While she won't have an official position in her father's administration or take a salary, Ivanka Trump will be getting an office in the West Wing in order to better serve as President Trump's "eyes and ears," her attorney said Monday.
"Having an adult child of the president who is actively engaged in the work of the administration is new ground," the attorney, Jamie Gorelick, told Politico on Monday. "Our view is that the conservative approach is for Ivanka to voluntarily comply with the rules that would apply if she were a government employee, even though she is not." Ivanka Trump is in the process of obtaining a security clearance, and will also receive communications devices issued by the government. In a statement, Trump's eldest daughter said she will "continue to offer my father my candid advice and counsel, as I have for my entire life. While there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the president, I will voluntarily follow all of the ethics rules placed on government employees."
Trump has her own fashion and jewelry line, and Gorelick said that while she will distance herself from day-to-day operations, it's impossible for Trump to shut down the business because of outstanding contracts with third-party venues. She also can't sell it, Gorelick said, because that would give other people the right to license her name. While Trump has divested her common stock, tech investments, and investment funds, her attorney said Trump does have "conflicts that derive from the ownership of this brand. We're trying to minimize those to the extent possible." Catherine Garcia
President Trump's proposal to slash taxes for businesses and families could cost the nation $5.5 trillion, the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget revealed Wednesday. Trump's tax proposal, which he unveiled Wednesday, includes plans to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent and to whittle the seven existing tax brackets down to three rates of 10, 25, and 35 percent.
While Trump may bill his plan as family-friendly, the CRFB noted in its fiscal tax check that it could "drive up the federal debt, harming economic growth instead of boosting it" if "adequate offsets" aren't put in place. "With interest costs, a $5.5 trillion tax plan would be enough to increase debt to 111 percent of Gross Domestic Product (compared to 89 percent of GDP in CBO's baseline) by 2027," the CRFB wrote. "That would be higher than any time in U.S. history, and no achievable amount of economic growth could finance it."
Researchers may have been off by nearly 115,000 years when they estimated that humans arrived in North America about 15,000 years ago. The potential miscalculation was uncovered by a collection of mastodon bones, which were discovered during construction work on a California freeway in 1992. After toiling for years to date the bones, researchers announced this week in a paper published in the scientific journal Nature that they'd determined the remains of the adult male mastodon to be about 130,000 years old — and to contain signs of human activity.
The finding is likely to be controversial. Already, Smithsonian Magazine noted, the question of when humans arrived in North America is "a flashpoint among archaeologists." There is no other evidence to indicate humans arrived tens of thousands of years earlier than has been suggested, but paleontologist Thomas Deméré, one of the study's authors, said they have the evidence to back up the claim. "I realize that 130,000 years is a really old date," Deméré said. "Of course, extraordinary claims like this require extraordinary evidence."
The mastodon bones that were uncovered bear "impact marks suggesting that they had been smacked with a hard object," Smithsonian Magazine reported. Researchers also discovered five massive stones at the site, which they believe humans may have used as hammers or anvils. The stones "showed signs of impact," Smithsonian Magazine said, and the bones were found piled up right around these stones.
"[W]e can eliminate all of the natural processes that break bones like this," said Steven Holen, another study co-author. "These bones were not broken by carnivore-chewing, they were not broken by other animals trampling on the bone." Becca Stanek
It seems tennis star Serena Williams' accuracy is better on the court than on Snapchat. A week after surprising the world with the news that she's pregnant, Williams admitted during an interview Tuesday at the 2017 Ted Talks Conference that she didn't actually mean to send out that selfie of her growing baby bump. The photo of a swimsuit-clad Williams, with the simple caption "20 weeks," almost immediately made headlines.
"I was on vacation just taking some time for myself and I have this thing where I've been checking my status and taking pictures every week to see how far along I'm going," Williams said. She said she hadn't told "a lot of people to be quite honest" because she was "saving" the news.
"You know how social media is, you press the wrong button and ... ," Williams said. When she checked her phone 30 minutes later, she was surprised to see several missed calls. "But it was a good moment," she said. "I was going to wait, literally, just five or six more days [to share the announcement]."
Williams said she found out she was pregnant just two days before the Australian Open, where she bested sister Venus Williams to claim her 23rd Grand Slam singles title.
Watch Williams get candid about her pregnancy reveal below. Becca Stanek
After a long back-and-forth with the University of California, Berkeley, over her slated April 27 speech, conservative commentator Ann Coulter gave her final answer on Wednesday, a day before she was originally scheduled to speak. "There will be no speech," Coulter wrote in an email to Reuters.
The hubbub over Coulter's speech started last week, when Berkeley announced it was cancelling the event because of security concerns amid threats of protest. The school had been forced in February to cancel alt-right media figure Milo Yiannopoulos' appearance after violent protests erupted hours before it was scheduled to begin. Despite the uncertainty, Coulter had maintained that, nevertheless, she would persist and give her critical speech about pro-immigration policies.
Coulter's insistence that she would go ahead and speak prompted Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to reconsider. The school later re-invited Coulter to speak, though at a more "appropriate, protectable venue" and on a later date.
But Coulter put the kibosh on giving a Berkeley speech at all Wednesday, which she declared a "sad day for free speech." Coulter credited her decision to the fact that Young America's Foundation, one of two groups helping Coulter in her legal battle to speak at Berkeley, had decided to step down due to concerns about risking "the safety of its staff or students."
"I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team," Coulter told Reuters. She also noted to The New York Times that it seemed as though "everyone who should believe in free speech fought against it or ran away." Becca Stanek
President Trump unveiled a broad tax proposal Wednesday, including a sharp cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. For individuals, the administration proposed reducing the seven tax brackets to three, at 10, 25, and 35 percent. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the proposal is the "biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country."
Here's the tax reform fact sheet being handed out at the press briefing pic.twitter.com/YfnyisMC5f
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) April 26, 2017
"We are going to double the standard deduction, so a married couple will not pay any taxes on the first $24,000 they earn," chief economic advisor Gary Cohn added. The proposal would additionally repeal the estate tax, or so-called "death tax," as well as "the catch-all alternative minimum tax, and the 3.8 percent tax on investment income from President Barack Obama's health-care law," The Associated Press reports. While Republicans had wanted a border adjustment tax on imports, it was not included in the White House's plan.
The White House reportedly hopes some of its family-friendly provisions, such as adjustments that help with child-care costs, will give Democrats a strong incentive to negotiate a deal, but Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has argued that "Trump's latest proposal is another gift to corporations and billionaires like himself." Jeva Lange
In virtually every state across the U.S., Blockbuster Video has become a relic of the past, from a time way back when it was necessary to physically go to a store to rent a movie rather than cueing one up with the click of the button. Alaska is the exception.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that while most Blockbuster stores have shut down after a period of ubiquity in the 1990s ended in a declaration of bankruptcy, there are still at least 10 Blockbusters left in existence. Most of those are in Alaska.
The Alaska stores there aren't just surviving — they're thriving, Blockbuster licensee-owner Alan Payne told The Washington Post:
[A] great deal of the business' endurance has come from the core customer base in Alaska, primarily made up of older people. Alaska ranks high in disposable income among the states, due to good-paying jobs, exceptionally low taxes, and payments from reinvested oil savings. Moreover, Internet service is substantially more expensive than in most states, since most data packages are not unlimited. Heavy Netflix streamers could end up paying hundreds of dollars per month in Internet bills, Payne said. [The Washington Post]
Alaska's weather also makes it the prime place for binge-watching. The Washington Post noted the "most profitable Blockbuster store" in existence is in Fairbanks, where "temperatures can reach 50 below zero."
Payne plans to keep his eight Blockbuster stores (seven of which are in Alaska, with the eighth in Texas) in existence for as long as his employees are willing to stick around. He argued there's a certain magic that's lost when picking out a movie on Netflix. "When you go in the store, walk down the aisle, you're going to see all kinds of things you never thought of," he said.
The House Freedom Caucus announced Wednesday that it is onboard with the latest version of the GOP's American Health Care Act. The convincing factor for the far-right Republican faction, which opposed President Trump's first pass at repealing and replacing ObamaCare, was a new amendment negotiated by centrist Tuesday Group co-chairman Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.).
The MacArthur Amendment enables states to waive the requirements to cover ObamaCare's essential health benefits and to not charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions. The amendment was intended as an olive branch of sorts to the Freedom Caucus, which was dissatisfied with what it saw as a moderate first stab at health-care reform.
Freedom Caucus members argued the first iteration of the bill, which they deemed "ObamaCare lite," didn't go far enough to undo former President Barack Obama's signature health-care bill. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) pulled the GOP's bill when it became clear it did not have enough Republican votes to pass. Becca Stanek