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  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law

President Trump mouthed some of the right words Thursday when he said it appears that dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi had probably been murdered and that the consequences would be “very severe” if blame is firmly tied to the Saudi government. But, hours later at a campaign rally, he praised Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte, who won a special election last year despite body-slamming a Guardian journalist to the ground — an act for which Gianforte later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge.

“By the way, never wrestle him,” Trump said to laughter from the crowd. "Any guy who can do a body slam ... he's my guy.”

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  • Opinion
  • The Golden State
  • Election 2018
State Sen. Kevin de Leon and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein after their debate Wednesday. They are joined by moderator Mark Baldassare.
State Sen. Kevin de Leon and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein after their debate Wednesday. They are joined by moderator Mark Baldassare. (Ben Margot / Associated Press)

Watching the one and only debate between the two Democrats running for the U.S. Senate in California — incumbent Dianne Feinstein and her challenger, state Sen. Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles — I often found myself wondering what voters really wanted to hear from candidates. Was it their plans, or their ambitions?

Feinstein, whose been in the Senate long enough to have served in the majority and the minority twice, was all about plans. Incrementalism. Small ball.

De Leon, who enjoyed Democratic supermajorities during much of his time as president pro tem of the California Senate, was all about ambitions. Big, immediate change. Home-run swings.

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Personnel moves in Secretary Ryan Zinke's Interior Department raise troubling questions.
Personnel moves in Secretary Ryan Zinke's Interior Department raise troubling questions. (Matthew Brown / Associated Press)

Two recent high-level personnel moves in the Trump administration’s Interior Department could well spell trouble for fish, wildlife and national parks, and raise serious questions about the credibility of the department’s multiple investigations into Secretary Ryan Zinke’s conduct and possible conflicts of interest.

First, the Trump administration has hired Wyoming attorney Karen Budd-Falen, who has made a career of criticizing and filing lawsuits over Interior Department policies, to be deputy solicitor for the Interior Department, where she will be involved in shaping legal opinions over fish, wildlife and parks

  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • We're All Doomed

Was the president feeling especially truthful today? Or does he just not understand how commas work?

Raise your hand when you see it.

  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • Election 2018
An attendee at President Trump's rally Sept. 6 in Billings, Mont., holds up a sign quoting a key Trump slogan from the 2016 campaign.
An attendee at President Trump's rally Sept. 6 in Billings, Mont., holds up a sign quoting a key Trump slogan from the 2016 campaign. (Nichols Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

How many stories about politics these days open with an anecdote about some new line being crossed? 

At a televised debate Monday night between two Arizona congresswomen running to replace Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Republican Rep. Martha McSally accused Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of supporting treason — a federal crime that carries the death penalty. Sinema’s offense? When appearing on a libertarian’s radio show 15 years ago, Sinema did not object when her host asked her how she’d feel if he joined the Taliban.

The striking thing is that McSally and Sinema are far apart on a wide range of real issues that matter to every Arizonan, including taxes, healthcare and immigration. They don’t need to mud wrestle; the contrast between the two couldn’t be more clear — McSally is campaigning as a Trumpist, and Sinema as a moderate Democrat. 

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  • Opinion
  • Plastic Trash
  • We're All Doomed
Dinosaurs fell victim to mass extinction through an asteroid strike. Now human activity imperils Earth's species.
Dinosaurs fell victim to mass extinction through an asteroid strike. Now human activity imperils Earth's species. (Alexander Mitr / Dreamstime / TNS)

As bad as human-powered climate change might be — and it’s very bad — we often lose sight of the other sins our species has committed against the Earth. Plastics in oceans acidifying from pollution. Human overpopulation and an overdraw of natural resources. Habitat destruction. Fools hunting for animal trophies (how hard can it be to stop that?).

Last year, a peer-reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences described human impact on global flora and fauna as “biological annihilation.”

Canada will legalize recreational marijuana nationwide Oct. 17.
Canada will legalize recreational marijuana nationwide Oct. 17. (AFP/Getty Images)

Here’s another example of how the U.S. government’s failure to acknowledge the shifting politics and public opinion on marijuana is creating a mess: On Wednesday, Canada will legalize recreational pot nationwide. But Canadians who admit to using this now-legal product could be banned from entering the United States.

That’s right — one lawfully purchased pot brownie could get a Canadian traveler blocked at the border.

That’s because the U.S. government continues to treat marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, just like heroin. Last month the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency announced it would not adjust its border entry policies in response to Canada’s decision to liberalize its drug laws.

President Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday.
President Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday. (Michael Reynolds / EPA)

According to President Trump, the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul is even more dangerous than a country run by Democrats.

Talking to reporters on the White House grounds Monday, Trump said he’d spoken to Saudi King Salman about the disappearance of Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the aforementioned consulate on Oct. 2. 

“The king told me that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are working hand-in-hand, very closely, on getting to the bottom of what happened” to Khashoggi, Trump said. “Maybe — I don’t want to get into his mind — but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers.”

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  • Opinion
  • Guns and Ammo
This is the right way to shoot a leopard in Africa.
This is the right way to shoot a leopard in Africa. (African Travel Inc.)

The multiple photos of the wild animals in Africa that were slaughtered by one of Idaho’s top wildlife officials are almost too horrific to believe. Did Fish and Game Commissioner Blake Fischer kill them legally in Namibia? Yes, apparently. (Disgusting.)  Of course, hunters do this all the time in African countries that are willing to sell them licenses to kill in exchange for huge sums of money. 

So, what Fischer got — and we got, because he proudly emailed them around — were photos of him grinning over the bodies of numerous animals, including a family of four baboons. He knelt, triumphantly, behind the baboons, their dead bodies clustered together. The smallest one was in front, with its head thrown back, blood on its chest.

There’s only one word for this: depraved. It doesn’t matter if it was legal. It doesn’t matter if he thinks he can justify it — as hunters have told me — as some primal urge to shoot things that move really fast, as some sport challenge. In the end, this guy did nothing less than massacre more than a dozen animals to amuse himself (and, apparently, his wife). Like I said, that’s depraved.

New documents show that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross likely lied to Congress over the 2020 census citizenship question.
New documents show that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross likely lied to Congress over the 2020 census citizenship question. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

So it looks like Wilbur Ross was being, how do I put this, less than truthful when he explained to Congress earlier this year how he came to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Big shrug, you say? Well, it’s true that lies from this administration come as regularly as the sunrise.