The federal government appears headed for its first shutdown since 2013, but if you had plans to visit a national park or monument next week, you may not be out of luck. The Trump administration is still trying to figure out which federal employees would be furloughed and which would stay on the job during a shutdown, but Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is working to keep national parks open even if park employees are sent home, The Washington Post reports. The goal: "to minimize anger over the disruption of services."
The idea of keeping national parks and monuments open was reportedly pushed by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, who told Fox Business this week that a shutdown "would look very different under a Republican administration than it would under a Democrat." In the last two shutdowns, Republicans controlled at least one house of Congress and a Democrat was in the White House, and Republicans shouldered most of the blame for ruining vacations. This time, "there is no desire to weaponize closing of public parks or monuments for partisan, political reasons," said John Czwartacki, a spokesman for Mulvaney's office.
How to keep the parks open is still being worked out, and there are risks involved with allowing unsupervised tourists to wander around federal lands. But politics aside, this seems like a nice gesture. After all, if Trump isn't changing his vacation plans for a government shutdown, why should you? Peter Weber
Mark and Christina Rotondo have a great "worst roommate ever" story to share, except they might want to leave out the part about having raised him.
The Rotondos live in Camillus, New York, and say that they tried for months to get their 30-year-old son, Michael, to move out. They sent him five notes, CBS News reports, with the first one, dated Feb. 2, stern, ordering Michael to "leave this house immediately. You have 14 days to vacate. You will be allowed to return." On Feb. 13, they busted out the legalese: "You are hereby evicted. You have heretofore been our guest and there is no lease or agreement that gives you any right to stay here without our consent."
When that didn't work, the Rotondos turned to bribery, telling Michael that if he left, they would give him $1,100, and his mother would help him find employment. "There are jobs available even for those with a poor work history like you," the note said. "Get one — you have to work!" He still refused to leave, and the Rotondos took him to state supreme court, and on Tuesday, a judge ordered Michael out. He maintains that his parents did not give him enough time to leave, and called the decision "outrageous." To be a fly on the wall at their next family gathering... Catherine Garcia
The House voted Tuesday 258-159 to roll back rules for midsize and regional banks put in place after the 2008 financial crisis to prevent a repeat of that catastrophe.
The bill, already passed by the Senate, allows banks with up to $250 billion in assets to avoid supervision from the Fed and stress tests. Under Dodd-Frank, banks with at least $50 billion in assets had to abide by tougher financial rules. Republican lawmakers say easing the regulations will make it easier for small banks and credit unions to lend more money to people, but some Democrats have warned this bill does assist larger banks, and several of those failed during the financial crisis.
The bill does not affect the biggest banks, like Bank of America and Wells Fargo. President Trump could sign the bill as early as this week. Catherine Garcia
One of Michael Cohen's business partners, Evgeny Freidman, is cooperating with federal prosecutors who are probing Cohen's business dealings, The New York Times reports.
Freidman on Tuesday pleaded guilty to tax evasion, but has reportedly agreed to be a witness to avoid jail time. Investigators are looking into Cohen, President Trump's longtime fixer and lawyer, as part of the larger probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Freidman's plea deal could be used to pressure Cohen into cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Times reports.
Cohen and Freidman were longtime partners in the taxi business; Freidman even earned the nickname "Taxi King" for managing so many cabs and taxi medallions. He was facing up to 25 years in prison for multiple charges of tax fraud, but will instead receive five years of probation if he fulfills his promise to help federal agents. Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza
The number of Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender has risen once again. Last year, 4.5 percent of adults surveyed by Gallup said they identified as LGBT, up from 4.1 percent in 2016 and 3.5 percent in 2012. That translates to more than 11 million Americans.
The survey found that the increase has been happening most rapidly among millennials, while the share of LGBT individuals in older generations has remained nearly steady. While 8.1 percent of millennials identified as LGBT last year, just 2.4 percent of baby boomers did. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of LGBT millennials went up by nearly a full percentage point, the biggest increase ever tracked by Gallup.
More women identify as LGBT than men, with 5.1 percent of women and 3.9 percent of men self-identifying as such. The survey also found larger upticks among Hispanic respondents, while white respondents were least likely to identify as LGBT.
President Trump paused to reflect on his fond travel memories while discussing the relationship between the U.S. and China on Tuesday.
During a press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump said he was "a little disappointed" because there was a "change in attitude" after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un secretly met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in March. "I don't like that," said Trump. Even though North Korea has walked back its promise to discuss denuclearization during an upcoming summit between Trump and Kim, Trump didn't blame China.
"I have a great relationship with President Xi, he's a friend of mine, he likes me, I like him," said Trump. "I mean, that was two of the great days of my life being in China, I don't think anybody's ever been treated better in China ever in their history."
Trump's apparently amazing trip to China was "an incredible thing to witness and see," but despite his great relationship with "world-class poker player" Xi, there is not yet a deal around Chinese company ZTE. The U.S. banned American businesses from selling to ZTE after the company violated trade sanctions, but Trump last week tweeted that he would help restore lost jobs in China. "We will see what happens," said Trump about ZTE negotiations with Xi. "We're discussing various deals."
Watch Trump's comments below. Summer Meza
Time … it's like a flat circle, you know, man?
Or, if you're the glorified-bracelet company Nunc, time is more like a really expensive Italian marble stone shaped like a blank watch face. As the Swedish company explained to one understandably confused Facebook user who made the mistake of pointing out that a watch that doesn't work is just a bracelet, "Nunc is more than a product, it represents a philosophy and a way of life. And for some time we struggled: Should we call it a watch or a timepiece? It clearly doesn't tell the time."
please stop pic.twitter.com/3Vl6IoBtkW
— charmkvark (@charmkvark) May 21, 2018
No, it clearly doesn't, but for 160 euro (about $188), it will aggressively remind you that "time is now, and we should make the most of it" by otherwise being totally unhelpful and impractical:
The whole thing seems almost a little too millennial to be true; there is even a "literature & philosophy" page that discusses sophomore-year-of-college philosophy topics like "carpe diem" and "moment mori," and a "spirituality" page that is "coming soon." Go on your own "deep personal journey" to "find meaning and purpose" on Nunc's website here. Jeva Lange
Trump has long bemoaned American leaders getting outfoxed by China. Today he admitted he got outfoxed.
When Donald Trump announced he was running for president in 2015, he made a big point about how much smarter China's leaders are than America's presidents. Almost three years later and in the White House, Trump might finally be admitting he underestimated President Xi Jinping, HuffPost's Igor Babic observed Tuesday.
Trump's remarks came during a press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. "I think that President Xi is a world-class poker player," Trump told the press, adding that the North Koreans had "a somewhat different attitude" during negotiations with the U.S. after they met with the Chinese leader. Trump, who admitted that his summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un might be derailed, said of Xi's meeting with North Korea: "I can't say that I'm happy about it."
Trump suggests Kim Jong Un’s attitude changed after meeting “poker player” Xi Jinping in China, but adds "maybe nothing happened, I'm not blaming anybody" https://t.co/d5790VapTW
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 22, 2018
Compare that with Trump's tone in 2015: "[China's] leaders are much smarter than our leaders, and we can't sustain ourself with that," he said. "There's too much — it's like — it's like take the New England Patriots and Tom Brady and have them play your high school football team. That's the difference between China's leaders and our leaders." Watch below. Jeva Lange