The U.S. Navy destroyers, USS Porter and the USS Ross fired 59 Tomahawk missiles late Thursday that targeted the airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas of a Syrian military air base that U.S. officials believe launched a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians this week.
The U.S. Navy posted this footage of missile launches from the Porter on YouTube:
The Navy has since posted more footage from the Porter here and even more here. It turns out, some of the ship’s other interesting exploits are available online, too.
The Porter, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, is the fifth Navy ship to be named after Commodore David Porter and his son Admiral David Dixon Porter. The ship’s home port is at Naval Station Rota in Spain and is assigned to the Navy’s Sixth Fleet, which patrols the Mediterranean Sea.
The ship had launched its long-range missiles into Syria from a position in the eastern Mediterranean, but the Porter’s patrol areas also have extended into the Black Sea, where just two months ago in February, Russian fighter jets buzzed the ship.
The Porter also made headlines nearly 5 years ago when a collision with a Japanese oil tanker in the Arabian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz and damaged its superstructure. No one was reported injured, but the Navy replaced the Porter‘s captain, Cmdr. Martin Arriola with Cmdr. Dave Richardson.
The crew of the Porter, led by the ship’s first female skipper, Cmdr. Andria L. Slough, opened up the ship to cameras for a video tour:
Even magicians are getting political these days. Across the world, “magical groups” are organizing to cast a mass spell on President Donald Trump every waning crescent moon starting Friday until — they’re hoping — he is removed from office, according to ExtraNewsfeed.
The instructions suggest participants gather a small photo of Donald Trump, a tower tarot card, a “tiny stub of an orange candle,” a white candle, matches and other materials to enact the ritual.
To perform the spell, according to the document posted by ExtraNewsfeed, one simply needs to chant a song, light a picture of Trump on fire, and then visualize him “blowing apart into dust or ash.” For the more advanced: “Experienced magicians may perform an appropriate banishing ritual,” the blog advises. And anyone wanting to use the former “The Apprentice” host’s words against him can chant “You’re fired!” with “increasing vehemence.”
The blog post concedes that Vice President Mike Pence may become president if the spell works its magic on Trump, but cheerfully notes that the spell will result in eased tension and cause a “self-exorcism” in the spellcaster.
A Pennsylvania state senator has come to the defense of an unnamed Texas state senator whose career President Donald Trump threatened to “destroy,” by tweeting, “Why don’t you try to destroy my career you fascist, loofa-faced, (expletive)-gibbon!”
Hey @realDonaldTrump I oppose civil asset forfeiture too! Why don't you try to destroy my career you fascist, loofa-faced, shit-gibbon!
Daylin Leach’s strong words follow the release of a video showing a White House sheriffs meeting, in which Trump says, “Who is the state senator? Do you want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career.” At the time, Trump was speaking to a North Texas sheriff who complained of a state senator wanting to “introduce legislation that would require law enforcement agencies to get a conviction before seizing an offender’s assets.”
Before daring Trump to target his own career, Leach says that he too opposes civil asset forfeiture.
“President Trump blithely talked about destroying the career of a man who disagreed with Trump on a policy issue. Then Trump laughed about it, which is just what you’d expect from someone who gets his kicks firing people on national television. Trump just continues to undermine democratic norms, America’s system of checks and balances, and the general principle of human decency. Senator Leach is mad as hell about it, as you can see from his tweet.”
When it rains, it pours. This adage applies to both weather and viral photos of former U.S. presidents.
During Friday’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C., former U.S. President (and Texas Gov.) George W. Bush stole the show from President Donald Trump for a brief, befuddled moment. It seems Bush got himself tangled in his rain poncho as he sat in the audience.
The New York Times reported that the changing of the @-handle (that most sacred of inaugural traditions) occurred almost immediately after the swearing-in kicked off. NBC News has reported that the president plans to continue using his @RealDonaldTrump account as his personal mode of social communication.
“Many on Twitter noted that when the @Potus account was unveiled with Mr. Trump’s picture, it bore as its cover photo a stock image that was taken at Mr. Obama’s first inauguration. The photo was quickly changed, to a zoomed-in stock photo of an enormous American flag.”
The first Trump-era tweet from @POTUS? A transcript of his inaugural address.
The presidential inauguration is here. In a swearing-in ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. Friday, Donald Trump will take the oath of office and become the 45th president of the United States. Follow live as the American-Statesman covers reaction to the inauguration in Austin and across Texas. Chief political reporter Jonathan Tilove and columnist Ken Herman are in Washington, D.C., to send a Texan take on the transfer of presidential power.
6:30 p.m.: As Donald Trump signs executive orders in the White House, demonstrators are marching through Austin to denounce his presidency. Follow Statesman reporter Phil Jankowski, who is with the marchers:
5:40 p.m.: Earlier, Statesman reporter Elizabeth Findell spent time with Kealing Middle School students on Tuesday as they grappled with the inauguration of a president they see as threatening. Here’s her report:
Fourteen-year-old Pearl Heinley wore a jean jacket embroidered with “Nasty Woman” to school Friday, where she and her classmates shared views about the inauguration of President Donald Trump and peaceful transfer of power in the United States.
She and a few peers at Kealing Middle School said they are concerned about the new president and particularly worried about the treatment of women and reproductive issues.
“I was definitely frustrated at first because, especially as a kid, you don’t have a say,” said Ava Motes, 13. “You can talk to your parents, but you can’t vote yourself, so it makes you feel powerless.”
“The stuff that’s affecting us, personally, we don’t have any say in,” agreed Ella Glasscock, 13. “That’s not very settling.”
Teacher Shannon Jones, who has taught at Kealing since 2001, remembers teaching through 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. But no day was as difficult as the day after this election, when many students were crying and scared about Trump’s election, she said.
Friday, in the hour before Trump formally took the oath of office, Jones guided her 8th grade U.S. History class through a discussion about the democratic process. The students read inaugural addresses from past presidents including George W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, John Adams and Abraham Lincoln and listened to a song from Broadway’s Hamilton about George Washington leaving office.
“Everybody in the world is like ‘What? They’re stepping down?’” Jones paraphrased the “I Know Him” song, about King George’s perplexed reaction to Washington voluntarily giving up power.
That moment, her students said in discussion, is even more important than winning an election.
“During the election we’re split, Democrats and Republicans, and the inauguration is saying ‘This is our president,” one boy said. “You have to accept it now.”
Glasscock countered that much of the country is protesting, rather than accepting, the election result. Another girl said even if citizens are divided, it’s the reaction of the leadership that’s significant.
“It’s more about the fact that this old president is recognizing that the person coming in is worthy,” the girl said.
Erica Moomaw, 13, said afterwards that she appreciated the lesson and discussion.
“I hadn’t thought that much about how it’s always peaceful,” she said of inaugurations. “It made me dread today less.”
4:35 p.m.: At Eastside Memorial High School, about 60 students, some with signs, also walked out of campus at about 3:30 p.m.
Before heading to Auditorium Shores – some going by bus, others in personal vehicles – the Eastside Memorial students marched around the block, chanting, “Love, not hate,” and carrying signs with the same words.
Earlier, more than 100 students at McCallum High School walked out of class to protest Trump.
‘Twerk the Inauguration’ and other non-celebratory events
4:11 p.m.: Statesman reporter Marty Toohey spent some time today with students who were taking a less traditional approach to dealing with the inauguration of a president they don’t like
At Eastside Memorial High School, about 40 students, some with signs, also walked out of campus at about 3:30 p.m.:
Jude John was among those Austinites for whom Inauguration Day was a day of disappointment.
John, an 18-year-old University of Texas freshman, wore an “American is Already Great” T-shirt to his morning classes. After President Trump finished his inaugural speech, John chose to focus on what he considers “the graciousness the Obamas displayed” during the transition, while also noting that in his view Republicans never gave Obama a chance to work with them.
He said that although he opposes Trump generally, Americans should “support the president but hold him accountable every step of the way.”
One group of UT students decided to deal with disappointment over the presidential outcome by organizing a “Twerk the Inauguration” workshop as an alternative to watching the inauguration. During the early portions of the inauguration, 15 of them were attending the workshop, which was overseen by Omise’ke Tinsley, a professor of African-American diaspora studies.
“We wanted to make sure students had a space for self-care,” Omise’ke said.
At St. Edwards University, 38 students and faculty members gathered in a campus ballroom for a “Presidential Inauguration and Tribal Politics” round-table-style session.
The discussion was inspired by articles about whether the Democrats had focused too much on identity politics and missed potential class-based appeals, said organizer by Jack Musselman, the director of St. Ed’s Center for Ethics and Leadership.
It covered a gamut of concerns from a liberal perspective: that social media is not an inclusive medium, that Republicans have been more effective at framing themselves as champions of the working class than Democrats, that dislike for traditional political skills could lead not only to the ascension of governing novices such Trump on the right but candidates on the left such as Mark Zuckerberg.
There were few obvious answers for bridging the political and cultural divides, according to the general consensus of the participants.
“I have relatives (and) the things they spew on social media, if I didn’t know them, I’d say, ‘Who is this wackadoo?” one participant said, adding, “but they’re really nice people when you meet them.”
Lynn Rudloff, who teaches writing and rhetoric at St. Ed’s, said Democrats have also allowed themselves to be portrayed “as elitists” who do not want to hear the concerns of others, making cross-party appeals more difficult.
Musselman said a main issue is that the “public square,” as it used to exist – literally, public squares where people of differing political opinions could mingle – have given way to ideological echo chambers.
Though wide ranging, a central theme that Democrats had too little to appeal to working-class voters.
“How are you going to reach the 40 percent of Trump supporters who live in rural areas,” one participant asked.
“Yeah, I have no silver bullet for that,” Musselman said.
Texans in Washington watch Trump
3:50 p.m.: Statesman reporter Jonathan Tilove has spotted some Texans taking in the pomp and circumstance in Washington.
2:45 p.m.: Student protesters marching from the University of Texas to the state Capitol are causing police to shut down roads in Central Austin. Follow Brianna Stone on Twitter to keep track of where the protesters are.
2:32 p.m.: Students are marching at the University of Texas to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration, chanting, “No justice, no peace.”
Check out this video of the scene, and read the following report from the Statesman’s Ralph Haurwitz:
At the University of Texas, an enthusiastic band of protesters — many wearing T-shirts or scarves covering the lower half of their faces — chanted anti-Trump slogans from the steps of the Main Mall just south of the Tower. Besides “Good night, alt-right” and “We do not consent, Trump is not our president,” there were many chants, as well as signs, laced with profanity and Nazi references.
UT French professor Beatriz Schleppe, standing off to the side, said of the new president: “I just want him to be quiet and not say stupid things.” Anna Lamphear, a UT librarian, sat on a wall with a sign that said “Defend Dignity.” Said Lamphear: “I felt like a lot of the rhetoric around the election was trying to strip people’s dignity away.”
Sophomore Nick Armstrong, wearing one of Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” caps, said he supports the right to protest but was disappointed in the profanity and chants likening some of the presidents’ backers to Nazis.
Campus police said most of the people in the crowd, which numbered several hundred at one point, weren’t chanting but were instead watching for a while and then moving on. The protesters marched around campus before setting off south on Guadalupe Street.
Texas Republicans in Washington react to Trump’s speech
2:05 p.m.: Statesman reporter Jonathan Tilove, reporting from Washington, talked about Trump’s inauguration address with an early Trump backer from Texas and with a former chairman of the state GOP.
Carl Tepper of Lubbock was with Trump from the start. A former party chairman and chair of the GOP state chairs organization, Tepper was for a long time – before Ted Cruz dropped out of the race – the top ranking Texas party official in the Trump campaign.
Tepper, who lived in Austin for eight years in the early 2000s and served on the city’s Transportation Commission, got superb seats for himself and his wife, Robin, for the inaugural ceremony from his new congressman, Jodey Arrington. Watching Trump get sworn in – the Teppers’ first inauguration – was “one of the most amazing things I think we’ve ever done.”
“It was absolutely fantastic,” Tepper said. “ I was glad that Donald Trump was Donald Trump. He didn’t back down. Once again it was an American-centric speech, about America first. It was what his supporters wanted to hear, and that’s what he delivered.”
“And now it’s time for them to really roll up their sleeves and deliver,” Tepper said.
“It’s just a monumental moment for people like me who were working for something that sometimes seemed like such a long shot. It’s deeply satisfying and vindicating to see him get sworn in.”
Former Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri said that what Trump delivered Friday was less a traditional inaugural address, than a prototypical Trump campaign speech.
“I thought he laid down a marker that his administration is going to be consistent with his campaign.” Munisteri said. “He is going to be unapologetically pursuing his message, and that’s a message that people who opposed to him in the past are not happy with. He’s not going to alter the course of the administration from the messaging that was in the campaign”
“It was not a kumbaya speech. It was almost a clarion call to the people that supported him that they can count on him to do and to be Donald Trump,” Munisteri said. `This is what I said in the campaign. This is what I’m saying now, and that’s what we are going to go out and do. Get used to it.
Muinsteri left the chairmanship of the Texas GOP in 2015 to become a senior adviser to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign. Last spring, in advance of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Munsiteri went to work as a consultant to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who, as of Friday, is now chief of staff to President Donald Trump.
That gig ended Thursday. Munisteri spent the night at the Texas Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball, and when he got home at midnight there was the message from the RNC payroll department asking him where they wanted him to send his last paycheck. Munisteri doesn’t know whether he will stay in Washington or return to Texas, either his hometown of Houston, or the political hub of Austin.
Munisteri watched the Inaugural Address from his overpriced, month-by-month apartment near Union Station because, after a long night before in boots, his feet preferred that.
Adler receives letter from Obama
1:59 p.m.: Austin Mayor Steve Adler posted on Twitter a letter he received from now-former President Barack Obama.
1:13 p.m.: The UT students who walked out of class after the inauguration and who are protesting Trump are part of a national movement using the social media hashtags #DisruptJ20 and #J20 and aiming to turn the Jan. 20 inauguration into a “festival of disruption.”
We call on our fellow students, faculty, and coworkers to join us in walking out for a full day of actions on January 20th alongside hundreds of thousands–if not millions–of others nationwide who will be protesting, marching, striking, and organizing resistance to the incoming regime.. J20 OC proposes as part of this day of action, we make the following demands:
No UT cooperation with ICE, the establishment of UT as a sanctuary campus, an end to deportations, closure of immigrant detention centers, and promotions of policies allowing freedom of movement for all.
UT and the City of Austin welcome refugees and provide support in finding housing, work, and access to schools, healthcare, and other resources.
No platform to white nationalists on campus, including openly racist student groups and speakers.
Immigration advocates offering advice for Trump era
1:05 p.m.: Ahori Sí reporter Perla Arellano is reporting on what immigration advocates in Austin are doing to prepare for Trump’s presidency:
Local immigration advocates are telling unauthorized immigrants to hold off on applying to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, now that Donald Trump has been sworn in as president.
About an hour and a half before the UT walkout, the education equity coordinator for the University Leadership Initiative, Maya Guevara, said that they have been taking this approach because of the program’s uncertain future.
Trump has not clarified what he will do with the program that was instated by President Barack Obama in 2012, and immigrant advocacy groups do not want the information of new applicants to be available to the next administration. The program gives qualifying young undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children limited the ability to legally work and go to school in the United States under temporary protection from deportation.
However, they have been telling those who already have DACA to reapply, said Guevara. The University Leadership Initiative at UT, which advocates for undocumented students, was involved with the anti-Trump J20 Organizing Committee and the student walkout.
“It’s important to make a statement that this is not OK,” Guevara said. “The policies that we’ve heard are not OK. We will do everything we can to stand up for our immigrant community.”
The third-year Latin American Studies major said that although she is not undocumented, it was important for her to stand alongside her fellow classmates and family members who are. “I will show up and be loud and put my body on the line and fight for them and my family,” she said.
Protesters disrupt conservative watch party
12:30 p.m.: There appear to be protesters at the inauguration watch party and panel discussion of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank in Austin. From Statesman reporter Asher Price:
Following a policy discussion after the Trump speech, TPPF opened the floor to questions. The first came from a woman who said she was named Dani: “I want to know how you can stand by someone who is a white supremacist?”
As the room laughed at her, another audience member, Jake Allen, stood up and started warning of mass graves along the border.
Both were hustled out of the auditorium by security.
12:10 p.m.: Statesman education reporter Melissa Taboada watched the inauguration with eighth graders at KIPP Austin Vista:
Eighth grade students at KIPP Austin Vista in South Austin watched the inauguration, connecting aspects of it to their study of the Constitution.
In requests to 15 Central Texas traditional public school districts in Travis, Williamson, Hays and Bastrop counties, and a few local charter schools in Austin, the eighth grade class was the only one that the American-Statesman could find that was showing the inauguration ceremony to students.
The students largely had questions about the attendees, their government roles and what former President Obama would do after leaving office.
Several students lamented with cries of “no,” as President Trump took the oath of office. Others said they were surprised he was elected.
“This is the first time I knew what was happening,” said Ethan Estrada-Stroud, 13, who followed the presidential election with his family. “It’s shocking that that they would let someone who said so many things and talked so horribly about minorities and people who don’t have a voice. My stomach was churning.”.
Assistant Principal Adaugo Ogike-Love said she and social studies teacher Corey Jones discussed whether to show the ceremony to students but decided it was a solid learning experience.
“No matter how we feel about it, it’s education for the kids and we need to put it on and they need to see it,” Ogike-Love said. “To be able to teach social studies during any kind of election is just really an incredible
Noon: Donald Trump is president, the Obamas have departed Washington, and protesters are readying at the Texas Capitol.
Anti-Trump protesters chanting "Good night, alt-right" at UT.
11:30 a.m.: Statesman reporter Asher Price watched the inauguration at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative Austin think tank:
A packed house at the Texas Public Policy Foundation heartily applauded Trump’s speech.
“Here, here,” someone shouted to a line of Trump’s about the just and reasonable demands of righteous people.
“Yessir!” another audience member exclaimed when Trump declared, “America first.”
Lines about eradicating Islamic terrorism and total allegiance to the United States also won lusty applause.
When Trump said he was looking to the future, not the past, the camera settled on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and the audience burst into happy laughter.
11:20 a.m.: Another dispatch from Statesman reporter Jonathan Tilove at the inauguration:
Grace Germany, 80, of Austin, got a ticket to the Inauguration from U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith. A Travis County GOP election judge, Germany calls herself an “oddball Trump supporter.” She has called him a “blowhard” and worse. She thinks government has no business policing social policy or personal behavior, but she is a devoted capitalist who thinks Trump can revive the country without getting bogged down in irrelevancies. “I’m no Bible thumper,” she said.
11:15 a.m.: As Trump delivers his inaugural address, Oscar Silva, political director of the Democratic group Battleground Texas, issued the following statement:
“While the Inauguration of any American President is a historic moment, it’s Donald Trump’s personal history that is top of mind for millions of families across the nation today. Trump has a decades-long record of support for hate, misogyny, exclusion, and inequality. Most recently, from his campaign driven by fear-mongering and divisive rhetoric to his selections for the Cabinet, he has shown he does not intend to push our nation forward but will instead continue to try and divide us, weaken us, and mock us.
“But, this is not who America is. This country has been put through the fire over and over and we have always come out stronger, more united, and better than before. Fair-minded Americans have always fought for human and civil rights, and the next years will be no exception. We, the United States, will not be bullied by a man who enters office as the least popular President-elect in history, who lost the popular vote by 3 million, and was rejected by 54% of voters. We are brothers and sisters who will once again protect one another and stand up for each other – today for you, and tomorrow for me.
“The highest office in our country is meant for leaders who hold the interest and well-being of America in their hearts. From Texas and across the nation we stand ready as ever to continue the fight for justice for all.”
11:05 a.m.: Statesman reporter Claire Osborn is at a Williamson County GOP inauguration watch party.
About 20 people at Mel's Lonestar Lanes bowling alley in Georgetown for inaugural watch party in the sports bar at the business
10:50 a.m.: Statesman reporter Jonathan Tilove, who is at the inauguration, caught up with the Lil’ Wranglers of Bryan. Here’s his report:
Carol Nichols of Bryan, Texas, is at the inaugural for two reasons.
To celebrate the presidency of Donald Trump.
To be there to watch the Lil’ Wranglers, the country-western dance troop from College Station, directed by Nichols’ cousin, Sharon Toups, perform at the Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball, and at the Inaugural Parade. She flew in with the Wranglers on a charter from Bryan/College Station.
Nichols, who is on the executive committee of the Brazos County Republican Party, was originally a Ted Cruz supporter. She is a person of deep faith. It took her a while to warm to Trump, but she says, “God works in mysterious ways.”
“I felt like from the beginning, we need a change and I would support the Republican Party candidate because we need conservative values and we needed someone to to pull us back to the right.”
Trump was that man.
Nichols spent the last ten day of the campaign in Des Moines, Iowa, as part of the Mighty American Strike Force, a Texas invention in which activists from red states volunteer in critical swing states.
As the election approached she couldn’t square the massive crowds Trump was attracting with the media narrative that Hillary Clinton was a certain winner.
“I thought it was going to be close,” she said. On Election Day, Nichols, back from Iowa, was a GOP election judge in Kurten, a rural area in Brazos County.
Concentrating on the voting there all day, “I didn’t know what was going. But when the polls closed and my husband came to pick me up he said, `Carol, it looks like he’s winning..’ I was crying I was so happy. If we had another four years (of a Democrat) we could lose the First Amendment, the Second Amendment.”
10:20 a.m.: As former presidents, campaign donors, Trump family members and other notables file into the platform where Trump will soon be sworn in, check out the Statesman’s primer on Texas issues to watch in the Trump era.
Five Texas issues to watch during the Trump years
1. Immigration. From his plans to build a 2,000-mile long border wall to his calls for mass deportations, the hallmark issue of President Donald Trump’s campaign was illegal immigration. Early in the campaign, Trump stopped in Laredo to stress the point, meeting with Border Patrol officers and speaking to reporters.
If Trump follows through on his plans, Texas will be on the front lines. The state is home to about 15 percent of the country’s unauthorized immigrants, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, and about half of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump’s actions on immigration also will have an impact on the Texas Legislature, where lawmakers are waiting to see what the federal government will do before deciding to what extent they want to continue Texas’ border security campaign. The state is spending $800 million on border security in the current two-year budget.
2. NAFTA. On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement, which eliminated tariffs between the U.S., Canada and Mexico and was negotiated by George H.W. Bush’s administration.
NAFTA, Trump argued, allowed manufacturing jobs to flood out of the country. But in Texas, where there is a vibrant cross-border economy, many GOP officials and business leaders are among NAFTA’s strongest supporters.
The issue promises to scramble the typical partisan divide. If Trump moves to abandon or significantly alter NAFTA, watch for Republicans in Texas’ congressional delegation to break ranks with their party’s leader and for labor union-friendly Democrats to be more in line with Trump.
3. Fossil fuel regulation. Trump has at times appeared to be a steadfast climate change denier, saying in the past that it is a “hoax,” and at other times has appeared open to the broad scientific consensus on the issue, telling The New York Times in November that there is “some connectivity” between rising temperatures and human activity.
While it’s not clear where Trump stands on climate change, it is clear that he and his administration will be less interested in using federal regulation to reduce carbon emissions than was the Obama administration.
Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is a leading denier of climate change. That’s music to the ears of the oil and gas companies and Republican politicians in Texas who have fought tooth and nail against former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
4. All those lawsuits. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton; his predecessor, Gov. Greg Abbott; and Abbott’s former solicitor general, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, developed their political reputations by suing the Obama administration over everything from immigration policy to school bathrooms.
The Lone Star State’s litigiousness promises to lessen significantly in the Trump era for several reasons. Most obviously, Trump will likely undo many of the policies Abbott and Paxton found objectionable and is less likely to push new ones they oppose.
Additionally, Texas’ Republican leaders will have less political room to sue a president of their party.
5. Obamacare. Under Trump’s direction, Republicans in Congress are rushing to prepare to “repeal and replace” Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act.
While the GOP will certainly have the votes needed to repeal Obamacare, it’s not yet clear what they plan to replace it with. That uncertainty is causing disagreement among Republicans on Capitol Hill, with some clamoring for the fastest possible way to kill the law and others unwilling to cut off health insurance to millions of Americans without a plan for replacement.
Texas leads the nation in the percent of its residents who lack health insurance. A May report by Rice University’s Baker Institute showed that the number of Texans without insurance has declined by about 30 percent since the start of Obamacare, even though state leaders didn’t opt to expand Medicaid under the law.
9:30 a.m.: The inauguration will take place in our nation’s capital within the next two hours, but there’s plenty of inauguration-related activities going on in Texas’ capital today as well.
March for Justice and Families — 5 to 8 p.m. Friday. Marchers will meet at 5 p.m. at Vic Mathias Shores, 900 W. Riverside Drive, march together up Congress Avenue towards the Capitol and then march back Lady Bird Lake for a rally starting about 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.oneresistance.com. A group of University of Texas students is also planning an event called J20 UT Walkout on Friday that will join the OneResistance march.
Women’s March on ATX — 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Marchers will meet on the south lawn of the Capitol in advance of the march, which begins at noon and takes a circular route from the Capitol on 11th Street, south on Congress Avenue, west on Sixth Street, and north on Lavaca Street to return to the Capitol to hear speakers. For more information, visit marchonaustin.com.
8:15 a.m.: Not all protests involve chanting and sign-toting. Here’s a report from Statesman reporter Julie Chang, who’s with a group of Central Texans who don’t like Trump but are taking a different approach:
Dozens of Central Texans today will try to do good in lieu of celebrating the inauguration of a president that they say they didn’t vote for.
Some of them showed up at 6 a.m. on the corner of 44th Street and Burnet Road to pick up trash as a part of a series of volunteer events Friday coordinated by the organization One20. The events, which are happening in four cities across the country, are meant to give people an opportunity to do acts of service instead of watching the swearing in of president-elect Donald Trump.
The idea behind One20 came to Susanne Harrington, an Austin resident and Hillary Clinton supporter, as she tried to digest the results of the election – one she describes as a loss of civility – and explain them to her 12-year-old son.
“I wondered how we should spend the day and decided to spend it and many days before and after just trying to show a better way to behave, to set a better example,” said Harrington, who helped start the organization. “It’s the little stuff that’s going to matter.”
The project is a nonpartisan effort, co-spearheaded by Jon Mertz of Dallas, a Republican.
Andria Miner brought her 8-year-old daughter just before dawn to pick up trash. Walking around Ramsey Park, Miner said that she wanted to show her daughter and other children that acts of services are more important than ever.
“I’m not very excited about the inauguration today so I wanted to start the day by doing something good,” Miner said.
Ashley Thompson, who helped coordinate the trash pick-up for One20, will not be watching the inauguration ceremonies which kicks off in an hour. She said it will be business as usual, but she’ll try to be extra kind today.
“I want (my kids) to realize we can do things on a small scale and that we can be productive with our emotions,” Thompson said.
7:35 a.m.: A coalition of students, faculty and staff at the University of Texas that will be protesting the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Friday issued a set of demands on Facebook earlier in the day.
No platform for white nationalists on campus, “including openly racist student groups and speakers.”
Full and free access to healthcare for all, including reproductive and mental health care services on campus.
Increased access to affordable student housing near UT.
“Stronger workers’ rights and protections for all UT workers, including the freedom to organize and join unions and collectively bargain over conditions of work, and extension of these rights to all public and private workers.”
Ending UT’s relationship with companies like Nike that, the group says, “profit off the use of sweatshop labor with workers subjected to intolerable conditions and abuses daily producing Longhorn Apparel.”
An end to the campus carry that went into effect last August that allows concealed carry license holders to bring handguns to UT.
A living wage for all UT employees.
6:40 a.m.: The inauguration may be Friday, but for Texans in Washington, the party started Thursday night.
The 2017 Black Tie & Boots Presidential Inaugural Ball, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, and president of the Texas State Society in D.C., drew thousands of guests, including Austinites of different stripes – from high school dancers to top Texas officials.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promised he’d attend with a pair of black crocodile boots and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he’d wear black ostrich leg boots. Both pairs would have the Texas seal on them, they said.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was also at the event, wearing cayman alligator boots. Miller, a former contendant for Trump’s secretary of agriculture, said he was just as happy to not leave Texas after Trump appointed Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for the Cabinet post.
Miller, one of Trump’s most loyal advisers during the presidential race, said he had ordered a hat, boots, saddle, spurs, and cuff links to give to Trump. Everything was Texas-made, except the spurs, which came from Arizona, he said.
6 a.m.: Watch this space for updates throughout the day.
Between local watch parties for new episodes and all of your Facebook friends changing their profile picture to them sitting in the “Iron Throne” during SXSW, it’s pretty clear Austinites really love “Game of Thrones.” Now there’s data to back it up and even reveal what other TV shows locals are (or aren’t) “liking.”
The New York Times took the top 50 most-“liked” TV shows on Facebook and mapped their popularity by ZIP code. Less popular shows in a particular area are colored in white and those that were more popular are shaded in a deep purple, with the spectrum including shades of cream, soft pink and light purple. Beyond presenting which shows are “liked” where, the maps also display how TV preferences can correlate with political ones.
Austin residents are “above average” fans of the HBO show “Game of Thrones,” ABC sitcom “Modern Family” and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” In fact, all three of those shows being more popular here follows the national trend of their favorability in urban, liberal-leaning cities.
The Times even singled out Austin on one of its maps, highlighting the Texas capital’s appreciation for the FX show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” The map notes the show’s popularity is higher in college towns.
Austin follows some other interesting trends, such as shows like “Duck Dynasty” being less popular in urban areas than the rest rural Texas. The A&E show is one of the three examples listed in the results for the city’s “below average” fans. The others include “NCIS” on CBS and NBC’s “The Voice,” all of which are most common to watch in rural areas.
Other shows which perform in the “less popular” end of the spectrum in Austin include CBS’ “Criminal Minds” and MTV’s “Teen Mom.” On the flipside, “Saturday Night Live,” and Comedy Central’s “Tosh.o” point Central Texas toward the “more popular” extreme.
At this point, “Keep Austin Weird” has become more of a callback to a bygone era than an actual lifestyle tip. But every now and then, something happens here that truly couldn’t happen anywhere else. And in 2016, a year that has proven to keep getting weirder by the day, Austin City Council provided us with some truly odd moments.
Whether it involved zombies, Satanists or salamander DNA testing, this year’s top 5 strangest moments from Austin City Council proved that if nothing else, we have some unique legislative matters in Austin.
In June, while Mayor Steve Alder and Council Members Delia Garza and Ann Kitchen were in Washington, D.C., campaigning for a $40 million federal transportation grant in the Smart City Challenge, the three conservative members left on the council (Don Zimmerman, Ellen Troxclair and Sheri Gallo) tried to block several items on that meeting’s agenda from passing. One of those items was a $210,000 grant to the Salvation Army to expand social services at the Austin Shelter for Women and Children (already included in the budget).
Twitter fingers turned to butter fingers for Council Member Leslie Pool back in January after she accidentally tweeted about Council Member Sheri Gallo in what was supposed to be a direct message.
Pool posted the tweet after she and Gallo split on a rule change for certain kinds of planned unit developments – including one known as The Grove at Shoal Creek, a controversial development that Pool opposed at the time while Gallo supported it.
“It was intended to be a private message, but I should never speak badly about my colleagues,” Pool told the Statesman at the time.
In September, amid a DNA rape kit backlog at Austin’s police crime lab (which would go on to create more problems for the department), a representative from the Watershed Protection Department went before the council to request $13,000 to do DNA sequencing on Barton Springs salamanders. Council Member Don Zimmerman asked why the funding wasn’t going to be used to test the rape kit backlog, despite the two departments drawing funds from different sources. The salamander funding passed 9-1-1, with Zimmerman opposed and Council Member Ellen Troxclair not present.
Yeah, you read that right. During a September council meeting, the council members went down a rabbit hole that started with a question about a $1.2 million construction contract to rehabilitate an Oakwood cemetery chapel and ended with speculation about skeletons, zombies, parties and weddings at area burial grounds. The discussion arose after a cemetery advocate complained about people visiting cemeteries in zombie attire or taking selfies with prop skeletons.
“I’m not sure who the zombies are who come through there… but I’m not sure how we would manage keeping zombies out,” Council Member Ora Houston said.
Coming in at first place is another “How did we get here?” moment. In April, Council Member Ann Kitchen offered a resolution involving support for the Charter for Compassion, a 2009 document crafted by religious leaders worldwide that calls for compassion to be a “clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world.”
Council Member Don Zimemrman objected, according to our report: “Zimmerman [said] the language urged ‘idolatry’ of Earth rather than its creator and talked about compassion breaking down ideological boundaries when Jesus did that better than anyone. He also said the resolution was ‘marrying religion with politics.'”
Zimmerman eventually went on to add wording from the Satanic Temple website to Kitchen’s resolution in an effort to prove the resolution was a mix of religion with politics. “The three sentences that came from a religious, Satanist website were included without objection because they’re so very nearly the same as what the Charter for Compassion already has,” Zimmerman said. “So those are accepted under the excuse that they’re not religious, but they are religious. I think you would insult my Satanist constituents. They say their religion is a religion.”
Later, in November, a Satanist almost gave the invocation at a city council meeting, but had to back out because of a scheduling conflict.
According to a blind taste-test from a group of Republican senators Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Arkansas’ cheese dip is better than Texas’ queso.
The whole ordeal started about a month ago, when U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas picked a cheese battle with Texas senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz about which state’s cheesy goodness was better. Cotton also mistakenly called it “Texas cheese dip.”
The fermenting disagreement resulted in a taste test Wednesday, where Texas surprisingly lost.
Cruz staunchly defended the merits of queso in a post-taste-test interview, saying “Good queso relaxes you..look, cheese dip can be served on a Ritz cracker or on one of those tiny Vienna sausages…One is a visceral, emotional powerful family bond…the other is party favors.”
While America waits to find out whether the next president of the United States will be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, follow along as the American-Statesman blogs Election Night results and big stories from around the nation.
Update 2 a.m.: Donald Trump just gave his victory speech. He opened by announcing he had received a concession call from Hillary Clinton: “She fought very hard. Hillary has worked very long and hard over a longer period of time and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service.”
He said he wanted to “bind the wounds” of the country: “To all republicans and Democrats across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. I pledge to every citizen of our land to be the president for all Americans, and this is so important to me.”
“Ours was not a campaign but an incredible and great movement,” he says.
He says he will rebuild the country’s infrastructure and “take care of — finally — our great veterans.”
He speaks of great economic growth and that “we will get along with every nation willing to get along with us.”
“We must reclaim our country’s destiny and dream big and bold and daring,” he says.
“While we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone,” he says, in an address to the “world community.”
“This political stuff is nasty and it’s tough,” he says, in thanks to his family for standing by him. He singles out current and former politicians Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie and Jeff Sessions and Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee for their help, as well as generals that have endorsed him.
Update 1:40 a.m.: Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump to concede the election.
Update 1:35 a.m.: In the most stunning political upset in recent political history — and arguably in American history — Donald J. Trump has been elected president.
Update 1:15 a.m.: Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta appeared at the Javits Convention Center to announce that Hillary Clinton would not be making a speech tonight.
Meanwhile, other results have come in: Roy Blunt, a Republican, was reelected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri. Recreational marijuana has also been approved in Nevada. One interesting question is whether Texas lawmakers will consider medical marijuana legislation next session — or kick it over to voters.
Update 12:30 a.m.: A run-down of some interesting state-by-state results: Voters in California and Massachusetts approved legalizing recreational marijuana. Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas voters approved medical use of marijuana.
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory remains in a tight reelection fight with Democratic challenger Roy Cooper.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., was reelected. Tight senate races remain in Missouri, Nevada, and New Hampshire, but Democrats will not re-take the U.S. Senate.
Update 12:15 a.m.: The presidential race has not yet been called, but Trump looks like a lock now. The remaining suspense is now about the tone of Trump’s likely victory speech and Clinton’s likely concession speech.
Update 11:30 p.m.: After weeks of questions of vote rigging and fears of voter intimidation, the Associated Press claims no widespread evidence of either.
But at least one Texas man was reportedly arrested on suspicion of voter-related fraud. The man, who authorities say was caught trying to vote more than once, claimed to work for Trump, according to authorities. The Fort Bend Sheriff’s Office say he claimed he was testing the system.
Update 11 p.m.: One way to see this result is as a rebuke of President Obama’s vision of the country. On the campaign trail he hammered at the idea that a vote for Hillary Clinton would be a vote for a diverse, progressive America; again and again, he was fond of saying that he has “faith” in America to deliver on that promise. Hard to imagine that this result doesn’t shake Obama’s view of the country, or his faith in it. His former advisor, David Axelrod, had this to say on CNN: “This was a primal scream.”
Update 10:30 p.m.: In keeping with a tough night for Democrats, former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., lost his effort to beat Republican Ron Johnson in the U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin. Liz Cheney, daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, won her race to become U.S. Rep. from Wyoming. And Californians have voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana in that state.
Update 10:10 p.m.: According to CNN, Trump has won North Carolina, another contested swing state.
Now take a look at gritty Manchester in New Hampshire to get a good snapshot of how the election is going: Obama won that area by 11 points in 2012; Clinton is winning by six points. In other words, Clinton is not running up the score in the urban areas to offset Trump’s appeal to white working class-men across the country. It’s looking like a lot is going to depend on turnout in urban areas in Michigan (Detroit’s Wayne County, for example), and Milwaukee in Wisconsin — and Clinton’s margins in those areas.
Update 9:50 p.m.: One thing everyone can agree on: Polls, which have proliferated in recent years, were way off the mark, with professional prognosticators badly embarrassed.
Veteran political operative: No pollster's likely voter model caught this, this is a huge polling failure even if Clinton ultimately wins.
Update 9:30 p.m.: The Trump train keeps charging ahead: He has now won Ohio. Meanwhile, Clinton has won about 80 percent of the vote in Philadelphia — as triumphant as that might sound to Clinton supporters, it’s actually not as strong as her campaign would have liked. In other words, Pennsylvania is very much in play.
Meanwhile, Republican Richard Burr has held off Deborah Ross in the race for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, making it unlikely Dems will retake the U.S. Senate.
Update 9:15 p.m.: Jitters all over, with Dow Futures down nearly 500 points at the prospect of a Trump victory. “People in Brooklyn, (their) fingers are probably bleeding because there are no more nails to bite,” says Dana Bash of CNN.
Update 9 p.m.: Views on the returns are, of course, diverging widely.
Update 8:45 p.m.: The vote count suggest a “credible path to the White House” for Trump, says Jake Tapper on CNN. At the very least, “not the repudiation of Trump and Trumpism” that establishment Republicans had hoped for. And not that it was ever in doubt, but Republicans have managed to maintain control of the U.S. House.
Update 8:35 p.m.: Anxiety is setting in among Democrats, with close results in key swing states.
Massive freakout setting in among Democrats I know. Long night ahead still, but the possibility of a Trump win can't be ruled out.
Update 8:30 p.m.: The state of play is this: Trump holds leads in counted votes in Ohio and Florida; the question is whether Clinton can pick up enough votes in Democrat-heavy areas like Broward County. For your viewing pleasure, ballot reviews from 2000 in Broward County:
Update, 8:05 p.m.: AP calls Texas for Donald Trump. Clinton, meanwhile, takes New York.
Update, 7:50 p.m.: In an important win for Republicans in their efforts to hold the U.S. Senate, Todd Young defeated Democrat Evan Bayh. The Republicans had sensed opportunity despite the luster the Bayh family name has had in Indiana.
Update, 7:30 p.m.: Democrat Tammy Duckworth, in a not particularly surprising result, has knocked off incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, marking the first pick-up for Democrats of the evening. Kirk had tried to distance himself from Trump, to no avail. Kirk did himself no favors by awkwardly attacking Duckworth’s heritage in a debate. (Duckworth’s father side has had soldiers in the American military dating to the Revolutionary War; her mother is Thai.)
Update, 7:15 p.m.: The AP is calling reelection for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio; Democrat Hillary Clinton has won Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and the District of Columbia while Republican Donald Trump has captured Oklahoma.
Update, 7 p.m.: “A woman will be elected president probably in my lifetime,” Bill Clinton told Tom Brokaw in 1993, with Hillary Clinton as an onlooker, via NBC.
Update, 6:50 p.m.: A mariachi band has begun playing music outside Trump Tower.
And NBC News has confirmed that former Texas governor or former president George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush did not cast a vote for president. Earlier reports had former president George H.W. Bush voting for Hillary Clinton.
Update, 6:35 p.m.: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., up for reelection, is currently running ten points ahead of Trump in some key Democratic areas of Florida. One of the keys to understanding this election will be how much daylight Republican candidates in tight races are able to distance themselves from the controversial campaign of Donald Trump. Republican pollster Frank Luntz makes this observation:
Memo to Republicans and Republican pollsters: Tonight will look more like 2012 than 2004.#ElectionNight
Update, 6:05 p.m.: If newfangled voting aggregation program Votecastr is to be believed, Clinton holds a lead across swing states. Meanwhile, and not particularly surprisingly, the AP has called Vermont for Clinton and Kentucky and Indiana for Trump.
“The responsibility for calling races rests with experienced staff in each state. They are armed with on-the-ground knowledge that no other national news organization can match. Plus, they have information on demographics, absentee and other voting history and political issues that may affect the outcome of races they must call. On election night, they are assisted by experts in AP’s Washington bureau who examine exit poll numbers and votes as they are counted. A ‘decision desk’ in Washington, headed by the Washington bureau chief, has the final signoff on all top-of-the-ticket calls.”
Update, 5:20 p.m.: As we get ready for polls to close, here’s a quick refresher on how the all-important Electoral College works: