Some Notes From the Swamp PPDB: June 16, 2017

Before I get started on the week in review, I want to say something about Washington, D.C. in the wake of Wednesday’s shooting. I’ve been in D.C. for almost two years now and I can’t help but think about the contrast between the rhetoric you hear about D.C. versus the people I’ve actually met here.

There’s been a narrative characterizing D.C. as the “swamp” and that people are corrupt. I can say there is some swampy activity here. No doubt. However, the vast majority of people I have met came to D.C. because they wanted to make a difference in the world. They’re working on projects like curing the Zika virus, figuring out how to combat climate change, and making sure that veterans and seniors get the benefits they need.

I’ve met an array of really smart people who are doing really amazing things to keep America (and the world) strong, safe, peaceful and healthy.

I’m lucky to have friends on both sides of the aisle who are Capitol Hill staffers. They are all great people who love America, even if we may not see eye-to-eye, politically. And they were all shaken by this week’s events.

Recently, I’ve thought a lot about the narratives we have perpetuated through our words. On the CBS Evening News last night Scott Pelley ended the broadcast with this poignant message. I urge you to watch it:

There are times that this town drives me nuts. However, the passion for service of the people here should be something in which all Americans can take pride.

Now to the PPDB…

It’s hard to believe how much has happened this week—that Jeff Session’s testimony was on Tuesday! It feels so long ago.

Russia investigation: This morning the president pretty much confirmed via tweet The Washington Post story that the special counsel is investigating him for obstruction of justice.

Meanwhile, Wired has a great rundown of the legal “dream team” that special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation, has assembled.

There was also this cryptic press release from the Department of Justice last night:

The speculation about this press release has ranged from A.) more obstruction and B.) warnings of allies leaking about the administration, to C.) a possible warning about continued Russian interference. CNN has some thoughts here.

However, given the president’s latest tweet, I’m leaning toward option A.

Health Care: I recommend reading Vox reporter Sarah Kliff’s perspective on where we are with this bill.

Regional news

Kansas: The Washington Post writes about how “the Kansas conservative experiment may have gone worse then people thought,” while The New York Times has a profile about Kansas secretary of state and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach.

International news

Cuba: Rumors are swirling that President Trump will roll back Obama’s accord with Cuba—and Politico reports that Florida Senator Marco Rubio has played a role in that.

London fire: Lost in the news in the U.S. this week has been the terrible tragedy in the U.K. where an apartment fire has claimed the lives of 30 people—though at least one British news outlet was quoting officials as saying the death toll could be as high as a hundred.

Russia call-in show: Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual call-in show where any Russian can call in and ask him a question. Although usually staged, it is interesting that a few corruption questions made it through this year.

And finally…

Prison college grads: You may not always agree with conservative commentator George Will, but he is truly a great writer. His piece about college graduates from Sing Sing Correctional Facility is worth your time for its content and poetry.

2 thoughts on “Some Notes From the Swamp PPDB: June 16, 2017

  1. Sheldon Weisgrau says:

    Thanks for your comments about the “swamp.” It’s all part of the divisive rhetoric that has been used for years. As a New Yorker in Kansas, I see it all the time. The idea that some people are “real Americans” and others are not, that some have “good Midwestern values” and others don’t, should be offensive to everyone.

    Like

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