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Article posted May 22, 2017 at 11:09 PM
By Emma Gray
After decades of grappling with her relationship with former President Bill Clinton and the ensuing media frenzy, Monica Lewinsky is bidding goodbye to Roger Ailes, a man who shamelessly capitalized on the scandal.
Or, rather than saying goodbye to Ailes himself, Lewinsky is saying goodbye (and good riddance) to the atmosphere he created. As she wrote in a Monday column for the New York Times: “This is not another obituary for Roger Ailes, who died last week a year after being ousted at Fox News. It is, I hope, instead an obituary for the culture he purveyed — a culture that affected me profoundly and personally.”
Lewinsky outlines the way that Ailes’ success building Fox News into the cable juggernaut it is today was intimately tied to the sensationalization and 24/7 coverage of her most painful public moments. She writes:
Just two years after Rupert Murdoch appointed Mr. Ailes to head the new cable news network, my relationship with President Bill Clinton became public. Mr. Ailes, a former Republican political operative, took the story of the affair and the trial that followed and made certain his anchors hammered it ceaselessly, 24 hours a day.
Some experts have noted that viewers found Fox for the first time because of the crisis. John Moody, a Fox executive editor, reflected on that period: “The Lewinsky saga put us on the news map.” As he put it in another interview: “Monica was a news channel’s dream come true.”
Their dream was my nightmare. My character, my looks and my life were picked apart mercilessly. Truth and fiction mixed at random in the service of higher ratings. My family and I huddled at home, worried about my going to jail — I was the original target of Ken Starr’s investigation, threatened with 27 years for having been accused of signing a false affidavit, obstructing justice, suborning perjury and other crimes — or worse, me taking my own life. Meantime, Mr. Ailes huddled with his employees at Fox News, dictating a lineup of talking heads to best exploit this personal and national tragedy.
Lewinsky acknowledges that every network relentlessly covered her story ― after all, it was a sex scandal and it involved the president of the United States. In 1998 and into 1999, no national news story loomed larger. However, the nature of Fox News’ coverage felt different to Lewinsky, as though there was “no rumor was too unsubstantiated, no innuendo too vile and no accusation too abhorrent.”
After 20 years of running the network, Ailes was ousted from Fox News last summer amid charges of sexual harassment. Since July 2016, when Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit alleging Ailes had sexually harassed her, nine more women, including Megyn Kelly and Andrea Tantaros, have come forward with allegations of harassment.
Lewinsky points out the karmic irony of this turn of events in her column.
“As the past year has revealed, thanks to brave women like Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly, it is clear that at Fox, this culture of exploitation wasn’t limited to the screen,” she wrote. “The irony of Mr. Ailes’s career at Fox — that he harnessed a sex scandal to build a cable juggernaut and then was brought down by his own — was not lost on anyone who has been paying attention.”
Head over to the New York Times to read Lewinsky’s full column.
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Article posted May 22, 2017 at 11:03 PM
During an especially frenzied news cycle, MSNBC scored its best week in its 21-year-history by beating out both CNN and Fox News in total prime-time viewers and among the demographic prized by advertisers.
The week of May 15 kicked off with the bombshell that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats, followed the next day with a report that he urged then-FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. More revelations about Flynn followed, along with the naming of a special prosecutor for the Russian investigation. Trump’s reported boast to the Russians about firing “nut job” Comey capped off one of the more chaotic weeks in U.S. politics.
MSNBC progressive hosts Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell averaged 2.44 million total viewers and 611,000 viewers ages 25 to 54, a coveted demographic, according to Nielsen data.
But the network’s win comes as a third of it’s prime-time lineup may soon head out the door.
As HuffPost reported earlier this month, NBC News chief Andy Lack has continued shifting MSNBC away from its liberal brand by hiring more Republicans and former Fox News talent ― even as its ratings indicate there’s a strong market for left-leaning programming in the Trump era. Yashar Ali reported on assignment for the HuffPost that it appeared the network was not going to renew O’Donnell’s contract, despite his success in the hour following “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
The 10 p.m. host confirmed Wednesday that his contract ends June 4.
CNN came in second in the key demographic with 589,000 viewers, while Fox News ranked third for the first time in 17 years, with 497,000 viewers ages 25 to 54. Fox News was a close second in total viewers with 2.405 million and CNN ranked third at 1.649 million.
Fox News, which has led the cable news ratings race for 15 years, came out of the gate strong after ratings king Bill O’Reilly left last month in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal. But the current prime-time lineup of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “The Five” and “Hannity” has struggled in handling the big news of the day if it reflects poorly on the Trump White House.
The network’s right-leaning hosts largely ignored the big Comey news in prime time last week, as 10 p.m. host Sean Hannity has continued promoting a bogus conspiracy theory about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.
Hannity apparently plans to give oxygen to the Rich conspiracy on Monday night, with veteran Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera joining in the conservative host’s ghoulish pursuit.
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Article posted May 22, 2017 at 10:51 PM
Donald Trump was reportedly so upset about James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he sought out senior intelligence officials and tried to pressure them to ”publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election”. From the Washington Post:
Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.
Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president
Like Comey, Rogers took and shared extensive notes on the conversation:
Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials. It is unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump’s conversation with Coats. Officials said such memos could be made available to both the special counsel now overseeing the Russia investigation and congressional investigators, who might explore whether Trump sought to impede the FBI’s work.
At a minimum, the case for obstructing justice appears to be getting stronger by the minute.
Article posted May 22, 2017 at 10:42 PM
Someone spray-painted the word “SHAME” in big yellow letters on the base of a Confederate monument in Norfolk, Virginia, making the city the latest to confront rising tensions over the preservation of such structures in public spaces.
Norfolk police are in the “preliminary stages of investigation” after officers responded to a vandalism report about 8:45 a.m. on Monday, department spokesman Daniel Hudson told HuffPost.
City workers removed the graffiti in less than two hours, Lori Crouch, the city’s corporate communications director, said.
The monument, which features a 15-foot bronze Confederate soldier perched atop a granite base, “commemorates the last reunion of surviving Confederate soldiers,” according to the Downtown Norfolk Council’s website. It was unveiled in 1907.
Many see such monuments as symbols of white supremacism and the slavery system that the South fought to maintain. The push to rid public spaces of Confederate iconography gained momentum after the June 2015 massacre at historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where white supremacist Dylann Roof shot and killed nine black parishioners.
South Carolina, after many years of balking, passed legislation to remove Confederate flags from its state house grounds shortly after the shooting.
New Orleans, Louisiana, began the process of tearing down four Confederate monuments last month after the city council voted for their removal. Some residents have protested against statues’ removal ― even sending death threats to contractors hired to remove the monuments.
The Norfolk City Council, which included three black members at the time, decided against removing the downtown Confederate monument in September 2015. The black members agreed that removing the structure was unneccessary, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
Crouch said she wasn’t aware of any formal requests recently to have the city’s three Confederate statues taken down.
Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.
Joe Dillard, president of the NAACP’s Norfolk Chapter, speculated the vandalism could have been inspired by news coverage of a contentious battle in Charlottesville, Virginia, over its city council’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
While Dillard said he believes the spray-painter in Norfolk was likely someone “disgusted and fed up with these monuments of hate,” he said his organization doesn’t condone the vandalism.
“There are better ways to accomplish having these symbols of hate removed,” Dillard told The Virginian-Pilot.
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Article posted May 22, 2017 at 10:26 PM
WASHINGTON — As the Trump administration and numerous U.S. lawmakers, primarily conservatives, downplay the threat of climate change and take aim at policies to combat it, researchers are documenting undeniable transformations around the globe.
A United Nations-backed study published in January, for example, concluded that unless we take swift action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, coral bleaching events — like the one that resulted in a major die-off at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef — will soon decimate nearly all of the world’s coral reefs.
And just last week, the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University released data showing the dramatic melting of glaciers in Montana. Since 1966, climate change has reduced the size of 39 glaciers, some by as much as 85 percent.
Earlier this year, NASA published “Images of Change,” a gallery of more than 100 startling before and after pictures — most taken from space — that “show our planet in a state of flux.” The photos capture everything from natural disasters to urban growth and volcanic eruptions. Here, we’ve selected images that specifically show how climate change is affecting landscapes in different parts of the world.
The image below shows Glacier National Park in August 1984 (left), compared to August 2015 (right). In 1850, the area contained roughly 150 glaciers, compared to just 25 today, many “mere remnants of what they once were,” according to the National Park Service. If the current rate of warming continues, Glacier could be free of the features for which it is named by 2030.
On average, the world’s glaciers are losing ice at three times the rate lost in the 1980s, according to a 2015 study. And roughly 69 percent of the rapid melting of Earth’s glaciers can be linked to human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, a 2014 report found.
The images below show Pedersen Glacier, in southern Alaska, sometime between the mid-1920s and the early 1940s (left), and in August 2005 (right). In that 60- to 80-year period, the glacier’s terminus retreated more than 1.2 miles.
Below are images of Northwestern Glacier, in southern Alaska, sometime between the mid-1920s and the early 1940s (left), compared to August 2005 (right). During that 60- to 80-year period, the glacier’s terminus retreated more than 6.2 miles.
The images below show Muir Glacier, also in southern Alaska, first in August 1941 (left) and again in August 2004 (right). Between the 1890s and 2005, Muir retreated more than 30 miles, according to USGS.
The image below shows the Bellinghausen Coast, in western Antarctica, in February 1975 (left) and again in March 2015 (right). Over the last four decades, West Antarctica’s coastline has lost about 390 square miles of ice, according to a study last year led by researchers at the University of Edinburgh.
The graphic below shows the decline in Arctic sea ice between September 1984 (left) and September 2016 (right). Over that 32-year period, the area covered by ice at least four years old has plummeted from 718,000 square miles to 42,000 square miles.
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Article posted May 22, 2017 at 10:11 PM
By Igor Bobic
WASHINGTON ― There is a game that critics of Donald Trump like to play on Twitter.
After each successive revelation or major development concerning his administration, people resurface his old tweets as a commentary on the pile of contradictions that is the Trump presidency. The veritable gold mine of information found on Trump’s Twitter page is a gift that truly keeps on giving ― offering detractors ample opportunity to note his hypocrisy at home and abroad.
“Trump is like Hallmark cards. There’s an old tweet to celebrate every occasion,” GOP strategist and CNN commentator Ana Navarro tweeted over the weekend, after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged to donate $100 million to a World Bank fund for women entrepreneurs that was proposed by Ivanka Trump.
When former national security adviser Michael Flynn announced Monday he would invoke his the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination amid the investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election, critics highlighted statements Trump and his aides made about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, the IRS scandal of 2013, and Bill Cosby.
I am no fan of Bill Cosby but never-the-less some free advice – if you are innocent, do not remain silent. You look guilty as hell!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2014
Crooked Hillary Clinton and her team “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” Not fit!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2016
Trump in 2012 called on former President Barack Obama to appoint an “independent counsel” to investigate leaks emanating from his administration. Last week, however, the president denounced the appointment of a special counsel to probe Russia’s alleged meddling in the election, calling it a “witch hunt.”
The Justice Department’s investigation into the national security leaks is not independent. This is a very grave situation.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2012
In 2014, Trump remarked that Obama appeared “exhausted,” and later boasted about his own stamina as “one of my greatest assets.”
Obama looks exhausted and beaten. He was never made or prepared for the job. Like it or not, he doesn’t have “it”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2014
I consider my health, stamina and strength one of my greatest assets.The world has watched me for many years and can so testify-great genes!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2015
But Trump’s stamina didn’t fare too well during his first trip abroad over the weekend. A White House official said the president was “exhausted” on Sunday when he dropped out of an event at the last minute in Saudi Arabia, the first stop of his trip to the Middle East and Europe.
Trump regularly criticized the Obama administration for failing to stand up to Saudi Arabia, taking issue with the “absolute fortune” the U.S. has spent to protect the Middle Eastern country.
Tell Saudi Arabia and others that we want (demand!) free oil for the next ten years or we will not protect their private Boeing 747s.Pay up!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2014
No surprise Saudis turned down spot on UN Security Council. They don’t want responsibility. Just have us do their heavy lifting.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2013
If Saudi Arabia, which has been making one billion dollars a day from oil, wants our help and protection, they must pay dearly! NO FREEBIES.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2015
Saudi Arabia should fight their own wars, which they won’t, or pay us an absolute fortune to protect them and their great wealth-$ trillion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2014
Prior to the president’s arrival there, however, Trump’s administration announced it had sealed a $110 billion arms deal ― the largest in American history ― between the U.S. and Saudi King Salman’s government. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, reportedly intervened to negotiate a lower price on a missile system for Saudi Arabia by personally phoning the CEO of Lockheed Martin.
In 2015, before he announced he was running for president, Trump criticized then-first lady Michelle Obama for not wearing a headscarf over her hair during a trip to Saudi Arabia.
Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted.We have enuf enemies
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2015
But when Trump and his family visited the Islamic nation this weekend, first lady Melania Trump did the same thing.
Trump regularly fumed at Obama and Clinton on Twitter for refusing to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” accusing them of being overly politically correct.
Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
When will President Obama issue the words RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM? He can’t say it, and unless he will, the problem will not be solved!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2015
Hillary won’t call out radical Islam! She will be soundly defeated.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
Yet in a major speech in Riyadh over the weekend, Trump softened his rhetoric on Islam and offered praise for a religion he once said hated America. “We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship,” he said.
After Trump ordered a missile strike against Syria in retaliation for its use of chemical weapons last month, Twitter users tweaked the president for not seeking congressional authorization for the military action ― as he once called for during Obama’s administration:
The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2013
Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2012
Be prepared, there is a small chance that our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2013
AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA – IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2013
Like his predecessor, Trump hasn’t had much luck halting North Korea’s missile launches. In fact, its leader Kim Jong Un on Monday ordered mass production of a medium-range ballistic missile. Yet, in 2012, Trump tweeted:
We can’t even stop the Norks from blasting a missile. China is laughing at us. It is really sad.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2012
Trump also attacked Obama over the issue of transparency, criticizing the former president for refusing to release records.
Obama thinks he can just laugh off the fact that he refuses to release his records to the American public. He can’t.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
Why does Obama believe he shouldn’t comply with record releases that his predecessors did of their own volition? Hiding something?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2012
Trump’s administration, however, refuses to make records of visitors to the White House available to the public. Moreover, the president has yet to release his tax returns ― a tradition followed by every presidential nominee in the last 40 years.
Perhaps the most egregious case of hypocrisy surrounding Trump centers on the game of golf. Trump constantly criticized Obama for spending his weekends playing golf, but so far during his presidency, he has spent far more time on the golf course.
Can you believe that,with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.Worse than Carter
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2014
Obama should play golf with Republicans & opponents rather than his small group of friends. That way maybe the terrible gridlock would end.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2012
Wish I could be on the golf course but have to work – must be nice to be President
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) July 29, 2012
The pace of earth-shattering revelations over the Russia investigations and the firing of former FBI director James Comey, in particular, prompted some Twitter users last week to resurface old Trump tweets in which he expressed concern over the direction the nation was headed.
One tweet even floated impeachment ― a subject the president’s lawyers are now researching in the unlikely event of attempts to remove him from office.
Just shows that you can have all the cards and lose if you don’t know what you’re doing.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2013
I wonder what the next scandal will be in D.C.? Can we handle yet another?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2013
Our country is now in serious and unprecedented trouble…like never before.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
It’s almost like the United States has no President – we are a rudderless ship heading for a major disaster. Good luck everyone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2014
Are you allowed to impeach a president for gross incompetence?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2014
Article posted May 22, 2017 at 10:10 PM
By Eliot Nelson
Like what you read below? Sign up for HUFFPOST HILL and get a cheeky dose of political news every evening!
President Trump was provided relief from a tumultuous trip abroad when he got to play with a globe that made his hands look as big as Eurasia. Speaking of hands, and maybe it’s just our wild imagination, but has anyone given any thought to the idea that the country is being run through Melania Trump’s hands? And the president’s budget includes very steep cuts to the social safety net. To all of you who will be roasting your boot on a spit over an oil drum fire in 2020, take comfort: The president saved a few dollars on the F-35. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, May 22nd, 2017:
BORED TRUMP NOW JUST GINNING UP HIS OWN CONTROVERSIES – We’re all gonna die. Marina Fang: “President Donald Trump on Monday denied that he mentioned Israel at the Oval Office meeting where he reportedly leaked classified information to Russian officials, seemingly referring to reports that Israel was the source of that information. ‘Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name “Israel.” Never mentioned it during that conversation,’ Trump said during an appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem as part of his first foreign trip as president. The president was referring to reports that Israel was the source of classified information he disclosed to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador Sergei Kislyak during an Oval Office meeting on May 10. ‘They were all saying I did. So you had another story wrong,’ he said, pointing at reporters in the room. ‘Never mentioned the word “Israel.”’ It was never reported, however, that Trump told the Russians that Israel was the source of the information.” [HuffPost]
FLOTUS don’t want no POTUS.
Jared Kushner must be so stressed right now, via Politico reporter Annie Karni’s pool report: “Recently, Trump has said that he believes peace in the Middle East is ‘not as difficult as people have thought.’ On Monday night, he said, ‘I’ve heard it’s one of the toughest deals of all.’ And he sounded a little more tempered in his confidence: ‘But I have a feeling we’re going to get there eventually,’ he said. ‘I hope.’”
FLYNN TAKING THE FIFTH – Whew, one less instance of drama for Mitch McConnell to worry about. Amanda Terkel: “Former national security adviser Michael Flynn will not cooperate with a Senate intelligence committee investigation, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination Monday to avoid turning over documents lawmakers have subpoenaed related to his interactions with Russian officials. Flynn resigned in February, after it was revealed that he lied about whether he had substantive contacts with the Russian ambassador before President Donald Trump took office. In a letter to the leaders of the Senate intelligence committee posted by the Associated Press, Flynn’s lawyer said that without ‘assurances against unfair prosecution,’ he would ‘respectfully decline your request for an interview and for the production of documents.’” [HuffPost]
This Flynn character may not be entirely on the up-and-up. “Michael Flynn appears to have lied to Pentagon officials about payments he received from Russians when he was interviewed in 2016 for a renewal of his security clearance, according to a document obtained by the top Democrat on the House oversight committee. In a letter released Monday evening by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the congressman details a document that reveals Flynn told investigators he was paid by ‘U.S. companies’ when he traveled to Russia and dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” [HuffPost’s Laura Barrón-López]
James Comey’s testimony on his firing and the Russia investigation has been postponed, House oversight committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced on Twitter.
OK, MAYBE THERE WILL BE PEOPLE DYING IN THE STREETS, PT. 623,005, 541 – Arthur Delaney: “The Trump administration will unveil its 2018 budget on Tuesday, likely including big-league cuts to social programs in order to pay for more guns and bombs. The first thing to know about Trump’s budget ― or any president’s budget ― is that most of the proposals it contains stand little chance of becoming law. Instead, the president’s budget is a wish list that marks the beginning of a process in which Congress ultimately decides how to set spending levels. Trump reportedly wants to boost military spending and pay for it with big cuts to safety net programs like Medicaid and food stamps, along with cuts to dozens of smaller items like the Community Development Block Grant. Republicans are unlikely to go along, since they have struggled mightily to agree on cuts to health insurance subsidies this year. But Bob Greenstein, director of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said the party’s love of tax cuts could motivate them to consider all options.” [HuffPost]
Haircut: Bernie Sanders (h/t Haley Byrd).
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COURT RULES AGAINST GOP DRAWN DISTRICTS – Cristian Farias: “In a long-awaited decision, the Supreme Court agreed on Monday with a lower court ruling that found that Republican lawmakers in North Carolina drew two congressional districts with improper racial considerations in mind. The ruling is the latest attempt by the justices to clarify the standard for what counts as unconstitutional racial gerrymandering — the push by lawmakers, especially in the South, to draw district lines based on the racial demographics of a specific area. ‘The Constitution entrusts States with the job of designing congressional districts,’ wrote Justice Elena Kagan in the 5-to-3 decision. ‘But it also imposes an important constraint: A State may not use race as the predominant factor in drawing district lines unless it has a compelling reason.’” [HuffPost]
The sinkhole that formed in front of Mar-a-Lago is almost too easy a target for jokes.
CITY ON A HILL UPDATE – Your tired, poor huddled masses yearning to be free can crash on our futon for a couple of nights… maybe. Elise Foley: “Tens of thousands of Haitians who had already been granted temporary reprieve to stay in the U.S. will be allowed to remain for an additional six months, but they should use that time to ‘get their affairs in order,’ a Trump administration official said Monday. The Department of Homeland Security had until Tuesday to decide whether to extend temporary protected status, or TPS, for roughly 58,700 Haitians, who have been approved to remain in the U.S. following a devastating 2010 earthquake in their native country.” [HuffPost]
TRUMP STILL THREATENING TO SABOTAGE OBAMACARE – But he’s not doing it today. Jeffrey Young: “In a filing to a federal appeals court Monday, the Justice Department and lawyers representing House Republicans have requested another 90-day delay in the proceedings from a case challenging the legality of payments made to health insurers serving low-income customers…. Without that money, insurers would face major financial losses because the law mandates they offer these discounts whether they get paid back or not. Insurers received about $7 billion in these payments last year. Many states would allow health insurance companies to exit the Obamacare markets this year, leaving their policyholders with no coverage. Moreover, if Trump makes clear the cost-sharing payments won’t be made in the future, health insurance companies would have a strong disincentive to participate in the exchanges next year, leaving consumers with fewer, or possibly no, choices.” [HuffPost]
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE LITTLE GUY – [area liberals nervously making sure Ruth Bader Ginsburg is getting enough antioxidants in her diet]. Paul Blumenthal: “Newly minted Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch showed his hand on Monday on where he will likely stand on cases that would increase the amount of power held by large political donors. As the Supreme Court declined to hear a major campaign finance case that could have led to the lifting of campaign contribution limits to political parties, Gorsuch joined Justice Clarence Thomas in an unwritten dissent. That means Gorsuch and Thomas wanted the court to hear the case, and likely wanted to vote to overturn yet another limit on big money in politics. The case, Republican Party of Louisiana v. Federal Election Commission, challenged contribution limits placed on state-level political parties by the 2002 McCain-Feingold reform law. These are the limits on ‘soft money,’ unlimited contributions to the parties for supposedly non-electoral activities, imposed in the wake of scandals related to both how the money was raised and how it was spent.” [HuffPost]
The thankfully brief story of the D.C. bar that wanted to introduce a “Pill Cosby” drink to its menu.
DEMOCRATS GRIPPED WITH RAHM-BASED NOSTALGIA – To defeat a short-fingered vulgarian, sometimes you need a vulgar man with one shortened finger. Edward-Isaac Dovere and Gabriel Debenedetti: “Democrats see the same ugly storm forming for Republicans that delivered them the majority 11 years ago, and they’re digging out the blueprint. The party is vastly expanding the number of districts it plans to contest, recruiting veterans and business owners to compete in conservative terrain as it did back then. Three senior House Democrats are soon heading to Chicago to seek advice from Rahm Emanuel, the party’s 2006 master strategist. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been tutoring members on the party’s campaign efforts that year…. Emanuel has been in touch regularly with Democratic leaders in Washington, holding frequent strategy phone calls with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.” [Politico]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR – Here’s yet another puppy doing battle with a doorstop.
TRUMP ISN’T THE ONLY ONE ON A #MAGA TRIP ABROAD – How come there are never “belligerent ferry passenger asked to disembark” or “irate monorail rider forced to alight” stories? Avi Selk: “Like some bizarre parody of a Trump rally, a belligerent man in a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat was booted off a plane in Shanghai Sunday — defiantly waving as a crowd of passengers jeered in the terminal: ‘Lock him up! Lock him up!’ It’s unclear whether Chinese police did jail the man or who he was. As others on the United Airlines flight described it, he started arguing before he stepped onto the plane. ‘Obviously, the hat provoked some of the stuff,’ said Alexis Zimmerman, who was flying back to Newark from a business trip.” [WaPo]
– Dogs try to make sense of fidget spinners.
– The winning submissions from the first-ever “Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.”
– An infographic showing all the colors of Mr. Rogers’ cardigans.
@emmaroller: The Orb and the Obelisk have revealed themselves, as it was foretold. Now we wait for the third Dark Talisman to emerge.
@historyinflicks: Straightforward from here:
1 impeach Trump
2 steal orb
3 fall under maddening spell of orb
4 orb devours every human soul
5 President Hatch
@jephjacobs: Child: do you remember when Trump touched the Orb?
Me: Yes. None of us realized what it would-
Orb Police: HAIL ORB
Me & child: hail orb
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Article posted May 22, 2017 at 10:01 PM
Fired FBI director James Comey had been scheduled to testify this Wedneday on the circumstances surrounding his firing. Now that’s not going to happen: House Oversight chair Jason Chaffetz confirmed that the hearing is being postponed, because Comey “wants to speak with Special Counsel [Robert Mueller] prior to public testimony.” Comey likely wants to ensure that his testimony does not interfere with Mueller’s investigation into the same matters—for example, Mueller may want him to demur on answering certain questions.
In what could be coincidental but, in the Trump White House, could also be something else, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also cancelled his planned testimony to the House and Senate this week. The hearings were routine efforts on Justice Department funding, but lawmakers were likely to have questions of their own on Sessions’ key role in the Comey firing. So for now, he won’t be showing up either.
DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said the canceled testimonies, which had been planned for Wednesday in the House and Thursday in the Senate, was due to a scheduling conflict. The Senate Appropriations Committee had announced Sessions’ appearance last week, although the testimony was not included in the weekly guidance from the Justice Department.
Comey’s move is certainly bad news for the administration, as it suggests Comey suspects his testimony on the White House’s actions may indeed pertain to Mueller’s own investigation of Russian election meddling and potential White House collusion. The Sessions news is less clear, but in an environment in which much of the White House staff is being encouraged to lawyer up he may have his own reasons for wanting to, at least for a few weeks, dodge lawmaker questions.
Article posted May 22, 2017 at 9:58 PM
By David Lohr
A onetime white supremacist in Tampa, Florida, claims he killed two neo-Nazi friends because they objected to his newfound Muslim faith, police said.
Devon Arthurs, 18, of Tampa, was apprehended Friday. He is accused of taking three hostages at a Tampa Palms smoke shop, according to a copy of the police report. After police talked Arthurs into surrendering, he made references to “Allah Mohammed” and said, “I had to do it. This wouldn’t have had to happen if your country didn’t bomb my country,” Tampa police reported. Arthurs is a U.S. citizen.
When an officer asked Arthurs if anyone was hurt, he reportedly replied, “The people in the apartment, but they ain’t hurt, they’re dead … they’re definitely dead.”
Authorities say Arthurs then led investigators to his New Tampa apartment, where they found the bullet-riddled bodies of his roommates, 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk and 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman.
Police said Arthurs told them he shot his roommates because they’d been “disrespecting Arthurs’ Muslim faith” and that all three of them “had been friends with a common neo-Nazi belief until Arthurs converted.”
In addition to the victims’ bodies, investigators found bomb-making materials and white supremacist propaganda, according to federal documents obtained by The Tampa Bay Times. Those items were reportedly linked to a fourth roommate, identified as Brandon Russell, who is in the Army National Guard.
Russell called himself a national socialist and member of a white supremacy group, police said. He has been charged with possessing an unregistered destructive device and unlawful storage of explosive material.
Authorities have not accused Oneschuk and Himmelman of being involved in any illicit activities. It’s also unclear if they were neo-Nazis, as claimed by Arthurs. Himmelman’s sister, Lyssa Himmelman, told The Tampa Bay Times that her brother and Oneschuk had only recently moved to Florida from Massachusetts. She also said both men had been planning to leave because they disagreed with Arthurs’ views.
“Jeremy was a sweet, funny, amazing, loving brother who would never hurt a fly,” Lyssa Himmelman said. “He thought this was his friend who would never hurt him, and he betrayed him.”
Arthurs said he’d only recently decided to kill his roommates, according to the Tampa police report, which says:
“Arthurs stated he has become angered by the world’s anti-Muslim sentiment and had wanted to bring attention to his cause. Arthurs also stated that, prior to the murder, he had been privy to neo-Nazi internet chat sites threatening to kill people, and he had developed a thinking that he should take some of the neo-Nazis with him.”
Arthurs faces two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and three counts of armed kidnapping. He is being held without bond at the Hillsborough County Jail pending a Wednesday morning court hearing.
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Article posted May 22, 2017 at 9:35 PM
WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn appears to have lied to Pentagon officials about payments he received from Russians when he was interviewed in 2016 for a renewal of his security clearance, according to a document obtained by the top Democrat on the House oversight committee.
In a letter released Monday evening by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the congressman details a document that reveals Flynn told investigators he was paid by “U.S. companies” when he traveled to Russia and dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“[T]he Oversight Committee has in our possession documents that appear to indicate that General Flynn lied to the investigators who interviewed him in 2016 as part of his security clearance renewal,” Cummings wrote in the letter sent to committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). “Specifically, the Committee has obtained a Report of Investigation dated March 14, 2016, showing that General Flynn told security clearance investigators that he was paid by ‘U.S. companies’ when he traveled to Moscow in December 2015 to dine at a gala with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The actual source of the funds for General Flynn’s trip was not a U.S. company, but the Russian media propaganda arm, RT.”
Cummings urged Chaffetz to subpoena the White House for documents it has related to Flynn.
Cummings’ letter comes just hours after Flynn officially announced he would not comply with a subpoena issued by senators investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.