By Robert A. Vella
Yours truly is struggling to keep up with the news these days. Every day brings another avalanche of important stories. My old brain is overloaded, and my chronic back problems are getting worse making it difficult to sit for long periods of time. But, I’ll endeavor to persevere. Happy Friday, everyone!
A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week for crossing from Mexico into the United States illegally with her father and a large group of migrants along a remote span of New Mexico desert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday.
The child’s death is likely to intensify scrutiny of detention conditions at Border Patrol stations and CBP facilities that are increasingly overwhelmed by large numbers of families seeking asylum in the United States.
A former top official at the Justice Department argues that President Trump can yet be indicted for campaign finance violations as part of a possible decision to delay his trial until after he leaves office.
Neal Katyal, a former deputy and acting solicitor general under President Obama, told the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery” that Trump allegedly directing payoffs to two women to silence them during the 2016 campaign was “very serious.” He said the payments could be grounds to challenge department legal opinions that conclude presidents cannot be indicted while in office.
The Chief Justice of California’s Supreme Court announced on Thursday that she had left the Republican Party following the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
California Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told CALmatters that she had been deliberating her decision for a while but made up her mind after watching the backlash following multiple sexual assault allegations leveled against Kavanaugh.
Cantil-Sakauye joins a series of many prominent Republicans who have disavowed or left the GOP in recent months.
The US military is seeking a $331 million reimbursement from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates after discovering it failed to properly charge the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen for aerial refueling services due to an “accounting error,” the Pentagon said Thursday.
While the US decided last month that it would no longer refuel Saudi aircraft conducting strike missions over Yemen, the Pentagon still expects to be compensated for the outstanding costs accrued between March 2015 and November of this year.
“US Central Command reviewed its records and found errors in accounting where we failed to charge the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) adequately for fuel and refueling services. USCENTCOM calculated the correct charges, and Department of Defense is in the process of seeking reimbursement,” she said in a statement to CNN.
It was a mistake that was first reported last week by The Atlantic and uncovered during a probe by Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who said Thursday he is encouraged that the Pentagon is now taking steps to recover the funds for US taxpayers.
When the Trump administration laid out a plan this year that would eventually allow cars to emit more pollution, automakers, the obvious winners from the proposal, balked. The changes, they said, went too far even for them.
But it turns out that there was a hidden beneficiary of the plan that was pushing for the changes all along: the nation’s oil industry.
In Congress, on Facebook and in statehouses nationwide, Marathon Petroleum, the country’s largest refiner, worked with powerful oil-industry groups and a conservative policy network financed by the billionaire industrialist Charles G. Koch to run a stealth campaign to roll back car emissions standards, a New York Times investigation has found.
The oil industry’s campaign, the details of which have not been previously reported, illuminates why the rollbacks have gone further than the more modest changes automakers originally lobbied for.
The standards that the Trump administration seeks to weaken required automakers to roughly double the fuel economy of new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks by 2025. Instead, the Trump plan would freeze the standards at 2020 levels. Carmakers, for their part, had sought more flexibility in meeting the original 2025 standards, not a categorical rollback.
The Trump plan, if finalized, would increase greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by more than the amount many midsize countries put out in a year and reverse a major effort by the Obama administration to fight climate change.
FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a law that made changes to one of the country’s worst-funded public pension systems, a victory for teachers who closed schools across the state in protest earlier this year.