A suburban New York man spent $50,000 building an elite Little League team after another team dropped his son. Robert Sanfilippo recruited stars to play with his son on the "Long Island Vengeance," whose helmets were embossed with a skull-and-crossbones. "It was all about revenge," a rival coach said. Sanfilippo was recently charged with sending threatening messages to a coach whose son struck out Sanfilippo's son.
President Trump "has had a lot of problems with history this week, mainly how he'll be remembered by it," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show, "but also with defending the Confederacy." Colbert took special issue with Trump's argument, on Twitter and at a press conference, that because George Washington owned slaves, the decision to take down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will lead America down a slippery, heritage-erasing slope to removing statues of Washington and fellow slave owner Thomas Jefferson.
"Comparing Robert E. Lee to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson is just willful dumminess," Colbert said, coining a word. "Washington and Jefferson have monuments not because of the slaves but because they fought the British, founded the country, and wrote the Declaration of Independence. We have statues of Robert E. Lee because he chose to secede and fight for slavery." Taking down Confederate statues "isn't about denying that slavery happened, it's about not celebrating the people who fought to keep it going," he said. "That's why we remember the Titanic but don't erect a monument to the iceberg."
On Saturday Night Live's Thursday night "Weekend Update," Michael Che invited George Washington, as played by Jimmy Fallon, on to defend himself. "About this Robert E. Lee thing, I'm nothing like that guy," Fallon's Washington said. "I created this country, he tried to tear it apart. I rebelled against England, he rebelled against America. Him bad, me the founding father, the original dad — Who's your daddy? Me!" He tried to leave, but Che stopped him, reminding him that he (Washington) did own slaves. Fallon said Jefferson was worse, prompting Jefferson (Seth Meyers) to come out and accuse him of throwing him "under the carriage."
After some playful banter, the two founding fathers looked solemnly into the camera, music playing. "In the end, Michael, we don't need statues to commemorate us," said Fallon. Meyers' Jefferson concurred: "Our legacy is the country that we risked our lives to create." "That is why this great nation has given us an honor greater than any statue," Fallon said: "a three-day weekend in February during which all Americans get 50 percent off all mattresses."
For a more serious discussion, CBS News political director John Dickerson gave Colbert his historical opinion in the last minute of his Late Show interview. Watch below. Peter Weber
On Thursday, the Cleveland Clinic, the American Cancer Society, and the American Friends of Magen David Adom — a charity that raises money for Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross — all canceled major charity events at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. The American Cancer Society, which has held galas at the club since at least 2009, cited its "values and commitment to diversity," The Washington Post reports, while the Cleveland Clinic told the Post "there were a variety of factors" behind its decision, adding, "We're not elaborating." Similarly, AFMDA said it canceled its 2018 charity ball — one of the biggest events at Mar-a-Lago last season — "after careful deliberation."
These cancelations, after Trump appeared to defend white supremacists, will certainly affect Mar-a-Lago's bottom line, the Post reports, noting that similar events brought in fees ranging from $100,000 to $275,000 apiece. The executive director of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, Laurel Baker, said she "can't help but think there will be more fallout" for Trump's "morally reprehensible" club, which is a member of her organization. "The glitter, the shine has gone from the club," she said, adding: "The club is a member of the chamber. But right is right." There are still 13 big-ticket galas scheduled for Mar-a-Lago, notes the Post's David Fahrenthold, but at least seven major charities that typically hold events at Mar-a-Lago decided in recent months to look elsewhere, avoiding the need to cancel their galas. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert shakes his head at Trump's fake-history tweets, self-destructive refusal to be tamed
Stephen Colbert started Thursday's Late Show on a serious note, recounting how at least 13 people were killed when a terrorist drove a van into a crowd of people in Barcelona. "This is a heartbreaking reminder that evil is real and that the United States is not alone in fighting it," he said. And Thursday afternoon, "President Trump said the right thing" — at least at first.
"I was sincerely happy to see that kind of moral leadership from our president — for about 45 minutes," Colbert said, using his Trump-tweet voice to read the president's follow-up tweet about Gen. John Pershing's fictitious pig's-blood executions. He played Trump's recounting of the fake but gruesome tale, suggested his bed-time stories must have been terrifying to the Trump kids, imagined some other made-up history lessons Trump might tell, then read a real Pershing quote that, for some reason, Trump doesn't bring up.
Historical accuracy isn't Trump's only problem, Colbert said. So is discipline. He's doubling down on his defense of white supremacists because, according to one adviser, Trump would rather have people call him racist that say he backed down. "Oh, then let me help: you're a racist," Colbert said, courteously. "Naturally, people are asking what happened to that new chief of staff that was going to keep him in line," he said, but "some people think it's already over for John Kelly."
Colbert was incredulous, noting that the current issue of TIME, dated Aug. 21, calls Kelly Trump's last hope. "Kelly's time ended before it began," he said with mock solemnity. "He's some sort of time traveler. Now he just needs to get back into his DeLorean and go back to a happier time for him, like when he was fighting in Iraq." To memorialize Kelly's brief (but ongoing in real life) tenure, The Late Show showed a pretty remarkable, tongue-in-cheek recap of "General Kelly: 17 Days of Discipline." Watch below. Peter Weber
Statue of Roger Taney, the Supreme Court justice behind Dred Scott, is being removed from Maryland State House grounds
Early Friday morning, crews began to work on removing a statue of Roger B. Taney, the former Supreme Court justice who wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery and ruled that any person with African descent could not be a citizen, from the grounds of the Maryland State House.
Any change to the building or grounds must be approved by the State House Trust, and the four-member panel voted to remove the statue on Wednesday, with three in favor and one, state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D), not voting. He wrote in an email that Taney used "inflammatory and derogatory language" in the Dred Scott case, but said Taney "served with distinction" when he was a Maryland state attorney general and U.S. attorney general and did remain loyal to the Union, The Baltimore Sun reports. Miller also said there is "balance" because on the opposite side of the state house grounds stands a statue of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice.
The plan is to remove the statue from the base, cover the base in plywood, then store the statue for the Maryland State Archives, The Baltimore Sun reports. The statue was installed in 1872, and while there was increased pressure to remove it following the events in Charlottesville over the weekend, the statue has been controversial for several years. Catherine Garcia
Tina Fey has a simple plan for countering the coming 'alt-right' rallies. It's more gluttony that glory.
Former Saturday Night Live head writer, "Weekend Update" anchor, and University of Virginia alumna Tina Fey has some thoughts about last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, President Trump's response to it, and what to do next. After Trump blamed "many sides" for the violence and death of a counterprotester at a white supremacist march, "I'm feeling sick, because, you know, I've seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I wasn't confused by it," Fey told current "Weekend Update" anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che on Thursday night. "No, Colin, Nazis are always bad, I don't care what you say."
But this isn't over, she said, as Jost protested, because there are nine more alt-right rallies planned for Saturday, including one in New York City's Washington Square Park. "And part of me hopes these neo-Nazis do try it in New York City — like, I hope they try it and get the ham salad kicked out of them by a bunch of drag queens," Fey said. "But at the same time, I don't want any more good people to get hurt." So instead of going to protest the neo-Nazis and fight and shout this out, she said, non-Nazi sympathizers should support a local business — specifically a bakery that sells American flag cakes. "Sheetcaking is a grassroots movement, Colin," Fey said. "Most of the women I know have been doing it once a week since the election."
"Sheetcaking" isn't staying silent, exactly — you just yell what you want to say to the white supremacists (and Ann Coulter) into the cake while you are shoving forkfuls of cake into your mouth. Fey demonstrated how that's done, including the speaking-your- mind part. "In conclusion, I really want to say, to encourage all good, sane Americans to treat these rallies this weekend like the opening of a thoughtful movie with two female leads: don't show up," she said. "Let these morons scream into the empty air." You may not feel much better about the state of the country after watching this, but you might feel a little peckish. Peter Weber
Adm. William F. Moran, vice chief of naval operations, told reporters Thursday that about a dozen sailors who were aboard the USS Fitzgerald when it collided with a container ship June 17 off the coast of Japan, killing seven crew members, will face disciplinary action, including the top two officers and top enlisted sailor.
Moran said most of the punishments will be delivered Friday, and the ship's captain at the time, Cmdr. Bryce Benson; his second-in-command, Cmdr. Sean Babbitt; and senior enlisted sailor for the ship, Command Master Chief Brice A. Baldwin, will be permanently removed as leaders of the ship. He also said the sailors who were on watch in the Fitzgerald's bridge "at some point…lost situational awareness," and are among those facing discipline. The investigation into whether the Fitzgerald crew is solely responsible for the crash is ongoing.
Moran said investigators are still trying to determine exactly what took place right before the collision, when the container ship ripped a huge hole into the smaller Fitzgerald early in the morning. Most of the sailors were asleep when the accident occurred, and a majority of those who died were sleeping closest to where the water came rushing in, The Washington Post reports. Survivors said they had to try to escape as items like mattresses and lockers floated by in the water, and several sailors, trying to keep the ship from sinking, were forced to seal a door with other sailors still inside. Catherine Garcia
Police in Spain say they stopped a major terrorist attack in the coastal city of Cambrils early Friday morning when they killed five suspects who were wearing explosive belts.
The van the suspects were in did drive into a group, police said, wounding seven people, but the vehicle flipped over and when several men jumped out, police fired on them. Their explosive belts were later safely detonated by authorities. This came hours after a van drove into a crowd in Barcelona's Las Ramblas district, killing 13 people and injuring more than 100; the van's driver escaped and is on the run.
Authorities are linking Cambrils and Barcelona to an explosion at a house in Alcanar on Wednesday, which killed one person; police said it appears that people inside the house were "preparing an explosive device," the BBC reports. Catherine Garcia