The Coming Storm, Religious Freedom

The Coming Storm:  The White House is deflecting about what the president meant Thursday night when he alluded to imminent military action just before a dinner with a table full of generals. Trump ominously quipped to reporters asking, “You guys know what this represents?”

Presumably he was referring to North Korea.

“Tell us,” one of the reporters shouted

“Maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” Trump said.

“Could be the calm before the storm,” he said again.

“What storm, Mr. President?” a reporter asked.

“We have the world’s great military people in this room, I will tell you that,” Trump said loudly.

One of the reporters again asked: “What storm, Mr. President?”

He responded: “You’ll find out.”

Birth Control: The Trump administration has moved to roll back Obamacare requirements that employers provide birth control in their health plans despite their religious objections. About 55 million women have birth control without a co-pay under the Obama rules, and under Trump’s new order several hundred thousand women could lose it.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said, “This is a landmark day for religious liberty.”

Jobs: September hurricanes blew away both houses and jobs. Losses were pegged at 33,000 jobs, the first monthly decline is seven years. Hard hit were the leisure and hospitality industries in storm-ravaged states and, of course, Puerto Rico. Despite that, unemployment is 4.2 percent, which is considered a full-employment economy.

Permawar: The body of a fourth Army Green Beret killed in Niger near the border of Mali has been recovered. What was supposed to be a relatively safe training patrol with Nigerian troops turned into a one-hour firefight with al Qaeda affiliated militants.

Stormy Weather: Tropical storm Nate is expected to make landfall near New Orleans tonight, possibly as a Category 1 hurricane.

Gross: Lisa Bloom, the lawyer advising but not defending movie producer Harvey Weinstein in his sexual harassment scandal, was blunt during an appearance with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s Good Morning America.

“This is a real pattern over 30 years. This is like textbook sexual harassment,” Stephanopoulos said.

“It’s gross, yeah,” Bloom replied.

Sea Stories: The head and limbs of Swedish journalist Kim Wall have been found, two months after she disappeared on a trip in a private submarine with inventor Peter Madsen. Divers found bags containing her head, legs and clothing in Koge Bay, just south of Copenhagen, Danish police say.

The Partisan Gap: The partisan political divide in the US is the worst it’s been in 20 years, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. Pew’s polling shows wide splits on government regulation, poverty programs, matters of race, and immigration.

For instance, 84 percent of Democrats say immigrants have strengthened the country, but only  42 percent of Republicans believe that’s true, and 44 percent think immigrants are a burden.

Seventy-one percent of Democrats think government should do more to help the needy, but just 24 percent of Republicans think that.

Seventy-five percent of Republicans think black Americans who can’t get ahead are responsible for their own condition, while only 28 percent of Democrats think that.

The Obit Page: Fashion designer Hervé Leroux who, under the name Hervé Léger created the form-fitting “bandage” dress popular with the wealthy and celebrities in the 90s and 2000s, has died at age 60. Leroux lost the name “Hervé Léger” when his company was sold, but he went on to design under the Leroux name.

Red Dawn:  After the Las Vegas Massacre, The NY Times’ new conservative columnist Bret Stephens has written that the Second Amendment protecting the right to bear arms should be repealed.

“From a national-security standpoint, the Amendment’s suggestion that a ‘well-regulated militia’ is ‘necessary to the security of a free State,’ is quaint. The Minutemen that will deter Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un are based in missile silos in Minot, N.D., not farmhouses in Lexington, Mass.”

Stephens wrote, “I’m not the first pundit to point out that if a ‘Mohammad Paddock’ had purchased dozens of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition and then checked himself into a suite at the Mandalay Bay with direct views to a nearby music festival, somebody at the local F.B.I. field office would have noticed.”

He says gun ownership should not be completely outlawed, “But it doesn’t need a blanket Constitutional protection, either. The 46,445 murder victims killed by gunfire in the United States between 2012 and 2016 didn’t need to perish so that gun enthusiasts can go on fantasizing that ‘Red Dawn’ is the fate that soon awaits us.”


Monday, January 22, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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