fresh voices from the front lines of change







Trump Bid For Border 'Crisis' Falls Flat

A seemingly invincible communicator finds his kryptonite in prime time. Politico: "For President Trump, a prime-time presidential address to the nation was a radical experiment in conventionality. The first results back from the lab were not an indication that he should stop winging it and become more disciplined in the mold of predecessors. Here was one of the most traditionally powerful platforms available to a president—one camera, one leader, speaking to millions from the Oval Office—turned over to the improvisationalist in chief, the most non-traditional communicator ever to occupy the White House. It is a good thing for Trump that he will presumably withhold a caustic Trump critique of his own performance: 'low energy' is one phrase that might come back in vogue. His eyes were squinty and his expression flat. The words, which often sounded more like a speechwriter’s than Trump’s own, were delivered with such slow and deliberate articulation that comic Seth MacFarlane tweeted that the 9-something-minute address 'had the cadence of a Wheel of Fortune contestant solving the puzzle.' Trump, according to reports, has been telling people that he didn’t want to do an Oval Office speech, the first of his presidency. If true, whoever pushed him to do it might be squirming a bit in the Wednesday morning staff meeting."

Trump Steers Clear Of Facts On Immigration

Fact-checking Trump's Oval Office speech. WaPo: "Trump does not accurately describe migrant children illegally brought into the United States. Trump describes the children as 'human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs.' But the number of suspected cases of fraudulent parentage is a fraction of the overall number of family units apprehended — in other words, in most cases tracked by CBP, the children are being brought in by their parents. The Post’s Joshua Partlow and Nick Miroff reported that, between April 19, when the trend was first suspected, and Sept. 30, the end of the 2018 fiscal year, CBP agents separated 170 families after determining that the child and adult traveling together were not related. That equals about 0.25 percent of all family units apprehended."

House To Vote Again To Reopen Government

House to vote again to reopen parts of the federal government. USA Today: "The Democratic-led House will try again Wednesday to reopen parts of the federal government, but it remains unlikely that move will be backed by more than a handful of Republicans. Only seven Republicans voted with Democrats last week to fund eight of the nine shuttered departments. And before President Donald Trump addressed the nation Tuesday night, Vice President Mike Pence rallied Capitol Hill Republicans to stand firm behind the administration's demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall that Pence said is needed to address a 'humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.' Both Pence and Trump plan to attend Senate Republicans' weekly policy lunch Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he will not "waste floor time on show votes" by bringing up a bill that Trump will not sign. But Senate Democrats Tuesday blocked McConnell from taking up other legislation, saying the funding bills should come first."

Florida Felons Regain Right To Vote

Florida felons once denied rights begin registering to vote. NYT: "For years, the state of Florida did not allow Clarence Office Jr. to vote. Instead, he encouraged relatives, colleagues and neighbors to register — and bring a buddy, so they could expand the universe of people who, unlike him, had rights to exercise at the ballot box. On Tuesday, when a historic amendment to the Florida Constitution restoring the voting rights of as many as 1.5 million former felons went into effect and Mr. Office was finally able to register himself, he made sure to follow his own advice. He brought a co-worker, Lorenzo Latson Sr., to the Miami-Dade County elections headquarters in Doral, Fla., where they waited their turn. 'Who’s next?' a clerk asked. 'It’s me!' said Mr. Latson, 58, as he walked over to the desk with the help of a cane. In a matter of minutes, the two men completed their paperwork and smiled. Soon, they expect to receive registration cards in the mail making their voter status official. 'Let’s hope so,' said Mr. Office, 61. The measure known as Amendment 4 was approved in November by nearly 65 percent of Florida voters, leaving just two other states — Kentucky and Iowa — with laws in place that prevent people with felony records from voting. But the state’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, a Republican who was sworn into office on Tuesday, has suggested that the amendment could face challenges down the line. Mr. DeSantis has said state lawmakers should craft legislation when their session begins in March to define exactly which former felons are now eligible, though the amendment appears to lay that out explicitly."

Exxon Must Reveal What It Knew About Climate Change

Supreme Court issues ‘crushing blow’ to Exxon in major climate case. ThinkProgress: "The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from ExxonMobil regarding Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s climate change investigation Monday, a decision legal experts called a 'crushing blow' to the oil giant. The Court’s decision could have implications beyond the state of Massachusetts as Exxon is forced to hand over documents detailing what it knew about climate change and when. After the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled last April that the company must turn over documents requested by Healey, Exxon asked the Supreme Court to intervene, arguing Healey lacked jurisdiction to even bring the investigation.' Today’s decision means Exxon is out of options and out of time in its fight to keep these documents from public light,' Carroll Muffett, president and chief executive of the Center for International Environmental Law, told ThinkProgress. The company is facing multiple climate lawsuits around the country. In the case of Massachusetts, like New York, the attorney general is investigating what Exxon knew about climate change and the effects of burning fossil fuels — and whether it lied to the public and its investors about the risks."

NYC Mayor To Offer Healthcare For All

NYC Mayor guarantees comprehensive Health Care for All in surprise announcement. NBC: "New York City will begin guaranteeing comprehensive health care to every single resident regardless of someone's ability to pay or immigration status, an unprecedented plan that will protect the more than half-a-million New Yorkers currently using the ER as a primary provider, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. It's not health insurance, his spokesman clarified after the surprise announcement on MSNBC Tuesday morning. 'This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs) for people who can't afford it, or can't get comprehensive Medicaid — including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers,' spokesman Eric Phillips tweeted. At a press conference Tuesday, de Blasio said the plan will provide primary and specialty care, from pediatrics to OBGYN, geriatric, mental health and other services, to the city's roughly 600,000 uninsured. The city already has the foundation for such a plan — a public health insurance option that helps get direct care to undocumented residents. That option will be expanded, the mayor said, and supported with the addition of a new program called NYC Care. Patients who seek health coverage through NYC Care will receive a card that allows them to see a primary care doctor and seek specialty care services, de Blasio said. Those who can afford to pay will pay for services on a sliding scale, while those who can't will receive free coverage, he noted."

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