Chances are, Tuesday night is as close as Ernest Moniz will ever get to the presidency.
Moniz, the current Energy secretary, was the administration’s “designated survivor” — the Cabinet member assigned to hide in an undisclosed location in case, heaven forbid, the worst were to occur while Congress and the rest of the administration assembled for the State of the Union address.
But what would the Moniz administration have looked like?
For one, it would have been the first captained by a physicist: Prior to joining the Obama administration in 2013, Moniz was a professor of physics and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds a Stanford University doctorate in theoretical physics. And if past is prologue, Moniz wouldn’t shy away from talking science.
His latest post on the Energy Department blog is titled “Wide Bandgap Semiconductors: Essential to Our Technology Future.” Those looking for lighter fare can refer to his earlier work: “New Steps to Strengthen Our Energy Infrastructure.”
Moniz is not a politician, but he’s not a novice to governing either. He served as the Energy Department’s undersecretary during the second half of President Clinton’s tenure. And in his policy, he’s been the type of compromiser who makes just about everybody mad: Environmental groups have been wary of his embrace of natural gas, while he probably didn’t endear himself to the Right by declaring that he’s “not interested in debating what is not debatable” when it comes to human-induced climate change.
More than anything else, however, Moniz has drawn attention for his hair, which is a mix of President Washington, Back to the Future‘s Doc Brown, and Javier Bardem’s serial-killing character in No Country for Old Men.
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In a release Tuesday afternoon, the White House announced that President Obama has commuted and/or reduced the sentences of another 111 convicted criminals, mostly convicted of drug possession or trafficking. About 35 were serving life sentences.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Monday he'd now be willing to hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in a lame-duck session of Congress. While he said he wouldn't push for it, he said if "Hillary Clinton wins the White House, and a majority of senators convinced him to do so," he would soften his previous opposition.
We can call this the anti-Sherman-esque statement: If reelected, Marco Rubio ... might serve his whole term. Or he might not. The senator, who initially said he wouldn't run for a second term this year, now tells CNN that if reelected, he wouldn't necessarily serve all six years. “No one can make that commitment because you don’t know what the future is gonna hold in your life, personally or politically,” he said, before adding that he's prepared to make his Senate seat the last political office he ever holds.
Since Rodrigo Duterte took over as president of the Philippines in June, he has made a serious of controversial statements and launched a war on drugs that has led to nearly 2000 deaths. He called the US ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, "a gay son of a bitch." Next week, President Obama will meet with President Duterte at the East Asia Summit in Laos, where he " will raise concerns about some of the recent statements from the president of the Philippines," according to White House Deputy National Security advisor Ben Rhodes.
The Convention of States Project, which seeks to force a constitutional convention under Article V of the Constitution, will hold a "dry run" in Colonial Williamsburg starting Sept. 21. "Several states have already followed the process in Article V to endorse the convention." Thirty-four are required to call an actual convention. "The dry run in Williamsburg is meant to show how one would work and focus on the changes and potential constitutional amendments that would be proposed."