On behalf of the commonwealth, Attorney General Josh Shapiro has filed a federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump over modifications his administration made to former President Barack Obama’s health care law that would mean 2.5 million Pennsylvania women and their families could end up paying more for birth control and other methods of contraception. Read more »
Politicians at both the state and local levels have offered their condolences in response to last night’s tragedy in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.
Authorities in Nevada say 64-year-old Stephen Paddock fired hundreds of rounds at attendees of an outdoor country music concert from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing nearly 60 people and injuring hundreds more before reportedly taking his own life. More than 500 people were hospitalized following the incident, which the FBI has said was in no way tied to international terrorism despite the Islamic State claiming responsibility for the massacre. Read more »
“You’ll be sure to note that the Eagles mascot is by my side,” Jake Tapper says as we grab seats in his cluttered office inside CNN’s D.C. bureau, just down the street from the Capitol. Tapper, wearing blue dress pants and an open-collar pale blue shirt, holds up a small plush stuffed bird, decked out in Eagles gear, that normally sits off to one side of his desk. Right next to it: a spot-on replica of the Six Million Dollar Man lunch box Tapper had as a kid growing up in Philly. “Some Twitter follower of mine sent it to me,” he explains. “It’s not my original one. But it is what I had when I went to the Philadelphia School at 25th and Lombard.”
CNN’s 48-year-old chief Washington correspondent is having something of a pop-culture moment these days thanks to his aggressive coverage of the Trump administration. He found himself a guest on Bill Maher’s HBO show (Maher lauded him for “speaking truth to crazy”); has turned up as a character on Saturday Night Live; and saw his face — with the incredulous expression he wore while interviewing Kellyanne Conway in February — become an Internet meme. Read more »
Well, that didn’t last long, did it? Not even a week after snatching every potential outlet and headline possible, Colin Kaepernick’s protest has essentially come to an end. His stance, which was never about the National Anthem but about using the moment at the beginning of NFL games to serve as a quiet reminder that the country still hasn’t fulfilled the promise of an equitable society for its black and brown citizens, drew the ire of players, military men and women, pundits inside and outside the game, and tons of everyday citizens. After a conversation earlier this week with Nate Boyer, a former green beret and an NFL player himself, the 49ers QB has come out stating that he’ll now kneel during the National Anthem, a conciliatory gesture that comes as a result of talking with Boyer. He started the kneel practice Thursday night in San Diego during the National Anthem and has stated that he’ll also donate the first $1 million dollars of this season’s earnings to social justice organizations.
This ordeal will likely represent a win for the NFL, an organization that has consistently proven more adept at suppressing social issues than addressing them. The artful thing here is that the latest update keeps the conversation bottled on two things in the public’s mind: Kaepernick’s choice and patriotism. Those are two issues that the public (and the league) can cleanly cleave; even the intervention of Boyer confirms that this was still a tightly controlled message about the “what” of the protest, not the “why.” Read more »
Late last week, in his umpteenth “foot in mouth” moment, Donald J. Trump rhetorically asked African Americans a question that in my mind perfectly synthesized this election and Trump’s used car salesman pitch. “What do you have to lose by trying something new like Donald Trump?” Read more »
Ed Rendell has been an enjoyable sideshow this campaign season: He’s essentially retired from politics — he’s not going to run for anything again — so he’s pretty much allowed to say whatever he wants. He can go off message. He can say “there are some things that Donald Trump talks about that do have a germ of reason or a germ of truth,” or mention on a radio show the FBI’s findings have damaged Clinton, or he can tell Buzzfeed the Democrats are $10 million short for the DNC. Rendell has commented several times to Buzzfeed, in fact! He is the world’s oldest millennial.
The #blacklivesmatter movement has been no stranger to controversy. In its short existence it has garnered a reputation for being anti-American, a race-baiting organization, and, most recently — tapping into the fear zeitgeist for many white Americans — a domestic sleeper cell of terrorists. Reaction to #blacklivesmatter has at times even transcended racial identity, with critics accusing it of being “uncoordinated,” “loud” and “ineffective,” or reducing its most visible torchbearers — the protestors who have clogged everything from highways to brunch spots, to city hall, to the DNC — with derisive claims that they are shiftless, unthinking, unemployed, idealistic people with lots of energy and little planning in much the same way that the country has discredited other system disruptors like the Bernie and Occupy camps.
It has also spawned another type of reaction too; the most popular combative rhetorical retorts to #blacklivesmatter have been across-the-aisle brand battle cries of #alllivesmatter or #bluelivesmatter. It’s made the conversation around it all feel like we’re wading into increasingly turbulent waters while one side yells “Marco!” and the other side yells “Polo!,” all resulting in a stalemate. That the conversation on race now feels inescapable for folks only begins the long road toward empathy about the everyday experience for many Black Americans who feel we’ve had no choice but to navigate this country’s implicit and explicit unequal racial codes. From schools, to employment, to voting, to police interactions, it’s always been a sink-or-swim experience for us, and given the racial animus here, it’s often felt more like sinking. To quote David Foster Wallace (out of context): “this is water.”
That’s what I thought about when 20-year-old Simone Manuel emerged from the pool — breaking the surface and making history when she not only set a new Olympic record in the women’s 100-meter freestyle swimming, but also became the first African-American female to win gold in an individual swimming event. Read more »
Khizr Khan, a Muslim-American gold-star father, has done more than almost anyone this year to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the country’s first orange dictator. And some Americans are so impressed with Khan that they want him to run for office.
On Wednesday, U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Tom Keefe nominated Khan to run for the Virginia General Assembly on Crowdpac.
Crowdpac is the Kickstarter of politics. On the website, you can nominate anyone you’d like to run for office, with or without their permission. Supporters can then pledge money to the nominee’s campaign, but their credit cards will be charged only if the nominee decides to run. Read more »
Last Monday night, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke took the center stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Clarke has been on a tear of late. A known opponent of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, the previous night he battled CNN anchor Don Lemon on what he’s come to see as “rising anti-police rhetoric that I predicted two years ago” in the wake of events like Michael Brown and the subsequent Ferguson protests. On that night, Clarke was a relentless, rhetorical soldier, and Lemon was forced to not only go to commercial break, but to also try and steer (and calm) Clarke as he rambled across topics like “black on black crime,” police killings and Black Lives Matter while attempting to debunk the current narrative around disproportionate policing happening in black and brown communities. Read more »