Friday roundup: Russia, OGE and more

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m going to end the week doing a quick roundup of some interesting things that you might put on your “ice storm survival reading/viewing/listening list” (for those of you back in the Midwest). I’m purposely avoiding some of the other main national stories because I figure you have already seen coverage of them, especially those relating to the hearings.

So here are just some interesting things to end the week with:

We need a public investigation: Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has a thoughtful look at all of the swirling rumors about Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 campaign. He points out all of the conflicting information that needs sorting out, including this startling report from Israel’s Ynet saying that Israel is being advised not to share intelligence with the Trump Administration out of fear it will be passed to Russia, who will then pass it on to Iran. David Ignatius of The Washington Post outlines four questions that need to be answered about the situation as well.

I tend to agree with his thesis that it is in the best interest of Americans to investigate and put these rumors to rest so we can move on with the business of the country. The press does not have subpoena power to coerce witnesses to testify under oath or to obtain records to corroborate the allegations like a Congressional investigation would. I’ve read the 35-page dossier and I think those allegations would be rather challenging to investigate without that power unless someone leaks you a tape. (Which, given Russia, could be faked.)

In addition, we have no idea if this information is being fed to normally reliable sources on purpose to sow further disinformation and chaos. If that’s true, as Taibbi mentions, that’s unfair (even to Donald Trump). It seems all parties involved should have an interest in launching an investigation to settle the issue. (Which is why it is puzzling that the Trump camp’s reaction is to attack the media and not to search for the truth.)

Whoops: Speaking of which, C-SPAN is investigating why their feed turned over to Russian state-sponsored news site RT. (I wouldn’t read too much into this though. C-SPAN says it monitors RT in its control room and accidents happen in broadcast control rooms. Unless they find something different, I’d presume operator error first. Still, it was a bad time for this to happen.)

Chaffetz threatens OGE head: Politico has a report that Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is threatening to subpoena OGE director Walter Shaub over his comments about the ethics problems with the Trump business empire. (On another note, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) also requested Chaffetz invite Shaub to talk to the committee.)

Pod Save America: Following up on that and my post from yesterday, Pod Save America has a highly entertaining interview with Obama “ethic czar” Ambassador Norm Eisen.

Senator Roy Blunt: I didn’t realize that Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is the master of ceremonies for the inauguration. (Some of you back home may have known this already.) There is a good article by Roll Call about his responsibilities.

Command and Control: “American Experience” on PBS aired a documentary about an accident involving a Titan II nuclear missile in Damascus, Arkansas. It looks at how someone simply dropping a wrench could have nuked most of the Midwest in the 80s. I watched it last night and thought it was a fascinating examination of nuclear weapons accidents.

314 Action: For a more uplifting report in the field of science, I thought this was pretty cool. There’s a new group aiming to help encourage more scientists to run for office. Motherboard has the article about 314 Action. (Yes, they chose 314 for “Pi.”)

Inauguration Weekend: The District of Columbia has received 200 bus parking permit requests for Inauguration Day. It reports receiving 1200 for the Women’s March that is being held the following day. (Capacity at RFK stadium where the buses will park is reportedly 1300.)

Weather: If you’re curious about weather for the inauguration or the Women’s March, you might bookmark The Washington Post’s Capitol Weather Gang.

I’ll have my next post on Monday. Until then, feel free to message me if you have anything you’d like me to talk about. Also, I would love for you to send me your Obamacare experiences–good, bad or ugly! (Thanks to those who already have!)

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