Grind for January 5th, 2019
“Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte
New House tries to reopen government
Upon returning to Capitol Hill this Thursday, House Democrats immediately moved to pass a short-term funding bill that would keep the DHS and several other agencies funded through September.
The proposal includes $1.3 billion for border security, but falls far short of Trump’s demand for $5 billion to start building the wall.
The bill has no chance of making it through the Senate or being signed by Trump.
“Let’s not waste the time,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, referring to the proposal as a “political sideshow.”
Also on Thursday came the repeat appointment of Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker. Pelosi, age 78, served as speaker from 2007 to 2011 and remains the only woman to hold the position.
“I’m particularly proud to be a woman Speaker of the House of this Congress, which marks the 100th year of women having the right to vote,” she said.
This year’s House is the most diverse in history, with 102 women including:
— 43 women of color
— 13 female conservatives
— The first Muslims: Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN)
— The first Native Americans: Debra Haaland (D-NM) and Sharice Davids (D-KS)
— The youngest: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)
After her speech, Pelosi promised reporters the wall was not going to happen: “A wall is an immorality between countries. It’s an old way of thinking. It isn’t cost effective.”
In response to calls for impeachment, Pelosi said: “We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report…We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn’t avoid impeachment for a political reason. So we’ll just have to see how it comes.”
In the meantime, roughly 800,000 federal workers are either out of work or working without pay.
Marriott: it’s not as bad as we thought, but it’s still pretty bad
Marriott International announced last November that hackers had gained access to its Starwood reservation database, which includes data on former guests including names, phone numbers, passport numbers, email addresses, and credit card information.
This week, Marriott confirmed that all credit card information had been encrypted, but admitted that up to 5.25 million of 20+ million passport numbers were stored in unencrypted data files (meaning anyone accessing the system could read them).
The good news: Previous estimates that 500 million people were affected by the hack have been revised down to 343 million.
The bad news: It’s still the biggest data breach in US history.
It was not clear why some information in the system was encrypted and some was not.
“We are looking into our ability to move to universal encryption of passport numbers and will be working with our systems vendors to better understand their capabilities, as well as reviewing applicable national and local regulations,” said Marriott.
The hotel chain says it has no idea who is responsible for the attack, but outside sources have blamed Chinese intelligence.
Private cyberintelligence groups believe the Marriott incident is related to a 2014 attack on American health insurers and the Office of Personnel Management. Taken together, the attacks seem to be part of a broader effort by Chinese intelligence agencies to compile a database of Americans with sensitive government or industry positions.
China, of course, denies all responsibility.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… The distress code ‘Mayday’ comes from the French for help me, M’Aide!