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May 7, 2014

Jenae Copelin of Chillicothe, Missouri, was on her way to buy new shoes for her children when a funnel of fire made her stop the car.

"I looked over here and noticed most of this field was on fire," she told Fox 4 in Kansas City. "The Instagrammer in me wanted to pull over and take a picture. The fire whipped up into that whirlwind. It was intense."

The "firenado" is a phenomenon that's caused when cool air above the heat of a fire starts an updraft, Fox 4 meteorologist Mike Thompson explained, and this fire was set by farmers burning off old crops. After Copelin snapped the picture and uploaded it to Instagram, she was shocked by the amount of attention it received. "It makes you realize how small the world is with the internet and Instagram and Facebook and all that," she said. The farm, owned by 85-year-old Frances Dominique, was never in any danger during the controlled burn. Catherine Garcia

9:38 p.m. ET

Standing outside of a Roy Moore rally in Midland City on the eve of Alabama's special Senate election, peanut farmer Nathan Mathis held a photo of his daughter, Patti Sue Mathis, and a sign with a strong message.

"Judge Roy Moore called my daughter Patti Sue Mathis a pervert because she was gay," the sign read. "A 32-year-old Roy Moore dated teenage girls ages 14 to 17. So that makes him a pervert of the worst kind. Please don't vote for Roy Moore!" Speaking to reporters, Mathis said he lost Patti Sue to suicide in 1995, and didn't know what he would accomplish standing there with his sign. "[I] had mixed emotions about coming, but someone needs to speak up, and if it's all to no avail, so be it, it won't be the first time I've done something to no avail," he said. "My sign speaks for itself and it speaks the truth."

Moore has called gay people "perverts, abominations, that's not true," Mathis continued. "We don't need a person like that representing us in Washington. That's why I'm here." When asked if he was a man of faith, Mathis said yes, and that he used to be anti-gay. "I said bad things to my daughter myself, which I regret, but I can't take back what happened to my daughter," he said. "Stuff like saying my daughter is a pervert, I'm sure that bothered her." Mathis wrote a letter to the Dothan Eagle in 2012, sharing details about Patti Sue's life and death. She wanted to try conversion therapy, but was told by doctors "you can't help the way you are," he wrote, and "took her own life because she didn't want to be gay anymore. She was tired of being ridiculed and made fun of. She was tired of seeing how a lot of people treat gay people." Read his entire letter at the Dothan Eagle. Catherine Garcia

8:23 p.m. ET
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

After a delay, the U.S. Treasury Department finally released on Monday a one-page document it called an "analysis of growth and revenue estimates" of the Republican tax plan, agreeing with the Trump administration that there will be an annual economic growth of 2.9 percent, more than enough for the plan to pay for itself over 10 years.

Most economists do not expect growth to be that robust, and congressional researchers have estimated the plan would add $1.5 trillion to the national debt over a decade. The Treasury's brief report said growth would come from tax cuts and "a combination of regulatory reform, infrastructure development, and welfare reform as proposed in the administration's Fiscal Year 2018 budget."

The conservative Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said the document "makes a mockery of dynamic scoring and analysis," while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it "nothing more than one page of fake math." The Senate has approved one tax bill and the House of Representatives another, with both cutting taxes for businesses and the wealthy. A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that almost half of all Americans are opposed to the plans, which Senate and House Republicans are trying to reconcile. Catherine Garcia

6:56 p.m. ET
Philippe Wojazer/AFP/Getty Images

Through his "Make Our Planet Great Again" grants, French President Emmanuel Macron has changed the lives of 18 climate scientists, including 13 from the United States, who otherwise struggled to secure funding for their research.

Macron announced the grants just hours after President Trump said he was withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord in June. Originally, the grants were just going to go to Americans, but more than 5,000 researchers from 100 countries applied, with projects on clouds, hurricanes, and pollutions that are expected to last around three years — covering the rest of Trump's first term. "If we want to prepare for the changes of tomorrow, we need science," Macron told the winners Monday in Paris, adding that France will replace U.S. financing of climate research.

One of the winners is Camille Parmesan of the University of Texas at Austin, who will work at an experimental ecology station in the Pyrenees to see how climate change is affecting wildlife. Knowing Macron is standing up for science "gave me such a psychological boost, to have that kind of support, to have the head of state saying I value what you do," Parmesan told The Associated Press. Catherine Garcia

5:14 p.m. ET

The New Yorker announced Monday in statement that it would no longer be working with reporter Ryan Lizza, due to potentially inappropriate behavior:

Lizza was The New Yorker's Washington correspondent for 10 years as well as a frequent on-air contributor for CNN. Shortly after The New Yorker made its announcement about Lizza, CNN said in a statement that Lizza "will not appear on CNN while we look into this matter."

Lizza became something of a sensation over the summer after he received a surreal phone call from then-White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, in which Scaramucci unloaded on then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Stephen Bannon in rather colorful language. Scaramucci was fired four days after Lizza published details of their conversation.

In a statement to Politico's Michael Calderone, Lizza claimed that The New Yorker's decision "was a terrible mistake" and denied that he'd acted improperly. Kelly O'Meara Morales

4:56 p.m. ET

Three people were injured Monday when a man detonated an explosive in a Midtown Manhattan subway station. The suspect, identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, was wearing "an improvised, low-tech explosive device" that he "intentionally detonated" around 7:20 a.m. ET Monday morning in the subway station below the Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.

Ullah, who is of Bangladeshi descent and lives in Brooklyn, was taken into custody after the blast. He sustained the most serious injuries, though he and the three injured passersby all escaped life-threatening harm. Ullah apparently told police he constructed the explosive at his workplace, while CNN reported, citing an unnamed law enforcement official, that Ullah may have been motivated to act by Israeli aggression.

In response to the attack, Attorney General Jeff Sessions blamed America's "failed immigration policies." He said in a statement that Monday's explosion, along with the truck-based attack in October near the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan, were due to policies that "do not serve the national interest," like "the diversity lottery and chain migration."

"It is a failure of logic and sound policy not to adopt a merit-based immigration system," Sessions said, adding that a merit-based policy would mean "welcoming the best and the brightest and turning away not only terrorists, but gang members, fraudsters, drunk drivers, and child abusers." Read his full statement below. Kimberly Alters

4:12 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A nuclear energy executive who used to work with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn claims that a whistleblower gave inaccurate information about an alleged text exchange that occurred during President Trump's inauguration, Politico reported Monday. Last week, Politico reported that a whistleblower wrote in July to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, about text messages Flynn had allegedly sent during the inauguration ceremony to Alex Copson, the managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners.

Flynn, who advised ACU, a nuclear energy investment firm, between 2015 and 2016, apparently told Copson that sanctions against Russia would get "ripped up" upon Trump's ascent to the Oval Office. Per the whistleblower, Flynn also wrote in a text that ACU's plan to build a dozen nuclear plants in the Middle East with Russian partners was "good to go."

On Friday, Thomas Cochran, a top adviser for ACU, wrote in a letter to Cummings, "The only text message Mr. Copson received on Inauguration Day came at 1:49 p.m.," directly contradicting the whistleblower's claim that Copson showed off a text sent by Flynn at 12:11 p.m. that day. Cochran claimed that because Copson "did not receive a text message from General Flynn during the inauguration, other allegations of the 'whistleblower' are equally false and unfounded."

Cummings responded Friday directly to Copson, asking him to appear before Oversight Committee staff for an interview. He poked holes in Cochran's logic, saying Copson could have provided an incomplete transcript of exchanged messages, or that communications could have occurred over an encrypted messaging service.

Cummings also questioned why Copson wasn't speaking for himself: "It appears that your colleague [Cochran] is suggesting that you did not meet the whistleblower at all and that you had no conversation relating to General Flynn," Cummings wrote to Copson. "It remains unclear why your colleague sent this letter rather than you." Kelly O'Meara Morales

3:29 p.m. ET

President Trump signed a directive Monday aimed at refocusing "America's space program on human exploration and discovery." The directive signals the administration's intention to send "American astronauts back to the Moon, and eventually Mars," spokesman Hogan Gidley clarified earlier in the day to Reuters.

Despite America having already checked the moon off its to-do list in 1969, Trump said "this time we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps someday to many worlds beyond." Watch Trump's full comments below, and read James Poulos explain why the most important thing Trump can do is take us to Mars at The Week. Jeva Lange

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