A Florida man has set up a legal shooting range in his backyard in a residential neighborhood. Doug Varrieur's neighbors in Big Pine Key have complained about the noise and fear stray bullets, but Sheriff Rick Ramsay says he was chagrined to find out that state law permits shooting practice on private property. "It's almost the Wild West again, when we go back to firing wherever you want," Ramsay said. Samantha Rollins
"Washington is a mess right now, but that's going to end soon," Stephen Colbert joked on Monday's Late Show. "Because the White House just announced that Trump's son-in-law and leader of the preppie camp across the lake, Jared Kushner, will oversee a broad effort to overhaul the federal government. And the government desperately needs overhaul; I mean, somebody keeps putting totally unqualified people in charge of really important stuff." He didn't name any names, exactly. "Kushner will become the head of something called the Office of American Innovation," Colbert said. "Vague, but still better than the original title, the Bureau of Obvious Nepotism."
Kushner's new office will aim to remake the government drawing from business ideas. "And you know he's got great business ideas, like being born into a wealthy real estate family, or marrying into a wealthy real estate family — why hasn't the government tried that?" Colbert asked. He was especially put off by Kushner's "bold vision for the office," that the government should be run as a "great American business," with the citizenry its customers: "Hold it a second. We're not customers, we're citizens, which means we own the store. You work for us, buddy."
Kushner already had a pretty full docket of responsibilities, "like managing the dispute with Mexico over Trump's border wall and brokering Middle East peace," Colbert said, but "Jared will still have time for his hobbies, like testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Well, not if he overhauls the government first — Business idea No. 1: No Senate." That brought Colbert to the other big story from last week: the FBI confirming that it's investigating the Trump campaign for possibly colluding with Russia during the election. "And you know it was a busy news week when I'm only getting to the treason at 11:58," he said.
Colbert played the footage of FBI Director James Comey publicly announcing that the Trump campaign is under active investigation, one that has been ongoing since at least last July, and he unloaded. "Wow, the FBI is investigating the president of the United States for colluding with a foreign power — that is historic," he said. "The only way it could possibly be more historic is if you told us before the f—ing election!" Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert was somewhere drinking rum last week, despite his cleverly pretaped shows, he admitted on Monday's Late Show. "What a great time to have been away from the show — nothing happened while I was gone, right?" he deadpanned. He showed some cartoonishly disturbing "footage" of the GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare, then got down to the business of political comedy. "So, on Friday, lacking the votes they needed, they folded the ObamaCare repeal and placed it in the cabinet of broken Republican dreams," Colbert said, "next to trickle-down economics and a Jesus-shaped fighter jet that drops gay people on ISIS."
This was an embarrassing failure for President Trump, so who did he blame? The Democrats — "not enough votes to get a majority," Colbert mused, "well, that didn't stop you from becoming president" — plus conservative Republicans, moderate Republicans... basically, everyone but one person: Donald Trump. "After all his campaign promises, nothing," Colbert said. "It's almost like you can't trust a fast-talking city slicker who rolls into town promising a magic solution for all our medical needs. I'm starting to doubt the effectiveness of Dr. Bannon's Anti-Muslim Toad Oil."
Oh, Trump also seemed to blame Paul Ryan, indirectly, farming out the dirty work to Jeanine Pirro on Fox News. Colbert noted Trump's tweeted-out alert to watch Pirro's show Saturday night, showed some highlights of the show, and seemed to suggest that perhaps Pirro had been tippling before her passionate defense of Trump and call for Ryan to step down. Then he made it specific. "Well, I've got to say, if he likes Judge Jeanine, Trump is going to love tonight's episode of The Late Show's pro-Trump news team, Real News Tonight," Colbert said. And this very special edition of the fake-news broadcast features a vaguely familiar anti-Ryan rant from "Judge Sally Blazerface." Watch below. Peter Weber
New York charged a white racist with terrorism for murdering a black man. Sean Spicer won't talk about it.
On Monday, a 28-year-old white man who has confessed to fatally stabbing a 66-year-old black man, Timothy Caughman, in New York City last week out of racial animus, was charged with murder as an act of terrorism, in addition to murder as a hate crime. "James Jackson prowled the streets of New York for three days in search of a black person to assassinate in order to launch a campaign of terrorism against our Manhattan community and the values we celebrate,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said Monday. Jackson, who grew up and lived in Baltimore, told police he "was angered by black men mixing with white women," New York police said.
Jackson elaborated in a disturbing interview from Rikers Island prison, telling the New York Daily News that killing Caughman was intended as "a practice run" in his drive to prevent mixed-race relationships. He imagined white women thinking, "Well, if that guy feels so strongly about it, maybe I shouldn't do it," he said, adding that he regretted Caughman was "elderly" instead of "a young thug" or "a successful older black man with blonds... people you see in Midtown. These younger guys that put white girls on the wrong path." Jackson's lawyer, Sam Talkin, said if the allegations are anywhere close to true, "we're going to address the obvious psychological issues that are present in this case."
Last week, the NAACP's Sherrilyn Ifill wrote Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to investigate Caughman's murder as a potential federal act of terrorism, and American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan followed up at a Monday press conference about "sanctuary cities," asking Sessions if the Caughman murder was a hate crime. Sessions ignored the question, so Ryan asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about the uptick in hate crimes and specifically, "What does this White House say about this obvious apparent hate crime?"
Spicer said he was "not going to reference any specific case before the DOJ right now" — though the Caughman case is being handled in New York State court — assured Ryan that Trump believes "hate crimes and anti-Semitic crimes of any nature should be called out," then pivoted to arguing that "the left" should apologize for "immediately jumping" on "people on the right" in their "rush to judgment on some of the anti-Semitic cases" (apparently referencing a specific case). He suggested he wasn't familiar with the details of the Jackson case, even though Caughman was murdered by a sword in midtown Manhattan, where Trump's wife and youngest son live. Watch the exchange below. Peter Weber
Tropical Cyclone Debbie roared across northeast Australia on Tuesday, and was classified as a category four when it made landfall in Airlie Beach.
"It's very noisy," witness Jan Clifford in Airlie Beach told Reuters. "Screaming, howling wind, sounds like a freight train." In addition to strong winds and gusts that have reached more than 160 mph, the rain is coming down hard, and there are reports of damage to homes. Thousands of people are also without power. So far, no one has been reported injured. The cyclone is moving slowly, and forecasters say conditions could stay the same for 24 hours. Catherine Garcia
Maybe rumors of the American Health Care Act's death were exaggerated a bit. After House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) pulled the bill on Friday because his broadly unpopular health-care overhaul plan didn't have enough Republican votes to pass, he called ObamaCare "the law of the land" for the visible future and the White House said it is ready to move on to tax reform and other issues. On Monday afternoon, however, Ryan told a group of donors that he will continue to push forward on health care "on two tracks," as the GOP pursues other parts of its agenda, according to The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the call.
House Republicans have sent mixed messages as to whether they will try to tinker with the AHCA or start over, and Ryan did not divulge any details to his political operation's donors. But he said he plans to outline his plans to Republican donors at a retreat in Florida on Thursday and Friday. "When we're in Florida, I will lay out the path forward on health care and all the rest of the agenda," Ryan said. "I will explain how it all still works, and how we're still moving forward on health care with other ideas and plans.... It will be good to look at what can feasibly get done and where things currently stand. But know this: We are not giving up."
Ryan laid blame for the AHCA's defeat on members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, not mentioning at least 25 other House GOP members who said they would vote no, too. He said he met with President Trump on Monday and separately with Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, describing his relationship with the White House as closer than ever. "We're not going to just all of a sudden abandon health care and move on to the rest," he said. "It's just that valuable, that important." Ryan had counted on the AHCA tax cuts to allow him to cut taxes deeper and more permanently later in the year. Peter Weber
When firefighter Andrew Klein responded to a blaze at an apartment in Santa Monica, California, last week, he found a dog that wasn't breathing. "I discovered him amid all the smoke and the heat," he told ABC Los Angeles. "I grabbed him and as soon as I grabbed him, I knew that he was unresponsive just by his dead weight." Klein began to give him CPR, and didn't give up until, 20 minutes later, the dog — a 10-year-old rescue named Nalu — was revived. Nalu made a quick recovery, and with his owner, Crystal Lamirande, he visited Klein at his station a few days after the fire. "Our goal is to save people, and sometimes we're not able to do that despite our best efforts," Klein said. "But to have a success story just like this... he's a life that matters. That was just a great morale booster for all of the guys here in our department." Catherine Garcia
On Tuesday, President Trump will sign an executive order he says will roll back many of former President Barack Obama's measures aimed to fight global warming.
Trump will ask the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Clean Power Plan, which limits the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and has long been opposed by Republican governors. He will also lift a ban on new coal leases on federal lands, which Obama put into place for three years in 2016 so the program could be modernized. A senior White House official informed reporters about the executive order Monday night, and at one point denied knowing that climate change can have a devastating impact on the economy, The Associated Press reports.
Earlier this month, EPA head Scott Pruitt stated that he does not think carbon dioxide is one of the primary contributors to climate change, a departure from the views of most scientists, Americans, and his own agency. The agency's former administrator, Gina McCarthy, said the Trump administration wants "us to travel back to when smokestacks damaged our health and polluted our air, instead of taking every opportunity to support clean jobs of the future. This is not just dangerous; it's embarrassing to us and our business on a global scale to be dismissing opportunities for new technologies, economic growth, and U.S. leadership." Catherine Garcia