The National Rifle Association ended its week-long silence following the horrifying massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and they think it shows we need more guns. At least in schools.
That was NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre's big proposal at his press conference -- to put armed security in every public school in the country. Here are the top three facts you need to know about it.
1. Most people think it's the best approach. In the wake of the Newtown shooting, Gallup asked people what they thought were the best ways to stop school shootings in the future. Putting more police in schools topped the list, with 53 percent saying they thought it would be "very effective" at preventing these kind of tragedies. And this was unanimous across the political spectrum. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents agreed on this in almost equal measure, as you can see below.
2. But studies have shown armed guards may make students feel less safe at school. As Brad Plumer of the Washington Post points out, a 2011 study found that visible safety measures in schools, like armed security, made many students feel less safe -- which can make learning harder.
3. It wouldn't be that expensive. Here's some simple math. The median salary for police officers is $55,010 and there are about 99,000 public schools in the country -- and of those, about a third already have armed guards. Putting police in the remaining schools works out to an annual cost of about $3.6 billion, which is really more like $4 billion or so when you factor in benefits as well. That's not even a rounding error when it comes to the federal budget. It's even smaller than the foreign aid budget -- a point LaPierre demagogued -- despite foreign aid making up less than 1 percent of overall spending.
But the NRA might be putting a different price-tag on this project: zero. It named former Arkansas representative Asa Hutchinson to lead this new school safety initiative, and he said it would use armed volunteers, not cops.
In either case, it's far from clear how much it would help. It's not exactly anywhere close to conclusive, but remember that armed security didn't stop the mass shooting at Columbine back in 1998.
There's a long list of possible actions to take in the wake of Sandy Hook, including but not limited to: banning certain types of guns; banning certain types of high-capacity magazines; increasing spending on mental health services; taxing ammunition; increasing police presences at schools, or many/all of the above. Just don't expect the NRA to endorse a solution that leads to fewer guns or ammo.
The president suggests he sees the rule of law as an impediment to getting tough on crime.
“America is once more a nation of laws,” President Trump said near the end of a speech Friday afternoon in Brentwood, New York. He meant it as a boast, but one could be forgiven for thinking it was a lament, given the rest of the speech.
Trump has portrayed himself, like Richard Nixon, as a president who can bring law and order, but on closer examination, his rhetoric is far more about order (understood in a particular way) than about law. In fact, the president often evinces an impatience with the tendency of the rule of law to get in the way of toughness and vengeance, and his dark, blood-stained speech Friday about the gang MS-13 was no different.
“They stomp on their victims and beat them with gloves; they slash them with machetes, and they stab them with knives,” Trump said. “They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields.”
Trump’s opponents have often been accused of naïveté for their appeals to norms and civility. But early Friday morning, at least, that faith was rewarded.
After Donald Trump implied Ted Cruz’s wife was ugly and accused his father of helping to kill President John F. Kennedy, Cruz still worked the phones for him. Trump humiliated “liddle” Marco Rubio, who endorsed Trump anyway. Trump implied Ben Carson was a child molester, and then appointed him to his cabinet. Trump ran a campaign in which he exhorted audiences to call for Hillary Clinton’s imprisonment, and she showed up to his inauguration. Trump rose to prominence by questioning whether the first black president was even American, and won the opportunity to destroy a huge part of that president’s legacy.
All of that made former First Lady Michelle Obama’s memorable line about going high when the other side goes low seem dangerously naive. Trump belittled, humiliated, threatened, and smeared his opponents (and sometimes his supporters) nearly every day since the beginning of his candidacy for president. His opponents appealed to precedent, to norms, to comity, and to decency. Today, Trump sits in the White House.
“I hope that my story will help you understand the methods of Russian operatives in Washington and how they use U.S. enablers to achieve major foreign policy goals without disclosing those interests,” Browder writes.
The financier Bill Browder has emerged as an unlikely central player in the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Sergei Magnitsky, an attorney Browder hired to investigate official corruption, died in Russian custody in 2009. Congress subsequently imposed sanctions on the officials it held responsible for his death, passing the Magnitsky Act in 2012. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government retaliated, among other ways, by suspending American adoptions of Russian children.
Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who secured a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, was engaged in a campaign for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, and raised the subject of adoptions in that meeting. That’s put the spotlight back on Browder’s long campaign for Kremlin accountability, and against corruption—a campaign whose success has irritated Putin and those around him.
Of course, the more cautious (aka germophobic) among us have already thought about it in gruesome detail. One colleague said she scrapes off the top layer of frosting, a habit that suddenly made perfect sense but which I for some reason had never before considered. I had been living in ignorant, saliva-splattered bliss.
Intellectually, I knew it was fine. I’ve consumed countless slices of sheet cake finely misted with spit and suffered no particular consequences—and yet, the thought of eating another now sent visceral disgust through my body.
With efforts to repeal Obamacare collapsing, the GOP faces a difficult landscape as it looks ahead to 2018.
Here’s an after-action report, as Congress prepares to recess:
The signature Republican domestic-policy demand of the past seven years is dead again. Deader than ever. Brought down by Republicans themselves, in the face of nearly unanimously hostile public opinion.
Democratic constituencies have been mobilized to an intensity not seen since the worst days of the Iraq war. They have crowded town halls and barraged senators with phone calls and messages. The party’s serious internal differences—including over the future of health care—have been laid aside for the time.
Republican constituencies have been split and demoralized. Working- and middle-class Republicans have been put on notice: Their party wanted to cut their Medicaid and other health-care benefits. Why should they show up in November to vote for more of that?
Upmarket Republicans have been formally informed: Their party was duping them on Obamacare repeal, in all those years of yammering, it never developed anything like an alternative. The Obamacare taxes will remain in place, as will the law’s other costs and burdens. Why should they show up in November to vote for more of that?
The White House is melting down in recrimination, rage, and failure. While opponents condemn Trump as authoritarian and corrupt, supporters in Congress and media want to talk about almost anything else: Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, dirty rap lyrics—anything.
Donors are hearing that funds donated to the Republican National Committee and other party funds have been used to pay the personal legal bills of the supposedly super-rich Trump family—and that more such spending is probably on the way.
The special counsel’s investigation is triggering more and more erratic behavior from the president. Trump has repeatedly and publicly denounced his own attorney general—the one cabinet secretary executing a policy generally popular with the party’s conservative base, immigration enforcement. And this before the investigation has resulted in any legal consequences.
The president has achieved the lowest approval rating ever recorded for a chief executive at this point in his tenure, despite generally favorable economic news and the absence of any acute foreign-policy crisis.
The Democrats need take only 14 seats to flip the House. There are 7 Republican incumbents on the ballot in California, where the president’s approval rating has tumbled to 25 percent, down five points since Inauguration Day. There are 5 more in New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie’s approval rating has plunged to 15 percent.
The 2018 Senate map favors Republicans, but the president has gone out of his way to tie the single most imperiled Republican incumbent, Nevada’s Dean Heller, tightly to him and to the unpopular health-care bill. The president is waging open war against Arizona’s Jeff Flake—and his approval rating has sunk below 50 percent in states that might otherwise have been thought of as pickup opportunities, including Missouri and Michigan.
President Trump replaced his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, with the current secretary of Homeland Security, a retired Marine general.
Updated on July 28 at 5:57 p.m. ET
For once, the rumors of Reince Priebus’s demise were not exaggerated.
President Trump announced late Friday afternoon that he had named John Kelly as chief of staff, replacing Priebus. Priebus had been the subject of whispers of imminent dismissal more or less since he took the job, but the arrival of communications director Anthony Scaramucci last week, over Priebus’s objection, seems to have sped up his departure.
Trump announced the news via Twitter:
I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American....
In a graphic speech Friday, the president threatened to track down and deport gang members in the United States. But the administration’s overall strategy isn’t clear.
President Trump flew to New York Friday to talk about “liberating” Long Island from MS-13. Trump has often used the gang, its bloody tactics, and its ties to Central America to push his immigration policies, and the picture he painted Friday was one of Long Island as a war zone.
MS-13, Trump said, has “transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into blood-stained killing fields.” He said the gang members “stomp on their victims,” “slash at them with machetes,” and stab them with knives. To “every gang member and criminal alien,” Trump threatened, “we will find you, arrest you, we will jail you, and we will deport you.”
In the past 18 months, the gang has been implicated in 17 murders in Long Island. It’s also made gory headlines in Maryland and Northern Virginia, all of which are home to large Central American populations. But while MS-13 is indeed dangerous, as I wrote last month, law enforcement often disagrees with the president on how the gang should be handled. In the United States, MS-13 is seen largely as a domestic law-and-order issue, like other gangs are—and one that deportation won’t solve.
A new study finds that believing society is fair can lead disadvantaged adolescents to act out and engage in risky behavior.
Brighton Park is a predominantly Latino community on the southwest side of Chicago. It’s a neighborhood threatened by poverty, gang violence, ICE raids, and isolation—in a city where income, race, and zip code can determine access to jobs, schools, healthy food, and essential services. It is against this backdrop that the Chicago teacher Xian Franzinger Barrett arrived at the neighborhood’s elementary school in 2014.
Recognizing the vast economic and racial inequalities his students faced, he chose what some might consider a radical approach for his writing and social-studies classes, weaving in concepts such as racism, classism, oppression, and prejudice. Barrett said it was vital to reject the oft-perpetuated narrative that society is fair and equal to address students’ questions and concerns about their current conditions. And Brighton Elementary’s seventh- and eighth-graders quickly put the lessons to work—confronting the school board over inequitable funding, fighting to install a playground, and creating a classroom library focused on black and Latino authors.
The departure of chief of staff Reince Priebus could jeopardize the administration’s tenuous connection with Republican institutions in Washington.
President Trump’s ouster of his chief of staff Reince Priebus on Friday could end up severing his White House’s already fragile relationship with the Republican establishment in Washington, multiple GOP sources said.
Trump announced Priebus’s departure in a series of tweets late Friday afternoon that also introduced followers to his replacement: Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who’s a retired Marine general.
Priebus’s exit seemed an inevitability after months of staff infighting and rumors of Trump’s dissatisfaction with his leadership. But recently, his future looked even more uncertain. Priebus had been under attack all week from the new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, a brash New York financier and Trump loyalist who’d clawed his way onto staff.
She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was.
The ashes filled a black plastic box about the size of a toaster. It weighed three and a half pounds. I put it in a canvas tote bag and packed it in my suitcase this past July for the transpacific flight to Manila. From there I would travel by car to a rural village. When I arrived, I would hand over all that was left of the woman who had spent 56 years as a slave in my family’s household.