Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday in anticipation of a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer at the University of Florida. Scott (R) warned in an executive order that a "threat of a potential emergency is imminent" in Alachua County, where the public university is located. Spencer led hundreds of torch-bearing white supremacists, white nationalists and others on a march chanting, "You will not replace us" and "Jews will not replace us" at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in August. The group fought briefly with counterprotesters, and violence worsened the following day when a man drove a car into a crowd of people protesting a planned "Unite the Right" rally, killing a woman and injuring others. A state of emergency was declared in Virginia after that violence. read more
President Donald Trump's approval rating for handling the federal government's response to recent hurricanes has dropped 20 points in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. In mid-September, 64% of Americans said they approved of Trump's handling of the US hurricane response. That finding followed his administration's handling of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which hit the US mainland in late-August and September. Now, as many Puerto Ricans remain without access to clean water or electricity nearly a month after Maria hit, just 44% say they approve. read more
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty Monday to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. "I understand that leaving was against the law," said Bergdahl, whose decision to walk off his remote post in Afghanistan in 2009 prompted intense search and recovery missions, during which some of his comrades were seriously wounded. "At the time, I had no intention of causing search and recovery operations," Bergdahl said. The misbehavior charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the desertion charge is punishable by up to five years.
For months, some close to Colin Kaepernick debated whether he should cross the ultimate line. The one you don't come back from in the NFL. The one that casts a person into football exile permanently. No matter how much it felt like Kaepernick was being blackballed or that team owners might have been conspiring against him, there was a well-defined line between thinking it and saying it. A line between faint hope and career-ending finality. To breach it, and effectively speak out against the shield, was to concede that the league's door had closed forever. Today, Kaepernick is there. By all accounts, his NFL career is over. But his opportunity to challenge the league, and to step far over the line that few have gone near, has just arrived. That's what the grievance he has filed against the NFL represents: an end, a beginning and a stronger position than before. read more
As [Jimmy Fallon] sticks to fluff and mostly apolitical humor, his ratings have nosedived in the face of his perceived neutrality. ... The ratings have proved that viewers are deserting The Tonight Show, too. Where Fallon once towered above his 11.35 p.m. time-slot rivals, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, he's now in danger of slipping into third place -- something that was unthinkable even 12 months ago. Fallon averaged nearly 4 million viewers a night in 2015, and almost 3.5 million the year after. In 2017, he's pulling in just over 2.5 million a show, a steep drop by Tonight Show standards. read more
Breaking his public silence about four American soldiers killed during an ambush in Niger, President Donald Trump said Monday he'd penned personal letters to their families and planned to phone them later this week. ... "I felt very, very badly about that," Trump said during a press availability in the Rose Garden. "I always feel badly. It is the toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed." "It is a very difficult thing," Trump said. "It gets to a point where you make four to five of them in one day, it is a very, very tough day." read more
Jose Luis Rodriguez waited in line Friday to fill plastic jugs in the back of his pickup truck with water for drinking, doing the dishes and bathing. But there is something about this water Rodriguez didn't know: It was being pumped to him by water authorities from a federally designated hazardous waste site, CNN learned after reviewing Superfund documents and interviewing federal and local officials. Rodriguez, 66, is so desperate for water that this news didn't startle him. "I don't have a choice," he said. "This is the only option I have." More than three weeks after Hurricane Maria ravaged this island, more than 35% of the island's residents -- American citizens -- remain without safe drinking water.
In the 10 days since four Green Berets were ambushed and killed in Niger, President Donald Trump has used his Twitter account to attack a sports commentator, call for a curtailing of the free press, denigrate his political enemies, sell a book, draw attention to Vice President Mike Pence's public protest at taxpayers' expense, and congratulate himself for a job well done. Yet he's failed to say anything about the four U.S. service members killed in Western Africa: Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, and Sgt. La David Johnson. About a dozen troops were ambushed on Oct. 4 while on a joint patrol with Nigerien troops; five Nigerien soldiers were also killed. This marks the deadliest-yet engagement for U.S. troops since Trump took office, and yet Trump himself has issued no tweets or personal statements about the matter, 10 days after the fact. read more
Frustrated by Congress's inaction on ObamaCare repeal, President Trump is taking a big political risk in using his authority to dismantle the health-care law piece by piece. Democrats say Trump now owns ObamaCare, bearing responsibility for any problems that arise in the system, including higher premiums and insurer exits. "Republicans in the House and Senate now own the health-care system in this country from top to bottom," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a press call Friday. "Their destructive actions and the actions of the president are going to fall on their backs." The administration announced late Thursday evening that it wouldn't continue ObamaCare insurer payments, a decision that could come back to haunt Republicans politically. read more
Richard Wilson Preston, a Ku Klux Klan "imperial wizard" who was caught on video shooting at counter-protesters at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville in August, has been denied bail. Charlottesville's Daily Progress newspaper revealed on Thursday that during a hearing that same day, Preston argued that he acted in self-defense from counter-protesters. Nevertheless, the judge presiding over his case denied him bond because he poses a danger to the community As Richmond, Virginia's WTVR reports, the Baltimore-based Klan leader was arrested and charged with firing a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school after an ACLU video of the violence at the rally showed the klan leader firing his pistol and shouting a slur at counter-protesters.
The NFL said on Friday it has no plans to mandate players stand for the U.S. national anthem, but will rather present a possible solution on how to end the controversial protests when it meets with team owners next week. ... "[Commissioner Roger Goodell] has a plan that he is going to present to owners about how to use our platform to both raise awareness and make progress on issues of social justice and equality in this country," NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said on a conference call. ... The protests, in a league where African-Americans make up the majority of players, have continued through the current season, with some players kneeling and others standing arm-in-arm in solidarity. The gesture is intended to call attention to what protesting players see as a pattern of racism in the treatment of African-Americans by U.S. police.
George Will: With [President] Trump turning and turning in a widening gyre, his crusade to make America great again is increasingly dominated by people who explicitly repudiate America's premises. The faux nationalists of the "alt-right" and their fellow travelers such as Stephen K. Bannon, although fixated on protecting the United States from imported goods, have imported the blood-and-soil ethno-tribalism that stains the continental European right. ... Trump is, of course, innocent of this (or any other) systemic thinking. However, within the ambit of his vast, brutish carelessness are some people with sinister agendas and anti-constitutional impulses.
Steve Bannon taunted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday and vowed to challenge any Senate Republican who doesn't publicly condemn attacks on President Donald Trump. ... Bannon, now the executive chairman of Breitbart News, bashed Senate Republicans by name for not publicly distancing themselves from Sen. Bob Corker's criticism of Trump, reserving particular animus for Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), Dean Heller (Nev.) and Deb Fischer (Neb.). ... Corker, who announced last month that he will not seek reelection, has infuriated Trump and his allies in recent weeks with a series of public rebukes of the president, including raising fears that the president is setting the United States "on the path to World War III."
Italy's Gucci will stop using fur in its designs from next year, joining a growing number of fashion houses looking at alternatives after coming under pressure from animal rights activists and changing consumer tastes. Gucci, part of Paris-based luxury group Kering, has paraded models down the catwalk in luxurious fur coats in the past and creative director Alessandro Michele brought in loafers and sling-backs lined with kangaroo-fur two years ago. But the brand said it would now join an alliance of fur-free companies, adding it would sell off remaining accessories and clothing made with animal fur in a charity auction.