Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has claimed to be a geologist at least 40 times since he was appointed to lead the agency, even though he is not, and has never been, a geologist, CNN reports. That minor detail hasn't stopped him from using his nonexistent geology career to justify his decisions at the Department of the Interior: "Florida is different in the currents — I'm a geologist — it's different in geology," he told Breitbart News earlier this year in an interview about offshore drilling, for example.
Zinke did study geology at the University of Oregon, although he was attending on a football scholarship and he has claimed he picked his major without any thought. "I studied geology as a result of closing my eyes and randomly pointing to a major from the academic catalog, and I never looked back," he writes in his autobiography.
Zinke apparently never worked in the field of geology after graduating, either, going into politics and business instead. "He seems not to be familiar with modern geologic knowledge," Northwestern University professor Seth Stein told CNN. Added Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.): "I'm not sure Secretary Zinke was paying attention during those geology classes." Jeva Lange
Paul Manafort has apparently been dreaming of a white Christmas — by the beach, that is.
On Monday, Manafort's legal team filed a motion to modify the terms of his house arrest to let him spend four days in the Hamptons between Dec. 22 and Dec. 26. President Trump's former campaign chairman was indicted in October on charges including tax evasion, fraud, and "conspiracy against the United States," as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Manafort asks judge to let him go to the Hamptons for Christmas pic.twitter.com/ys1w7iCkkU
— Stefan Becket (@becket) December 18, 2017
Manafort is currently under house arrest in Virginia. His motion to travel to the Hamptons would seem a little far-fetched if his legal team had not already succeeded last week in petitioning for him to be relocated, pending trial, to his residence in balmy Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, instead of his Virginia condo.
The new motion filed Monday proposes that the conditions of his Florida residency — which include GPS monitoring and an 11 p.m. curfew — now be transferred to his home in Bridgehampton, New York, over the Christmas holiday. Manafort's lawyer notes that the former Trump campaign chairman has old and infirm family members who would not be able to attend a Manafort Christmas in his Virginia apartment, which "would splinter the family's regular religious celebration." That's why Manafort is also requesting to be allowed to travel between Bridgehampton and East Hampton, where his in-laws live, "to celebrate Christmas together as best they can."
For good measure, Manafort's lawyer also asked that the curfew be lifted on Christmas Eve, "should the family decide to attend a midnight religious celebration of the holiday." Read the full motion here. Kelly O'Meara Morales
Phoenix mayor asks Trump to delay rally after Charlottesville tragedy, especially if he plans Arpaio pardon
On Wednesday morning, President Trump announced that he will hold a campaign-style rally in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, next Tuesday, his first trip out West since his inauguration. On Wednesday evening, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton asked him to reconsider. "I am disappointed that President Trump has decided to hold a campaign rally as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville," Stanton wrote. "If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation. It is my hope that more sound judgment prevails and that he delays his visit."
— Greg Stanton (@MayorStanton) August 16, 2017
Trump told Fox News earlier this week that he is "seriously considering a pardon" for Arpaio, a supporter and anti-immigration stalwart who lost his bid for re-election as Maricopa County sheriff last year and was recently convicted of criminal contempt; at his scheduled Oct. 5 sentencing hearing, Arpaio, 85, could get up to six months in jail. Stanton said that the Phoenix Convention Center is a public space that anyone can rent, "and that includes the Trump campaign," adding that assuming sound judgment does not prevail, he and the Phoenix police department will be focused on "keeping everyone — those attending the rally, those expressing their First Amendment rights outside and the general public — safe." Peter Weber
The superhero extravaganza Batman v Superman was a monster hit at the box office this past weekend, but Jimmy Kimmel Live came up with a way to expand its reach beyond its action-loving fan base. The solution: Mixing the trailer for Batman v Superman with the one for the new Bridget Jones movie coming out in September. The Week's Scott Meslow has pointed out that most fights between good guys Batman and Superman are pretty contrived, but contested paternity is a pretty good plot device that future comics writers might want to keep in mind. In any case, if Batman & Superman Versus Bridget Jones ever actually made it to the theater, I'd buy a ticket. Watch the surprisingly seamless trailer below. Peter Weber