Bleats

The US Government Has Reopened After The Longest-Ever Shutdown, But It’s Only Brief

The government only has enough funding until February 15th.

After the longest government shutdown in American history, President Trump has agreed to temporarily reopen the government.

He announced that a deal had been reached to reopen the government, but only for 3 weeks while lawmakers try to make a deal regarding immigration and border security. The 35-day shutdown ends without the allocation of the $5.7 billion Trump demanded for his border wall.

That doesn’t mean he’s given up on building the wall, though. Speaking to reporters, Trump referenced his ability to declare a national emergency to build the border wall, although as The Guardian points out, many legal experts disagree.

Trump praised the “extraordinary devotion” of federal employees who continued to work throughout the shutdown, and said that he will “make sure that all employees receive their backpay very quickly”. Roughly 1800 GoFundMes have been created in the past six weeks to support federal employees who weren’t being paid as a result of the shutdown.

The announcement follows yesterday’s arrest of one of Trump’s former advisers, Roger Stone. He was charged with witness tampering, obstruction of an official proceeding, and making false statements.

The temporary nature of the funding means that if there’s no deal by February 15th, Trump can shut down the government once more, as he clearly stated in a tweet this morning, writing: “…in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”

Nonetheless, this three-week reprieve will come as a relief to the 800,000 federal employees who continued working throughout the shutdown. Here’s hoping the Democrats continue to refuse to fund Trump’s wall, and that he just accepts defeat and doesn’t throw the country into chaos again. But that doesn’t sound very Trump-like, does it? Shame.

Barack Obama's End Of Year Lists Will Make You Wish Your Parents Were This Cool

Courtney Barnett is on there, you guys.

Former President Barack Obama has shared end-of-year lists of his favourite songs, movies and books of the year, and he’ll make you wish you (or your parents) were this cool.

 

Highlights from his list of favourite songs of 2018 include ‘Make Me Feel’ by Janelle Monáe (what, not ‘Pynk’???), ‘Apeshit’ by The Carters, and ‘Need A Little Time’ by our very own Courtney Barnett. What?! Courtney has officially made it, if a former US President (and one of the more tolerable ones) is recommending her stuff. Huge.

As for his favourite movies, the list includes Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Roma and Annihilation. 

Cinephiles have a lot of opinions about what was left off this list.

Personally, I’m upset that The Favourite isn’t on there.

The last list he shared was his list of favourite books, and topping the list is Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, because he’s nothing if not a supportive husband.

Also included were Zadie Smith’s Feel Free, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and There There by Tommy Orange, which, coincidentally, I am currently reading, and thoroughly enjoying.

An interesting inclusion is Why Liberalism Failed by political scientist and professor Patrick Deneen. Its inclusion is interesting because, at least according to one Twitter user, much of Deneen’s argument could be seen as blaming Obama for liberalism’s failures.

Evidently, unlike other, more recent Presidents, Obama doesn’t avoid criticism or different viewpoints. According to his book list, at least.

So there you go. If you wanted some recommendations for things to consume over the summer, look no further than this 57-year-old man’s Instagram.

Trump Reveals The Design For His Border Wall, And It Looks Like He Did It In MS Paint

Is a barrier the same thing as a wall?

Trump revealed the design for his infamous Mexican Border Wall on Twitter earlier this morning, just as the question of funding for the wall was leading the US government towards a partial shutdown.

He described it as a “steel slat barrier” that is “totally effective while at the same time beautiful” which is a strange thing to say about a wall of spikes, frankly. A dog is beautiful. A newborn baby is beautiful. A spiky wall? Not so much beautiful as it is hostile.

And after all Trump’s talk of this wall, is this design really all he has to show for it? It looks like it’s from a WikiHow guide. It looks like it was designed by someone with the bare minimum design skills that are presumably required to work for Trump. Anyone with experience in MS Paint is welcome to apply!

 

The issue of who will be paying for the construction of this wall has been a contentious one. Trump originally wanted Mexico to pay for the wall, but that idea was quickly quashed, now the US government is in disarray as politicians can’t reach an agreement on government spending, which includes funding for the wall.

Without an approved budget, the government goes into a partial shutdown, meaning hundreds of thousands of federal employees will stop being paid at midnight on Saturday. More than 50% of the employees affected will still be expected to work, however, including airport employees, prison guards, FBI agents and border patrol agents.

This is the first time in 40 years that the government has shutdown three times in one year.

The President back then was Jimmy Carter, and three of the four shutdowns that occurred during his presidency were because the House didn’t want to make it easier for abortions to be covered by federal funding.

Trump has previously said that he would be “proud” to shutdown the government, so I’m sure he’s feeling incredibly proud right now. What an achievement.

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