On Tuesday, CNN filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the revocation of correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House press pass.
The complaint filed in federal court in Washington, makes a persuasive case that the administration‘s action was “the culmination of years of hostility by President Trump against CNN and Acosta based on the contents of their reporting — an unabashed attempt to censor the press and exclude reporters from the White House who challenge and dispute the president’s point of view.”
CNN is also correct in noting that the 1st Amendment has been interpreted by the Supreme Court as reflecting “a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.” The quotation is from the landmark 1964 libel case of New York Times vs. Sullivan.
When the Trump administration yanked the White House press pass held by CNN’s Jim Acosta last week, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders practically accused him of manhandling a female White House intern. On Tuesday, Sanders took a different tack, accusing him of manhandling the microphone he shares with dozens of other reporters in the White House press corps.
Responding to the lawsuit CNN filed against the suspension of Acosta’s press pass, Sanders said, “After Mr. Acosta asked the President two questions — each of which the President answered — he physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions.”
Public heath advocates appear to be getting desperate over the state of Americans’ inactivity.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday released a new set of physical activity guidelines and they are...ah...interesting. Instead of prescribing the standard block of sustained physical activity — previously at least 10 minutes at a time — the government is now urging Americans to, you know, move around more during the day and sit less.
The reasoning is that any activity is better than none for people who spend most of their lives sitting down — in a car, on the train, in front of a computer, eating meals, watching television or surfing the internet — then they should do what they can to take breaks from the reclined life.
When we last dropped in on the soap opera that is the White House — call it “As the Trump Turns” — I speculated that President Trump would start axing top officials shortly after the election. I had the scandal-scarred Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as the likeliest to go first, with Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions probably second.
Sigh. Sessions went first, Zinke is still on the job, and now it looks like Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen may be the next to go. I had her at third on the list (with an asterisk for Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, once Sessions left) so if this worked like March Madness, well, my bracket would be so busted.
When Democrats take over the House of Representatives next year, they will most likely inherit a strong economy. That’s a good thing, given how messed up the federal budget is.
The federal deficit hit $779 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, amounting to almost 4% of the U.S. economy. Although the budget gap isn’t nearly as large as it was in the depths of the last recession, it’s alarming to watch the red ink deepen at a time when the economy expands steadily.
The enormous tax cut Republicans approved in 2013 is partly to blame for that problem; it reduced tax revenues as a share of gross domestic product to 16.4%, while federal spending remained a little above 20% of GDP. And as the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget pointed out, the tax cut didn’t cause a surge in federal receipts, as its supporters promised it would. Instead, the CFRB calculated, the change translated into a loss of 3.6% to 4.7% — and a more than 5% reduction in what the feds had been projected to take in prior to the tax cut.
There are two fundamental problems with President Trump’s latest attempt to throttle back the number of people — and particularly the number of Central Americans — trying to seek refuge in the U.S. In a proclamation issued Friday morning, Trump declared that asylum-seekers who crossed the border without permission — for example, by fording the Rio Grande instead of coming through an official point of entry — would be ineligible for consideration.
First, to shut the door to the desperate violates basic human decency and international norms of how asylum-seekers should be treated. Second, it is probably illegal, despite the contortions government lawyers have gone through to give it the veneer of lawfulness.
When the Supreme Court announced Thursday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had fractured three ribs in a fall at her office, there was predictable anxiety among her admirers, not only for her personal well-being but also for the future ideological composition of the court.
Numb. That’s the only word for it. California awoke this morning to reports of another mass shooting, this time in Thousand Oaks, a suburban community that prides itself on being among the safest cities in America. More than 100 people, many of them college kids, were in the Borderline Bar & Grill country dance bar when a man dressed in black walked in with some sort of smoke-generating device and opened fire with a .45-caliber Glock handgun, killing 11 people inside and Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, one of the first law-enforcement officers to arrive, before dying of a gunshot himself.
Pundits labeled 2018 the second “Year of the Woman,” a nod to the historic number of women that ran for office Tuesday. The first “Year of the Woman,” of course, was 1992, when Anita Hill was humiliated and ignored and five whole women were elected to the 100-person Senate. Twenty-six years later, the headlines are similarly rapturous. We elected more than 115 women, breaking a zillion records!
We owe these female candidates — and those who organized on their behalf — a debt of gratitude for expanding our vision, often at great personal risk.
But I’m not exactly running down the streets singing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Since I simply cannot resist ruining a happy moment, dozens of women dotted across the country does not a revolution make. At press time, women had won 22% of the House seats, 12% of the Senate seats and 9% of the gubernatorial seats. We continue to make up 51% of the population.