Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) speaks about the possibility of a payroll tax cut extension during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol February 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans and Democrats are nearing compromise on a legislative package that would extend the payroll tax cut beyond its expiration at the end of February and are likely to vote on the agreement tomorrow.WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 16: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) speaks about the possibility of a payroll tax cut extension during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol February 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans and Democrats are nearing compromise on a legislative package that would extend the payroll tax cut beyond its expiration at the end of February and are likely to vote on the agreement tomorrow. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
As the inauguration’s master of ceremonies, Senator Chuck Schumer was able to pack the menu at Obama’s post-swearing-in luncheon with plenty of foods from his home state, but one New Yorker is still miffed. Politicker reports that Long Island chef Butch Yamali is holding a press conference tomorrow to “formally rebuke” Schumer for not serving Long Island duck. The bird was replaced by South Dakota bison after the tasting committee decided it wasn’t up to snuff. “The duck was very good, but the preparation wasn’t great,” Schumer told the Times. “When New York gets good bison, we’ll have that.’’ In the meantime, we believe Michelle Obama has the expression Schumer is searchingfor.
New: “The White House Correspondents’ Association is pleased to announce that Ron Chernow, one of the most eminent biographers of American presidents and statesmen, will be the featured speaker at its annual dinner on Saturday, April 27, 2019.” History and First Amendment theme.
How the press can more effectively cover Trump’s barrage of lies
The news media today face an epistemic crisis: how to publish the president’s commentary without amplifying his fabrications and conspiracy theories.
The traditional news media amplify his words for a variety of reasons, including newsworthiness (he is, after all, the president), easy ratings (cable-news audiences have soared in his term), and old-fashioned peer pressure (the segment producer’s lament: “If everybody else is carrying Trump, shouldn’t we?”).
But a virus doesn’t just borrow a host’s cellular factory to reproduce; it often destroys the host in the process. The traditional news media are thoroughly infected by the Trump virus. It is not only spreading the disease of the president’s lies, but also suffering from a demise in public trust—at least among one half of the electorate.
A shameful legacy on lead for New York’s public housing authority
Entrusted as the landlord to 400,000 people, the Housing Authority has struggled for years to fulfill its mission amid a strangled budget and almost endemic political neglect. Last week, a judge suggested strongly that the federal government should take over the agency after an investigation found evidence of deep mismanagement, including that the Housing Authority failed to perform lead inspections and then falsely claimed it had. Six top executives lost their jobs amid the federal investigation; a complaint was filed in June.
But the authority did not just ignore the required lead inspections, The New York Times found.
For at least two decades, almost every time a child in its apartments tested positive for high lead levels, Nycha launched a counteroffensive, city records show. From 2010 through July of this year, the agency challenged 95 percent of the orders it received from the Health Department to remove lead detected in Nycha apartments.
Embattled Florida elections official calls it quits
Just hours after finishing a tumultuous election recount, Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes submitted her resignation, ending a 15-year tenure full of botched elections, legal disputes and blistering criticism.
“It is true. She did send it,” said Burnadette Norris-Weeks, an attorney who works as counsel to the Supervisor of Elections Office.
A note of caution on the list of missing people in California
The list is a culmination of all the people who were reported missing — and remain unaccounted for — since the devastating Camp fire erupted in Butte County in the early hours of Nov. 8, consuming entire neighborhoods in just hours. That number dropped Sunday for the first time in days, from 1,202 to 993. But it raises a startling question: Could that many people really have died in the blaze?
Authorities say probably not.
The data are far from perfect. Some people may be listed twice, or more. Others may be safe somewhere, unaware that someone is looking for them.
“This is a dynamic list,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters. “It will fluctuate both up and down, every day.”
Nissan Motor Co. will remove Carlos Ghosn as chairman after he was arrested in Tokyo for violations of financial law, throwing the auto industry’s largest global alliance into turmoil.
Ghosn, a towering figure who saved Nissan from collapse and brought it together with Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., was detained Monday in Tokyo over a suspected breach of Japanese financial laws, Nissan Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa told reporters in Yokohama, Japan. Ghosn and Director Greg Kelly have been under investigation at Nissan for several months, and the board is set to meet Thursday to remove them both.
So unlike Trump to not follow through on a promised payment
America’s farmers have been shut out of foreign markets, hit with retaliatory tariffs and lost lucrative contracts in the face of President Trump’s trade war. But a $12 billion bailout program Mr. Trump created to “make it up” to farmers has done little to cushion the blow, with red tape and long waiting periods resulting in few payouts so far.
According to the Department of Agriculture, just $838 million has been paid out to farmers since the first $6 billion pot of money was made available in September. Another pool of up to $6 billion is expected to become available next month. The government is unlikely to offer additional money beyond the $12 billion, according to Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary.
The grim task in the aftermath of California wildfires
Up to 400 people fanned out Sunday to search the ash and rubble where homes once stood before flames roared through the Sierra foothills town of Paradise and surrounding communities, killing at least 77 people in the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century.
Wearing white coveralls, hard hats and masks, teams of volunteers and search and rescue crews poked through the smoky debris for fragments of bone before rains can wash them away or turn loose, dry ash into a thick paste. The so-called Camp Fire has destroyed more than 10,500 homes.
A team of 10 volunteers, accompanied by a cadaver dog, went from house to house in the charred landscape. They scrutinized the rubble in five-minute sweeps, using sticks to move aside debris and focused on vehicles, bathtubs and what was left of mattresses.
When no remains were found, they spray-painted a large, orange “0″ near the house and moved on.
“Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn’t it have been nice?” the president said [on Fox News Sunday]. “You know, living — think of this — living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan, in what I guess they considered a nice mansion, I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer. But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there.”
Reid started building the state party for the 2004 election, when Nevada was in a tug of war between its Western libertarian roots and the Democratic leanings of recent transplants. The party had no permanent staff in nonelection years; now it has double digits.
Senate Republicans had sent him a warning shot that November by ousting his predecessor as Democratic leader, Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota. That led Reid to step up efforts to protect his home flank. He helped make Nevada’s caucuses one of the first-in-the-nation presidential contests and a destination for political spending by national aspirants.
“It didn’t really matter that his name wasn’t on the ballot, he was all in every day,” said Rebecca Lambe, a longtime Reid aide and Democratic strategist.
Reid used the national cash flowing in to build a strong state Democratic Party and bolster a network of pro-immigrant and environmental organizations. They worked with Las Vegas’ potent unions to power a Democratic turnout machine.
“This is what Democrats need to be doing everywhere. This is the long game,” said Rebecca Katz, a Democratic strategist and former Reid staffer.
Kevin McKay drove the school bus along gridlocked, dark roads as pockets of fire burned all around. Nearly two dozen elementary school children were on board with him.
Smoke began to fill the bus, so McKay took off a shirt. He and two teachers on the bus tore it into pieces and doused them with water. The children held the damp pieces of cloth to their mouths and breathed through them.
He had only been on the job, driving the bus for Ponderosa Elementary School in the northern California city of Paradise, for a few months. Now, McKay was ferrying the 22 stranded children to safety as the Camp Fire scorched everything in its path. It would take five harrowing hours for them to reach safety.
After CNN won a temporary restraining order on Friday, forcing the White House to restore his press pass for 14 days, White House officials sent Acosta a letter stating that his pass is set to be suspended again once the restraining order expires.
From the looks of the letter, the W.H. is trying to establish a paper trail that will empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month.
CNN responded with this statement on Sunday: “The White House is continuing to violate the First and 5th Amendments of the Constitution. These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. Jim Acosta and CNN will continue to report the news about the White House and the President.”
A group of anti-immigrant protestors in Tijuana gathered outside a shelter housing Central American migrants on Sunday and demanded that the “invasores” leave Mexico
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
Stacey Abrams isn’t done yet
I’m going to spend the next year as a private citizen, but I do indeed intend to run for office again. I’m not sure for what, and I am not exactly certain when. I need to take a nap. But once I do, I’m planning to get back into the ring.
Read this searing indictment of the New York City Housing Authority
For at least two decades, almost every time a child in its apartments tested positive for high lead levels, [the New York City Housing Authority] launched a counteroffensive, city records show. From 2010 through July of this year, the agency challenged 95 percent of the orders it received from the Health Department to remove lead detected in Nycha apartments.
Private landlords almost never contest a finding of lead; they did so in only 4 percent of the 5,000 orders they received over the same period, records show.
Nycha’s strategy often worked. The Health Department backed down in 158 of 211 cases in public housing after the authority challenged its finding, the data shows.
Condoleezza Rice says she’s ‘not ready’ to coach the Browns
I love the Browns – and I know they will hire an experienced coach to take us to the next level.
On a more serious note, I do hope that the NFL will start to bring women into the coaching profession as position coaches and eventually coordinators and head coaches. One doesn’t have to play the game to understand it and motivate players. But experience counts – and it is time to develop a pool of experienced women coaches.
I’m not ready to coach but I would like to call a play or two next season if the Browns need ideas!
Mark Zuckerberg gathered roughly 50 of his top lieutenants earlier this year and told them that Facebook Inc. was at war and he planned to lead the company accordingly.
During times of peace, executives can move more slowly and ensure that everybody is on board with key decisions, he said during the June meeting, according to people familiar with the remarks. But with Facebook under siege from lawmakers, investors and angry users, he needed to act more decisively, the people said.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s new approach is causing unprecedented turmoil atop Facebook, driving several key executives from the company, according to people familiar with the matter. At times, it has created tensions with his longtime chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg. The June meeting and strains with Ms. Sandberg haven’t been previously reported. …
Mr. Zuckerberg, who previously set annual goals such as to learn Mandarin and read 25 books, said this year he would focus on fixing Facebook. He believes this tougher management style is necessary to tackle challenges being raised both internally and externally, according to a person familiar with his thinking.
Photo: Evacuees rest in their tents for the night in the "Wallywood" encampment in a Walmart parking lot in Chico, California on Saturday. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Who will be able to afford the new normal of unsafe California air?
I already knew, in an abstract, intellectual way, that class and race can and will determine who really incurs the costs of climate change, but living through these fires for the past couple of years has really made it tangible.
I live in an old and drafty house, but I also have enough money to afford to make an unplanned purchase of an expensive air purifier to mitigate the effects of the wildfire smoke on us — especially on the baby. And when shipping got delayed, I not only knew where to look to figure out how to make a makeshift purifier, I could still afford to do so. And I had the time to figure out how to make it work when the hardware store didn’t have the right stuff in stock.
We all got sick anyway, but I have peace of mind knowing that 1) I can afford to go to the doctor and buy medicine if necessary, and 2) I can take day off if I need it or I need it to take care of the kid.
On a day where the air was especially bad, I could afford to have food delivered to my house to avoid going to the grocery store or using my gas stove and making the air in the house worse — the person delivering my food didn’t have the option of avoiding the smoke.
And if it gets really bad, we have the job flexibility and money to be able to drive elsewhere to escape, as we did last year. It’s not ideal and a hit to the budget, but it’s possible if necessary. Lots of people do not have that option.
Honestly? I’m thinking that next year, the smart thing to do might be to not plan a vacation and instead use that money as the “escaping the smoke from seasonal wildfires” fund. Just have that be the vacation instead.
But students who don’t go to Johns Hopkins will still need the government’s help
Good for Bloomberg, but its wearying that our solution to increasing access and dealing with student debt is having an insanely rich alum, a solution that is not easily at hand for the institutions where most of our students gohttps://t.co/8RjoRBOxz5
Johns Hopkins and its future students hit the billionaire alumnus jackpot as Bloomberg makes record-setting donation (also, he’s running)
Former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced Sunday he is giving a record $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University to support student financial aid at his alma mater and make its admissions process “forever need-blind.”
The gift, believed to be the largest private donation in modern times to higher education, is a landmark in a growing national movement to make elite universities more accessible to students from low-to-middle income families.
It will enable the private research university in Baltimore to eliminate loans from financial aid packages for incoming students starting next fall, expand grants for those in financial need and even provide relief to many current undergraduates who had previously taken out federal loans to pay their bills.
“Paradise will come back, but it can’t be what it once was. It shouldn’t be.”
People prepared. Fire prevention officials planned. They drilled. They worked with homeowners. They invented fire-safe councils and Fire on the Ridge and sent fire prevention officials to schools via a program called Fire Pals. They raised money to keep fire lookouts open when the state said it wouldn’t.
Eventually, geography and topography proved to be the trap everyone thought it was.
Paradise and Magalia sit on top of a pine-studded ridge between several canyons. There are very few subdivisions. Instead, homes are built one at a time and tucked into trees. Fly over the area in a helicopter and those trees stand like matchsticks surrounding well-hidden homes.
Most cities have grass. Paradise’s predominant ground covering is pine needles — extremely flammable pine needles.
It wasn’t a well-planned city, but rather a village that grew into a city. The grid pattern of Paradise’s roads is haphazard. There are few arterials. Instead, there are two-lane roads without much connectivity. When people tried to evacuate in a flash, those bottlenecks were pronounced. Several people died in their cars, trapped by gridlock.
The large roads leading out of town aren’t large. Only Skyway is two lanes in both directions. Two summers ago, the town decided to turn Skyway from four lanes to two in the downtown area to “calm” traffic and make things more quaint. That couldn’t have helped the escape.
Even when they can find what’s left of the Camp fire victims, some remains may never be identified
“We’re finding remains in various states,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. “I suspect there are some that will have been completely consumed.”
Search-and-rescue teams can take hours collecting a single victim – trying to make sure bones or other body parts aren’t left behind for relatives and friends to find when they return.
Still, “there is certainly the unfortunate possibility that even after we’ve searched an area, once people get back in there, it’s possible that human remains could be found,” Honea said. “I know that’s a very difficult thing to think about, but that’s the difficult situation we find ourselves in today.” …
The sheer heat generated by California’s deadliest wildfire will complicate matters. At its peak, the inferno may have reached temperatures exceeding 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. It could be impossible in some cases to obtain DNA samples from the victims, thwarting what is often the ID method employed when all else fails. “The severity, the blaze, the burning – who knows what DNA is left?” said Colleen Fitzpatrick, founder of an Orange County consulting company called Identifinders International. “You need a certain amount of DNA.”
From the LA Times’ must-read, absolutely terrifying hour-by-hour narrative of the Camp fire
The fire caught up to [34-year-old Nichole] Jolly on Pearson Road, blasting her car with heat. She reached for the stethoscope slung around her neck and flinched as the metal burned. Her steering wheel was melting — the plastic stuck to her hands.
As her car caught fire and began to fill with black smoke, she called her husband. “Run,” he told her.
Jolly fled for safety to the car ahead of hers, but it too was abandoned. She ran on.
The rubber on her shoes melted into the asphalt. The back of her scrubs caught fire, blistering her legs. She tried another car, but it wasn’t moving.
“I can’t die like this,” she told herself. “There’s no way I’m going to die sitting in a car. I have to run.”
Jolly plunged into the smoke, now blinding, and ran with her hands stretched out in front of her. She hit firm, hot metal. A firetruck.
Two firefighters lifted her in and radioed for help, pleading for a water drop. The crackled response came back: “Impossible.”