Midday open thread: Trump picks more extreme judges than GOP predecessors; energy outlook released
Today’s comic by Mark Fiore is What would MAGA-Jesus do?
What’s coming up on Sunday Kos:
Trump Tower Moscow was a much larger deal, and potential crime, than anyone has realized, by Frank Vyan Walton
How Trump brought about the end of my marriage, by Jen Merrill
Democratic presidential candidates put Puerto Rico back in the media spotlight, by Denise Oliver Velez
More and more Americans believe in climate change. When will lawmakers catch up? by Sher Watts Spooner
Trump didn’t just shut down the government: He’s trying to shut down the very concept of government, by Laurence Lewis
Why they fear Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, by Egberto Willies
Trump must never get his wall, by Mark E Andersen
• Golden State Warriors, who twice refused to meet with Trump, have private meeting with Obama: In 2015, they met with President Obama at the White House after winning the championship that year. But they have declined invitations to meet Trump after their two follow-up championships. The NY Daily News reports that the recent meeting with Obama wasn’t supposed to get any publicity, but a photo of the get-together appeared on Instagram. It was later deleted. Obama politely refused to talk about the meeting when a reporter asked.
Who gets Roger Stone’s suits?
— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) January 25, 2019
• The U.S. Annual Energy Outlook 2019 that was released Thursday says U.S. will become a net exporter of petroleum and natural gas next year and continue to be through 2050: As always, the Outlook provides valuable information about where we are in energy production along with projections about where we’ll be in the future. The Energy Information Administration that generates these annual reports notes that the “AEO2019 Reference case represents EIA’s best assessment of how U.S. and world energy markets will operate through 2050, based on many key assumptions” and warns that its projections are “not predictions but rather modeled projections of what may happen given certain assumptions and methodologies.” These can be profoundly affected by the uncertainties of the energy market and the economy in general as well as changes in government policies. The EIA is nonetheless notorious for, and highly defensive about, its history of low-ball projections across all scenarios for the spread of renewable sources of energy. For instance, in the 2005 Outlook, the amount of wind turbine installations in its high projection for 2030 was actually reached in 2012. In the 165-page 2019 Outlook, the Reference projection for 2050 puts U.S. electricity generation from photovoltaic solar and wind turbines at just 31 percent of the total.
• Trump’s judicial appointments are even more extreme than those of previous Republican presidents: The study was commissioned by the activist group Demand Justice and conducted by the left-leaning think thank Data for Progress. LiZhou at Vox noted that DfP employed a “scoring system established by political scientists Maya Sen of Harvard and Adam Bonica of Stanford, who calculated ideology scores for attorneys and judges using an expansive donations database […] to compare appointees across different presidential administrations”:
The first thing to notice in these distributions is that Trump’s judges are, for the most part, reliably conservative. Trump’s median appointment is more conservative than George W. Bush’s, and is more conservative than Obama’s median appointment was liberal. To be clear, the long-term polarization trend shown in the chart could be in part due to polarization trends in Congress, but this is less of a concern when comparing more recent presidents who also governed during times of heightened congressional polarization. While it is still relatively early in his presidency, and this pattern may change as Trump makes more appointments, these data currently support conservative activists’ suspicion that despite whatever other objections they may have with him, President Trump is a useful vehicle for moving the federal judiciary to the right.
• Reproductive rights activists think abstinence-only proponent Valerie Huber could push her crackpot agenda worldwide: Huber is becoming senior policy adviser in the Office of Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Roger Stone arrested! Shutdown starts shutting down airports. Mueller’s grand jury may go unpaid. House wingnuts vote no on committing to staying in NATO. Inaugural committee has been hiding the slush. Kushner’s fake security clearance probed.