1-23-19 Supreme Court lets Trump’s transgender military ban go into effect.

Supreme Court lets Trump’s transgender military ban go into effect.

The court lifted an injunction that was keeping the ban from taking effect, allowing the Trump administration to enforce the policy while lower courts figure things out. Their decision was split 5-4, with Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan saying the ban should remain on hold.

How many troops does this impact?

There are at least 9,000 military members who identify as transgender. This decision means they could be discharged for no other reason than their gender identity. It also means any trans individuals hoping to enlist can be turned away.

So what happens now?

Lower courts are still deciding whether or not the ban itself is constitutional. The case is sitting in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court has decided not to weigh in until after the 9th Circuit reaches a decision. The ban will remain in effect until then.



Shutdown: Day 33

The House and Senate are headed in opposite directions. Mitch McConnell is introducing a version of Trump’s latest proposal in the Senate, while House Dems are introducing their own bills to reopen the government without funding a border wall.

What’s the point?

Good question. The House bills won’t pass in the Senate, and the Senate bill probably can’t make it through the Senate, let alone the House. In other words, they’re pretty much show votes.

What’s the latest on that Trump/Pelosi drama?

The White House is moving forward with plans for the State of the Union, despite Nancy Pelosi’s letter to Trump asking him to delay it. Pelosi could still use her power as speaker to call things off, so we’ll see.



Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into the Trump campaign's ties to the NRA.

Mueller is reportedly asking questions about how the Trump team formed a relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA). Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg told CNN, “When I was interviewed by the special counsel’s office, I was asked about the Trump campaign and our dealings with the NRA.”

Wait, what does this have to do with Russia?

We know that a Russian spy — Maria Butina — was attempting to infiltrate Republican political circles through the NRA during the 2016 election. What we don’t know is if that had anything to do with the NRA spending $30 million to help Trump get elected. But apparently, Mueller is scoping things out.



Los Angeles teachers have reached a deal with the district.

After six days on strike, more than 30,000 L.A. teachers are back in their classrooms today. Following 21 hours of negotiating, the district has agreed to put caps on class sizes, place more support staff in schools, and give teachers a 6 percent raise. L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti called the deal “historic,” and the head of the teachers union says it’s “a very broad compact around things that get at social justice, educational justice and racial justice.”



The 'Craigslist of weed' is giving free medical marijuana to federal workers.

BudTrader.com has announced via Facebook that it will cover the cost for any government employees who are “unable to pay for their medical cannabis due to the government shutdown.” Brad McLaughlin, the company’s CEO, says he doesn’t think federal employees “are getting enough love and support.” He wants his company’s decision to push other larger companies to take similar actions.



You can buy Ruth Bader Ginsburg-themed lipstick!

Lipslut is selling ‘Notorious R.B.G.’ lipstick, with half of the proceeds going to civil rights organizations. The shade? “Bad bitch berry.”



4 ways to help unpaid federal workers.

Federal workers are about to miss their second paycheck as a result of the shutdown. Here’s what you can do to help them:

  1. Donate to GoFundMe’s Government Shutdown Direct Relief Fund.
  2. Support D.C. food banks like the Capital Area Food Bank.
  3. Help families get diapers by giving to the National Diaper Bank Network.
  4. Call your members of Congress! It’s fast, free, and easy.

For more info, check out this article from Sara Hendricks at Refinery29.



This former Obama staffer was given less than 5 years to live. He is still full of hope.

by Reed Redmond 

It started with a pen. At 37 years old, Brian Wallach struggled to grip a pen. Then, right after the birth of his second daughter, he developed a cough. His wife told him to see a doctor, and the doctor told him to see a neurologist. In November of 2018, a neurologist told him his symptoms might be caused by ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Like the majority of all Americans, Brian didn’t know a whole lot about ALS. Sure, he knew the buzzwords — “Ice Bucket Challenge. Not good. Lou Gehrig.” But he didn’t know much else about this disease that affects tens of thousands of Americans. He conducted some research and soon realized, “What I envisioned as my future may not in fact be that.” Because a diagnosis of ALS takes months to confirm, Brian began preparing for bad news. 

In February of 2018, it was confirmed. Brian had ALS. If the average life expectancy held up, that meant he would only have two to five years to live. Since receiving his diagnosis, he has committed his life to finding a cure. Brian’s mission is to raise $100 million for ALS research.


Brian and his wife, Sandra Abrevaya, met while working on the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign. They got engaged as staffers in the Obama White House. Now, the couple is drawing on their experiences from the campaign trail to build a fundraising campaign for ALS research. Yesterday, they launched I AM ALS, an effort to reach their $100 million fundraising goal within the next three years.

It’s a bold goal, but as they launch their new campaign, Brian and Sandra remain hopeful. As you can probably recall, that’s what the 2008 Obama campaign was all about — hope. Reflecting on his current situation, Brian told the Chicago Tribune, “Hope means that you can actually have the power to help make your future better…Do I hope I’ll be here to watch my daughters get married? Absolutely.”

What can I do?

Support I AM ALS. Their website lists plenty of ways to help out, from donating to becoming an advocate. You can also follow I AM ALS on Twitter —–> @iamalsorg.

Anything else?

Spread the word. More than 60% of Americans don’t know anything about ALS, and 95% can’t name a single ALS charity or organization. Change that by getting informed and spreading awareness. As Brian Wallach says, “There is no hope until there is.”


The Leftovers:

An unnamed U.S. service member was killed in combat yesterday in Afghanistan. Still waiting for more details, but this is the second service member to be killed in Afghanistan so far this year.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has introduced a bill to keep shutdowns from happening in the future. It’s called the Stop Stupidity (Shutdowns Transferring Unnecessary Pain and Inflicting Damage In The Coming Years) Act.

Trump told Sarah Huckabee Sanders “not to bother” with press briefings because the media is ‘rude.’ We’re now in the longest span of Trump’s presidency without a formal briefing.

Rudy Giuliani says he’s listened to non-existent tapes that prove Trump didn’t tell Cohen to lie under oath. To recap: there are no tapes, and Giuliani has heard all of them. The tapes exonerate Trump, but again, no tapes.

The Supreme Court has decided to wait on hearing a DACA case, leaving DACA protections in place for now. The court did, however, agree to hear its first gun rights case in 9 years.

FBI agents say their work “has never been so hard or thankless.” The shutdown is making investigations increasingly difficult.

A judge refused to certify election results in North Carolina’s 9th district, where election fraud appears to have helped Republican Mark Harris. So, uh, election night is still going.

A sinkhole has opened up a block away from the White House. Sometimes the universe isn’t so subtle.

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