Trump Praises Self in PR, 49 Legal Guns

Insert Foot: At a meeting with officials in Puerto Rico yesterday, President Trump said they should be proud that Hurricane Maria caused only 16 deaths, unlike “in a real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina.

Puerto Rico is flattened and disabled, but Trump said, “Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud.”

Hours later, the death toll was raised to 34.

Going around the room, Trump motioned to Budget Director  Mick Mulvaney and said, “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’re throwing our budget out of whack.”

Trump later praised himself once again, mentioning San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has been highly critical.  “I think she’s come back a long way,” the president said. “I think it’s now acknowledged what a great job we’ve done.” Cruz later tweeted that meetings with White House staff were productive, but in an interview with CNN she called Trump the “miscommunicator-in-chief.”

Trump took time during his day to hand out goods at an aid station. He pitched rolls of paper towels like footballs.

Before leaving Washington yesterday morning, Trump told reporters that Puerto Rican residents “have to give us more help.”  He said, “In Texas and in Florida, we get an A-plus. And I’ll tell you what, I think we’ve done just as good in Puerto Rico and it’s actually a much tougher situation.”

The island is 93 percent without power.

The Shooter: Investigators say mass murderer Stephen Paddock extensively planned his attack, even putting cameras in his room and hotel corridor to let him know when the cops were closing in. “And I’m pretty sure that he evaluated everything that he did in his actions, which is troublesome,” Joseph Lombardo, the sheriff of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said in a press briefing.

Paddock’s live-in girlfriend, 62-year-old Marilou Danley arrived back in the US from the Philippines last night. Investigators hope she can shed light on what happened.

A search of Paddock’s second home in Reno turned up more guns, bringing the number recovered to 49, according to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. They said that 12 of the assault rifles found in Paddock’s room were fitted with a “bump stock,” a legally-sold, spring-loaded shoulder stock that allows the rifle to fire like a fully-automatic gun.

The first report of shots fired came at 10:08 pm Sunday and police say the shooting stopped at 10:19. It took 72 minutes for the SWAT team to assemble and breach the door of Paddock’s room. Las Vegas Police last night released dramatic video of their officers trying to pinpoint the source of gunfire Sunday night and directing concert-goers to get away.

Someone probably in law enforcement leaked crime scene photos from the hotel corridor and inside Paddock’s room. They show rifles strewn around, and stacks of high capacity magazines. One picture reveals Paddock’s lower legs, toes up.

The Silencers: The usual post mass-murder gun debate has begun. As before, Republicans say the mourning period isn’t the right time to debate gun policy.

President Trump told reporters, “We’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes on.”

Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, who was near-fatally wounded in the attack on the House softball team, told Fox News, “When there’s a tragedy like this, the first thing we should be thinking about is praying for the people who were injured and doing whatever we can to help them, to help law enforcement. We shouldn’t first be thinking of promoting our political agenda.”

On the other side, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein proposed a bill to outlaw bump stocks. A Republican bill that would have made gun silencers legal has been sidelined in the wake of the massacre. It’s called the Hearing Protection Act.

No Cigar: The US expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from its Washington embassy yesterday in retaliation for electronic attacks on American personnel in Cuba. That’s about half the Cuban embassy staff.

The Thin Red Line: In oral arguments yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy seemed to lean toward limiting the practice of gerrymandering, drawing representative districts to favor one political party over the other.

The Republicans have been quite successful at this, and may even control the House because of gerrymandering.

Paul Smith, a lawyer representing Wisconsin democrats argued, “Politicians are never going to fix gerrymandering. You are the only institution in the United States that can solve this problem.”

The Court has never struck down election maps for favoring one party. Kennedy, who may have the swing vote on the issue, pressed a line of questioning suggesting that the Republicans have essentially made themselves Wisconsin’s controlling party by law.

He repeatedly asked Erin Murphy, the Republican’s lawyer, whether it would be constitutional to pass a law putting one party in control.

She dodged until Kennedy said, “I’d like an answer to the question.”

“Yes, it would be unconstitutional,” she admitted.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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 greatest absurdity of our time is You Know Whom, which goes without saying but I will anyway. What his election showed is that a considerable number of people, in order to demonstrate their frustration with the world as it is, are willing to drive their car, with their children in the back seat, over a cliff, smash the radiator, bust an axle and walk away feeling good about themselves. No other president in modern times has been held in contempt by a preponderance of people from the moment he said, 'So help me, God.'"

-Garrison Keillor on President Trump

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