this is going well
July 13, 2018

It usually takes months or years for U.S. presidents to prepare for a meeting with Russia's leader, but President Trump is apparently comfortable with just winging it. Kremlin experts warned The New Yorker that the White House has done practically nothing to prepare for the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday: "I'm afraid our guy here is like an amateur boxer going up against Muhammad Ali," said one former State Department official.

Not even Trump is clear on what he and Putin are going to talk about at the summit in Helsinki, and foreign policy experts say there is little reason for the meeting to be happening with such haste. "There is no historical precedent that I know of for such a potentially high-stakes U.S.-Russia meeting to take place with so little advance preparation, and with such a dark cloud of suspicion and uncertainty hanging over it," said John Beyrle, who served as ambassador to Moscow under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. "We really are in uncharted waters here."

Others say that Trump's confidence in himself is misplaced — and playing right into Putin's hands. Read more about what diplomats are saying about the rapidly approaching summit at The New Yorker. Jeva Lange

July 12, 2018

American negotiators were left checking their watches Thursday in the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, only for their North Korean counterparts to never show up to the planned meeting, Bloomberg reports. It is not the first time North Koreans have stood up U.S. officials, although it does highlight the disparity between President Trump's portrait of a successful summit with Kim Jong Un and the ongoing complexities and hang-ups of negotiations.

The U.S. officials and North Koreans had planned to discuss returning remains of Americans killed in the Korean War nearly 70 years ago — one of the assurances secured by Trump at the Singapore summit. As Bloomberg puts it: "While the details are unclear, a failure to meet on the issue wouldn't bode well for broader negotiations about North Korea’s nuclear program."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has recently returned from his own middling trip to North Korea, which ended with Pyongyang calling the meetings "regrettable." Jeva Lange

April 12, 2018

A teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who said he would arm himself after a gunman killed 17 students and teachers there in February apparently left his firearm in a public bathroom Sunday, the Miami Herald reports. By the time the teacher, Sean Simpson, realized he had forgotten his weapon in the stall at the Deerfield Beach Pier, a "drunk homeless man" had picked it up and fired it at a wall.

Simpson was arrested and charged with failing to safely store a firearm, which is a second-degree misdemeanor.

Guns are frequently left and discovered in bathrooms, Splinter reports (there is also an entire Tumblr dedicated to recording such stories). A recent article in the NRA magazine Shooting Illustrated noted: "We hear many stories of people leaving guns in the stall or on the sink, even law enforcement personnel." They have even been forgotten in lavatories by U.S. air marshals on airplanes.

The Miami Herald notes that on Tuesday, the Broward School Board unanimously rejected Florida's new proposal to arm school staff. Jeva Lange

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