The president on Tuesday exercised his pardon power, granting clemency to or commuting the sentences of nearly a dozen people convicted of crimes.
The debate was so vicious at times that it resembled a circular firing squad. So who emerged as the victor? Jessa Crispin: ‘Angry Elizabeth Warren is back – and that’s good’So thrilled to have lived long enough to witness Mayor Bloomberg’s performance on the debate stage. Oh, to revel in his deadly charisma, in his power to unify the nation and lead us into a better future. He was so magnetic I simply kept forgetting he was on the stage. He was so inarticulate, timid, easily flummoxed, and filled with an obvious contempt for the proceedings, it’s no surprise so many (who may have undisclosed financial ties to the man and his company) have declared him the obvious winner.Was the audience drunk? Why am I not? Everyone’s inhibitions seemed lowered, including the very vocal crowd, Amy Klobuchar seemed seconds away from throwing a binder at Mayor Pete’s head, and we finally got angry Elizabeth Warren back for an evening. Angry Elizabeth Warren is the best Elizabeth Warren. Where has she been? Give her more to do, we miss her.There’s no real winner here. Everyone took a lot of hits from their colleagues and no one crawled out unscathed. But I think we can easily declare a loser, and that would be the moderators. The moderators have indeed been the losers through this whole process. They ask the same questions their colleagues asked in the last 84 Democratic debates, they often don’t follow up when answers are vague or misleading, they pose gotcha questions that have very low stakes. When a host for The View has more perseverance on making a squirming Amy Klobuchar answer for her problematic prosecutorial past, particularly as it involves the lack of justice in police-related shootings, maybe it is time for some soul-searching, public resignations, and replacement by journalists with spines. We have a moderator who referred to one candidate’s followers as brownshirts, and he’s just allowed to pretend to be an objective interlocutor? OK, cool, seems fine.The result was not as substantive as it could have (should have) been, but it made for some good TV. And at the end of the day, that’s probably enough for our distinguished men and women of television media.There must be something to the idea that pressure and pain have the ability to shape one’s character in transformative ways. * Jessa Crispin is the host of the Public Intellectual podcast and a Guardian US columnist Benjamin Dixon: ‘Bloomberg has no chance’Mike Bloomberg demonstrated tonight that, in his life as a billionaire, he must not have had to deal with any character-building pressures in a very long time. All of the money in the world could not purchase charisma enough to make up for the dull and glum presentation he gave tonight.I will admit that, up until this point, I believed Bloomberg was an existential threat to our democracy because of his ability to purchase everything from talent to silence. But no one could look at the debate tonight and honestly believe that the former mayor would stand a chance against Donald Trump. No one could look at Bloomberg’s performance and believe that this man could inspire the movement necessary to win in November.Michael Bloomberg spent more than $400m only to get on the national stage and show that he is not ready for primetime. This is what happens when you sit on the outside of the democratic process and use your money to create an image of you that is bigger than life.And it’s hard to live up to that image when you lack the charisma and character that those of us in the working class earned the hard way. * Benjamin Dixon is the host of The Benjamin Dixon Show Art Cullen: ‘Elizabeth Warren might have saved her campaign’Elizabeth Warren closed Wednesday’s debate by describing herself as a fighter. She brought plenty of punch to the stage from the get-go by slicing and dicing billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Warren put her rivals on their heels – she said Bloomberg referred to women as “fat broads and horse-faced lesbians”, said Pete Buttigieg’s healthcare plans boiled down to a Power Point presentation and that Amy Klobuchar’s could fit on a postage stamp. Mike Bloomberg was awful. Klobuchar was on the defensive. And the elephant in the room, Bernie Sanders, was able to point out that Medicare for All will actually save $450bn – and universal healthcare is what put him at the front of the pack in the first place. He did not appear to lose stride. Warren saw Klobuchar’s breakthrough in the New Hampshire debate. She spared no one, and savaged Bloomberg. Everyone was throwing punches but nobody hit as hard as Warren. With Super Tuesday less than two weeks away, this raucous debate was a clincher, and Warren might have saved her struggling campaign with direct appeals to minority women so important in the Nevada caususes. Joe Biden, not so much. * Art Cullen is editor of The Storm Lake Times in north-west Iowa, where he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. He is a Guardian US columnist and author of the book Storm Lake: Change, Resilience, and Hope in America’s Heartland. Arwa Mahdawi: ‘Bloomberg bombed, Warren won’Looks like Michael Bloomberg just found out money can’t buy you everything. The multibillionaire has spent almost $400m on ads but apparently zero time preparing for the debate stage. He had embarrassingly inadequate responses for predictable questions on stop-and-frisk and the silencing of women in his companies with NDAs. His lack of substance was matched with a complete lack of charisma. According to some in the Establishment, we should forgive Bloomberg’s history of sexism and racism because he’s the only person capable of beating Trump. If they still think that after this pitiful debate performance then we’re in trouble.While Bloomberg bombed, Elizabeth Warren had her best debate ever. She was impeccably prepared and utterly eviscerated Bloomberg. Warren has been lagging in the polls, leading some to prematurely write her off; big mistake. Pete Buttigieg’s performance was also noteworthy. The mayor may be able to read Norwegian but he can’t seem to read a room. Buttigieg’s constant attacks on Amy Klobuchar made him look like a mansplaining bully.“Mayo Pete” has been gliding through this election but I wouldn’t be surprised if more people start to find his patronizing demeanour a little hard to stomach. * Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian US columnist Lloyd Green: ‘Bernie Sanders emerged as the winner’The Democrats’ Game of Thrones-style debate was a two-hour extravaganza that boosted Donald Trump’s chances. Obviously, that’s not what the Democratic National Committee intended but it’s what happened – a circular firing squad more intent on unloading on each other than at going at the president.Elizabeth Warren flayed Mike Bloomberg with a helping hand from Joe Biden. New York’s ex-mayor appeared rusty and unprepared. The attacks were predictable yet he looked flatfooted. When you’re defending non-disclosure agreements, you’re losing. On Wednesday night, money didn’t buy everything.Lest Warren get cocky, it is worth remembering that early voting in the Nevada caucuses was well under way before the Massachusetts senator took the stage. As a result, any post-debate bounce will probably be short lived.Come Saturday evening, the headlines will either be about the order of finish or how Nevada botched its caucuses. Warning: Iowa redux is a real possibility.In the end, Bernie Sanders emerged as the winner in the room. He entered as the Democrats’ frontrunner and nothing altered that reality. According to the polls, Sanders is leading by double digits both in Nevada and nationally among Democrats. The question is whether his lead becomes insurmountable. We will know soon enough. * Lloyd Green was opposition research counsel to George HW Bush’s 1988 campaign and served in the Department of Justice from 1990 to 1992
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said the “top levels” of the Malaysian government long suspected that the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 almost six years ago was a mass murder-suicide by the pilot. Australia, working on Malaysia's behalf, coordinated what became the largest search in aviation history, but it failed to find the plane before being ended in 2017. Speaking in a Sky News documentary to air on Wednesday and Thursday, Abbott said high-ranking Malaysian officials believed veteran pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah deliberately downed the jet.
The black-led movement NotAgainSU launched the sit-in Monday to protest the administration's handling of racial incidents at the university.
Former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak was taken to prison Wednesday to begin a 17-year term for bribery and embezzlement after losing an appeal against a lighter sentence. Several South Korean presidents have ended up in prison after leaving office -- often as a result of investigations started by political rivals.
More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials, current federal prosecutors, and federal judges are urgently concerned about Attorney General William Barr's evident politicization of the Justice Department. Even "Trump voters" should be afraid of "Bill Barr's America," a "banana republic where all are subject to the whims of a dictatorial president and his henchmen," Donald Ayer, a former colleague of Barr's and deputy attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, wrote in The Atlantic on Monday. He elaborated on CNN Monday evening.Barr was Ayer's successor as deputy attorney general before starting his first go as attorney general a year later, in 1991. In the 40 years the two men have known each other, Ayer told CNN, Barr has "always had a very strong view that the executive ought to have a great deal of power. I've never known quite how far it would go, and there was never any reason to test it, because when he was attorney general under George H.W. Bush, George H.W. Bush had no interest in being an autocrat. So now we're faced with a situation where Bill Barr has won the job of attorney general under a president who apparently does want to be an autocrat."In The Atlantic, Ayer writes that "it is not too strong to say that Bill Barr is un-American," and he elaborated on CNN. "The reason that I say that he's un-American is because I think it's fair to say, and I think most people would agree with me, that the central tenet of our legal system and our justice system is that no person is above the law," he wrote. "Bill Barr's vision is quite different. Bill Barr's vision is that there is one man, one person who needs to be above the law, and that is the president. ... He said that before he became attorney general but he's now carried it out in many steps."Ayer elaborated on the ways he thinks Barr is harming America in his Atlantic article, concluding that to prevent this "banana republic," America needs "a public uprising demanding that Bill Barr resign immediately, or failing that, be impeached." Read more at The Atlantic.More stories from theweek.com Mike Bloomberg is not the lesser of two evils Trump's pardon of Bernie Kerik also apparently wiped out Kerik's $103,300 debt to taxpayers Burger King is advertising the revolting sight of a moldy Whopper
China's foreign ministry cited a February 3 headline, titled "China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia," as the immediate reason for the expulsions.
The ACLU races to retrieve years of ICE detention records that they say are critical to holding ICE accountable for abuses and misconduct.
An experienced hurricane hunting crew chasing a winter storm came across a far different discovery this past weekend. In what is know as St. Elmo's fire, footage of the forking electric discharge was captured on Saturday by pilots as the spectacle flashed throughout the cockpit.The video, captured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Aircraft Operations Center (AOC), was taken as pilots flew across the Atlantic Ocean amid thunderstorms. NOAA deployed the hunters to support a project analyzing ocean surface winds in winter storms over the North Atlantic.The flight took place as Storm Dennis chugged along in the North Atlantic approaching Ireland and the United Kingdom.While frightening and shocking on camera, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said the actual charge from the weather phenomenon is harmless, especially for those surrounded by the metal shell of the aircraft."St. Elmo's fire is a phenomena that has occurred throughout human history. Before it was reported on planes, it happened on ships in the open ocean," Samuhel said. "It happens when the charge of an object is much different than the charge of the air. Unlike lightning when huge bolts of electricity jump across a large distance from one charge to another, St. Elmo's fire happens on a very small scale." Sprawling displays of St. Elmo's fire illuminated the cockpit of a crew flying across the Atlantic Ocean. (NOAA Corps) Named after St. Erasmus of Formia, the patron saint of sailors, reports of St. Elmo's fire trace back thousands of years to ancient Greece and tales of the marvel were consistently shared by ship fleets.St. Elmo's fire differs from lightning in that it is simply a glow of electrons in the air, whereas lightning is the movement of electricity from a charged cloud to the ground. In a thunderstorm, where the surrounding environment is electrically charged, the phenomenon is sparked when a charged object, such as a ship mast or airplane nose, causes a dramatic difference in charge, emitting a visual discharge. It can most simply be compared to a continuous spark."The point of the nose of an aircraft gives electricity an easy path to flow, as does the mast of the ship," Samuhel said. "These locations are where St. Elmo's fire is most common."CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APPIn historical recounts of St. Elmo's fire, writers such as Julius Caesar and Charles Darwin depict the instances as a steady glow."Everything is in flames: the sky with lightning, the water with luminous particles and even the very masts are pointed with a blue flame," Darwin wrote while aboard the Beagle as he traveled across the Atlantic.For experienced pilots like the Hurricane Hunters, the light show in front of them likely wouldn't have induced any fear or panic, although the event could be a sign of stormy weather ahead."It lasted about three minutes," explained Maria Ines Rubio, a flight attendant who witnessed the phenomenon in 2017, to The Washington Post. "I wasn't nervous, because it a rather normal occurrence when you get into a strong enough storm."The phenomenon, also known as a corona discharge, is "commonly observed on the periphery of propellers and along the wing tips, windshield, and nose of aircraft flying in dry snow, in ice crystals, or near thunderstorms," according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
Bernie Sanders once contemplated a primary challenge to Barack Obama in 2012, before a top Democratic senator intervened and pleaded with him not to do so, according to a new report.The Vermont senator is now seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination, but he apparently once considered making his first presidential run a longshot bid to take on the most recent Democrat to occupy the Oval Office — and one who remains one of the most popular figures in that same party.