Emoluments (it’s juicier than you think)

Who knew a dry subject like “Emoluments” (according to Webster: the returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites) could be interesting? The history involves live lions, a gold box with 408 diamonds, elephant tusks, a Persian rug, and more.

Background: trump has refused from the beginning to release his tax returns and refused to relinquish his business interests. Despite blinding their operation during his term and putting his sons in charge (is that a double negative?), he’ll still reap the benefits after removal from office. The governments of Maryland and the District of Columbia sued the president for violating the Constitution’s Article 1, Section 9, prohibiting the receipt of gifts and business revenue from “any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

They claim his eponymous hotel near the White House is preferred by visiting officials who believe their room expenses will serve well in trump’s mind for them. This takes potential revenue from other hotels in D.C. and Maryland (damage: an important point to establish legal standing). The latest development is a US District Court judge in Greenbelt, MD, agreed. The suit moves forward over the objection of trump lawyers and the Department of Justice (our tax dollars at work).

There is more color to the history and foundation of the emoluments clause that one might expect.
Continue reading “Emoluments (it’s juicier than you think)”

Science Denial Explained … using Science!

by Christina Boardman, Contributing Science Writer, IndivisibleSB

On Earth Day April 22, 2017, over one million people around the world – concerned about recent efforts to discredit science – took to the streets for the “March for Science.” Thousands marched here in Santa Barbara (see image of partial crowd). This support for science is heartening. The efforts to discredit science and scientists are not recent. Science education researchers have been concerned about growing “science denial” for many years now. Science denial is not just refusing to believe “science.” It includes a lack of trust in the process, itself. Continue reading “Science Denial Explained … using Science!”

The Truth About Uranium One

This is an “Outside Explainer” about the 2010 uranium deal republicans are using to muddy the waters about Russian connections. It comes from the respected factchecking organization, FactCheck.org. Now that the republican-chaired House committees on Intelligence (Rep. Devin Nunes, CA-22) and Oversight (Rep. Trey Gowdy, SC-04) have opened investigations, we expect to see a lot of smoke(screen) created. The explainer outlines the history of the transaction, the regulatory hoops it went through, and some of the principals involved.  Continue reading “The Truth About Uranium One”

Climate Change Explained

This is an “Outside Explainer” on Climate Change from the New York Times, a news outlet covering events of the world. While we might wish a science topic like this to be above politics and beyond the destructive reach of the Trump administration, of course it is not. This explainer has short non-science answers to  17 good questions, including suggestions for what to do.  Continue reading “Climate Change Explained”