FROM Eric Lipton
Is Trump 'reducing the size of government' or dismantling it? On his reality TV show, Donald Trump was famous for saying, "You're fired." As President, he's saying, "We don't need those jobs" in the first place. Republicans aren't the only ones who've complained that government is "bloated," but even after budget cuts, somebody has to be in charge. With high-level vacancies -- from the State Department to FEMA — will the US be prepared for an international crisis, a hurricane or an earthquake? Is it oversight due to inexperience — or top aide Steve Bannon's goal of "deconstructing the administrative state?"
The public interest and personal business at the Trump White House As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to "drain the swamp," but his own, global holdings already pose a unique set of ethical conflicts. The transition process has already provided unmistakable evidence of what might be to come. He's met with business partners from India who say his presidency will be a bonanza . Daughter Ivanka is marketing bracelets like the one she wore on 60 Minutes. She and other family members will be in charge of some 500 business investments all over the world. The Wall Street Journal says if Trump doesn't liqudate all those assets and create a blind trust, he'll never escape the appearance that his White House is up for sale.
DHS Developing Software to Monitor Opinions of the US The New York Times reports that the Department of Homeland Security wants computer software to monitor negative opinions of the US or its leaders in the foreign press. The official goal is to "identify common patterns... that might be indicative of potential threats." Can software be developed to evaluate the relative intensity of different statements? That's the challenge posed for researchers at a consortium of universities with a $2.4 million grant from DHS.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
Does 'hire American' mean fire a foreigner? US companies are allowed to hire employees from other countries with highly developed skills that can't be found here. President Trump says it's being abused as a way to find cheap foreign labor. We hear about the benefits—and the risks—of changing the H-1B program.
After Syria strike a new Trump doctrine emerges The President who promised an end to entanglements in the Middle East and snuggled up to Vladimir Putin has now outraged Russia with surprise missile attacks on Syria. That's raised questions about who's running the White House? We hear a variety of answers.