The navigator and last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay, Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, died Monday in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He was 93.
— Shawn UX Chittle (@ShawnChittle) July 30, 2014
Born in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, Van Kirk became an Army Air Forces cadet in 1941. He flew 58 missions in Europe and North Africa, The New York Times reports, and went to Utah in 1944 for training. At the time, he didn't know he was preparing to drop an atomic bomb. In 2005, Van Kirk told Time that his colonel said to him, "'We're going to do something that I can't tell you about right now, but if it works, it will end or significantly shorten the war.' And I thought, 'Oh, yeah, buddy, I've heard that before.'"
During an interview with The New York Times, Van Kirk recalled flying over Hiroshima and the moment of impact. He said he felt "a sense of relief," and upon returning to the base was greeted by "more generals and admirals than I had ever seen in one place in my life."
He retired in 1946 as a major, and received the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross. Van Kirk went back to school and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Bucknell University, eventually becoming a marketing executive with DuPont. He never shied away from the role he played in ending World War II, saying, "We were fighting an enemy that had a reputation for never surrendering, never accepting defeat. Where was the morality in the bombing of Coventry, or the bombing of Dresden, or the Bataan Death March, or the Rape of Nanking, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor? I believe that when you're in a war, a nation must have the courage to do what it must to win the war with a minimum loss of lives." Catherine Garcia
Naomi Parker Fraley, a former waitress who inspired the artist behind the 1943 "We Can Do It!" poster, died Saturday in Longview, Washington. She was 96.
Several people claimed to be the model for the poster, which was created for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, but in 2016, Seton Hall University Prof. James Kimble discovered that artist J. Howard Miller was most likely inspired by a photo of Fraley that appeared in newspapers across the country. The photo showed Fraley, who worked in a Navy machine shop during World War II, standing at an industrial lathe, her hair up in polka-dotted bandana. "The women of this country these days need some icons," Fraley told People in 2016, after Kimble tracked her down. "If they think I'm one, I'm happy."
Fraley was 20 when she she started working at the machine shop, along with her younger sister, Ada, and they spent their days drilling, patching airplane wings, and riveting. The poster was only up in Westinghouse factories for a brief time, and it didn't become a feminist symbol, with the woman dubbed Rosie the Riveter, until the early 1980s, The New York Times reports. Catherine Garcia
President Trump on Monday, acting on recommendations by the U.S. International Trade Commission, approved imposing tariffs on solar panels and washing machines.
The administration says that by placing a tariff of 30 percent on most imported solar modules and a tariff of up to 50 percent on large residential washing machines, this will help American companies. Both tariffs will be phased out by 2022.
While Whirlpool is pleased with the news, with its chairman saying it will create manufacturing jobs, Bill Vietas, a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association and president of RBI Solar in Cincinnati, said the tariffs will hurt his industry, which has grown immensely over the past five years. "Government tariffs will increase the cost of solar and depress demand, which will reduce the orders we're getting and cost manufacturing workers their jobs," he told The Associated Press. Catherine Garcia
On Monday, the nonprofit government watchdog group Common Cause filed two federal complaints, alleging that President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid $130,000 in October 2016 to an adult film star who had an affair with Trump, and this may have been a violation of campaign finance laws.
In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Common Cause's campaign finance expert Paul S. Ryan wrote that "because the funds were paid for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential general election," this payment should have been considered a campaign expense, but was never reported.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Cohen paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 shortly before the election, around the same time she stopped speaking with different journalists about an affair she said she had with Trump. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, told In Touch and Slate about having consensual sexual encounters with Trump after she met him at a 2006 golf tournament. Cohen has denied paying Daniels, and told The Washington Post on Monday Common Cause's complaints are "baseless." Catherine Garcia
After the Senate passed a bipartisan bill to reopen the government, the House followed Monday evening, voting 266-150 in favor of the measure and sending the legislation to President Trump's desk.
This will fund the federal government through Feb. 8, and the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years. It will also ensure federal workers receive back pay. To get Democrats on board, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised that immigration legislation will be brought to a vote by Feb. 8 if it's not resolved earlier. The Senate passed the bill 81-18. Catherine Garcia
The Milwaukee Bucks have fired head coach Jason Kidd, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday. Kidd, a former NBA All-Star, had coached the team since 2014.
After stumbling to a 23-22 record, Bucks management apparently determined that the problem with their underperforming team was Kidd. Most observers expected the Bucks to be a top team in the NBA's Eastern Conference this season, after star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo became an early frontrunner for the league's Most Valuable Player award. But as the season wore on, the Bucks were frequently outplayed by inferior teams, and their opponents feasted on a diet of shots near the basket and from behind the three-point line — the two most profitable shots in basketball.
The Bucks' coaching gig, NBA writer Matt Moore noted on Twitter, is an intoxicating position, thanks to the 23-year-old phenom Antetokounmpo. The rest of the roster, meanwhile, is comprised of long and versatile players who, in theory, complement Antetokounmpo perfectly — alongside early-season trade acquisition Eric Bledsoe, a proven scorer.
Speculation is already swirling about who the Bucks' next head coach will be. The Ringer's Bill Simmons predicted that TV analyst and former head New York Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy would be interested, while USA Today's Sam Amick said that former New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams could become an early favorite for the job. In the interim, Bucks assistant coach Joe Prunty will take the reigns, starting with Monday's game against the Phoenix Suns. Kelly O'Meara Morales
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church on Monday announced its opposition to an EU treaty to reduce violence against women and promote gender equality, Reuters reports. The treaty, known as the Istanbul Convention, was introduced for EU-wide ratification by the Council of Europe in 2014 in response to previous EU findings on the prevalence of gender-based violence in Europe.
In a statement, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church's governing organization proclaimed that "no man of Christ" supports violence against women, but warned that the treaty "raises anxiety about the future of European Christian civilization" and "opens the doors to moral decay." The treaty's ratification is currently being considered in Bulgaria's National Assembly.
A particular point of contention for the church is the Istanbul Convention's use of the word "gender." The church says the treaty imposes "an ideology that denies that man exists as a man or a woman." An English version of the convention's text contains no explicit mentions of any such ideology, but does encourage "gender-sensitive policies," legal measures to help domestic violence victims, and the promotion of "non-stereotyped gender roles." The church claims that these "unfamiliar" gender roles "are directed against God's marital union of husband and wife."
The church's concerns are being taken seriously in Bulgaria's National Assembly, as Reuters reports that a significant part of the country's legislative body is now trying to prevent the Istanbul Convention's ratification. Kelly O'Meara Morales
A leaked draft of the White House's infrastructure plan has surfaced over at Axios, and although specific funding numbers are not attached, the document offers the first details in what has so far been a fairly confusing process.
What we know: The $1 trillion infrastructure plan is one of President Trump's biggest campaign promises, and there is a lot at stake for his administration in how it gets executed. The leaked document breaks down spending into categories, where infrastructure incentives make up 50 percent of total appropriation and encourage "state, local, and private investment in core infrastructure by providing incentives in the form of grants." Transformative projects, which "must be exploratory and ground-breaking ideas," make up 10 percent, rural infrastructure makes up 25 percent, federal credit programs 7 percent, and the federal capital financing fund 5 percent.
A key detail of the plan is that it prioritizes "projects associated with new, non-federal revenue," transportation expert Yonah Freemark writes, with that accounting for 70 percent of the scoring criteria. "This makes sense as the whole framing of the Trump proposal has been that it is incentivizing '$1 trillion' in spending, "Freemark adds. "This is only possible if other, non-federal, sources of funding become available."
5: For instance, LA & Seattle passed huge funding packages in 2016. If they applied for grant funding from this new source in 2018, they'd have their score for local funding reduced by 70%. If they applied in 2019, they wouldn't be able to count those funding packages *at all.*
— Yonah Freemark (@yfreemark) January 22, 2018
As both Freemark and others noted, grants would also decline from funding upwards of 50 percent of project costs to a ceiling of 20 percent:
From leaked White House infra document (via Axios). Bad news (or at least not immediately obvious good news) for the Hudson tunnel IF it's going to be considered as part of this plan, not separately.https://t.co/ca17ZUtC8O pic.twitter.com/pUDEbdOvyF
— Nicole Gelinas (@nicolegelinas) January 22, 2018