Friday’s Mini-Report, 12.16.16

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* There is no defense for this: “Outgoing North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has signed a measure limiting the powers of his soon-to-be Democratic successor, Roy Cooper, a move critics are calling an unprecedented power grab orchestrated by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.”

* Political scientist Norm Ornstein explained today, “The glue that holds our republic together is in acceptance of norms of democratic behavior.” Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and North Carolina Republicans, he added, are “shattering them.”

* Do you suppose Trump’s antagonism towards China was noticed in Beijing? “A Chinese Navy ship stole a U.S. Navy unmanned underwater vehicle – a type of drone – from international waters in the South China on Thursday, according to the Pentagon.”

* On a related note: “China appears to have installed anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapons on its man-made islands in the strategically vital South China Sea, a U.S. security think tank says, upping the stakes in what many see as a potential Asian powder keg.”

* That’s a pretty amazing daily total: “President Obama announced that the Obamacare marketplace saw 670,000 people sign up for coverage Thursday, its biggest open enrollment day ever.”

* In 2016, advice like this is apparently necessary: “President Barack Obama said on Friday that he has advised President-elect Donald Trump to have his team briefed before significant interactions with foreign governments.”

* Hardly an unreasonable conclusion: “Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that the hacking attacks carried out by Russia against her campaign and the Democratic National Committee were intended ‘to undermine our democracy’ and were ordered by Vladimir V. Putin ‘because he has a personal beef against me.’”

* This won’t end well: “President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday named David M. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer aligned with the Israeli far right, as his nominee for ambassador to Israel, elevating a campaign adviser who has questioned the need for a two-state solution and has likened left-leaning Jews in America to the Jews who aided the Nazis in the Holocaust.”

* No one can explain what, specifically, “access” means: “House Republicans, responding to criticism that repealing the Affordable Care Act would leave millions without health insurance, said on Thursday that their goal in replacing President Obama’s health law was to guarantee ‘universal access’ to health care and coverage, not necessarily to ensure that everyone actually has insurance.”

* Fleshing out the NSC team: “President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday that retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg will serve as chief of staff and executive secretary of the National Security Council, placing another former senior military officer in a crucial national security post.”

* Remember Joe Arpaio? Voters threw him out of office last month, but he has one more thing to say: “Now, as the birther-in-chief prepares to succeed the nation’s first African-American president, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is leaving office with one final public appeal to press the case Barack Obama was born outside of the United States.” The confused Arizonan wants people to believe the president’s birth certificate is “fraudulent.”

* A story worth watching: “The House Ethics Committee wants more time to weigh an investigation into Rep. Duncan Hunter, who has come under fire for a series of questionable campaign expenses. Between 2015 and 2016, the California Republican spent about $49,000 worth of campaign contributions on items that appear to be personal in nature.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.


Friday's Mini-Report, 12.16.16