White hot

Thursday, May 11, 2017
“Peanuts” is going Canadian. Maybe our neighbors to the north can help Charlie Brown finally grab that football. Here are the 5 things you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

By Doug Criss

1. James Comey firing

The story behind why President Trump, in a stunning move, fired FBI Director James Comey keeps changing. First, the White House said the decision rested mostly with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who didn’t like how Comey handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Then officials said Trump had simply lost confidence in Comey. Now new reports suggest Trump wanted Comey gone because he wouldn’t give the President an assurance of his personal loyalty and because the Russia probe, which Comey was spearheading, was ramping up. Trump is described as being white hot over the Russia investigation. Comey reportedly had asked for more resources for the investigation, something the Justice Department denies.

Elsewhere in DC, GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, head of the Oversight Committee, asked the Justice Department’s Inspector General to review the decision to fire Comey. And the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for documents regarding his interactions with Russian officials. 

Finally, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly will meet in July at the G20 summit in Germany. 

2. North Korea and CIA

The US government is siccing the CIA on North Korea. The agency is opening a Korea Mission Center to deal with the nuke and missile threat posed by the North and its leader, Kim Jong Un. CIA analysts and officers in the center will work side by side, providing twice-a-day status reports to the intelligence community and the Trump administration. The move comes as the newly elected President of South Korea, a key US alley in the region, says he wants a softer, more open relationship with Pyongyang.

3. Betsy DeVos

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos addressed the graduates at historically black Bethune-Cookman University and, well, it went as badly as we thought it would. As soon as she started to speak, students jumped up and booed her, with some even turning their backs on her. It got so bad that the school’s president told the grads that if they kept it up, “your degrees will be mailed to you.” Students had urged administrators to cancel DeVos’ speech, primarily because of her comments — which she later recanted — that founders of historically black colleges and universities were the “real pioneers” of school choice. Here’s a little history lesson: black colleges were established as a reaction to racial discrimination, not an exercise in school choice.

4. Obamacare

Aetna is done with Obamacare. The insurance giant next year will pull out of Obamacare exchanges in Nebraska and Delaware, the last two states where it offered policies under the Affordable Care Act. A few months ago, it said it wouldn’t offer policies in exchanges in Iowa or Virginia. Aetna is just the latest of lots of insurance companies that in the past year have left the exchanges or hiked rates. Insurers are worried about the GOP health care bill, too, specifically whether it would continue to provide cost-sharing subsidies that cut premiums for low-income customers. By the way, the long-awaited CBO score — which predicts the impact of proposed laws on people and the economy — on the Republican health care bill should be out the week of May 22.

5. Climate change

Glacier National Park in Montana might need to consider a name change one day. That’s because the park’s namesake glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. A new study says the 37 glaciers in the park have lost 85% of their size. And in a few decades, they’ll be gone. “The trend right now is that they are inexorably going into their final demise,” the study’s lead scientist says. “There is no chance they will go into rebirth.” The scientists blame climate change brought on by humans.

This just in …

Under heavy police presence, crews early this morning in New Orleans began to take down the statue of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Breakfast Browse

People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
Who you gonna call?
Fossils of a dinosaur that looks a lot like a “Ghostbusters” monster have been found. So, of course, they named it Zuul.
Rich ride
Come, take a trip on the cruise ship for the uber-wealthy that may even be too pricey for Oprah.
Treasure trove
Since “Hamilton” hit Broadway, anything connected to Alexander Hamilton is a license to print money. Now a collection of his letters is up for sale.
Here comes the judge
The cases are real, but the judge is fake — when comedian Amy Schumer sits in for Judge Judy.
$2.2 billion
That’s how much Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, lost last quarter. 

And finally …

Evenly matched
Thirty kids versus two pro soccer players. What could go wrong? (Click to view)
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