime. He contrasted Putin s resolve with what he described as Obama s dithering in the region: There s no coherence or no clarity to the strategy.

Yes, we re all white, but we re post-racial white. April 7, 2014

Flynn s own views seemed to be tilting increasingly toward the fringe. He, as Trump has, publicly insinuated that Obama was a secret Muslim, and not a true American. I m not going to sit here and say he s Islamic, Flynn said of Obama, during remarks last year before the American Congress for Truth, an anti-Muslim group. But Obama didn t grow up an American kid, Flynn said, adding that the President s values were totally different than mine.

Flynn also stoked fear about Muslims and, in a tweet that used the hashtag #NeverHillary, shared an anti-Semitic comment that read, in part, Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore. (He subsequently deleted the tweet, calling it a mistake. ) I m not perfect. I m not a very good social-media person, he told me in one of our conversations. Stanley McChrystal and Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, both contacted Flynn and tried, unsuccessfully, to get him to tone it down.

Flynn predicted a Trump win, but he was making contingency plans. He began reorienting his firm, the Flynn Intel Group, so that it would be able to compete for lobbying clients after the election. The firm arranged to work with Sphere Consulting, a public-relations and lobbying business in Washington.

In August of last year, a Turkish businessman with close ties to the government of Recep Tayyip Erdo an hired Flynn Intel Group on a lobbying contract to help promote the view that Turkey s business climate was a positive one. This was a challenging task, given that Erdo an had survived a coup attempt just the month before, and was, in retaliation, rounding up anyone considered insufficiently faithful to his regime. Flynn had previously been critical of Erdo an, whom he viewed as an Islamist threat. He put those concerns aside now as he vouched for Erdo an s government, writing an op-ed for The Hill that heralded Turkey as our strongest ally against ISIS.

Flynn remembered Election Night fondly, a moment of triumph. I like to think that I helped get Donald Trump elected President, he told me. Maybe I helped a little, maybe a lot. One of Trump s first major decisions was to appoint Flynn his national-security adviser, calling him an invaluable asset to me and my Administration. Flynn told me, Service was something our family was always encouraged to do. He went on, I made some mistakes, but I m still serving. It s like being a priest, you know. I ve been called to serve.

And that s when he realized he wasn t on the partner track at all! March 10, 2014

The end for Flynn came rather abruptly. He had spent the weekend with the President and the Prime Minister of Japan at Mar-a-Lago, Trump s resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where they had used a table in an open dining area as an impromptu and unsecured situation room after a ballistic missile test by North Korea. But, back in Washington on Monday afternoon, there was confusion about Flynn s standing. During a television interview, Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House adviser, said that Flynn enjoyed Trump s full confidence. Then, within the hour, Spicer said that Trump was evaluating the situation. Flynn went about his duties as usual that afternoon, participating in foreign-policy discussions in the Oval Office, an Administration official told me.

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