WNPR

The Scramble

Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall / US Coast Guard Academy

Last week, the "skinny" repeal of the Affordable Care Act died a buzzer-beating (and perhaps temporary) death on the Senate floor. The Ringer's Bryan Curtis notes that, "Minus the life-and-death part, it had the feel of an unexpectedly competitive Pac-12 football game that the country noticed in installments."

Michael Vadon / Creative Commons

Almost nine months after the 2016 election, there still isn’t one generally agreed-upon theory of what happened.

Kremlin / Wikimedia Commons

President Trump left a trail of confusion when he left the G-20 Summit this weekend. While the president thinks he gained concessions favorable to the United States, many feel he isolated America from longstanding consensus on issues that define liberal democracy. Instead, he sought consensus with Vladimir Putin, despite the certainty by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. 

Hywell Martinez / Creative Commons

This week, President Donald Trump's "Commission on Election Integrity," under the leadership of Vice-President Mike Pence and Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, sent a letter to all 50 states asking them to provide data on citizens that includes personal information like the last four digits of social security numbers and voting history. The request is unprecedented in its scope. As of today,  44 states are refusing to comply. 

Creative Commons

President Obama has been criticized in recent days for his response to Russian intervention in the 2016 election as reported in this big Washington Post article from Friday. The former president and his defenders say he acted in the best interests of the nation in trying to maintain faith in the electoral process and protect state voting rolls. Others think he could have done more. We talk about it. 

Michael Cote / Creative Commons

Bill Cosby's trial for alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand in 2004 ended in a mistrial Saturday due to a hung jury. Despite the judge saying this was not a win for either side, Mr. Cosby's spokesperson declared, "Mr. Cosby's power is back!" 

Beverly and Pack / Creative Commons

In 2075, Florida and New Orleans are under water, South Carolina is under quarantine, and America is fighting a bloody and brutal Second American Civil War over the continued use of fossil fuels. This is where American War, ​a new novel by Omar El Akkad begins.

The Bei Posti / Creative Commons

Seven people were killed and more than forty were injured in the third attack in London in a few months time. If you're like writer Yascha Mounk, you may have reacted not with the shock and disorientation you would expect to feel in response to a barbaric and random act of violence, but the calm clarity of someone who has seen this before and is resigned to see it again.

NASA

Over the weekend, President Trump spoke to leaders from Muslim countries in Riyadh. Today and tomorrow, he visits Israel and the West Bank. And Wednesday, it's on to Rome and The Vatican. The Scramble looks at the religious side of Trump's first presidential trip abroad.

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

The Trump Administration is quietly limiting access to public information, especially as it relates to ethics and enforcement. We can no longer view disclosures about workplace violations, energy efficiency, or animal welfare abuses. 

PEN American Center / Wiki Commons

The Most Beautiful Room in New York is a new play by The New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik. It's about home and food and family, and is influenced by Gopnik's five years as a Paris correspondent discovering the meaning of food in his own life.

Gadjo_Niglo / Creative Commons

The world is riveted by the presidential election in France, which seems to be at the epicenter of clashing ideological forces vying to shape the future of Western democracy. All we know for sure after Sunday's first round of voting is that the May 7 winner will not be a Socialist. For the first time in 59 years, France chose two candidates outside the mainstream parties to advance to the final run-off in May. 

Mike Licht / Creative Commons

Presidential press secretaries usually keep a low profile. They don't typically try to control the room or get defensive or mean with reporters.  They don't typically break news or become the butt of jokes on late-night TV. They don't typically perpetuate information proven to be untrue and then assume a threatening manner when asked to support the claim. In short, Sean Spicer is a press secretary like few we've seen before. 

Charles Fettinger / Creative Commons

 

Aspiring tyrants have long used disaster and terror to consolidate power and limit freedom. Hitler used the Reichstag fire to suspend the basic rights of all German citizens; more recently, Putin used the bombing of buildings in Russian cities to attack Russia's Muslim people in Chechnya.

Phil Roeder / Creative Commons

Conservative politicians love to cut funding for the arts: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, and now, Donald Trump. The arts can't do anything tangible, like build a wall, or cure cancer. Too often, they fail the conservative litmus test for decency. Yet the arts are essential to our humanity, our hopes, and often, our healing.

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