Here in small town Whitewater we’ll have an increasingly sunny day with a high of thirty degrees. Sunrise is 7:22 AM and sunset is 4:46 PM, for 9h 23m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 94.4% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the sixty-seventh day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.
On this day in 1963, George Wallace is sworn in as governor of Alabama, after which he delivers an inaugural address that vows “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” On this day in 1863, the 23rd Wisconsin leads an expedition to South Bend, Arkansas.
Recommended for reading in full —
Julie Pace [following a David Ignatius column in the Washington Post] reports on the longer-term meaning of a Top Trump aide in frequent contact with Russia’s ambassador: “More broadly, Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador suggests the incoming administration has already begun to lay the groundwork for its promised closer relationship with Moscow. That effort appears to be moving ahead, even as many in Washington, including Republicans, have expressed outrage over intelligence officials’ assessment that Putin launched a hacking operation aimed at meddling in the U.S. election to benefit Trump. During a news conference Wednesday, Trump pointedly would not say whether he planned to repeal the sanctions ordered by Obama. He again highlighted his warmer rapport with the Russian leader. “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability, because we have a horrible relationship with Russia,” he said. The sanctions targeted the GRU and FSB, leading Russian intelligence agencies that the U.S. said were involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other groups. The U.S. also kicked out 35 Russian diplomats who it said were actually intelligence operatives.”
Daniella Diaz reports that Trump [as if on cue] suggests he would be open to lifting sanctions on Russia: “Washington (CNN)President-elect Donald Trump suggested Friday he is open to lifting sanctions on Russia, though he plans to keep them for “at least a period of time”….”If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” he said in the interview.”
Aaron Blake demonstrates that Donald Trump’s team is running a misdirection campaign on Russian hacking: “For the first time in weeks, President-elect Donald Trump’s team has been able to play some offense when it comes to allegations of Russian hacking. BuzzFeed’s decision to publish a dossier full of unverified and sometimes over-the-top salacious claims commissioned by Trump’s political opponents has proven a controversial one, allowing Trump to credibly claim persecution by the media. But even as he and his advisers have found their footing a bit, they just can’t help but overextend themselves. In recent days, they’ve made claims and suggestions that just don’t square with the facts and/or strain credulity. It’s almost as if their boss’s tendency to bring a bazooka to a knife fight has filtered down. Below, a few examples….”
Jennifer Rubin writes that Jason Chaffetz defends warning letter to ethics chief: “Chaffetz’s passivity in the face of well-publicized concerns about the Emoluments Clause stands in stark contrast to his aggressive, self-initiating action during the Obama years. He is not alone. Indeed, the entire Republican House seems entirely uninterested in keeping its promise to act as a check on Trump. The oath they take is to defend the Constitution, an obligation which places on Chaffetz and other Republicans the responsibility to investigate, not sit idly by, if a week from today the president will be in violation of the clear text of the Constitution. If Republicans do not show more initiative in policing potential corruption and in preventing Trump from trampling on the Constitution, Democrats will have a solid argument in 2018 that a change in the House majority is necessary to curtail corruption and act as an independent check on the executive branch.”
Great Big Story depicts Harvesting Glaciers with the Last Ice Merchant: “For more than 50 years, Baltazar Ushca Tenesaca has been ascending Ecuador’s tallest mountain to harvest glacial ice. At one time, there were 40 or so ice merchants who made the daily trek up the active volcano. But now, only Ushca continues this 500-year-old tradition. And while the demand for ice isn’t as high as it once was, Tenesaca’s harvesting methods remain the same. Despite the challenges, this ice merchant is as dedicated to his work as ever.”