The United States Vice President Mike Pence kicked off the week’s news, during a speech in the Israeli parliament, revealed the new controversially located U.S. embassy will open sooner than expected. Pence stated the building, located in Jerusalem, would be open and operational as soon as 2019.

Steve Bullock

The same day Pence made his Israeli U.S. embassy announcement, Montana Governor Steve Bullock placed internet service providers on notice when he signed an executive order explicitly barring those companies with state contracts from either blocking or increasing the cost for faster delivery of websites to any customer in the state.

In the wake of the FCC’s net neutrality ruling, having been made on 14 Dec. 2017, Montana is the first state to make a serious response.

Jerome Powell

In an 84 to 13 vote, Tuesday, 23 Jan. 2018 saw the United States Senate confirm Jerome Powell as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. Does anyone know Powell? Powell has occupied a seat on the board of governors at the Federal Reserve since 2012.

Unlike various unnamed people President Donald J. Trump has successfully nominated to positions, Powell seems at least qualified for the position he now holds.

Speaking of Trump, on Thursday, 25 Jan. 2018, the American president threated to terminate aid to Palestine if they do not sit down at the peace talks with Israel. Will Trump’s schoolyard bully tactics work with the Palestinians? Considering the United States is anything but a neutral broker, whether Palestine capitulates to Trump’s threats remains open for debate.

James F. Reilly

This week’s work-week news closed on Friday, 26 Jan 2018 with Trump naming former NASA astronaut James F. Reilly leader of the United States Geological Survey.

The former astronaut, a geologist in his own right, holds three degrees in geosciences from the University of Texas at Dallas.

With Trump placing Powell at the head of the Federal Reserve Bank and Reilly leading the USGS, it looks like the president might be looking at appointing qualified people. Based on Trump’s established track record, the people he typically favours have little to know experience in the job area they have been appointed.

Updated: 28 Jan. 2018

Reilly is an oil exploration geologist. Will his leadership of the USGS cause environmentalists concern? Is his experience as an oil exploration geologist the principle reason Trump appointed the former astronaut to the USGS position?

Considering we know Trump “digs coal” rather than environmentally friendly energy sources, it is plausible the president has placed Reilly at the head of the USGS for the explicit purpose of finding previously unexplored untapped oil reserves.