Fightin' words
September 18, 2018

"You can see I'm a little upset by this, the unfairness of it," Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) told reporters Tuesday in a massive understatement.

Hirono was part of a gaggle of Senate Democrats speaking to the media Tuesday regarding the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. California professor Christine Blasey Ford over the weekend publicly accused Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a party while they were both high schoolers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has steadfastly denied the claim — but while he was expected to pass through a Thursday vote by the committee and eventually on to full confirmation, Ford's allegation has upended the process.

Now, both Ford and Kavanaugh will testify before the Senate next week regarding the allegation. "I think we all know when something is unfair, when something smells," Hirono told reporters Tuesday. She explained that she resented the White House's "victimization" of Ford, who is "under absolutely no obligation to participate in a smearing of her and her family." When a reporter asked Hirono whether she felt her status as one of just four women on the Senate Judiciary Committee has affected the proceedings, Hirono lit up: "Of course it helps that there are women on that committee," she said. "But really: Guess who's perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It's the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing — for a change."

You can watch Hirono's fiery declaration — as well as her semi-sheepish acknowledgment that she was just "a little upset" — below. Kimberly Alters

February 12, 2018

Mere weeks ago, Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer were hardly drinking buddies. But on Monday, the Senate leaders came together in a tentative show of bipartisanship, with Schumer speaking in Kentucky at the majority leader's namesake McConnell Center, part of the University of Louisville, at McConnell's invitation.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, attempted to bolster his relationship with McConnell by presenting the long-time Kentuckian with a spectacularly ill-advised gift: bourbon. "It turns out that Brooklyn, where I was born, raised, and still proudly live, produces some of the best bourbon in the world," Schumer said, absurdly, before gifting McConnell a bottle of bourbon from the Brooklyn-based Widow Jane distillery. McConnell responded drily, "There's no such thing as Brooklyn bourbon."

To his credit, McConnell smiled gamely in the face of such an affront by Schumer. We can only hope Schumer is prepared to react as politely when McConnell presents him with a world-class "Kentucky slice" on his next visit to New York City. Kimberly Alters

September 18, 2017

The White House on Sunday warned that time is running out to find a peaceful solution to the threat of North Korea's weapons program, escalating its rhetoric ahead of President Trump's Tuesday address to the United Nations General Assembly. "If North Korea keeps on with this reckless behavior, if the United States has to defend itself or defend its allies in any way, North Korea will be destroyed," Nikki Haley, America's U.N. ambassador, said on CNN's State of the Union.

Trump referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man" on Twitter. Trump also claimed that "long gas lines" were forming in North Korea due to new U.N. sanctions on North Korea's oil imports. Harold Maass

July 30, 2016

About two years after Russia's much-disputed annexation of the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine, the Ukrainian parliament passed a "de-communization" law which changed a number of location and street names from their Soviet-era titles. The law included Crimea, even though many now regard it as de facto Russian territory.

But on Thursday, Google Maps decided to take Ukraine's side, switching out names of Russian origin for the traditionally Crimean labels. Inevitably, the Russians noticed — and they were pissed.

The staff of Google Maps "suffer from topographical cretinism," charged Dmitry Polonsky, deputy chair of the Russian Council of Crimean Ministers, while Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov of the Russian Unity Party accused Google of being "Russophobic." More seriously, Russian Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov suggested Moscow might "not allow [Google] to effectively conduct business" in his country if the names weren't switched back.

And the next day, they were — for the Ukrainian and Russian versions of Google Maps alike. Google confirmed the reversal to the press but did not offer any explanation. Bonnie Kristian

April 24, 2016

Actress Rosario Dawson drew a comparison between the backlash faced by Bernie Sanders from Hillary Clinton supporters and by Monica Lewsinky following her affair with former President Bill Clinton.

"We are literally under attack for not just supporting the other candidate," Politico reports Dawson said at a Delaware rally on Saturday. "Now I'm with Monica Lewinsky on this. Bullying is bad."

The Sanders campaign doesn't often make any mention of Clinton's husband's affair. Julie Kliegman

April 18, 2016

The Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Monday on a challenge to President Obama's executive action on immigration, stirring the emotions of both immigration activists as well as their opponents. One critic of Obama's plan, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), went as far as to shout down a group of activists outside the Supreme Court on Monday, mockingly asking if "I need to start reading the constitution" while chiding the protesters for allegedly violating the First Amendment by assembling in a way that wasn't peaceable.

"You're supposed to be demonstrating what good citizens you would make," King scolded the protesters, whom he accused of interrupting. King then asked sarcastically, "Are you an example of the America we can expect?"

Watch the heated exchange below, and read more about the Supreme Court divide and what it means here. Jeva Lange

April 17, 2016

Hillary Clinton isn't bothered by Donald Trump calling her "Crooked Hillary," she said Sunday on ABC's This Week.

"I don't respond to Donald Trump and his string of insults about me," the Democratic presidential frontrunner said. "I can take care of myself."

Clinton quickly steered the conversation toward the enormous policy differences between her and Trump.

"What I'm concerned about is how he goes after everybody else," she said. "He goes after women. He goes after Muslims. He goes after immigrants. He goes after people with disabilities."

Watch below. Julie Kliegman

April 10, 2016

Bernie Sanders thinks "something is clearly lacking" in Hillary Clinton's judgment, the Vermont senator said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press. But he also continued walking back his assertion that the former secretary of state is "not qualified" to be president.

"She may have the experience to be president of the United States," Sanders said. "No one can argue that."

In questioning Clinton's judgment, Sanders cited her relationship with Wall Street as well as her previous support for the Iraq War and free trade agreements. Julie Kliegman

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