1-11-19 Is this really a record he wants to break?

The shutdown is now tied for the longest in U.S. history.

No reason to think it won’t become the longest. Trump visited a Texas border town yesterday to try to make his case for a wall (and pose for as many photos as possible). Right before the trip, he told reporters he’s ready to declare a national emergency if Congress doesn’t give him $5.7 billion to build a border wall. In his words, “If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it, I would almost say definitely.”  We for sure probably sort of maybe know what he’s talking about.

Did he say anything else?

Yeah, the whole interview was pretty bananas. One line that stands out: “I’m a professional at technology.” Not sure what that even means, but he said it the same day NBC News reported photos of his wall prototype being sawed in half by common industrial tools.

Is he serious about declaring a national emergency?

Unfortunately, yes. The Washington Post is reporting that the White House has been busy laying groundwork for it.

Any news in Congress?

More of the same, really. The House is passing bills to end the shutdown, buuut the Senate won’t even hold a vote on them.

What else?

While Trump holds the government hostage over a made-up crisis, he’s creating a real crisis. The FBI is being forced to work with “increasingly limited resources.” The longer the shutdown lasts, the greater the threat to national security.



Federal workers rally outside the White House.

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers aren’t receiving a paycheck today, their first scheduled payday since the shutdown began. Yesterday, hundreds of them marched in D.C. to demand an end to the shutdown.

How are they getting by?

Some federal workers are filing for unemployment, while many others are relying on the generosity of private businesses offering free food or other services. Definitely not how the system is supposed to work.

What about rent? Student debt? Car payments?

Democrats have introduced bills in the House and the Senate to protect federal workers who can’t afford rent or loan payments as a result of the shutdown. Let’s cross our fingers they can get Republicans on board.



Michael Cohen will testify in front of Congress next month.

Cohen, the lawyer who implicated Trump in multiple campaign finance crimes, plans to offer up “a full and credible account” of his work for Donald Trump in front of the House Oversight Committee on February 7th. His testimony could give us a much clearer picture of just how much legal trouble President Trump might be in.

Will I be able to watch?

Probably! Cohen has agreed for this thing to be public, and the New York Times reports the hearing could air “on national television.” Time to stock up on popcorn.



Kamala Harris is about to announce her candidacy for president.

After releasing an autobiography earlier this week, the California Democratis ready to throw her hat in the ring. She hasn’t made a formal announcement yet, but it looks like that will come at a campaign rally in Oakland “on or around Martin Luther King Day” (January 21st).

If it’s not official yet, how do you know?

Sources close to her told KCBS Radio in San Francisco that Harris “is ready, and has in fact decided to run, with the enthusiastic blessing of her husband and two stepchildren.”



Jennifer Siebel Newsom declares herself "First Partner of California" to promote gender equality.

She’s married to California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, but she doesn’t want to be called ‘First Lady.’ Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and women’s rights advocate, is the first gubernatorial spouse to ever go by ‘First Partner.’


Democrats put forward a bill to cut prescription drug prices.

The bill would force U.S. drugmakers to lower prices, keeping them in line with other countries around the world. Time for Trump to own up to his pledge to lower drug prices.



Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) asks why the phrase "white supremacist" is offensive.

Here’s the full quote, given in an on-the-record interview with the New York Times: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Reminder: Republicans have been sending this racist to Congress since 2002.



Right-wing site the Daily Caller published a fake nude photo of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The website, which was founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, reposted the photo after it was proven to be fake. Their headline? “Here’s The Photo Some People Described As A Nude Selfie Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” Again, they wrote that headline AFTER the photo was debunked. To quote Ocasio-Cortez, it’s “completely disgusting behavior…No wonder they defended Kavanaugh so fiercely.”



Millions of Indian women stand shoulder-to-shoulder to demand equality.

by Reed Redmond

On New Year’s Day, 5 million women formed a human chain — a “women’s wall” — spanning 385 miles across the state of Kerala in southern India. They were demanding that women be allowed into the Sabarimala temple, a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site.

Wait, why aren’t women allowed in?

For decades, women of childbearing age have been blocked from entering because menstruation has been considered “impure.” Local courts have enforced the ban in the past, but last fall, India’s Supreme Court decided all women can enter the temple, ruling, “Where a man can enter, a woman can also go.” Since that ruling, only 10 women have been able to pray inside the temple, with dozens of others being violently turned back by male protestors.

So that’s why women are protesting?

That’s one reason. Women are demanding their constitutional right to enter the temple, but the “women’s wall” is about more than that. In 2018, Thomson Reuters found India to be the world’s most dangerous country for women (the U.S. came in at #10). Through protests like the “women’s wall,” these women are telling their country they won’t put up with discrimination or gender-based violence anymore. As one local activist notes, “There may be hurdles, but a positive attitude is spreading among women.”

What can I do?

Stay informed with these resources from Oxfam India, which is working to empower Indian women and reduce violence against women by the year 2020. You can also make a donation or start a fundraiser on their website.



The Leftovers:

“On the Basis of Sex,” a biopic about Ruth Bader Ginsburg starring Felicity Jones, is out nationwide today. The real Ginsburg told the film’s director, Mimi Leder, “I can’t imagine anyone playing me but Felicity Jones.”

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants the Senate to spend more time on UFO research. Cue the part in the movie where everyone laughs at him and then aliens take over.

The American Psychological Association has deemed “traditional masculinity” to be “harmful.” A new report says the ideology has been shown to “negatively influence mental health and physical health.”

A Morning Consult poll finds Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to be America’s most popular senator, with now-retired Sen. Jeff Flake (R) coming in last. Flake’s consolation prize might be a job at CBS News.

Beto O’Rourke live-streamed a dental visit to share the story of his dental hygienist, Diana, who grew up near the U.S.-Mexico border. O’Rourke said the video came as part of an ongoing “series on the people of the border.”

Jeff Bezos — the world’s richest man — is getting a divorce without a prenup. His soon-to-be-ex-wife MacKenzie Tuttle Bezos could end up with more than $137 billion.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) is donating the money he received from Ed Buck after a second death at the prominent donor’s apartment. Lieu is giving the $18,500 he received from Buck to civil rights and LGBTQ nonprofits.

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