Senate Confirms Climate Change Denier To Lead NASA

The Senate on Thursday narrowly confirmed Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), a former Navy pilot with no scientific credentials and who doesn’t believe humans are primarily to blame for the global climate crisis, to lead NASA.

Bridenstine will become the first elected official to hold the NASA administrator job. He joins a Cabinet already loaded with people who question the near-universal scientific consensus that climate change is real and that human activity is the primary cause.

The final vote ― which was 50-49 along party lines ― came one day after the Senate narrowly advanced Bridenstine’s nomination, thanks to an about-face from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and a key vote from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Rubio, who in September told Politico that he worried about Bridenstine’s nomination “could be devastating for the space program,” said in a statement Wednesday that he decided to support the nominee in order to avoid “a gaping leadership void” at NASA.

Much like the procedural vote on Wednesday, which was temporarily deadlocked at 49-49, Thursday’s confirmation ultimately hinged on Flake, who voted in favor only after a bit of drama that included a long discussion with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and stepping out for a phone call, as CNN’s Manu Raju reports.

Bridenstine will replace Robert Lightfoot Jr., who has been serving as acting administrator since previous NASA administrator, Charles Bolden Jr., resigned from his post in January.

In a statement following Thursday’s vote, Bridenstine said he is humbled by the opportunity. “I look forward to working with the outstanding team at NASA to achieve the President’s vision for American leadership in space,” he said.

[Huffington Post]

Trump, who labeled Rubio a ‘choke artist’ for needing water during speech, needs water during speech

A few years back, Sen. Marco Rubio got a little parched and needed to awkwardly swig from a bottle of water during his Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. For this, Donald Trump relentlessly ridiculed Rubio — spotlighting the incident at least eight times.

On Wednesday, President Trump met karma.

While speaking at the White House about his trip to Asia, Trump bent down behind the podium briefly before reemerging and explaining that there was no water down there. “They don’t have water,” Trump said. “That’s okay.”

Eventually, someone produced a bottle of water, which Trump gladly accepted and drank from. Then he did it again a couple minutes later.

This is something that would be unacceptable to the Old Donald Trump — a sign of a weak constitution.

In February 2016, Trump gesticulated while imitating Rubio: “ ‘I need water. Help me. I need water. Help.’ ”

He then added: “This is on live television. This total choke artist. …” He later tossed the bottle over his shoulder as the crowd roared.

Apparently, Trump believes people who need water during speeches are choke artists. In other words, by extension …

And then there are the tweets:

Trump also referenced Rubio’s need for hydration in a September 2015 appearance on “Morning Joe.”

“I’ve never seen a person sweat — I’ve never seen a guy down water like he downs water,” Trump said. “I’ve never seen — they bring it in buckets for this guy.”

How embarrassing.

Rubio, meanwhile, did a brief, more dignified victory dance.

[Washington Post]


Full campaign speech remarks:

Artist Threatened With Lawsuits If She Sells Nude Donald Trump Painting

Illma Gore's "Make America Great Again"

An infamous nude of Donald Trump has attracted bids of over $100,000 after it went on display at the Maddox Gallery in Mayfair, London, last week, but the artist is being anonymously threatened with legal action if she sells it, due to its resemblance to the Republican presidential hopeful.

The piece by Illma Gore, titled Make America Great Again, depicts Trump with a small penis. It went viral in February after the artist published it on her Facebook page and has since been censored on social media sites and delisted from eBay after the anonymous filing of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice threatening to sue Gore.

The Maddox Gallery in London offered to exhibit the painting after galleries in the US refused to host the piece due to security concerns following threats of violence from Trump’s supporters. Hundreds of visitors have queued to see the work.

Gore said: “The reaction, especially in the UK, has been incredibly supportive. Everywhere apart from America has been great. Who knew it would be such a big deal? I think an artist’s job is to take the times we’re living in and then set the scene. It is a representation of where we are.”

The LA-based artist has received thousands of death threats and travelled to the UK to escape the frenzy, agreeing to allow Mayfair to manage the sale of the controversial painting, now priced at $1 million.

Cordelia de Freitas, Maddox gallery director, said: “It only really got out of hand when Donald Trump referenced it in a debate, which sums up Trump and his ego. From there, everyone wanted to see this image.”

Gore believes her work inspired Marco Rubio’s comments about the size of Trump’s hands at a Virginia rally in late February, where he said: “And you know what they say about men with small hands? You can’t trust them.”

On 3 March, Trump responded: “[Rubio] referred to my hands, if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee.”

The size of Trump’s hands dominated the Republican primaries that week, and was even discussed at an editorial meeting with the Washington Post, where he defended his comments.

Trump’s sensitivity about his hands is believed to date back to Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter’s description of him as a “short-fingered vulgarian” in the 1980s.

Gore states she will donate her part of the fee for the painting to the charity Safe Place for Youth, a homeless shelter in Los Angeles.

(h/t The Guardian)


Donald Trump often threatens to sue as a scare tactic but rarely follows through, and when he does he usually loses.


Click here to see the NSFW painting. (You can’t unsee it.)

Rubio Claims Trump Hired Illegal Workers From Poland

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio charged Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump with hypocrisy for hiring undocumented immigrants for his real estate projects instead of American citizens.

“He hired from Poland, and he had to pay a million dollars or so in a judgment,” Rubio said. “That’s a fact. People can look it up. I’m sure people are Googling it right now, ‘Trump Polish workers.’ You’ll see $1 million for hiring illegal workers on one of his projects. He did.”

Politifact did some Googling and also reached out to the Rubio campaign, which referred them to media reports about a protracted class-action lawsuit involving his hiring of Polish aliens 36 years ago.

Sometime between 1979 and 1980, Trump hired a contractor to demolish an old building in midtown Manhattan to make way for Trump Tower. The contractor signed on workers from a local union and, to meet Trump’s tight deadline, also brought on 200 undocumented laborers from Poland dubbed the “Polish Brigade.”

The Polish employees were off-the-books, working 12-hour shifts seven days a week for $4 to $5 an hour, with no overtime. Some workers were never paid what they were owed.

In 1983, union members sued a union boss, Trump and his contractor for cheating the union out of pension and welfare funds by hiring the Polish Brigade. Trump owed the union pension fund $1 million, the plaintiffs said.

Appearing in court in 1990, Trump blamed the violations on the contractor and denied knowing that the Polish workers were undocumented.

The case dragged on until 1999 when Trump quietly settled, according to the New York Daily News, but the agreement was placed under seal.