News Digest For Thursday, April 26, 2018

Bill Cosby Is Found Guilty in Second Trial for Sexual Assault

The Wall Street Journal
Kris Maher

A jury found entertainer Bill Cosby guilty Thursday of sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004, in the first major prosecution since the #MeToo movement put the issue of sexual assault by powerful men onto the national stage.

Mr. Cosby, the 80-year-old comedian and actor who has occupied the pinnacle of American celebrity for decades, faces as many as 10 years in prison for each of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, though the sentences could be served concurrently.


Facebook To Offer Users Opt-Outs That Comply With New European Privacy Rules

NPR
Scott Neuman

Facebook on Wednesday announced it is introducing “new privacy experiences” aimed at complying with European Union regulations that will give users worldwide a chance to opt out of some features that could expose their personal data.


Robert Mueller is getting some unlikely support from TV ads. By Republicans. On Fox News.

McClatchy
Brian Murphy

A new group founded by prominent Republicans is taking its pro-Robert Mueller message straight to President Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters in North Carolina and South Carolina via his favorite news network.

Republicans for the Rule of Law began airing a 30-second television ad on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” in four states on Tuesday, calling for the special counsel to be allowed to finish his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.


Senate Judiciary Committee backs bill to protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III from being fired by President Trump

The Washington Post
Staff

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 14-7 to advance legislation that would protect Mueller after the panel’s Republican chairman backed off from changes that threatened the bipartisan support for the bill.


Junkies take over corridors Of San Francisco Civic Center BART station

CBS SFBayArea
Wilson Walker

Shocking video is calling attention to what’s going on in one of the busiest BART stations in the Bay Area: junkies blatantly shooting up out in the open as commuters walk by, others slumped along filthy corridors.

It’s a gauntlet commuters walk through every morning at the Civic Center BART and Muni station.


Smartphone addiction is worth talking about, but it probably isn’t a social crisis

Android Police
David Ruddock

The idea that smartphones are somehow having a broad negative impact our lives has understandable appeal. First, it’s highly reductive. It takes what are often complex and nuanced issues – our anxieties, our unhappiness, and our problems – and traces them back to a little brick we all carry around every day. It’s something we can all relate to. Second, it appeals to a romantic sort of nostalgia. Don’t you remember what it was like walking around with a dumbphone that could only do calls and text? What a time to be alive! After all, we were so much more engaged with our world before [insert technology that greatly improved life for everyone here] showed up, right?


Inside the Coming Battle Over Gene-Edited Food

The Wall Street Journal
Jacob Bunge and Dockser Marcus

Proponents including scientists and agriculture-industry executives say gene editing in plants could transform agriculture and help feed a growing global population. Organic farmers and natural-food companies say it may pose risks to human health and permanently alter the environment by spreading beyond farms.


F.B.I. Letter Casts Further Doubt on White House’s Rob Porter Timeline

The New York Times
Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Nicholas Fandos, and Adam Goldman

The F.B.I. first gave the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, a file containing spousal abuse allegations against Rob Porter in March 2017, according to a detailed new timeline the bureau has given to Congress that casts further doubt on the West Wing’s account of how accusations against one of President Trump’s closest advisers were handled.

Mr. Porter, Mr. Trump’s staff secretary, resigned under pressure in February after allegations that he had been physically violent toward two former wives were aired in the press. The White House — which initially sprang to his defense — has issued several competing accounts of how Mr. Trump’s team handled the allegations, which they insisted no senior officials knew about until just before Mr. Porter left his job.


 

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News Digest for Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Republicans fear political risk in Senate races as House moves to extend tax cuts

The Washington Post
Erica Werner

Heading into a contentious campaign for control of Congress, Republicans are increasingly divided over how to bolster their signature legislative achievement — a $1.5 trillion tax cut — amid signs it is not the political gift they had expected it to be last year.


Trump administration must accept new DACA applications

The Washington Post
Maria Sacchetti

A D.C. federal judge has delivered the toughest blow yet to Trump administration efforts to end deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants, ordering the government to continue the Obama-era program and — for the first time since announcing it would end — reopen it to new applicants.


Mulvaney, watchdog bureau’s leader, advises bankers on ways to curtail agency

The New York Times
Glenn Thrush

Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told banking industry executives on Tuesday that they should press lawmakers hard to pursue their agenda, and revealed that, as a congressman, he would meet only with lobbyists if they had contributed to his campaign.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mr. Mulvaney, a former Republican lawmaker from South Carolina, told 1,300 bankers and lending industry officials at an American Bankers Association conference in Washington. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”


Rouhani insults Trump as Iran nuclear deal hangs in balance

NBC News
F. Brinley Bruton

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday dismissed Donald Trump as unqualified to deal with important international issues amid U.S. threats to potentially walk away from the landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.

Rouhani, a reforming cleric, unleashed a series of insults during his speech.

“You don’t have any background in politics,” Reuters quoted him saying in comments directed at Trump. “You don’t have any background in law. You don’t have any background on international treaties.”

Rouhani added: “How can a tradesman, a merchant, a building constructor, a tower constructor make judgments about international affairs?”


Giuliani reopens negotiations about presidential interview with Mueller, but cautions special counsel that Trump remains resistant

The Washington Post
Robert Costa and Carol D. Leonnig

Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s new personal lawyer dealing with the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, met with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Tuesday to reopen negotiations for a presidential interview, according to three people familiar with the talks.

Giuliani, who joined Trump’s legal team last week, conveyed the ongoing resistance of Trump and his advisers to an interview with federal investigators, but did not rule out the possibility, the people said, adding that Giuliani pressed Mueller for clarity on when the probe is expected to end.


Paul Krugman on Twitter –

It’s interesting — and encouraging — that this time around the GOP strategy of deficit-boosting tax cuts that mainly benefit the wealthy with a few crumbs for the middle class seems to be a political bust.

If anything the tax cuts are getting less popular over time, despite low unemployment.

This is somewhat different from the Bush tax cuts, which were fairly popular. Interesting to ask why. The crumbs are even smaller? Years of deficit-scare rhetoric have made the public more skeptical? Anything with Trump’s name attached is devalued?

Anyway, this does seem as if one particular kind of policy scam has reached the end of its road.


How merchants use Facebook to flood Amazon with fake reviews

The Washington Post
Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg

On Amazon, customer comments can help a product surge in popularity. The online retail giant says that more than 99 percent of its reviews are legitimate because they are written by real shoppers who aren’t paid for them.

But a Washington Post examination found that for some popular product categories, such as Bluetooth headphones and speakers, the vast majority of reviews appear to violate Amazon’s prohibition on paid reviews. Such reviews have certain characteristics, such as repetitive wording that people probably cut and paste in.

Many of these fraudulent reviews originate on Facebook, where sellers seek shoppers on dozens of networks, including Amazon Review Club and Amazon Reviewers Group, to give glowing feedback in exchange for money or other compensation. The practice artificially inflates the ranking of thousands of products, experts say, misleading consumers.


 

News Digest for Tuesday, April 24, 2018

U.S. to fine Wells Fargo $1 billion — the most aggressive bank penalty of the Trump era

The Washington Post
Renae Merle

Federal regulators are preparing to fine megabank Wells Fargo about $1 billion for misbehavior in its auto and mortgage businesses, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.


Paul Krugman on Twitter –

This is an administration of men with empty souls. Pruitt is in hot water not because he was stealing large amounts (that we know of) but because he demanded ludicrous privileges that made him feel important and special.

The same was, of course, true of Tom Price and is true of Ryan Zinke and Ben Carson — and I’m sure we’ll find true of other officials. All of these men obviously need special treatment — bowing and scraping by others — to fill some hole in themselves.

And this is obviously true of Trump himself — he’s the one who sets the tone for the whole administration. It’s not even about power or wealth, except insofar as these buy validation. It’s about humiliating and lording it over people to numb your inner emptiness.

The terrible thing, of course, is that these hollow men have real power now, and their neediness will do immense damage to the world.


The Yellowstone supervolcano is a disaster waiting to happen

The Washington Post
Joel Achenbach

Yellowstone National Park sits squarely over a giant, active volcano. This requires attention. Yellowstone has been a national park since 1872, but it was only in the 1960s that scientists realized the scale of the volcano — it’s 44 miles across — and not until the 1980s did they grasp that this thing is fully alive and still threatens to erupt catastrophically.


27 incredibly useful things you didn’t know Chrome could do

Fast Company
JR Raphael

These days, a browser is more than just a basic navigator for the web. It’s effectively a second desktop—a gateway to countless apps, sites, and services. And optimizing that environment can go a long way in increasing your efficiency.

Google’s Chrome is full of hidden shortcuts, features, and power-user possibilities. Take the time to learn these tips and watch your productivity soar.


Flight records illuminate mystery of Trump’s Moscow nights

Bloomberg
Vernon Silver

President Donald Trump twice gave James Comey an alibi for why a salacious report about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow couldn’t be true: He never even spent the night in Russia during that trip, Trump told the former FBI director, according to Comey’s memos about the conversations.

Yet the broad timeline of Trump’s stay, stretching from Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, through the following Sunday morning, has been widely reported. And it’s substantiated by social media posts that show he slept in Moscow the night before the Miss Universe contest.


We know an awful lot about Manafort and Russia. Trump can’t make it disappear.

The Washington Post
David Ignatius

When August 2016 began, Paul Manafort was about 11 weeks into his job as chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign. But despite the political tumult, Manafort found time that month to meet at a swank Manhattan cigar bar with someone the FBI has suggested has ties to Russian intelligence.

By the time August ended, Manafort was gone — having resigned after allegations that he had received millions of dollars “off the books” to support pro-Russia figures in Ukraine. On the very day he was forced out, the financially strapped Manafort created a shell company that received $13 million in loans over the next few months from people or financial institutions with links to Trump.


Trump keeps saying he’s innocent. So why does he keep sounding like he’s guilty?

The Washington Post
Philip Rucker

As concern grew inside his orbit that Michael Cohen might become a cooperating witness to federal investigators, President Trump issued a declaration about his longtime personal lawyer and fixer.

“Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble,” Trump tweeted over the weekend. He added: “Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that.”

By asserting that the government would not be able to “flip” Cohen, Trump invited a question: If the Russia probe is the “witch hunt” the president says it is — and if he is as innocent as he so often proclaims — what incriminating evidence would Cohen have on Trump that would give him leverage to flip?

It was only the latest instance of the president adopting a posture vis-a-vis his legal troubles that is both combative and defensive — and, perhaps unwittingly, seems to assume guilt.


 

News Digest for Sunday, April 22, 2018

Paul Krugman on Twitter –

I’ve been pretty much staying out of the Trump scandal business, bc it’s being well covered by other people, and I think I add more value added by concentrating on my comparative advantage. But I remain deeply puzzled by Putin’s obvious hold on DJT.

I mean, let’s be realistic: everything, and I mean everything, indicates that the president of the US is a Russian puppet; it almost has to be blackmail. But then the question is, blackmail with what? What could be worse than what we already know?

I mean, by now it’s clear that key Trump support groups don’t care about any of it. In particular, evangelical leaders have made it perfectly clear that his personal morality doesn’t matter; they’d stick with him if there was video of … actually, use your imagination

Oh, and Republicans in Congress have also made it clear that no scandal, financial or otherwise, will cause them to break with Trump. So what can Putin possibly have?


Scott Pruitt before the E.P.A.: Fancy homes, a shell company and friends with money

The New York Times
Steve Eder and Hiroko Tabuchi

Early in Scott Pruitt’s political career, as a state senator from Tulsa, he attended a gathering at the Oklahoma City home of an influential telecommunications lobbyist who was nearing retirement and about to move away.

The lobbyist said that after the 2003 gathering, Mr. Pruitt — who had a modest legal practice and a state salary of $38,400 — reached out to her. He wanted to buy her showplace home as a second residence for when he was in the state capital.

Soon Mr. Pruitt was staying there, and so was at least one other lawmaker, according to interviews. Mr. Pruitt even bought Ms. Lindsey’s dining room set, art and antique rugs, she said.

A review of real estate and other public records shows that Mr. Pruitt was not the sole owner: The property was held by a shell company registered to a business partner and law school friend, Kenneth Wagner. Mr. Wagner now holds a top political job at the Environmental Protection Agency, where Mr. Pruitt, 49, is the administrator.


It’s becoming clear that Trump won’t run in 2020

The Washington Post
Joe Scarborough

It is true that GOP leaders stand silent as President Trump trashes the rule of law, attacks federal judges and declares America’s free press the “enemy of the people.” These lap dogs even remain muzzled as younger Americans are chained to a future of crippling debt. And they shame the memory of the first Republican president — who gave his life ending slavery — by marching alongside a bumbling bigot who labels Hispanics“breeders” and “rapists,” seeks to bar tens of millions of Muslims from entering the country, and defends white supremacy in the ugly aftermath of Charlottesville.

And yet these same morally enfeebled enablers have become muted when asked whether they’ll support their fearless leader’s reelection bid.


Richmond

The Washington Post
Melanie D.G. Kaplan

A Virginia city stuck in the middle is full of superlatives, with noted architecture, natural wonders (white water inside its confines!) and thriving scenes involving food and the arts.


Democrats say looser marijuana laws attract young voters, and some Republicans are catching on

The Washington Post
Sean Sullivan and Seung Min Kim

Democrats are increasingly embracing looser restrictions on marijuana — and a growing number of high-profile Republicans are joining them, marking a shift in the politics of cannabis.

As Democrats try to regain control of Congress in the November elections and make gains in state races, some strategists are wagering that being firmly on the side of easing marijuana laws will help boost turnout among millennials, a key bloc in the party’s coalition. Many of those voters have sat out recent midterms.

While pot enthusiasts celebrated their unofficial “4/20” holiday on Friday, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his support for decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level. Echoing others who have revised their positions, Schumer said his thinking had “evolved.”

Democrats are not alone in moving toward greater acceptance of a drug once broadly seen as taboo. Schumer’s new stance came a week after a top Republican senator announced an agreement with President Trump to keep his state’s legalization of recreational marijuana protected from federal interference.


These whales will be extinct in 25 years, scientists say — unless we act now to save them

The Washington Post
Sarah Kaplan

Lately North Atlantic right whaleshave acted in strange and disturbing ways. Females are having fewer calves; not a single newborn was seen this year. The whales are skipping favored feeding grounds and showing up in unusual places. And in the past 11 months, 18 whales have been found floating, dead — the worst mortality event since scientists began keeping records decades ago.

In an era when species are vanishing 100 times faster than usual, “the whales are a metaphor for what we have done to the planet,” marine biologist Charles Mayo says.

A century ago, humans had slaughtered nearly every right whale in the Atlantic. Now climate change seems to be shifting the animals’ food source. Their habitat has been polluted with sewage and made noisy by construction and seismic tests. Speeding ships and tangles of hard-to-break fishing rope pose deadly threats.

New technology and tightened regulations could protect the whales from some of the biggest hazards. Yet political efforts have stalled, lawsuits linger unresolved, and fishermen fear what potential remedies might cost them.

Fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales remain, including just over 100 breeding females. With so many dying and so few being born, it is thought that the population will no longer be viable in 25 years unless something changes.

For the first time in his career, Mayo, 74, is using a word he had long avoided: “Extinction.”


Michael Cohen, once at pinnacle of Trump’s world, now poses threat to it

The Washington Post
Michael Kranish, Tom Hamburger, and Rosalind S. Helderman

When Donald Trump won the presidency, his longtime attorney Michael Cohen seemed in position for a coveted spot in the senior ranks of the White House.

At one point, Cohen topped a list of five candidates for White House counsel, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post. He suggested to some Trump allies that he might make a good chief of staff.

But when Trump built his West Wing team, the brash New York lawyer did not make the cut.

Some in Trump’s inner circle worried about blowback from Cohen’s associations and un­or­tho­dox tactics in fixing the New York developer’s problems, Trump associates said.

Among those opposed, the associates said, were Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. For his part, Cohen had warned Trump against giving Ivanka Trump and Kushner White House jobs, saying the president would be hammered by complaints of nepotism, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The rebuff wounded Cohen, according to people familiar with his views, although he continued to publicly express admiration for his longtime boss.

Now, the bond between the president and his self-proclaimed fixer is under much more punishing pressure: a wide-ranging criminal investigation into Cohen’s business dealings and actions he took to quash negative stories about Trump during the 2016 campaign.

The outcome — and Cohen’s response to the investigation — could determine the fate of both men, who have relied heavily on each other for years.


Amazon’s typical worker is in a warehouse making $28,446 a year

The Wall Street Journal
Georgia Wells, Rachel Feintzeig, and Theo Francis

When Amazon.com Inc. revealed its workers’ median annual salary of $28,446 last week, the predominantly blue-collar nature of its workforce became clear.

The figure puts Amazon on par with chocolate manufacturer Hershey Co., slightly above retailer Home Depot Inc.—and miles below the $240,430 median annual compensation at Facebook, according to the companies’ latest proxy statements.

Amazon is often compared with Silicon Valley tech giants like Facebook, Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, but a vast logistical apparatus separates it from its tech peers.

Most of the roughly half-million employees at Amazon.com Inc. don’t make six figures and spend their workdays writing code. They unload trucks, drive forklifts and walk miles collecting products to fill orders—all for around the same pay as workers in other companies’ warehouses.

One researcher likened Amazon to the child produced by a three-way merger between Google, United Parcel Service Inc. and Walmart Inc.


 

News Digest For Saturday, April 21, 2018

toles


“This president is not in command of himself. He’s obsessed with his own problems. He seethes with rage and resentment for all the world to view—and those emotions are visibly distorting his decision-making.” @davidfrum on a president unfit to command: theatln.tc/2H0tJXR


Reading aloud to young children has benefits for behavior and attention

The New York Times
Perri Klass

It’s a truism in child development that the very young learn through relationships and back-and-forth interactions, including the interactions that occur when parents read to their children. A new study provides evidence of just how sustained an impact reading and playing with young children can have, shaping their social and emotional development in ways that go far beyond helping them learn language and early literacy skills. The parent-child-book moment even has the potential to help curb problem behaviors like aggression, hyperactivity and difficulty with attention, a new study has found.

The researchers, many of whom are my friends and colleagues, showed that an intervention, based in pediatric primary care, to promote parents reading aloud and playing with their young children could have a sustained impact on children’s behavior.


Michael Cohen has said he would take a bullet for Trump. Maybe not anymore.

The New York Times
Maggie Haberman, Sharon LaFraniere, and Danny Hakim

For years, a joke among Trump Tower employees was that the boss was like Manhattan’s First Avenue, where the traffic goes only one way.

That one-sidedness has always been at the heart of President Trump’s relationship with his longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, who has said he would “take a bullet” for Mr. Trump. For years Mr. Trump treated Mr. Cohen poorly, with gratuitous insults, dismissive statements and, at least twice, threats of being fired, according to interviews with a half-dozen people familiar with their relationship.

Now, for the first time, the traffic may be going Mr. Cohen’s way. Mr. Trump’s lawyers and advisers have become resigned to the strong possibility that Mr. Cohen, who has a wife and two children and faces the prospect of devastating legal fees, if not criminal charges, could end up cooperating with federal officials who are investigating him for activity that could relate, at least in part, to work he did for Mr. Trump.


President Trump: Don’t let history repeat itself

Republicans For the Rule Of Law

Firing Mueller, Rosenstein or Sessions would be a fundamental blow to the rule of law in the United States. Trump should learn a lesson from President Richard Nixon, who in 1973 fired Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor investigating Watergate, in an attempt to curb or end that investigation. Instead, that move marked the beginning of the end of Nixon’s presidency. An assault on the Mueller investigation would have the same disastrous outcome for Trump.


‘Imploding’: Financial troubles. Lawsuits. Trailer park brawls. Has the alt-right peaked?

The Washington Post
Terrance McCoy

Eight months after a white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville ended in the death of a counterprotester, the loose collection of disaffected young white men known as the alt-right is in disarray.

The problems have been mounting: lawsuits and arrests, fundraising difficulties, tepid recruitment, widespread infighting, fierce counterprotests, and banishment from social media platforms. Taken together, they’ve exhausted even some of the staunchest members.

One of the movement’s biggest groups, the Traditionalist Worker Party, dissolved in March. Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, the largest alt-right website, has gone into hiding, chased by a harassment lawsuit. And Richard Spencer, the alt-right’s most public figure, canceled a college speaking tour and was abandoned by his attorney last month.


Lobbyist whose wife rented to Pruitt lobbied EPA despite denials

Politico
Theodoric Meyer and Eliana Johnson

The prominent lobbyist whose wife rented a condominium to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt lobbied the agency while Pruitt was leading it, contrary to his and Pruitt’s public denials that he had any business before the agency, according to a Friday filing by his firm.

The disclosure from the lobbying firm Williams & Jensen contradicts Pruitt’s public statement last month that the lobbyist, J. Steven Hart, had no clients with business before the EPA, and comes hours after Hart’s resignation from the firm.

It’s the latest blow to Pruitt, whose job is already in jeopardy because of multiple investigations into his stewardship of the agency, ranging from spending on a 20-person security team and first-class travel to the installation of costly office furniture and a soundproof phone booth. The Government Accountability Office said earlier this week that the purchase of the booth, which cost $43,000, violated federal law.

News Digest For Friday, April 20, 2018

Paul Krugman on Twitter –

As Republicans in Congress line up to help Trump obstruct justice, think for a minute about what is going on, and what it says about the state of the GOP. These guys are hacks and apparatchiks, most of whom know nothing about policy. But they’re not idiots.

Surely the vast majority of Republicans in Congress have privately reached the same conclusions as anyone reading the news: Trump is deeply corrupt, his campaign colluded with a foreign power, and he may well be subject to blackmail that is shaping US policy.

But they’re running cover for him anyway — with not one serious dissenter. So we’re looking at a whole party so addicted to power, so determined to serve donors’ interests, that it’s essentially willing to condone treason. Trump is a symptom of a much deeper rot.

I’ve been cynical about the state of conservatism for a long time, but even I find it hard to wrap my mind around this — not to mention the corruption of conservative media, evangelicals, and more. With this much rot, you really do wonder how the republic survives.


Democratic Party files lawsuit alleging Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign

The Washington Post
Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Ellen Nakashima

The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump.

The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.

The case asserts that the Russian hacking campaign — combined with Trump associates’ contacts with Russia and the campaign’s public cheerleading of the hacks — amounted to an illegal conspiracy to interfere in the election that caused serious damage to the Democratic Party.


More than 206,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine

The Washington Post
John Woodrow Cox, Steven Rich, Allyson Chiu, John Muyskens, and Monica Ulmanu

The Washington Post has spent the past year determining how many children have been exposed to gun violence during school hours since the Columbine High massacre in 1999.

Beyond the dead and wounded, children who witness the violence or cower behind locked doors to hide from it can be profoundly traumatized.

The federal government does not track school shootings, so The Post pieced together its numbers from news articles, open-source databases, law enforcement reports and calls to schools and police departments.

The children impacted grew with each round of reporting: from 135,000 students in at least 164 primary and secondary schools to more than 187,000 on 193 campuses.

Since March, The Post has taken a closer look at states with fewer local news sources and searched more deeply for less visible public suicides and accidents that led to injury.

The count now stands at more than 206,000 children at 211 schools.


Why were Republicans so desperate to release the embarrassing Comey memos? Here is one explanation.

Slate
Jeremy Stahl

On Thursday, the Department of Justice handed James Comey’s contemporaneous memos of his conversations with President Donald Trump over to Congress. They were immediately revealed to the press.

Some House Republicans had gone so far as to threaten Rosenstein with impeachment if he didn’t release the memos. (His reason for not wanting to do so seems to have been a legitimate desire not to break long-standing protocol by revealing the details of an ongoing investigation.)

Since the start of the year—but particularly since the start of the book tour—Republicans have suggested that the memos Comey had leaked were actually classified documents and that he had perjured himself about this in Senate testimony.

It seems that the memos released prove the exact opposite: The apparently leaked documents were never and still aren’t classified.


November 7, 2018

The Weekly Standard
William Kristol

Political observers are understandably focused on November 6, 2018—Election Day. What happens then will be important for the next couple of years: a Democratic wave, carrying that party to control of the House for the first time since 2010, and perhaps even to a majority in the Senate? A strong Republican showing, in which Donald Trump again surprises the experts? A mixed result? And what of the governors and state legislatures?

The outcome of the 2018 electoral contests will have consequences on matters ranging from public policy to the possibility of impeachment. There will be other political implications too, for example for redistricting after the 2020 census. And, of course, new and rising stars will emerge, and others formerly on the ascendant will fall.

But there’s reason to look ahead as well to the first Wednesday in November. On Wednesday, November 7, the two-year presidential cycle begins in earnest and will quickly come to dominate the conversation.

Much of the attention will turn to the mad scramble for the Democratic nomination. But it will also mark a new moment and a potential inflection point for Republicans.


Behind James Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty’

Lawfare
Benjamin Wittes

One of the inherent features of no-win situations is that someone loses. Colleagues may understand what you did because they trust you. If you’re lucky, so may your boss. But when something terrible happens, the public will need to assign blame. This is inevitable, and assuming that burden is part of leadership.

Comey will, I suspect, spend the rest of his life answering questions about why he did what he did during the 2016 election cycle. In many respects, I don’t consider that a problem.

But in one critical respect, it is a problem.

Our collective focus on the Comey question erodes our focus on the crisis before us. It makes complicated what is not complicated—as the reaction to Comey’s book vividly illustrates.

News Digest for Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bill Maher on Real Time With Bill Maher, Friday, April 13, 2018: I don’t know what’s happening, but obviously we’re bombing Syria. What I think this guy (Donald Trump) might be doing, I don’t put it past him that he might try to start a war, and mix it up with Russia just so he can say, “See, there was no collusion.”


Trump, a reluctant hawk, has battled his top aides on Russia and lost

Washington Post
Greg Jaffe, John Hudson, and Philip Rucker

It is well known that Donald Trump disdains details. He only wants to be told the broad picture and quickly becomes bored when too much information is talked about.

When Trump agreed to expel 60 Russian diplomats, he only did so because he was reassured by his aides that our European allies would be expelling roughly the same number from their countries.

“We’ll match their numbers,” Trump instructed, according to a senior administration official. “We’re not taking the lead. We’re matching.”

The next day, when the expulsions were announced publicly, Trump erupted, officials said. To his shock and dismay, France and Germany were each expelling only four Russian officials — far fewer than the 60 his administration had decided on.

As his aides attempted to explain to him that the US had roughly matched the total of European expulsions, he grew more agitated.

“I don’t care about the total!” the administration official recalled Trump screaming. Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. “There were curse words,” the official said, “a lot of curse words.”


Trump order targets wide swath of public assistance programs

The Hill
Nathaniel Weixel

Donald Trump signed a sweeping executive order that was quietly issued last week. The order seeks to completely revamp the country’s social safety net, targeting recipients of Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance.

It calls on the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and other agencies across the federal government to craft new rules requiring that beneficiaries of a host of programs work or lose their benefits.

Welfare reform has long been a goal of GOP lawmakers, and there’s broad support in the Republican conference for changing the federal safety net to impose stricter work requirements and block grant state funding for programs like Medicaid and food stamps.


Massive Egg Recall for Salmonella Affects Walmart, Waffle House

MSN Lifestyle
Elizabeth Licata

More than 200 million eggs produced by Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Indiana have been recalled this weekend over fears of salmonella.

According to a statement from the FDA, Rose Acre issued the recall after officials traced multiple illnesses back to eggs produced at the company’s facility in North Carolina. Some 22 people have reportedly been sickened with salmonella; no deaths have been reported.

Affected eggs were sold under multiple brand names, including Country Daybreak, Coburn Farms, Crystal Farms, Sunshine Farms, and Glenview. Eggs affected by the recall were sold to grocery stores and restaurants in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Some of the eggs were sold to Walmart and the Food Lion grocery chain, and some also reportedly went to Waffle House. Click here to see a full list of eggs affected by the recall. But here’s a quick tip: All of the eggs that were recalled were white. So if you bought brown eggs, there’s no need to check — your eggs are safe!


Avoid Eating Romaine Lettuce Again, Consumer Reports Says

Consumer Reports
Jesse Hirsch

A new outbreak of E. coli in 11 states has been linked by government investigators to bagged, chopped romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Ariz. Consumer Reports is recommending—for the second time since January—that consumers avoid all romaine lettuce for now.

Consumer Reports’ advice goes beyond that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is recommending that consumers buy or order bagged romaine lettuce at a supermarket or restaurant only after confirming that it didn’t originate in the Yuma growing region. Investigators haven’t pointed to any particular romaine suppliers or growers, but many domestic greens are grown in the Yuma region at this time of year.

The CDC also advises that if you’ve purchased bagged, chopped romaine lettuce—including salads and salad mixes containing romaine—you should throw it away immediately.