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February 12, 2018
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Update 12:10 p.m. ET: The White House has released its budget proposal, which you can read via The Hill here, and its infrastructure plan, which you can read here. Our original post appears below.

On Monday, the White House is releasing its 2019 budget proposal and a $200 billion infrastructure plan, both of which will face long odds of being enacted. The budget proposal will seek to shrink the 10-year federal deficit by $3 trillion, from more than $10 trillion currently estimated, but will not even pretend to eliminate it — abandoning what The Washington Post drily calls "a North Star for the Republican Party for several decades." Republicans in Congress passed a tax plan in December that will add at least $1 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, and lawmakers in both parties approved spending measures last week that will cost about $500 billion over the next two years.

The infrastructure plan proposes to leverage $200 billion in federal spending into $1.5 trillion worth of infrastructure projects, either by asking state and local governments to match the funds by as much as a 4-to-1 ratio, or encouraging $6.50 in private investment for every dollar of federal spending. Many infrastructure experts consider the proposed private-public ratio "to be largely out of reach," The New York Times notes.

"Readers should file both documents under the genre of 'science fiction,'" Axios suggests. "The budget is dead on arrival because presidential budgets are always dead on arrival, and the infrastructure plan appears to be dead on arrival because of a larger crisis facing the party." Peter Weber

8:17 a.m. ET
PBS Television/Courtesy of Getty Images

Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the PBS show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and PBS and the U.S. are gearing up to celebrate the legacy of Fred Rogers, its creator and star. Next week, PBS will pair thematically similar episodes of Mister Rogers and its 2012 spinoff, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, and on March 6, PBS will broadcast the star-filled retrospective Mister Rogers: It's You I Like. A Fred Rogers biopic starring Tom Hanks is in the works, and the documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? is coming to theaters after its well-received debut at Sundance. The U.S. Postal Service is rolling out a Forever stamp featuring Rogers and his puppet King Friday XIII on March 23.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood debuted on Feb. 19, 1968, and officially ended its 31-year run (it was on hiatus from 1976 to 1979) on Aug. 31, 2001. Rogers died of stomach cancer at age 74 in 2003. "Mister Rogers is producing these programs bookended between the beginning of 1968 ... and just before the Sept. 11 attacks," says Robert Thompson at Syracuse University. "He took American childhood — and I think Americans in general — through some very turbulent and trying times." One Rogers quote in particular continues to make the rounds on social media after school shootings and other tragedies: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

"He's more relevant than ever right now," says Amy Franzini at Pennsylvania's Widener University. "He's a dependable figure we can fall back on that makes us feel safe. ... He's the good in the world." "This is the year of Fred," said David Newell, who played the "speedy deliver" post man Mr. McFeely. "The program has really resonated — it's very rewarding. People in their 50s now are the first generation that watched the Neighborhood, and it goes all the way down to teens." Peter Weber

7:12 a.m. ET

Last Week Tonight returned from its winter hiatus on Sunday night, and John Oliver's main topic was President Trump — again. "But tonight we'd like to do it from a slightly different angle," he said, "and that is focusing on his relationship with the world." It isn't good. Oliver did a brief survey of Trump insulting other countries, from his "shithole" slur on Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador, to his revealing excuse for retweeting anti-Islam videos from a British fringe group.

"That is exactly his attitude: If it wasn't big where I could see it, then it wasn't big," Oliver said. "So forget foreign affairs — Trump may not have mastered object permanence, which you really need to be a president, or even a good f---ing baby." But "the world continues to exist whether Trump acknowledges it or not," he said, focusing on a few "basic questions": "What is Donald Trump's foreign policy," "how is his approach to the world going," and "what are the consequences"? The short answers are "America First," horribly, and America is losing to China.

Oliver spent some time on Trump's promise that the world would stop laughing at America if he were elected. "If anything, the world is laughing harder than ever before," he said, showing Trump impersonators and world leaders making fun of Trump around the world. Still, there's nothing funny about the leadership vacuum America has left in the world.

"It seems like America's reputation overseas is under attack from its own president — which is just ridiculous," Oliver said. "Soft power is an act of salesmanship, it's selling your brand — it is the one thing that Trump is supposed to be good at, and he's f---ing blowing it. So as an immigrant who has fallen in love with this country, for what it's worth, please allow me to speak to the rest of the world in America's defense for a moment." There is some NSFW language throughout. Peter Weber

February 18, 2018

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Sunday urged Congress and President Trump to take action on gun control in the wake of Wednesday's deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school.

"Of course the president can lead on this and should lead on this, and Mr. President, I ask you to do this," Kasich said on CNN's State of the Union. "You don't have to boil the ocean, but take some steps now," he continued. "I believe those who are Second Amendment advocates realize that common-sense, real reforms can happen in this country to answer the cries and the anguish of people all across this country who have lost loved ones."

Kasich specifically recommended more extensive background checks as well as "local law enforcement or the FBI" monitoring those believed to suffer from mental illness or emotional distress. Watch an excerpt of his CNN interview below. Bonnie Kristian

February 18, 2018

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on Wednesday, on Sunday announced "March for Our Lives," a demonstration for new gun control legislation scheduled for Saturday, March 24, in Washington, D.C., and cities around the country.

"People are saying that it's not time to talk about gun control. And we can respect that," said Cameron Kasky, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas junior who explained the event on ABC's This Week. "Here's a time: March 24 in every single city. We are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives," Kasky continued. "At this point, you're either with us or against us."

Kasky and four fellow Stoneman Douglas students — Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Alex Wind, and Jaclyn Corin — made a similar appearance on Fox News Sunday. Watch a clip of that interview below. Bonnie Kristian

February 18, 2018

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Sunday offered a qualified defense of President Trump's claim that he has been vindicated by the evidence revealed in federal investigations of Russian election meddling.

Friday's indictment of Russian nationals and entities by Special Counsel Robert Mueller "proves there’s no collusion to this point," Christie said on ABC's This Week. "There's no collusion in terms of the Facebook ads, the other social media activity."

"Director Mueller made it very clear in the indictment that any participation by anybody — whether it was in the Trump campaign or the [Bernie] Sanders campaign, which they said was also being assisted by this effort by Russia — that all of that was done unwittingly," Christie continued. "No one participated in a knowing fashion. Now, we have to see where [Mueller] goes next, but certainly at this point, there is no allegation by Director Mueller and his team of collusion."

Watch a clip of Christie's comments below, or read his full interview here. Bonnie Kristian

February 18, 2018

President Trump posted a pair of tweets Sunday morning aimed at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), whom he dubbed "Liddle' [sic] Adam Schiff, the leakin' monster of no control." The president was pleased with Schiff's Friday statement that Russian meddling in U.S. politics should have been addressed sooner and more forcefully by the Obama administration. However, he also suggested Schiff's true motive was excusing Hillary Clinton's election loss.

Later Sunday, on CNN's State of the Union, Schiff hit back. Friday's indictment of Russian nationals "ought to put to rest for anyone, including the president who continues to call this a 'witch hunt,' that the evidence is now overwhelming and unequivocal and we need to move to protect ourselves from Russian interference in elections that are coming up," Schiff said.

Asked whether he concurs with Trump's frequent claim that his campaign has been proven innocent of collusion with Russian election meddling, Schiff disagreed. "No, of course not," he said. "This is a president who claims vindication anytime someone sneezes."

Watch an excerpt of the interview below. Bonnie Kristian

February 18, 2018
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An Iranian passenger plane heading to Tehran crashed Sunday morning in a mountainous rural region. All 66 people on board, 60 passengers and six crew members, are presumed, though not confirmed, to be dead. Retrieval efforts have been hindered by the crash site's remote location and bad weather.

Iran has a poor record on aviation safety because international sanctions intended to restrain its nuclear development make it difficult to obtain parts to keep planes in good condition. This plane, operated by Aseman Airlines, was 25 years old. The airline signed a contract with Boeing last year to purchase a new fleet of as many as 60 planes, but that agreement could be jeopardized if the Trump administration seeks to exit the Iran nuclear deal. Bonnie Kristian

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