So, here’s a super Florida thing that happened this weekend:
That bunny waded in swinging! The guy he was attacking was lucky not to have been kicked by the powerful back legs. Anyway, no one was seriously hurt, and no arrests were made. Kinda feel for the guy who got his ass kicked by the Easter bunny, though. He’ll never live that down, obviously.
Stop & Shop workers were back in stores on Monday after their 10-day strike ended with a tentative deal reached on Sunday evening. “Today is a powerful victory for the 31,000 hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop who courageously stood up to fight for what all New Englanders want—good jobs, affordable health care, a better wage, and to be treated right by the company they made a success,” the United Food and Commercial Workers union said in a statement. Local workers told the Boston Globe they were glad to be going back to work.
The workers won increased pay and beat back management’s efforts to drastically increase healthcare costs and cut retirement benefits. Current members will also maintain time-and-a-half on Sundays and holidays.
The strike was “effective and devastating,” in the words of one analyst, leaving Stop & Shop stores with bare shelves and few customers. The workers were aided by solidarity from Teamsters who refused to cross picket lines with deliveries, and from regular customers. They also drew visits and support from Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey as well as other Democratic presidential candidates or potential candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
One piece of texture that Robert Mueller’s redacted report added to the annals of Donald Trump’s ignominious tenure as our supposed commander in chief is just how astoundingly weak he is as a leader. We already knew he was an incompetent blowhard motivated by endless depths of depravity. We also knew he never had the guts to fire anyone himself, face to face, but rather always ousted people via tweet or let some other enforcer do the dirty work that he didn’t have the grit to do himself. But through Mueller’s lens, we learned how often his supposed confidants and underlings just outright ignored his commands.
From private citizen Corey Lewandowski failing to brief Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Trump’s scheme to redirect the Russia probe, to White House counsel Don McGahn dismissing Trump’s order to fire Mueller as some “crazy shit,” people surrounding Trump routinely blew off his dumbest and most illegal requests. As Mueller wrote, Trump’s most fervent attempts to obstruct the probe were “mostly unsuccessful” because “the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”
Trump, who has clearly been briefed on this aspect of Mueller’s report, is feeling a touch miffed about the revelation going public. He kicked off Monday with predictable bluster, as he tried to reset the narrative with White House reporters.x
Ã¢ÂÂNobody disobeys my orders,Ã¢ÂÂ President Trump tells me when I asked about the portrayal in the Mueller report that his staff often ignored his directives.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) April 22, 2019
Nobody disobeys my orders! Au contraire, Dear Leader.
CNN’s Collins also reported over the weekend that Trump is now “seeking assurances” from his staff that they really are following his orders—because nothing oozes strength like double checking to make certain people under your authority are taking you seriously. What a buffoon.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham, whose nightly program has been struggling under the weight of an advertising boycott for the past year, received some good news in April. Online giant Google, along with its subsidiary YouTube, bought up lots of advertising time on Ingraham's primetime show. The move doubles as a critical display of support from the tech behemoth at a time when Ingraham and the network have been desperate to bring high-profile advertisers back onto the show.
"Google or YouTube ads have appeared during The Ingraham Angle at least 23 times this month, beginning on April 2, with three ads running on the April 16 broadcast alone," The Wrap reports.
The unfortunate cozying up to Fox News comes as more social media giants continue to give in to right-wing bullying. Frantic to avoid the endless claims of "liberal media bias" launched by the Republican Party, conservative activists, and the right-wing media, Internet icons such as Google, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are doing exactly what traditional media outlets have done for years when faced with GOP bullies: they're caving. Anxious to avoid the spotlight and an erratic Trump administration that's shown it is completely willing to misuse government power to target and thwart its perceived foes in the business world, the companies seem overly anxious to make friends with conservative bullies. And now comes word that Google is helping to support Ingraham's show.
One year ago, the host sparked nationwide outrage when she took to Twitter to mock a Parkland, Florida school shooting survivor for not getting accepted into his top-choice colleges. “David Hogg Rejected By Four colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it,” she wrote on Twitter. “(Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA...totally predictable given acceptance rates.)" The advertising exodus was immediate, as Ingraham's show went from hosting 15 minutes of commercials each night to down to just six minutes, and relied heavily on 1-800 clients because so many iconic brands including Bayer, Hulu, Johnson & Johnson, and Liberty Mutual had dropped her show. By the end of 2018, the show had rebounded a bit and was running 10 minutes of ads each night, but was still nowhere near its pre-boycott strength. Now Ingraham's getting a boost from Google. (No word if Fox offered Google a deep rate discount in order to get the company to advertise on Ingraham's ad-starved program.)
The new Google sponsorship also comes as several Democratic candidates have made a shortsighted miscue by signaling they want to work with Fox News during the campaign primary season, even though the Democratic National Committee has refused the GOP channel the right to sponsor any of the Democratic debates. By doing so, the candidates are helping to legitimize a network that is dedicated to destroying Democrats, defending Trump lies, and demolishing public debate in this country.
I was just reading Atrios’s latest barb against Elon Musk’s “self-driving” Tesla—a subject we agree on—and got to wondering how Waymo is doing these days. I consider them the real bellwether for self-driving technology, but it’s been a few months since I checked in on them.
Long story short, Waymo announced last month that they’re building a second technical center in Chandler, Arizona, which will allow them to expand their commercial fleet. However, they’re still in pilot mode, with a safety driver behind the wheel at all times.
That’s about it. Steady but slow progress, and no one has died.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders was exposed as a liar in the Mueller report.
Now that her "relationship" with the White House press corps is dead and buried, she appeared on "Fox and Friends" Monday morning to lie about April Ryan.
After reading through some of Mueller's reports, last week, CNN's April Ryan used an analogy in describing how the White House should be firing all the incompetent people that Trump has hired, which included Sanders.
April Ryan said the American people can't trust Trump’s mouthpiece, “She outright lied, and the people, the American people, can't trust her. They can't trust what's said from the president's mouthpiece, spokesperson, from the people's house.
Ryan continued. "When there is a lack of credibility there, you have to start and start lopping the heads off. It’s 'Fire Me Thursday’ or 'Fire Me Good Friday.' She needs to go."
Clearly, April Ryan wasn't suggesting that Sarah Huckabee Sanders be led to the guillotine Marie Antoinette style and have her head cut off. But that is what Sanders and her father Mike Huckabee are peddling to defend her lying lies.
Sanders told Trump's favorite morning show, “I have had reporters say a lot of things about me. They’ve said I should be choked. I should deserve a lifetime of harassment, but certainly never had anybody say I should be decapitated.”
Normally I would be saying this is too much even for Trump surrogates, but that is not the case since facts and reality do not apply to Trump and his propaganda exporters.
The Trump administration may begin closing some international U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices as soon as the end of June, BuzzFeed reports. The office in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, would be first, on June 30, followed by Manila, Philippines. “All offices, including the main district offices for the separate regions, are scheduled to close by March 10, 2020.”
Officials reportedly claim that the closings will save “millions of dollars every year,” with the agency’s spokesperson adding that “the agency is working with the State and Homeland Security departments to coordinate and avoid interruptions in services.” The administration could also save millions of dollars by cutting down a certain someone’s golfing outings, but it’s never really been about saving money for these guys.
BuzzFeed reports that “The offices primarily deal with international adoptions, family visa applications, petitions for citizenship for military members stationed in foreign countries, and citizenship applications, along with help on refugee processing and investigations of fraud.” Despite claims otherwise, targeting legal immigration, especially by non-whites, has long been a goal of the Trump administration, particularly of White House aide and white supremacist Stephen Miller.
Asylum is also legal immigration, but the administration, from the very start, has taken and supported illegal actions stomping on the right of vulnerable people to ask for protection. Closing USCIS offices continues this trend of systematically walling us off from the world. Former officials have been condemning the closures, including former Refugee Affairs Division official Barbara Strack, who warned, “It will be a great blow to the quality and integrity of the legal immigration system.”
Hoo boy. Today in things that could put the brakes on progress for a generation, the Trump-McConnell Supreme Court will be taking up LGBTQ rights in the workplace.
Two cases that will be combined for argument focus on whether lesbian or gay workers can be fired because of their sexual orientation, or whether that “is a subset of sex discrimination.” The Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit said yes, it is sex discrimination, while the 11th Circuit said no, setting up the issue for the Supreme Court to tackle.
The court will also be looking at a third case in which a funeral home fired an employee because she was transgender. The owner believed “both that allowing Stephens to wear women’s clothes would violate the funeral home’s dress code and that he would be ‘violating God’s commands’ by allowing Stephens to dress in women’s clothing,” Amy Howe writes that the 6th Circuit sided with the employee and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but the funeral home owner took the case to the Supreme Court.
Nearly a year after their forcible separation by federal immigration officials, Elmer and his daughter Marisol are together again. The asylum-seeker was one of the 29 parents who returned to the U.S in March, after being unjustly deported, without their kids, by the Trump administration. Elmer was deported back to Honduras in July, while 15-year-old Marisol was left in a children’s detention facility.
Their separation ended following Elmer’s release from detention, and last week he flew to Wisconsin, where the girl has been living with relatives following her own release. “Marisol is kind of hesitant when she first walks into the airport, unsure where she should go,” NPR reported. “And then—she spots him down the hallway. She starts running, then stops, then runs again. Her little cousin tails behind her. Marisol jumps into Elmer's arms, and he spins her around.”
"I missed you so much," he tells her. "You, too," she replies. Elmer had been unsure this moment was ever going to happen, after he’d been forced by officials to sign papers he didn’t understand last summer. They were documents agreeing to his deportation, and he hasn’t been the only parent to be forced to do this. Now back in the U.S., the relieved dad tells Marisol, "We did it. I can't believe it. I can't believe I'm here."
Marisol was worried, too. ”Sometimes I'd be in school, and I'd get all stressed out wondering where he was, how he was, all that,” she said. “When he was detained, I was really worried he'd get deported again." Now back together again, Elmer just wants to enjoy the little things he’s missed out on since last year. "Dropping her off at school, it's wonderful,” he said. “You'll never know how happy it makes me."
Other parents from the now-released group of 29 have also been reunited with their kids, thanks to the advocacy of groups like Al Otro Lado, Together Rising, and Families Belong Together, yet others continue to remain separated. The administration has even claimed it could take up to two years to identify families that were separated before the official “zero tolerance” policy. Family separation remains a crisis.
In an admirable example of why local reporting is so important, the LA Times has counted up all the expletives thrown at the LA County Board of Supervisors since 2016. Up through 2017, board meetings were fairly clean and decorous, but in 2018 things started spiraling out of hand:
According to reporter Matt Stiles, “It’s a common problem in government proceedings across the nation, including for the Los Angeles City Council and even the Los Angeles Police Commission. At those weekly meetings, profanity-laced tirades and middle fingers regularly outnumber the officers assigned to keep watch.”
Hooray for the First Amendment?
On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver said Trump's saving grace may have been that his staff was too inept to work with the Russians. Via CNN:
"The news that the President ordered subordinates to do things that might constitute obstruction and then they just ignored him is both reassuring and also terrifying," Oliver said.
Oliver also slammed Attorney General William Barr's press conference and pre-release summary about the report.
"It's like Barr summarized the 'Twilight' novels as 'a girl in Florida goes to third base with a wookie.' No! No! That's not what happens," Oliver joked. "I'm not even sure we're reading the same underlying material."
The host concluded that the report's findings are "very depressing" and there's a lot the public still doesn't know due to redactions and other investigations. However, he did say that the report shedding light on Russia's interference was ultimately a good thing.
"The point is, having the knowledge that the Mueller report provides is infinitely better than the alternative," Oliver said. "'Cause that knowledge can inform Congress going forward and — crucially — voters a year and a half from now."
This morning, another bomb exploded in Sri Lanka as officials tried to disarm it.
"The bomb squad was called to a van they thought was suspicious," said Janis Mackey Frayer.
"They looked inside and found an explosive device. As they tried to diffuse it, it went off. This is after finding a bomb at several airports. Secondary explosions are a tactic of many militant groups. It's part of the reason the government is imposing a state of emergency tonight to try to get a handle on public safety as they figure out who is behind the violence."
"There's a domestic group authorities are blaming for the attacks. Who are they?" Stephanie Ruehl asked.
"It's not an official blame, but several members of the government are pointing to a group called the National Thowheed Jamath. They believe they had international help. Authorities are stunned by how coordinated the attacks were. There are three explosions at churches, three explosions at hotels at pretty much the same time. The forensic evidence they have collected from the six sites show they were suicide bombers that carried out the attacks. We have the FBI on the ground and another team combing through the disaster scenes, trying to find evidence. They are experts in counterterrorism and in identifying victims."
"Officials reportedly did get some kind of warning before the attacks took place?" Ruehl asked.
Elijah Cummings says that even if the House moves to impeach Trump and the Senate votes against it, "history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 21, 2019
Counter-argument, which refutes itself in the person of the panty-sniffer making it:
Ken Starr says Democrats shouldn't pursue impeachment of Trump because "it's so bad for the country" pic.twitter.com/EamjLAPK1U
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) April 19, 2019
I never thought much about impeachment. Viewed it solely as a “base” issue for political space.
Today, Mueller invites us to reconsider impeachment through the lens of politics and instead through the lens of fitness and Trumps loyalty.
So consider me accepting the invite. https://t.co/fmYHSaw2dS
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) April 18, 2019
As I noted yesterday, if this was 2010 and the subject of the Mueller Report was Barack Obama, Tea Party Republicans would have finished impeachment by noon and would right now be building a gallows on the National Mall. https://t.co/1lPBfgsRGM
— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) April 19, 2019
Every time the media asks what are the Democrats going to do on impeachment, they simultaneously should ask what is the GOP going to do on holding this administration accountable. We shouldn’t discuss one without the other.
— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) April 21, 2019
It's a sign of the rot in our political system that all conversation about holding the president accountable takes the form of discussing "What Democrats should do," because Republicans have utterly abdicated their oversight role.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) April 19, 2019
By not acting on Trump’s obstruction, we tell the witnesses who gave SCO truthful information that truth doesn’t matter & isn’t worth it. And we send that same message to future witnesses in future investigations of powerful people. That’s just not the message we should send.
— Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1) April 21, 2019
1) We're just 18 months from election day, providing some flexibility to HJC on timing.
2) There's abuse that Mueller didn't mention. (Posts incoming)
3) There's other shit that is akin to Mueller report coming down the pike.
Start the process.
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) April 21, 2019
— Tormund XtopHodor, First of His Name (@tommyxtopher) April 20, 2019
One of the most amazing things about this Fyre Festival of a Presidency is the amount of duped attendees who angrily insist that the leaky tents and soggy cheese sandwiches really are luxury villas and gourmet meals.
— Marko Kloos (@markokloos) April 18, 2019
OJ Simpson was acquitted, too. He’s never been able to outrun the stink. People watched, and they knew. Same here. The object isn’t to perform an ‘intervention’ w/ Trump’s base, but to speak to the whole country.
— Rick Petree (@RickPetree) April 19, 2019
— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) April 18, 2019
As a public advocate, as a senator, and now as a presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren's primary focus has been leveling the playing field for all Americans. On Monday, she rolled out another visionary policy proposal to do just that: a comprehensive student debt cancellation and universal free public college plan.
Warren's first step in dealing with what she calls a higher education crisis, "a huge student loan debt burden that's crushing millions of families and acting as an anchor on our economy," is a plan to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt owed by 42 million Americans, 95 percent of the nearly 45 million who hold debt. People with household income below $100,000 would be eligible for $50,000 in debt cancellation; Warren’s proposal creates a sliding scale for eligibility for people with up to $250,000 in annual income, with debt phased out at a rate of $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000, so that someone making $130,000 a year would get $40,000, and so on. It would be available for both public and private school debt, and the canceled debt would not be taxed as income.
"Once we've cleared out the debt that’s holding down an entire generation of Americans," Warren writes, "we must ensure that we never have another student debt crisis again. […] We need to fundamentally change the broken system that created the crisis in the first place." That means making free public education available to every Americans for primary and secondary school as well as for two- and four-year public college. The federal government and states would partner to split tuition and fees and would expand eligibility and funding for Pell grants to cover non-tuition costs, "to make sure lower-income and middle-class students have a better chance of graduating without debt."
Warren's plan focuses on "fixing our higher education system so it better serves lower-income families and communities of color." That includes creating a $50 billion minimum fund for historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions to "ensure that spending per-student at those schools is comparable to colleges in the area." It would provide addition federal funding to states that show "substantial improvement in enrollment and graduation rates for lower-income students and students of color." It would end federal funding, including military benefits and federal student loans, going to for-profit colleges that have disproportionately preyed on people of color. It would require public colleges to complete an annual audit examining enrollment and graduation rates for lower-income students and students of color, and would ban public colleges from "considering citizenship status or criminal history in admissions decisions."
Donald Trump is taking his fight to keep his finances a secret to court. Trump is suing to block a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee to Mazars, an accounting firm Trump uses.
“Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically,” according to Trump’s court filing, itself a part of Trump being singularly obsessed with keeping his finances a secret even as he profits from the presidency.
House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings issued a subpoena to Mazars last week after he had requested Trump’s financial information, and after the firm had indicated it would comply with a subpoena. Cummings informed members of his committee that he was seeking “to determine whether [Trump] has undisclosed conflicts of interest that may impair his ability to make impartial policy decisions, to assess whether he is complying with the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution, and to review whether he has accurately reported his finances to the Office of Government Ethics and other federal entities.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of grifter preacher and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, couldn’t take a break from lying even during the Easter holiday. Appearing on Fox News (where else?) against the backdrop of the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll, Sanders claimed reporters have said that she deserves to be choked, shunned, and, most incredibly, decapitated.
As first reported by Pam Zubek at the Colorado Springs Independent, on Wednesday, April 17, the Air Force Academy hosted a talk promoting the alleged authenticity of the “Shroud of Turin,” which carbon dating and other evidence strongly indicates is actually a 14th-century forgery, as pointed out by Academy computer science professor Barry Fagin.
“I’ve been at the Academy for 25 years and in that time I've heard this talk 3 times,” Fagin told Crooks and Liars. “I find these talks to be embarrassing.”
The talk was given by Dr. Rolf Engler, a member of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), which has been promoting the authenticity myth for over 40 years.
Hosting the talk violated two core responsibilities of the academy: first, its Constitutional responsibility—codified in Air Force Instruction 1-1—not to favor one religion over others, and second, its educational responsibility as a science-oriented institute of higher learning.
“If we take ourselves seriously as an academic institution – we shouldn't have people here talking about Bigfoot or talking about astrology,” Fagin said. “At the very least, if we do that, then we ought to have people present the alternative, and have a robust debate. And then, I think the answer would pretty much reveal itself.”
Despite the fact that it's fairly obvious to anyone who has given the redacted version of the Mueller report an honest read that what Mueller intended was for Congress to make the judgment on whether Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice, Republican Utah Senator and Trump enabler Mike Lee told CBS' Bob Schieffer this Sunday that he was "confused" as to the "tone" of the report on obstruction.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Your colleague, the junior senator from Utah, Mitt Romney, put out a pretty stunning statement yesterday. I just want to read this to you, this is Mitt Romney speaking, "I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty by individuals in the highest office in the land including the president. I am appalled that federal- fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia including information that had been illegally obtained, that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement, and that the campaign chairman was actively promoting Russian interests in the Ukraine," close quote. Your reaction?
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MA), chair of the House Oversight Committee, on Sunday predicted that history will "smile upon" the lawmakers who pursue the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
In an interview on Face the Nation, CBS host Bob Schieffer noted that several high profile Democrats are calling for impeachment proceedings to begin due to the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation report.
"This is a political act, and if you do vote to impeach him and then the Senate votes not to remove him, won’t that look like a victory for him?" Schieffer wondered.
"It may very well, but you know, sometimes, Bob, I got to tell you, there comes a point in life where we all have to make decisions based upon the fact that it is on our watch," Cummings replied. "History, I think, even if we did not win possibly, if there were not impeachment, I think history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution."
"You know, I hear a lot of people say they’re tired of hearing about the Mueller report," he continued. "Well, we don’t have time to get tired, because the Russians aren’t getting tired. They are attacking our electoral system every single day, if not every hour."
In the lead-up to CNN's presidential town hall tonight, M.J. Lee interviewed Elizabeth Warren about her ambitious new education plan. She talked about it to Alysin Camerota:
"Alisyn, Elizabeth Warren made a huge splash when she called on the House to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump," she said. "Aides at the time said do not expect impeachment to be the central theme of her campaign going forward, that she plans to remain focused on policy. We are seeing the first real sign of that this morning, Elizabeth Warren putting out a major student loans and free college proposal.
"Senator Elizabeth Warren out with a sweeping new proposal to wipe clean millions of Americans' student loan debt and overhaul the country's higher education system. The Massachusetts Democrat dropping the ambitious plan ahead of CNN's five-candidate young voter town hall in New Hampshire."
WARREN: Anyone who has outstanding student loan debt can have up to $50,000 worth of student loan debt canceled out so long as their income is under $100,000, and then it steps in up to there's no help for anybody whose family income is above $250,000. That's it. The debt is gone.
LEE: The proposal would make all public colleges tuition- and fee-free, inject $100 billion in Pell grants over ten years and create a $50 billion fund for historically black colleges and other minority-serving institutions.