In November, President-elect Donald Trump nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be the next attorney general. Sessions’s nomination hearing is underway. Here are some questions he ought to be asked: In 1997, you said that the very phrase prosecutorial misconduct “offends” you, and you accused defense attorneys of abusing prosecutors. Since then, we’ve seen a wide range of reports and judicial opinions demonstrating that prosecutor misconduct is indeed a real problem in the United States. A 2014 investigation by the Justice Department itself found 650 incidents where federal prosecutors and other Justice Department employees “violated rules, laws, or ethical standards
Comments: I hope that at least some of these questions get asked during his confirmation hearings.
When early drafts of the Trump budget started to circulate after the inauguration, the Export-Import Bank—one of Washington´s most notorious corporate-welfare programs—was among the agencies destined for the chopping block. Now the actual budget is out, and the bank has been spared the ax. The Washington Examiner´s Tim Carney reports that this "follows many reports from congressional fans of Ex-Im that Trump had been persuaded to love the agency, which primarily subsidizes Boeing sales." (Barack Obama underwent a similar transformation, denouncing the bank as "little more than a fund for corporate welfare" while he was running for president
DAHLONEGA, Ga. — The mayor was still home when his phone started ringing. The reverend was still down with the flu when he began getting one message after another. Valerie Fambrough had just dropped off her daughters at day care when she heard. “Have you seen the sign in the square?” a parent asked her on a cold morning three weeks ago. “There’s a Ku Klux Klan sign in the town square.” And, in fact, there was. Just past the old brick courthouse and across the street from candy stores and antique shops, a large rectangular banner was screwed tight
Every few years, a word or bit of terminology comes along and captures the political imagination. During the George W. Bush years, the magic word was “neocon.” For years, it was used as a term of abuse by the Left; later, it was adopted as a term of abuse by some elements of the Right. What they had in common is that neither camp had the faintest idea of what the word meant. “Neoconservative” was first brought to popular usage in the American context by left-wing intellectuals (the socialist Michael Harrington most prominent among them) to describe the thinking of
Rep. Thomas Garrett is a freshman Republican congressman who represents Virginia´s 5th district. But being a newbie from a socially conservative area isn´t stopping him from going big and bold right out of the chute: He has just introduced a bill called the "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017." From his office:If passed, this bill would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list—joining other industries such as alcohol and tobacco.Originally introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders in 2015, this bill fulfills a responsibility to create a level playing field across the country...."This step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal
Last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Donald Trump said he would seek a "historic" spending increase to replenish our "depleted" military. And as Ed Krayewski notes below, the president will likely tonight officially announce a call for a $54 billion hike, which will be paid for by cuts to other parts of what´s known as the "discretionary budget." The response from at least one fellow Republican, former GOP presidential candidate John McCain? Not enough. "In other words, President Trump intends to submit a defense budget that is a mere 3 percent above President Obama´s defense budget, which
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that he expects to see "greater enforcement" of federal drug laws under President Trump´s Justice Department in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. During a White House press briefing, Spicer was asked what the Trump administration´s policy would be on states that have legalized marijuana, placing them in conflict with federal law, where marijuana remains a Schedule I drug. Under President Obama, the Justice Department issued a memo in 2013 instructing U.S. Attorneys to take a mostly hands-off approach to recreational and medical marijuana in states that had legalized it.
The technique has been called (by this columnist) “immunity through profusion.” By keeping the molten lava of falsehoods flowing, the volcano that is Donald Trump can inundate the public and overwhelm his auditors’ capacity to produce a comparable flow of corrections. This technique was on display the other day when the president met with some sheriffs. (Snip) This Trump Truth (the late Sen. Eugene McCarthy’s axiom: Anything said three times in Washington becomes a fact) distracted attention from his assertion to the sheriffs that there is “no reason” to reform law enforcement’s civil forfeiture practices.
People who want to visit the United States could be asked to hand over their social-media passwords to officials as part of enhanced security checks, the country´s top domestic security chief said. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Congress on Tuesday the measure was one of several being considered to vet refugees and visa applicants from seven Muslim-majority countries. "We want to get on their social media, with passwords: What do you do, what do you say?" he told the House Homeland Security Committee. "If they don´t want to cooperate then you don´t come in." His comments came the same
In his 2006 book about assisted suicide, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch takes issue with the "libertarian principle" that requires legalization of the practice. The same principle, Gorsuch argues, would also require the government to allow "any act of consensual homicide," including "sadomasochist killings, mass suicide pacts...duels, and the sale of one´s life (not to mention the use of now illicit drugs, prostitution, or the sale of one´s organs)." That´s right: If the government lets people kill themselves, it might also have to let them smoke pot. Despite the horror of taboo intoxicants suggested by that passage, Gorsuch does not
After successfully delivering the secret knock and password, a beleaguered, unshaven older man walks into the bunker, stomping out the cold from his feet on the way in. He walks over to one of the garbage-can fires, where his younger yet battle-hardened comrades are gathered, strategizing about the fight to come. As the grizzled veteran rubs his hands over the flames, his eyes glinting in the firelight, he says to them, wistfully, “You know, Supreme Court nomination fights weren’t always like this.” It’s not quite that bad yet in Washington, but the year is young and the fight over Neil
Sen. Rand Paul stridently rejected the notion that American intelligence officials should resume the use of torture on detained combatants—something President Trump favors. Trump recently declared that torture "absolutely works," and U.S. officials should use any and all legal means to extract intelligence.Paul took the opposite view, telling CNN´s Jake Tapper that "it´s currently against the law and I hope it will remain against the law." He pointed out that incoming Defense Secretary James Mattis is also against torture and believes that it doesn´t work. He also argued that U.S. intelligence officials have previously detained the wrong people, casting
On Wednesday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit handed Second Amendment advocates a major victory when it struck down multiple gun range regulations imposed by the city of Chicago as unconstitutional infringements on the right to keep and bear arms. The majority opinion in the case, Ezell v. Chicago, was written by Judge Diane Sykes, whose name appears on Donald Trump´s short-list of possible Supreme Court nominees. The underlying issue in Ezell v. Chicago is the Windy City´s hostile reaction to the Supreme Court´s 2010 ruling in McDonald v. Chicago, in which the Court struck down
It seemed a little early to condemn NFL teams for freezing out Colin Kaepernick. Barely a week had gone by in free agency. With one exception — albeit a grotesque, borderline-obscene one — not many quarterbacks had been coming off of the market. Bleacher Report’s Friday story on how front-office types still want nothing to do with him for his protests during the national anthem shined another light on it. (Snip) Come on. Stop it. Do not ever say Colin Kaepernick can´t get a job because he´s not good enough. Think of a better excuse. Think of a better lie.
Faced with an intractable homeless problem, officials in Portland are thinking inside the box. A handful of homeless families will soon move into tiny, government-constructed modular units in the backyards of willing homeowners. (Snip) The project, called A Place for You, is believed to be the first in the nation to recruit stable residents to address a homeless crisis that´s gotten so bad the city last year declared a state of emergency and made it legal to sleep on the street. Portland has an affordable rental shortage of 24,000 units and nearly 4,000 people sleep on the street, in a
WashingtonBarack Obama´s post-presidency life is way more glamorous than you could imagine. Back in Washington, President Donald Trump continues to suggest, without proof, that Obama wiretapped him and Republicans are busy trying to dismantle his signature health reform law. Nevertheless, former President Barack Obama is unwinding nicely from the most important job in the world. He´s been to sunny California for some golf, a private island in the Caribbean, where he kite-surfed with billionaire Richard Branson; he went to New York to take in a Broadway play, and then again, to dine with U2´s Bono. He lunched in Omaha last week
Howard Schultz, the current CEO of Starbucks, will step down from his role at the giant coffee chain next month. The move comes after his vow to hire thousands refugees in response to President Donald Trump´s first travel ban appeared to hurt customer sentiment and dent their sales. Trump supporters have called for a boycott of the chain since January 29, when Schultz vowed to hire 10,000 refugees over five years. Schultz in a letter to employees said the promise of the American Dream was ´being called into question´ and that ´the civility and human rights we have all taken
More than 300,000 workers are planning to walk out of their jobs in protest of President Trump on International Workers Day, according to a new report. The report by Buzzfeed News said that "350,000 service workers plan to strike on May 1, a traditional day for labor activism across the world, in the most direct attempt yet by organized labor to capture the energy from a resurgent wave of activism across the country since the election of Donald Trump." The Service Employees International Union, which endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president back in 2015, will be a large component of
Five years ago, Chick-fil-A was involved in a major controversy over statements made by the fast-food company that many felt were hostile to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Now St. Louis Park residents are urging a Chick-fil-A franchise proposed at the Shoppes at Knollwood to operate in a different way. “We just want to make sure that Chick-fil-A was put on notice that we will be monitoring their activities,” said Zaylore Stout, a labor and employment law attorney. (Snip) The group has made several requests of the franchise, including that it consider installing gender-neutral
Chelsea Clinton has another feather in her cap now that she’s joined the Board of Directors of travel company Expedia — a very part time gig that pays $45,000 in cash and $250,000 in stock options per year. Expedia announced Friday that they’d created the seat for her, expanding their existing 13-member board to 14 members, just for Chelsea. The board voted for the change this week, according to documents just filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Snip) According to Expedia’s Board Member Rules, she could earn an additional $10,000 to $20,000 for serving on one of the Board’s
Scientists are conducting a massive computer simulation to work out how New York would respond to a nuclear attack in the heart of Manhattan. The three-year, $450,000 project will simulate two nuclear detonations and their effects on up to 20 million virtual ´agents´ each representing civilian, first responder or other official over the course of 30 days. But first they need to input data - a lot of data, taken from disaster reports across the US - to figure out how individuals really react to catastrophe. ´Computational social science is not experimental.´ Professor William Kennedy of Virginia´s George Mason University
The Trump administration wants to build a 30-foot-high border wall that looks good from the north side and is difficult to climb or cut through, according to a pair of contract notices posted to a government website further detailing President Donald Trump´s promise to build a "big, beautiful wall" at the Mexican border. The notices were made public late Friday by Customs and Border Protection, the Homeland Security Department agency that will oversee the project and eventually patrol and maintain the wall. The proposals are due to the government by March 29. Staff corrections
BOULDER, Colo. — A new study by the University of Colorado Boulder spells out the suggestion that the first letter of your last name may determine your success in life. According to the study, which examines “alphabetism,” people with surnames beginning with a letter in the last half of the alphabet may face a tougher time academically, landing a first job and getting through life in general. The study, published last month, is not necessarily grounded in indisputable science. One of the lead researchers in the study said the results, however, were surprising. “Statistically, we were looking at two people
SATURDAY UPDATE: The White House said President Donald Trump held a meeting to discuss the Department of Veterans Affairs while at Mar-a-Lago Saturday night. “This evening President Trump had another meeting, including dinner, concerning the Department of Veterans Affairs and how to turn it around for the benefit of our great veterans,” the White House said in a summary of Trump’s day. “Great progress is being made and will be reported on in the future.” Trump had said Friday that the meeting was scheduled for that evening at his “Southern White House.” A White House spokeswoman later told The Palm Beach Post
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump´s claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States "vast sums" of money for defense."There is no debt account at NATO," von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance´s target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 solely to NATO."Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism," von der Leyen said.She said everyone wanted the burden to