Mornings on the Mall
Monday, August 19, 2019
Hosts: Mary Walter and Vince Coglianese
Executive Producer: Heather Hunter
5am – A/B/C Parents feel pressured to spend more for back-to-school season.
It’s time for back-to-school shopping, a period that is starting to catch up with the Christmas holiday shopping season as a reason for angst. As retailers are understandably crowing about what seems to be shaping up as another record-setting back-to-school shopping season, a growing number of Americans say they are participating in this spending spree only under pressure. The National Retail Federation reports that families with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average $696.70 to get their kids ready to learn — fashionably, and with the latest gadgets at their disposal. That’s up from $684.79 last year and tops the previous record of $687.72 set in 2017. Families with college students are expected to spend an average $976.78, which is up from last year’s $942.17 and tops the previous record of $969.88 set in 2017. Total spending for K-12 schools and college combined is projected to reach $80.7 billion, down from last year’s $82.8 billion, largely because of the decreased number of households with children in elementary through high school.
5am – D/E Another far-right vs. anti-fascist faceoff unfolded in Portland, Oregon over the weekend. Police in riot gear kept the groups apart Saturday afternoon in a tense standoff, arresting at least a dozen people and seizing weapons including bear repellent and metal and wooden poles from multiple groups. The city’s mayor said the situation was “potentially dangerous and volatile,” and caught the attention of President Trump who tweeted, “Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an “ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.”
6am – A/B/C SURVEY SAYS: More vacationers would rather have no air conditioning than no internet. What’s more important to you on vacation? (Gray News) – No internet access may sound like a first-world problem, but nearly half of Americans (49%) believe that’s enough to consider a vacation a disaster. OnePoll surveyed 2,000 people on behalf of Roku and found that only lost luggage (54%) would be more disastrous. Air conditioning has provided a standard of comfort for decades, but respondents claim they would rather have online access than a non-sweat-inducing room temperature. Only 38% of those surveyed considered an air-conditioning outage a vacation calamity. But truthfully, who enjoys or even tolerates being hot? The legitimacy of those responses may be up for debate, especially since scientists have found July set a new global heat record. Perhaps a destination not overwhelmed by summer heat and humidity would be bearable without air conditioning. Even so, keep in mind that even Alaska endured weeks of above-normal temperatures, the Associated Press reported. And a massive heatwave swept across Europe in June and caused a pile of chicken poop to spark a wildfire in Spain. Perhaps the numbers speak more to Americans’ dependence on technology, whether it’s to pass time or enjoy oneself. Air conditioning fared better on a list of rental home must-haves, with 61% in support. But the internet took the top spot with 74%, followed by television at 62%. Researchers have found children beg their parents to watch TV after about 31 minutes on vacation, and adults will seek the WiFi password within 27 minutes.
6am – D Beto O’Rourke Says America ‘Is Still Racist Today.’ Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said America “was founded on racism” and is still a racist country during his keynote speech at Saturday night’s Third Annual Clinton Dinner in Little Rock, Arkansas. “And this country, though we would like to think otherwise, was founded on racism, has persisted through racism, and is racist today,” said the former Texas congressman, who lost his 2018 senate race to Ted Cruz. O’Rourke called the racism “foundational” because of the legacy of slavery before launching into an attack of the president and his rhetoric and policies. O’Rourke’s comments echoed statements he made during a campaign stop in Nashville, Tennessee last month when he said the country was “founded on white supremacy.” “Every single institution and structure that we have in this country still reflects the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression even in our democracy,” he said then.
6am – E Elizabeth Warren ‘should apologize’ at Native American forum: activist. (NY Post) — Liberal presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren is set to take part in a candidate forum Monday in Iowa on issues affecting Native Americans, and participants say it will be hard to ignore the Massachusetts Democrat’s questionable claims of having tribal ancestry. “It’s going to be awkward for her even if she puts on a smile,” said Simon Moya-Smith, a 36-year-old Native American activist. Moya-Smith, of the Ogala-Lakota Nation, wants Warren to address the controversy, sparked after the Massachusetts senator claimed her mother was “part Cherokee and part Delaware” in 2012, then released a DNA test showing she was between 1/64th to 1/1,024th Cherokee. “I think she should apologize. I think she owes an apology to all natives. Just own it. Own that you’re not native,” Moya-Smith said. “Nobody has ever called her an injun. Nobody has ever called her a redskin. Nobody has ever called her a prairie N-word. That’s not her identity. She doesn’t have to live it. We do.” Warren has dubbed “Pocahontas,” by President Trump, who has used the name to mock her ancestry claim.
6am – F Washington Monument, closed for five of the past eight years, will reopen Sept. 19. (Washington Post) — Eight years after it was rattled by an earthquake and three years after it was closed for elevator and other repairs, the beleaguered Washington Monument will reopen Sept. 19, the National Park Service said Friday. Since the Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake, the national landmark has been closed on and off for more than five years. As time passed, the Park Service wrestled with problems, and an estimated 2.5 million people missed the chance to enter the structure. With 500,000 visitors a year, the monument honors George Washington, a Revolutionary War hero and the nation’s first president. “The closure of the monument was just as frustrating to the National Park Service as it was to the hundreds of thousands of visitors that weren’t able to go up for the last years,” said Mike Litterst, a Park Service spokesman for the Mall and memorial parks. “We are thrilled beyond words to be in the home stretch and now actually have an identified date when we’ll be able to start welcoming people back to the monument.” Same-day tickets for opening day and tours through Oct. 18 will be available on a first come, first served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. at the lodge near the base of the monument, on 15th Street near Madison Drive. The monument will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Starting Oct. 10, tickets also can be ordered at recreation.gov for tours beginning Oct. 19. The reopening comes after earthquake damage to the interior and exterior of the 555-foot marble and granite structure forced its closure for 2½ years as it underwent repairs that cost about $15 million. The work was funded by the government and a $7.5 million donation from local businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein. Then, between 2014, when it reopened after the earthquake, and 2016, the monument’s elevator broke down 24 times, often stranding visitors who rode it to the top. The monument was closed again in 2016.
7am – A INTERVIEW – JOE DIGENOVA – legal analyst and former U.S. Attorney to the District of Columbia
- Lindsey Graham says Horowitz FISA report will be ‘ugly and damning’ for DOJ. (Washington Examiner) – Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina predicted Sunday that the upcoming report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act would be “ugly and damning” for the DOJ. Graham predicted Horowitz would have a lot to say about “the good, the bad, and the ugly” at the FBI and DOJ, and would likely have recommendations about what should be done to fix it.
- James Comey and Wife Donated Nearly $20K to Democrats This Year. Klobuchar, Harris, Abrams among recipients of Comey cash. Former FBI Director James Comey and his wife have contributed nearly $20,000 to Democrats so far this year, Federal Election Commission filings show.
- Appeals court sides with Trump administration on asylum rule, limits injunction. (Fox News) – A federal appeals court sided with the Trump administration on Friday in the legal battle over its efforts to limit asylum claims from Central America – blocking, for now, a nationwide injunction that blocked the implementation of the rule. Last month a California federal judge blocked the rule that would require migrants to first apply in one of the countries they cross on their way to the U.S. – with certain exceptions. The rule is tailored to target Central Americans from the Northern Triangle of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras who would travel across multiple countries, including Mexico, before claiming asylum in the U.S. But the San Francisco federal appeals court for the 9th Circuit on Friday ruled that the injunction imposed by the California federal judge can only apply in states within the court’s jurisdiction in the western U.S. The ruling says that the court failed to discuss why a nationwide injunction was necessary to remedy the harm alleged by those immigration advocacy groups named in the lawsuit. “The district court clearly erred by failing to consider whether nationwide relief is necessary to remedy Plaintiffs’ alleged harms,” the ruling says. “And, based on the limited record before us, we do not believe a nationwide injunction is justified.”
7am – B/C Tlaib calls for boycott of Bill Maher show after he rails against anti-Israel campaign. Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib suggested people should boycott Bill Maher’s HBO show, a day after the comedian criticized Democrats who are in favor of boycotting Israel. The liberal HBO host argued that the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, which seeks to penalize Israel for their treatment of Palestinians, “is a bullshit purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class.” Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent and a supporter of the movement, responded to Maher by tweeting, “Maybe folks should boycott his show. I am tired of folks discrediting a form of speech that is centered on equality and freedom. This is exactly how they tried to discredit & stop the boycott to stand up against the apartheid in S. Africa. It didn’t work then and it won’t now.”
7am – D INTERVIEW – JULIO ROSAS – Reporter for the Washington Examiner – discussed the Antifa protests this weekend.
- Another far-right vs. anti-fascist faceoff unfolded in Portland, Oregon over the weekend. Police in riot gear kept the groups apart Saturday afternoon in a tense standoff, arresting at least a dozen people and seizing weapons including bear repellent and metal and wooden poles from multiple groups. The city’s mayor said the situation was “potentially dangerous and volatile,” and caught the attention of President Trump who tweeted, “Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an “ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.”
- ROSAS: Antifa causes disturbances long after most Proud Boys leave Portland rally. PORTLAND, Oregon — While the Proud Boys rally to “End Domestic Terrorism” at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park came and went within a short amount of time, members of antifa continued to stay out in the streets of “Rose City.” Scheduled to start at 11 a.m. on Saturday, the “End Domestic Terrorism” rally coordinated by former InfoWars staffer Joe Biggs ended at around noon, with a majority of the group choosing to march across the nearby bridge. One rallygoer, who did not want to be identified out of fear for his safety, told the Washington Examiner he decided to attend because he wants antifa to be recognized as a domestic terrorist group, saying they have “been committing a lot of violence, and nothing is being done about … they have rhetoric thinking ICE members are Nazis, and that’s just not true.”
7am – E TMI: Nearly half of Americans don’t change underwear daily, new survey says. (NY Daily News) Nearly half of Americans have worn the same pair of underwear for two or more days, according to a survey by apparel maker Tommy John. Out of 1,000 people responding to an informal poll conducted by the underwear maker, 45% admitted they had worn the same pair of undies for two or more days, with 13% saying they had worn the same pair for a week or more, Tommy John said. “Conventional wisdom — and basic common sense — tells us that we should change our underwear every day, or at least wash them after every wear,” Tommy John said in its statement announcing the results. “But how many people actually follow this golden rule? After surveying 1,000 Americans, we found that this basic standard of underwear hygiene is definitely not universal.” In a finding that did not surprise the company, Tommy John said men were 2.5 times as likely as women to wear unwashed undies for a week or more. That’s 20% of men versus 8% of women.
8am – A INTERVIEW – LT. COL. TONY SHAFFER – a CIA trained former senior intelligence officer and president of the London Center for Policy Research
- President Trump met with top national security advisers on Friday to review a US-Taliban peace plan that could end America’s longest running war. Meanwhile, the United States envoy who is negotiating with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan says the peace process needs to be accelerated in the wake of a deadly attack on a wedding in the capital over the weekend. The local Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing which killed 63 people and wounded 182 others.
- Trump: We don’t want Afghanistan to be ‘laboratory for terror.’ Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump on Sunday said Afghanistan “can’t be a laboratory for terror” as discussions over a potential US withdrawal from the country persist after nearly 20 years at war. “Look we’re there for one reason, we don’t want that to be a laboratory … It can’t be a laboratory for terror. And we’ve stopped that we have a very, very good view,” he told reporters on the tarmac before departing from New Jersey as he headed back to Washington. Trump’s comments come after he met with top national security advisers last week at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, to review a US-Taliban peace plan that could end America’s longest running war. “We’re looking at Afghanistan. We’re talking to Afghanistan, both the government and also talking to the Taliban, having very good discussions. We’ll see what happens … We’ll decide whether or not we’ll be staying longer or not,” he said.
- Suicide bombing in Afghanistan leaves at least 63 people dead, over 100 injured. (The Hill) – A suicide bombing in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, on Sunday left at least 63 people dead and more than 180 injured, according to reports. The Islamic State issued a statement shortly after the attack claiming responsibility, according to The Washington Post. A spokesman for the Taliban, meanwhile, shared a tweet stating that there was no link between the group and the bombing.
- Islamic State claims bombing at Kabul wedding that killed 63 (via AP) KABUL, Afghanistan – The death toll from a late-night suicide bombing at a crowded wedding party in the Afghan capital rose to at least 63 on Sunday, including women and children, officials said. The local Islamic State group’s affiliate claimed responsibility for what was the deadliest attack in Kabul this year. Another 182 people were wounded in the Saturday night explosion, government spokesman Feroz Bashari said. Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi confirmed the casualty toll as families began to bury the dead. Some helped to dig graves with their bare hands.
8am – B/C Obama Thinks Biden’s Closest Advisers Are Too Old, Out of Touch. NYT: Obama asked Biden advisers to not let him embarrass himself. Former President Barack Obama has told Joe Biden that his top advisers are too old and out of touch with the political climate, according to a new report on their relationship. Biden enjoys frontrunner status in the 2020 Democratic primary in large thanks to being Obama’s vice-president. He has robust support among African American voters and strong popularity in the party. The New York Times reported Obama hasn’t backed off a pledge to not endorse anyone before the nomination is decided, but he’s still in close contact with Biden and urged him to reach out to younger assistants: In his interactions with Mr. Biden — the pair had a quiet lunch in Washington last month — Mr. Obama has hammered away at the need for his campaign to expand his aging inner circle. He has communicated his frustration that Mr. Biden’s closest advisers are too old and out of touch with the current political climate — urging him to include more younger aides, according to three Democrats with direct knowledge of the discussion. The Times reported Obama also summoned Biden campaign officials Anita Dunn and Kate Bedingfield to his office in March. He said they needed to ensure, whether Biden won or lost, he didn’t embarrass himself or “damage his legacy.”
8am – D INTERVIEW – KEVIN LEWIS – WJLA ABC7 reporter
- Kevin Lewis @ABC7Kevin Aug 16: UPDATE: The MoCo Council says it was “heartbroken” to learn about the repeated rape of an 11yo girl, and added that she remains in its “thoughts.” “Above all else, our community’s safety is of greatest importance,” the statement reads. “We trust that justice will be served.”
- Montgomery Co. will comply with ICE detainer for 2 men accused of raping 11-year-old girl. Two men accused of raping an 11-year-old girl are in police custody in Montgomery County, Maryland, County Executive Marc Elrich confirmed Wednesday. According to a statement from Elrich, the two suspects are undocumented immigrants. After determining the two men entered the country illegally, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requested that the county notify them if the two men become eligible for release. Montgomery County will comply with ICE’s request, Elrich said in the statement. Until then, the suspects will remain in custody in Montgomery County as the local legal process progresses. “This alleged crime is horrible, and I am confident that justice will be served in this case,” Elrich said. Earlier this summer, Elrich issued an executive order prohibiting local law officials from cooperating with ICE raids or investigations. In his statement Wednesday, he emphasized that the executive order does not relate to this case. “The new Promoting Community Trust Executive Order has not changed the county’s policy on cooperating with ICE requests for notification of the release of individuals charged with serious crimes,” Elrich said.
8am – E Democrats face backlash for participating in Mark Halperin’s book: ‘They are enabling him and re-traumatizing the victims’. (By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business) — Mark Halperin, who has tried to make a comeback since he was exiled from the news industry in 2017 over allegations of sexual harassment and assault, has inked a book deal with Regan Arts, Politico reported on Sunday. Halperin’s book is called “How to Beat Trump: America’s Top Political Strategists on What It Will Take,” Politico reported, and will come out in November. Playbook says Halperin spoke to more than 75 top Democrats for the book. They reportedly include: Jill Alper, David Axelrod, Bob Bauer, Donna Brazile, James Carville, Tad Devine, Anita Dunn, Karen Dunn, Adrienne Elrod, Jennifer Granholm, Ben LaBolt, Jeff Link, Jim Margolis, Mike McCurry, Mark Mellman, Amanda Renteria, John Sasso, Kathleen Sebelius, Bob Shrum, Ginny Terzano, and David Wilhelm. It’s unclear how much the deal is worth, or how widely the book will even be distributed. Halperin did not respond to my calls or texts on Sunday, and neither did Regan Arts or its head Judith Regan…