June 3, 2020

"For a week, America's streets have been filled with protesters enraged over the murder of George Floyd by police," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, and Monday evening President Trump "finally appeared in the Rose Garden to calm a troubled nation — by threatening martial law." Responding to protests about police brutality by "threatening to send in the Army to crush them," he said, is "like forgetting your child's birthday and apologizing by sending in the Army to crush them."

Trump wanted to end his speech with a stroll to St. John's Church, Colbert said, but "there was a crowd of peaceful protesters in the way. So he had military police open fire with rubber bullets, flash grenades, and tear gas," and "once the path was cleared for Caesar's brave shamble, Trump made his way across the street to the boarded-up church, where he, with visible confusion and discomfort, groped a Bible" for the cameras.

Tooning Out the News had God deal with Trump's photo op.

Trump has always been "an armchair thug who glorifies violence," but his Rose Garden speech and its aftermath "was one of the most menacing moments" of his presidency, Late Night's Seth Meyers said. We're at the "worst-case scenario where our democracy crumbles and our country descends into authoritarianism," he added. "There's no on-off switch. Democracy, it turns out, is on a dimmer."

Yes, "our president, if we can still even call him that, seems to believe he is the warden overseeing a prison break," Jimmy Kimmel said. "This is a week that any other president would have gone on TV and at least tried to bring us together," but Trump "can't even go through the motions."

"Mr. Tough Guy was whisked into a panic bunker on Friday as crowds assembled outside the White House — it took three-and-a-half years, he finally got that massive crowd to show up for him in D.C.," Kimmel joked wryly. "And the reports that he was holed up and hiding must have really gotten under that orange skin," because he had Attorney General William Barr gas protesters so he could go outside and hold "a Bible upside-down in front of a church." He ended by trying to explain white privilege for people who, like him, were skeptical: "White privilege doesn't mean your life hasn't been hard, it just means the color of your skin isn't one of the things that makes it harder." Watch below. Peter Weber

12:11 a.m.

For people who believe trying to contain COVID-19 is too hard, or not worth the socioeconomic tradeoffs, or too uncomfortable, letting the new coronavirus spread freely throughout the population to achieve herd immunity — the point where the virus has saturated a community enough that it is effectively contained — without waiting for a vaccine might sound like a tempting, viable alternative to masks, social distancing, and more stringent measures.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) disagrees, and he explained why with some back-of-the-envelope math in a Twitter thread Monday evening.

In Mississippi, 40 percent of the population would equal 1.2 million people getting infected, versus the 36,680 cases that have already left the state's hospitals "stressed to the point of pain," Reeves wrote. To put it another way, Mississippi would need at least 3,187 new COVID-19 cases every day for a year, triple the state's worst days of this pandemic.

And even if you were willing to stomach 1.2 million to 2.4 million Mississippi residents getting infected with the virus, a study from King's College in London released Monday suggested people may lose their COVID-19 immunity within months, making herd immunity mute. Peter Weber

July 13, 2020

The Atlanta Braves on Monday said the organization's 108-year-old name "honors, respects, and values the Native American community," and there are no plans to come up with a new one.

On Monday, the Washington Redskins announced their name and logo will be retired, as the moniker is considered a slur against Native Americans. The Braves do not believe their name is insensitive, with the organization saying discussions have been held with Native American and tribal leaders, and a change is "not under consideration or deemed necessary. We have great respect and reverence for our name and the Native American communities that have held meaningful relationships with us do as well. We will always be the Atlanta Braves."

The team does have an advisory board that is taking a closer look at the "Tomahawk Chop" motion, which was popularized when Deion Sanders joined the Braves in 1991. Critics consider this gesture to be a racist caricature targeting Native Americans, and the Braves said this is "one of the many issues we are working through," with the organization "continuing to listen to the Native American community, as well as our fans, players, and alumni to ensure we are making an informed decision on this part of our fan experience." Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday lamented the way Blake Neff, the former head writer for his show, is being treated, after years of racist, sexist, and homophobic comments he posted online came to light.

Neff resigned on Friday, after Fox News learned about the messages he posted pseudonymously on the forum AutoAdmit. In a memo sent to Fox News staff on Saturday, network leaders called Neff's online conduct "abhorrent" and his remarks about Blacks, Asian-Americans, and women "horrendous and deeply offensive." Neff, who was hired at Fox News in 2017, recently told Dartmouth's alumni magazine that when Carlson reads off the teleprompter, "the first draft was written by me."

Fox News said Carlson would discuss Neff's actions during his Monday show, and near the end of Tucker Carlson Tonight, he said what his former staffer wrote "anonymously was wrong. We don't endorse those words, they have no connection to the show." However, there are "ghouls that are beating their chest in triumph at the destruction of a young man," he said, and "self-righteousness also has its costs."

Carlson continued to deflect, telling his audience: "We are all human, when we pretend we are holy, we are lying. When we pose as blameless in order to hurt other people, we are committing the gravest sin of all and we will be punished for it. No question." On his show, people are judged for "what they do, not for how they were born," he added, and "Blake fell short of that standard and he has paid a very heavy price for it."


Carlson also shared that he plans on taking the next four nights off, going trout fishing during a "pre-planned vacation." Last August, Carlson hastily took a few days off after saying white supremacy was a "conspiracy theory" and "not a real problem" in the United States. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

A federal judge on Monday struck down Georgia's six-week abortion ban, calling it unconstitutional.

House Bill 481, passed by the state's General Assembly last spring and signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R), would have banned most abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected, which can be as early as six weeks. After a lawsuit was filed, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones in October temporarily blocked the law from going into effect, and he made it permanent on Monday.

"It is in the public interest, and is this court's duty, to ensure constitutional rights are protected," Jones wrote. In response, Kemp said the state will "appeal the court's decision. Georgia values life and we will keep fighting for the rights of the unborn."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia was among the organizations that filed the lawsuit, and its legal director, Sean Young, said in a statement that the ban "violates over 50 years of Supreme Court precedent and fails to trust women to make their own personal decisions. This case has always been about one thing: letting her decide." Under current law, abortions are allowed in Georgia during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

A New York Supreme Court judge on Monday lifted a temporary restraining order on Mary Trump, President Trump's niece, giving her the green light to publicize her upcoming tell-all, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man.

The president's younger brother, Robert Trump, tried to block the book by saying Mary Trump was violating a nondisclosure agreement she signed in 2001, after her grandfather's estate was settled. When the temporary restraining order was granted, it prevented Mary Trump from being able to promote Too Much and Never Enough. The book, already No. 1 on Amazon, will be released on Tuesday.

Mary Trump's publisher, Simon & Schuster, said it was "delighted" by the decision, and her attorney, Ted Boutrous, said the court "got it right in rejecting the Trump family's effort to squelch Mary Trump's core political speech on important issues of public concern." Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

American Airlines on Monday said it contacted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) after a photo of him not wearing a mask on a Sunday morning flight went viral, and affirmed with him "the importance" of the company's face covering policy.

Hosseh Enad, a marketing associate for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, tweeted a picture on Sunday night showing a maskless Cruz sitting in his seat, his cellphone in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Enad also tweeted a photo he said was of Cruz sitting outside the gate, not wearing a mask.

Since May 12, American Airlines has required that customers wear face masks while on board. In a statement to Reuters, the company said it expects passengers "to comply with our policies when they choose to travel with us." While the mask policy "does not apply while eating or drinking," the airline said, after reviewing the photo it still "reached out to Sen. Cruz to affirm the importance of this policy as part of our commitment to protecting the health and safety of the traveling public."

The Washington Post asked Cruz's office for comment, and representatives have yet to respond. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

A new study finds that due to job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, an estimated 5.4 million Americans had their health insurance dropped between February and May.

The analysis was conducted by Families U.S.A., a nonpartisan consumer advocacy group, and will be released on Tuesday. During the recession of 2008 and 2009, 3.9 million adults lost their health insurance, and study author Stan Dorn told The New York Times he knew the current numbers "would be big. This is the worst economic downturn since World War II. It dwarfs the Great Recession. So it's not surprising that we would see the worst increase in the uninsured."

The study looked at laid-off adults younger than 65, when Americans become eligible for Medicare, and found that people in California, Texas, Florida, New York, and North Carolina accounted for 46 percent of coverage losses from the pandemic. In 13 states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, 43 percent of laid-off workers became uninsured, nearly double the amount in the 37 states that did expand Medicaid. Catherine Garcia

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