Pennsylvania court orders new congressional map due to gerrymandering


In a 5-2 decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the electoral map violated the state’s Constitution by manipulating the district boundaries to marginalize Democratic voters, a practice called partisan gerrymandering.

A new map could give Democratic candidates a chance to capture as many as half a dozen Republican seats in Pennsylvania alone, with national polls showing voters strongly favoring Democrats in 2018.

Source: Pennsylvania court orders new congressional map due to gerrymandering

The Senate will take up immigration, but will the House — and Trump — follow? | The Washington Post


The deal that ended the government shutdown on Monday paved the way for Senate consideration of immigration legislation, but it did nothing to ensure that the House would act on such a bill — or that President Trump would sign it.

That has raised fears among immigrant advocates that the shutdown-ending compromise merely sets up a repeat of what happened five years ago, when eight senators forged an immigration deal that passed the Senate but went nowhere in the House after the GOP’s conservative base revolted against any attempt to give “amnesty” to illegal immigrants.

Source: The Senate will take up immigration, but will the House — and Trump — follow? – The Washington Post

Democrats Blink in Shutdown Impasse, Hoping for a Bargain | The New York Times


Senate Democrats blinked. But the saving grace for them may be that they did it quickly

Over the weekend it became clear that using the shutdown to insist on protections for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants was a serious miscalculation.

By abandoning the strategy on its third day, Democrats believe they limited whatever damage there may be and gave the public time to forget about the disruption before the crucial November election.

Source: Democrats Blink in Shutdown Impasse, Hoping for a Bargain – The New York Times

Shutdown deal: Dems face angry base, GOP has hard choices


The first government shutdown of Donald Trump’s presidency spanned 69 hours.

That was as long as Democrats could, or would, stand united against a Republican-backed temporary spending bill in pursuit of a plan to protect hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. When the high-stakes game of chicken ended Monday evening, liberal activists were furious, Republicans were giddy, and vulnerable Senate Democrats were quietly relieved.

The episode exposed familiar political vulnerabilities for both parties — although perhaps more painfully for Democrats.

Source: Shutdown deal: Dems face angry base, GOP has hard choices

Senate moderates see influence grow after shutdown fight | TheHill


To help prevent cross talking, senators in the meeting used a stick, and later a ball, to help determine who had the floor. Manchin drew laughter from his colleagues as they tried to figure out speaking order during an impromptu press conference, saying they could “pass the ball around.”

When the group first met on Friday, there were 17 senators trying to come up with a way to prevent the closure. That number swelled to 25 on Sunday afternoon as the shutdown ground through the weekend.

“That is a powerful voting bloc in the Senate and it includes Republican members as well as Democrats,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said.

Source: Senate moderates see influence grow after shutdown fight | TheHill

Winners and losers from the government shutdown | TheHill


The stop-gap funding, which expires Feb. 8, passed both the Senate and House by large margins earlier in the day.

So as the government prepares to reopen, who emerged as the winners and losers of the first big congressional controversy of 2018?

Source: Winners and losers from the government shutdown | TheHill

Global Conflicts to Watch in 2018 | The Atlantic


“The U.S. is now the most unpredictable actor in the world today, and that has caused profound unease,” said Paul Stares, the director of CFR’s Center for Preventive Action, which produces the annual survey.

“You used to be able to pretty much put the U.S. to one side and hold it constant, and look at the world and consider where the biggest sources of unpredictability, insecurity are. Now you have to include the U.S. in that. … No one has high confidence how we [Americans] would react in any given situation, given how people assess this president.”

This president might welcome the development. “I don’t want people to know exactly what I’m doing—or thinking,” Donald Trump wrote in 2015. “It keeps them off balance.”

Source: Global Conflicts to Watch in 2018 – The Atlantic

Global Conflict Tracker


Conflict is likely to trigger U.S. military involvement or threatens the supply of critical U.S. strategic resources.

Source: Global Conflict Tracker

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Donald Trump, The Huddled Masses Yearning To Breathe Free Made America Great


Animus toward those of other cultures goes way back as a leitmotif in America.

In a notorious 1753 letter, the usually genial Ben Franklin wrote of the German immigrants:

Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation, and as Ignorance is often attended with Credulity when Knavery would mislead it, and with Suspicion when Honesty would set it right; and as few of the English understand the German Language, and so cannot address them either from the Press or Pulpit, ’tis almost impossible to remove any prejudices they once entertain.

Source: Donald Trump, The Huddled Masses Yearning To Breathe Free Made America Great

Trump’s Victory Spurred Women to Demonstrate, and Run for Office | US News


It might have been a one-day thing, kind of a counter-celebration to the lesser-attended inauguration the day before and a chance for the the losers to let off steam after the 2016 elections.

Instead, the Women’s March gave voice to frustrations and grievances women had been grumbling more quietly about for years. The number of women running for office (and winning already) has exploded.

Source: Trump’s Victory Spurred Women to Demonstrate, and Run for Office | The Report | US News