Posts tagged with "The Atlantic"

Protesters at Senator Lindsey Graham’s house seek to block SCOTUS vote before election

September 22, 2020

Following the September 18 death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, dozens of demonstrators gathered outside Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s home in Washington, DC, on Monday morning, September 21—waving banners and signs that called him a “two-faced coward” and demanded that he “keep his word”— after he pledged his support for a Senate vote on President Donald Trump’s SCOTUS nominee ahead of the election.

Democrats have condemned the South Carolina senator and other Republicans for flip-flopping on their opposition to filling a Supreme Court vacancy during a presidential election year, The Huffington Post reports.

In 2016, Graham supported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to block Senate consideration of Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

But Graham, who now chairs the key Judiciary Committee, appeared to change his tune following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, saying he would support Trump “in any effort to move forward” in filling her seat.

Trump said on Monday that he’d announce his nomination Friday or Saturday, and that a Senate vote on his nominee should happen before the November 3 election—a move to “steal” another seat that is sure to trigger widespread anger among voters who are not members of his 40% base.

Protesters on Monday showed up to Graham’s townhouse around 6 a.m., where they banged drums, blared air horns, and demanded that he oppose a Supreme Court confirmation vote before Election Day, the HuffPost reported.

“We can’t sleep so neither should Lindsey,” read one sign held by a protester. Other signs in the crowd labeled Graham a “two-faced coward” and a “hypocrite.”

It’s unclear whether Graham was inside the house during the demonstration, which was organized by Shut Down DC and the Washington, DC, chapter of the Sunrise Movement, two groups focused on tackling the climate crisis.

Trump and many of his Republican allies have called for a swift confirmation of his nominee to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg was one of the court’s most liberal judges, making Republicans eager to fill her seat with a conservative. If they succeed, the court will have a 6-3 conservative majority.

Hours after Ginsburg’s death, McConnell said Trump’s nominee would receive a vote on the Senate floor.

When Scalia died in 2016, McConnell blocked Garland from receiving a hearing in the Senate, claiming the winner of the 2016 presidential election should pick the nominee. Scalia died 269 days before the 2016 presidential election. Ginsburg died 46 days before the 2020 presidential election.

Graham stood by McConnell’s decision in 2016, stating at the time that he strongly supports “giving the American people a voice in choosing the next Supreme Court nominee by electing a new president.”

“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said at the time. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.’ And you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”

Graham reiterated his stance in 2018 during a forum with The Atlantic, stating that “if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait until the next election.”

But Graham now seems unfazed by his pledges.

“I fully understand where [Trump] is coming from,” Graham tweeted Saturday in response to the president’s statement that the GOP has an “obligation” to fill the Supreme Court vacancy “without delay.”

About 100 demonstrators protested outside McConnell’s home in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday, calling on the Republican leader to allow whoever is elected in November to pick the next Supreme Court nominee.

“I think it’s time to stand up and speak out,” one protester told WLKY. “That’s what Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought her whole life for.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

 

 

 

 

Trump called U.S. WWI war casualties buried at French cemetery ‘losers’ and ‘’suckers’

September 7, 2020

President Donald Trump called American soldiers who died on French soil during World War I “losers” during a trip to France in 2018, according to multiple sources cited by The Atlantic.

The comments, reportedly were made ahead of a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France that was ultimately canceled, with the excuse that Trump had worried that a rain storm in the area “would mess up his hair,” reports The Daily Beast.

Trump later referred to World War I Marines who were killed at Belleau Wood, where American and allied troops successfully halted the German advance towards Paris in 1918, as “suckers” for dying at at the hands of the enemy. Trump reportedly expressed confusion about the United States’ involvement in World War I, asking aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?”

Responding to the report in a statement, the White House said, “This report is patently false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard. He’s demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn.”

However, an investigative reporter for the Associated Press tweeted that a senior Defense Department official “confirmed this story by Jeffrey Goldberg in its entirety.”

In a statement, Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming presidential election, said if the report were true, the president’s comments represented “yet another marker of how deeply President Trump and I disagree about the role of the President of the United States.”

The president has a long history of attacking military service members, even those in his own party, including the late Republican leader Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), whom he called a “fu***ing loser” upon seeing flags lowered to half-mast in McCain’s honor after his death in 2018. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said of McCain in 2015 while running for the Republican presidential nomination. “I like people who weren’t captured.” The president reportedly told his staff, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral” after McCain’s death. Trump was not invited to the memorial service, The Daily Beast notes.

During a 2018 planning meeting for a White House military parade, Trump reportedly refused to allow wounded veterans to march, especially not amputees. “Nobody wants to see that,” he was quoted saying.

On a visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2017, Trump reportedly joined John Kelly, then Homeland Security secretary and soon-to-be White House chief of staff. Kelly’s son Robert, who was killed in Afghanistan at the age of 29, is buried at the cemetery. While standing before the grave, Trump is said to have asked the elder Kelly, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”

Kelly thought the remark was a joke at the time but later realized it was not, according to The Atlantic.

In 2016 he also attacked the Gold Star mother and father of a U.S. Army Captain, Humayun Khan, who received a Purple Heart for bravery after being killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the same tirade, he called his own work as a businessman a “sacrifice” similar to dying in combat. Khan’s parents spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Trump himself, of course, did not serve in the military, having received a deferment from service during Vietnam due to the alleged presence of bone spurs in his feet.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

A 13-year-old boy delivers his speech with a stutter—and elevates DNC to an emotional high

August 24, 2020

Twenty seconds into his speech on August 20, Brayden Harrington struggled to say his next word, as he undoubtedly knew he would. There was a long pause before the 13-year-old was able to triumphantly say that word: “Stutter.”

It was one of the most moving moments of the night, Vogue reported—and perhaps of the entire Democratic National Convention: a young boy speaking to a national audience about his disability and the 77-year-old man who, drawing on his own experience, was trying to help him overcome it.

Introduced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the evening’s celebrity emcee, Harrington, dressed in a dusky orange tee-shirt and reading his speech on a white sheet of paper he held with both hands, opened by saying, “My name is Brayden Harrington, and I am 13 years old. And without Joe Biden, I wouldn’t be talking to you today.”

He continued, “About a few months ago, I met him in New Hampshire. He told me that we were members of the same club: We”—and then came the long pause before he completed the sentence—“stutter. It was really amazing to hear that someone like me became [the] vice president. He told me about a book of poems by Yeats he would read out loud to practice. He showed me how he marks his addresses to make them easier to say out loud. So I did the same thing today.

“My family often says, ‘When the world feels better,’ before talking about something normal, like going to the movies. We all want the world to feel better. We need the world to feel better. I’m just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me more confident about something that’s bothered me my whole life. Joe Biden cared.

“Imagine what he could do for all of us. Kids like me are counting on you to elect someone we can all look up to, someone who cares, someone who will make our country and the world feel better. We’re counting on you to elect Joe Biden.”

Harrington and Biden had met in February at a campaign event in New Hampshire. After they first spoke on the rope line, the former vice president invited Harrington backstage to continue their conversation and told him about how he had worked to overcome his own stutter.

Biden’s own stutter emerged when he was a child, he told The Atlantic earlier this year. At times, he was tormented for it. He recalled one nun at school calling him “Mr. Buh-Buh-Buh-Biden” and demanding that he repeat a passage from a book, and high-school classmates nicknaming him “Dash”—as in Morse code staccato.

According to the Vogue report, Harrington’s was a stunning opening to a night that would later see Joe Biden accept his party’s nomination for the presidency, and based on the reaction on social media, there were few dry eyes on viewers at home. (According to The Washington Post, a video of Harrington’s address that was shared on Twitter by the Democratic National Convention had been viewed more than 3 million times by Friday morning.)

“I want to say this to Brayden Harrington (the precious young man with a stutter): Young, Sir: You humble me. I am in TOTAL AWE of your courage,” tweeted Pam Keith, the former Navy JAG running for Congress from Florida’s 18th District. “You have a titanic spirit and unshakeable will. You made the worst bully look pathetic, ridiculous, and so very small. I salute you.”

On MSNBC, Claire McCaskill, the former U.S. senator from Missouri, contrasted Biden’s empathetic outreach to this young boy—and then giving him a high-profile speaking slot at the party’s national convention—with Donald Trump’s widely reported mocking of a disabled New York Times reporter during the 2016 campaign. She said his speech might have been, “the most important moment of the night.” (That same point was also made in a tweet by Matthew Miller, a former spokesman for the State Department: “As I watched Brayden Harrington talk about Biden helping him with his stutter, could not stop thinking of the clip of Trump mocking a disabled reporter. What a contrast.”)

And CNN’s Chris Cillizza said, “Holy cow. The Brayden Harrington speech. The courage. My god. I am going to remember that one for a long time.”

But perhaps the most moving tribute came from a woman who herself has struggled to recapture the power of speech. “Speaking is hard for me too, Brayden,” tweeted Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was almost killed during a mass shooting in 2011 and is still recovering from those near-fatal injuries. “But as you know, practice and purpose help. Thank you for your courage and for the great speech!”

Research contact: @voguemagazine

Former Defense Secretary Mattis says Trump’s ‘bizarre’ photo-op mimics Nazi tactics

June 5, 2020

In a story picked up by NBC News, on June 3, former Defense Secretary James Mattis slammed President Donald Trump’s response to the protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police—saying the POTUS “tries to divide us” while calling his “bizarre photo op” in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church “an abuse of executive authority.”

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in a statement published by The Atlantic.

“Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was “Divide and Conquer.” Our American answer is “In Union there is Strength.”‘ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics,” Mattis wrote.

In the stunning rebuke of his former boss, Mattis, a retired general, said he’d promised to defend the Constitution when he was sworn into the Marine Corps “some 50 years ago,” NBC News reported.

“Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside,” Mattis wrote, referring to Monday night’s federal show of force to clear protesters from the front of the White House.

After they were cleared, Trump walked across Lafayette Square with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and others to pose for a picture with a Bible in front of the church, which had been damaged in a riot Sunday night. The photo opportunity came minutes after Trump announced that he was prepared to call in the military to handle unruly protesters around the country.

“We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution,” Mattis wrote in The Atlantic.

“We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose,” wrote Mattis, whom Trump would often refer to as “Mad Dog,” a nickname Mattis didn’t like.

Trump, he said, is a divider, and the country is “witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort.”

“We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens,” he wrote.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Cold comfort: The boys who wear shorts all winter

January 13, 2020

 

As the temperatures plunge this winter, a small number of teenage boys nationwide will continue to wear shorts at the bus stop, as well as throughout the school day.

The “one kid who wears shorts to school all year”: In regions that get cold and snowy in the winter, he’s a figure who is equal parts familiar and bewildering to kids and teachers alike, and his clothing choices present an annual hassle for his parents, writer Ashley Fetters said in The Atlantic last week.

To research the phenomenon, Fetters asked educators at her former middle school and high school in Minnesota—who readily confirmed to her that they can count on having two or three of him every year, arriving at school after braving the morning wind chill with bare calves.

In other words, the Boy Who Wears Shorts All Winter is a highly recognizable but largely inscrutable character, and when The Atlantic’s writer asked parents, teachers, child psychologists, and a former B.W.W.S.A.W., himself, to try to explain what exactly motivates such a totally impractical clothing choice, they all offered different answers.

A common belief among parents is that some kids just “run hot,” or get less uncomfortable in cold temperatures than other people do. One mother in the Midlands region of the U.K. said that her eight-year-old son must be “hot-blooded,” because he insists on wearing shorts to school even when it’s below freezing outside, claiming he “doesn’t feel the cold.” One of the educators I spoke with in Minnesota told me that when she asks her students why they’ve made shorts their winter uniform, the response she typically gets is just a shrug and an “I’m not cold.”

Matthew Saia, a pediatrician and assistant professor at the University of Vermont, said that he is skeptical of that notion. “In children, the average body temperature ranges from 98 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. So while there are some children who may have a higher average body temperature during the day than others, this one degree does not make a difference in protecting children from the effects of significant cold exposure,” he wrote in an email.

And when extreme cold or wind chill comes into the equation, Dr. Saia encourages parents to adopt a tough-love, no-you’re-not-leaving-the-house-in-that stance, because at “temperatures of -15 degrees or less, exposed skin can freeze within minutes.”

One perennially popular joke about kids who wear shorts all winter is that the persistent refrain of “I’m not cold” is the entire point of the habit.  The insistence has a boastful quality: “It’s attention-seeking,” an observer told The Atlantic’s writer.

Phyllis Fagell, a therapist and school counselor who wrote the book ‘Middle School Matters,’ largely agreed with that assessment: Particularly in late elementary and middle school, she said, kids “have such a desire to not seem like a baby.” And boys are “suddenly so aware of societal messages about what it means to be tough, and what it means to be masculine.”

Perhaps most important, Fagell noted that adolescent kids are in a unique spot developmentally, one in which they’re particularly hostile toward adults’ assessments of them. “When you are a tween, you do not like adults telling you how you feel, how you should feel, or what you should do, even. [Tweens] like to be treated like the expert in their own life,” she told Fetters. “If a parent says to a 12-year-old, ‘You’re sad,’”—or, for that matter, ‘You’re going to be cold’—“that can make them bristle, because kids that age don’t want to be told how they’re feeling. They’ll tell you how they’re feeling, thank you very much.”

Fagell advises parents to talk to their kids with curiosity instead of authority, and to keep an open mind.“Start with ‘I’m really curious,’ or ‘I’m wondering,’ or ‘I’ve noticed that you don’t like wearing [long pants] in the winter. Tell me more.’ What you might find is that it’s a sensory issue, that they say, ‘I don’t like the way the fabric feels against my skin,’” she said. “You might actually be able to work with that. You could be able to find something that would keep them warm but work for them a little bit better.”

Angela Mattke, a pediatrician at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center in Rochester, Minnesota, also recommends meeting kids in the middle whenever possible, especially if shorts are simply more comfortable for the kid in question. “Sometimes a compromise like wearing sport tights under shorts will work for those children who want to wear shorts all year,” she said—and added that this is something she sees frequently among kids during the chilly Minnesota winter.

But sometimes, Fagell noted, kids just want to do things their own way, or for their own reasons—and in climates where the cold is milder, perhaps above freezing, Fagell advises parents to just “pick their battles … If they’re not going to [get] frostbite—say, if it’s in the 40s—it’s a dumb decision, but they’re unlikely to suffer real harm,” she said.

Perhaps the most important truth about boys who wear shorts all winter, though, is that they do—most of the time—eventually grow out of it.

Research contact: @TheAtlantic

About ‘Time’: Billionaire Marc Benioff buys weekly news magazine

September 18, 2018

Time magazine is about to change hands for the second time since November 2017, when it was acquired from Time Warner by Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith—up until then, best-known for its flagship publication Better Homes & Gardens.

On September 16, Meredith announced that it had agreed to sell the Time media brand to Marc and Lynne Benioff for $190 million in cash. The Benioffs, who are the billionaire co-founders of Salesforce—a leading global customer relationship management platform—have said that they “will not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions, which will continue to be led by Time’s current executive leadership team.”,

The husband-and-wife team now have become the latest tech titans to take the reins of an iconic media brand. Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, bought The Washington Post in 2013. Last year, Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, agreed to acquire a majority stake in The Atlantic magazine through her organization, Emerson Collective,  from David G. Bradley, who retained a minority stake.

“We’re pleased to have found such passionate buyers in Marc and Lynne Benioff for the Time brand,” said Meredith CEO Tom Harty, in the company’s formal release. “For over 90 years, Time has been at the forefront of the most significant events and impactful stories that shape our global conversation. We know Time will continue to succeed and is in good hands with the Benioffs. We thank the Time team for its ongoing hard work and passionate commitment.”

Meredith acquired TIME as part of its purchase of Time Inc., which closed

“We are honored to be the caretakers of one of the world’s most important media companies and iconic brands,” said the Benioffs. “Time has always been a trusted reflection of the state of the world, and reminds us that business is one of the greatest platforms for change.”

“On behalf of the entire Time team, we are very excited to begin this next chapter in our history,” said Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal. “We can’t imagine better stewards for Time than Marc and Lynne Benioff. The team is inspired by their commitment to high-quality journalism and by their confidence in the work we have done to transform and expand the brand in new directions.”

As part of the transaction, Meredith will provide short-term business continuity services and has entered into a multi-year agreement with the Benioffs to provide services such as consumer marketing, subscription fulfillment, paper purchasing, and printing. Meredith will also be able to include the Time brand in large corporate advertising buys.

Research contact: Art.Slusark@meredith.com