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Vox Sentences: How racist is too racist to get confirmed to the Cabinet? We’re about to find out!

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Donald Trump nominates a slate of people we might euphemistically call "law and order"; the truth about the Ford plant Trump claims to have saved; wrapping up the successor to the Paris climate conference.

Remix to Transition

Jeff Sessions CQ Roll Call/Bill Clark
  • The Donald Trump administration-in-waiting has started to announce top policy officials. On Thursday night, word got out that retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn would be named director of the National Security Agency, in a move likely to cement the Trump administration's less-than-hawkish stance toward Russia. [Vox / Yochi Dreazen]
  • (You might be less familiar with Flynn's worldview than with his tendency to share Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and just plain fake news and memes on Twitter.) [CNN / Andrew Kaczynski]
  • On Friday, the Trump team announced it will nominate Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas (a notable defender of practices like waterboarding and rectal feeding) to head the CIA... [Vox / Jennifer Williams]
  • ...and Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, an early Trump loyalist and key adviser, to be attorney general. [Reuters / Steve Holland]
  • It's worth noting that if the Senate votes to confirm Sessions to AG, it will officially be less concerned with his views on race than the Senate of 1986 was. (It declined to recommend him for a federal judgeship; he was only the second nominee it had spurned in nearly 50 years.) [NYT / Matt Apuzzo]
  • This isn't a political correctness thing. As attorney general, Sessions would be in charge of enforcing federal civil rights law (something he wants to scale back wildly) and voting rights laws. (He once said that Shelby County, Mississippi, "never" discriminated against black voters, while prosecuting black voting rights activists for mail fraud when they tried to mail absentee ballots on behalf of the elderly.) [Vox / German Lopez]
  • If you're thinking this will make Sessions hard to confirm, though, forget it. Senators give deference to their own. Besides, Republicans have the majority, and none appear to have decided that this is the fight they want to pick. [Politico / Burgess Everett and Elana Schor]

Ford-ing the Rio Grande

Ford worker Getty / Bill Pugliano
  • President-elect Donald Trump, you may have noticed, hasn't appointed anyone to any economic posts yet. But no worries: According to him (and as credulously reported by several news outlets), he's already prevented Ford from moving a plant from Kentucky to Mexico. [Vox / Brad Plumer]
  • Except there was never really a "plant" being moved. It was just a Lincoln line. And it wasn't going to cost any jobs. [Washington Post / Jim Tankersley]
  • Trump has done something like this before: Before his election, he claimed to have gotten Ford to agree not to move a plant from Ohio to Mexico. (It is still moving to Mexico.) [Washington Post / Jenna Johnson]
  • (Something similar could be happening with Apple manufacturing — the company appears to have made inquiries about moving iPhone manufacturing back to the US in June, but certain Trump-friendly outlets are preemptively extending credit for a hypothetical future move to the president-elect.) [Breitbart / Chriss W. Street]
  • On the surface, this seems like another iteration of the "fake news" problem — only the person spreading the fake news is the next president of the United States. [NY Mag / Max Read]
  • But the truth is a little trickier. Ford definitely did decide to shift the Lincoln line back to Kentucky because of Trump — as a way to give him an easy win to take credit for. [Forbes / David Kiley]
  • Depending on what Trump does now, that could be a very bad thing. Ford may have just set the precedent that Trump can bully individual US companies into doing what he wants — which would, in the long term, be bad for everyone involved. [Vox / Timothy B. Lee]

Turned around in Marrakech

COP22 AFP / Stephane de Sakutin via Getty
  • The COP22 UN conference on climate change wrapped up in Marrakech, Morocco, on Friday. But unlike last year's COP21, which resulted in the Paris climate agreement, it wasn't a climactic event. [The Guardian / Graham Redfearn]
  • In fairness, it wasn't supposed to be. When COP22 started on November 7, it was supposed to help secure commitments for countries to pass legislation that will help them meet the goals outlined in the Paris agreement. [Al Jazeera / Zoe Hu]
  • (Morocco was an interesting host country to demonstrate these dynamics; it's made progress on energy use, but at the cost of social discontent.) [Quartz / Sam Metz]
  • But between November 7 and November 18, Donald Trump got elected president of the United States. And among the very many ways in which President Donald J. "Climate Change Is a Chinese Hoax" Trump could be bad for the environment is that he's likely to back the US out of the Paris agreement, which would be disastrous for the agreement (and probably the planet). [Vox / David Roberts and Brad Plumer]
  • President Obama appears to be not so subtly begging his successor to stay on board with the agreement, but it's a desperate plea. [Vox / Brad Plumer]
  • (With Trump's election, the likely global leader on climate change policy could end up being ... China.) [Reuters / Valerie Volcovici and Sue-Lin Wong]
  • Trump's election totally changed the importance of the Marrakech conference. But though everyone was clearly thinking about it, no one actually talked about it. [Scientific American / Victoria Herrmann]
  • Indeed, American officials (including Secretary of State John Kerry) found themselves in the odd position of downplaying the role of the US government's leadership on climate change, pointing out that the US will continue to be a growing market for renewable energy. [Pacific Standard / Ted Scheinman]
  • Meanwhile, temperatures at the North Pole are 36 degrees warmer than normal right now. So, yeah, we're doomed. [Washington Post / Chris Mooney and Jason Samenow]


  • When pandas are born and raised in US zoos and then sent to China as adults, they don't respond to their handlers because they only recognize English commands. [Miami Herald / Greg Hadley]
  • Sean Brock is a chef in Charleston. He may be, literally, working himself blind. [GQ / Brett Martin]
  • Good news! The World Health Organization says Zika is no longer an international "public health emergency." [BuzzFeed News / Nidhi Subbaraman]
  • Santa Clara is being eaten by a foam blob. [Scripps via ABC15]
  • The US's president-elect just settled the fraud cases against Trump University for $25 million, by the way. [Vox / Libby Nelson]


Watch this: How zip codes helped organize America

[YouTube / Dion Lee and Mac Schneider]

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