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Tag: puerto rico

Which Part Of US Is Leading On Vaccination? It's Puerto Rico

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

When news out of Puerto Rico catches the attention of the rest of the United States, too often that news is bad. Whether it's hurricane damage, a struggling power grid, or a health care system swamped with debt, Puerto Rico seems like … exactly what you would get it you took a small island state and used it to test everyone's latest pet economic theory,
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Texas Republican Delays Passage Of Bipartisan Disaster Aid Bill

Americans across the country reeling from hurricane, flood, and wildfire damage will have to wait longer for relief, after freshman Republican Rep. Chip Roy objected to an aid bill’s passage on Friday.

Roy thwarted the bill’s passage by objecting to the unanimous consent motion on the bill. Unanimous consent allows a bill to be passed without a roll-call vote. But given that most of the House has left town for the Memorial Day recess, there weren’t enough lawmakers on Capitol Hill to overcome Roy’s objection and hold a vote on the bill — thus thwarting its passage.

Roy said he objected to passing the bill without a full roll-call vote, and also objected to the fact that the bill doesn’t include funding for border security.

Roy’s disruptive move is hard to fathom for a few reasons.

First, Roy is a member of Congress from Texas — which was devastated by flood damage from 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. His objection will make people in his own state wait longer for disaster relief.

And second, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill on Thursday, after Trump dropped his objections to the inclusion of funding for Puerto Rico in the relief package. Trump also backed away from his call to include border security funding in the legislation.

The Senate passed the package by an 85-8 vote — an extremely bipartisan figure that suggests the bill was uncontroversial.

The House will almost certainly have the votes to pass the aid package when it returns from the Memorial Day recess on June 4.

Roy’s objection on Friday, however, means that storm victims will have to wait until then for more aid funding to come through.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 

IMAGE: In September 2017 Hurricane Harvey left much of southeast Texas in flooded ruins. 

Trump Urges Prosecution Of Kerry In Rambling Press Conference

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

On Thursday,  President Donald Trump gave a White House press conference that was intended, primarily, to address medical billing. But the president was all over the place during the briefing, using it for everything from attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller and former Secretary of State John Kerry to a defense of his China trade policy. Here are some of the wildest and craziest moments from Trump’s May 9 White House press conference.

1. Trump described his administration as generous to Puerto Rico

Trump has been widely criticized for his response to the Hurricane Maria tragedy in Puerto Rico; San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Roselló have been especially critical. But during his press conference, Trump vigorously defended his Puerto Rico policy — saying he “gave Puerto Rico $91 billion” and insisting “I think the people of Puerto Rico should really like President Trump.”

2. Trump called for prosecution of John Kerry

Trump, after taking office, ended the Obama Administration’s nuclear arms deal with Iran, which was negotiated in part by former Secretary of State John Kerry. And Trump took aim at Kerry on Thursday, accusing him of telling Iran not to call his administration. Trump claimed that Kerry was in violation of the Logan Act and should be prosecuted for interfering.

3. Trump deferred to Barr on Mueller testimony

Trump, recently, has begun saying that special counsel Robert Mueller should not testify before Congress, after previously saying he would leave it up to the attorney general to make that decision. But on Thursday, he again deferred to Attorney General William Barr on the matter. “I’m going to leave that up to our very great attorney general,” Trump told reporters. “He’ll make a decision on that.”

4. Trump used a press conference on medical billing to attack Mueller

Although Thursday’s press briefing was meant to primarily address medical billing, Trump reiterated his familiar theme that Mueller’s Russia investigation was a pointless and partisan effort orchestrated by Democrats who are out to get him. Trump also suggested that Mueller might have had a conflict of interest, saying that after he fired former FBI Director James Comey in 2017, Mueller (who had previously directed the FBI) was considered as a replacement but ended up being special counsel instead.

5. Trump claimed Donald Trump, Jr. was ‘exonerated’ by Mueller

Trump also used the press conference to defend his son, claiming that Donald Trump, Jr. was “totally exonerated by Robert Mueller.”

6. Trump says he ‘gave China a break’

Trump defended tariffs on Chinese imports, saying that had been going easy on China and that he “gave China a break” when it came to tariffs. And after tariffs are increased, Trump said, “We’re going to be taking in more money than we’ve ever taken in.”

IMAGE: Secretary of State John Kerry in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

‘They’ Are Americans. Period.

More than a decade ago, when I was a reporter at The Plain Dealer, management invited a number of us in the newsroom to a special training session on how to report about race. I don’t remember the exact year we did this — it was long before I left the paper in 2011 — but I will never forget my most uncomfortable moment.

The moderator for the discussion was Keith Woods, who at the time was dean of faculty for The Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is now vice president of newsroom training and diversity at NPR.

Woods is that rare leader who can be fierce and kind at the same time, which made it easy for us to invest in the mission of his work without feeling like idiots for not seeing the need before he showed up. We were a room full of journalists with uninformed good intentions.

At one point, Woods talked about the importance of mentioning a source’s race only when it is relevant. I could feel the heat climbing up my neck and setting my cheeks on fire. I regularly identified expert sources as black or Latino.

Woods nodded as soon as I mentioned it. He was already familiar with that particular habit of mine, and asked why I so regularly did that. I explained that I was trying to inform our mostly white readers that people of color are smart, too.

With Woods’ guidance, offered through a series of questions, it didn’t take long for me to see how I was doing it wrong. I was so eager to include minority voices in all kinds of stories, but identifying them as such wrongly suggested that what was most noteworthy about them was their race, rather than their expertise. They are experts, period.

That session with Woods was a turning point for me as a journalist, and later as a columnist. I’ve been thinking about it this week after the Associated Press announced changes in its style manual, which is the language bible for most newsrooms in the country.

As Merrill Perlman explained in Columbia Journalism Review:

“Writing about race and ethnicity always requires care, and the stylebook has consolidated many of its entries under a new section, ‘race-related coverage.’

Among its revised advice is to avoid accusatory expressions like ‘racially charged,’ ‘racially motivated,’ and ‘racially tinged’: or ‘similar terms as euphemisms for racist or racism when the latter terms are truly applicable.'”

That definition, she adds, “is often open to interpretation.” Still, this is good news. We lose readers’ trust when we pretend not to see what is unfolding before their eyes.

The new AP Style cautions against “using racist or any other label as a noun for a person; it’s far harder to match the complexity of a person to a definition or label than it is a statement or action.”

This sounds too much like those editors who insist we can’t call someone a racist — or a liar — because we can’t know what a person is thinking. By this logic, we could never call Ku Klux Klan members racists because, in their minds, they may just be demonstrating a preference for white sheets.

Again, we must avoid pretending we can’t see what’s unfolding right in front of us.

Donald Trump is dumping again on Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017 and remains in dire need of help that has never come. “I’ve taken better care of Puerto Rico than any man ever,” Trump said last week. “They’ve got to spend the money wisely. They don’t know how to spend the money.”

They.

A reminder for the president of the United States: Puerto Ricans are fellow Americans.

Trump tweeted this week that Puerto Rico has received $91 billion in federal aid, and misused all of it. As multiple news organizations have reported, this is a lie. Not all of them are calling it a lie, because we can’t know if maybe Trump just can’t add and subtract, I guess. Just as we can’t know for sure that Trump’s repeated false attacks on an entire island of minorities has anything do with his racism.

So far, Puerto Rico has received only $11.2 billion of the $41 billion allocated. That hasn’t stopped Trump from, in that same tweet, denouncing Puerto Rico’s public officials as “grossly incompetent, and who “only take from the USA….”

From the USA.

We know why he is denying this without the slightest glimpse into his mind.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

#EndorseThis: Agent Mulder Tells Samantha Bee’s Detectives What’s Actually Wrong With FEMA

FEMA’s two biggest foul-ups of modern times have happened with Republicans in the White House. The human toll of storms like Katrina and Maria has been enormous, but the screwball failures of FEMA under Bush and Trump have made each respective disaster worse.

Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal has been in Puerto Rico this week, learning first-hand how citizens of the U.S. territory are recovering from Hurricane Maria. When her team’s investigation reaches a roadblock, they call on none other than Agent Mulder of The X-Files to probe the conspiracy behind FEMA’s con game.

Mulder (actor David Duchovny) spins a big old whoppin’ yarn – literally – about our GOP-led government’s inability to provide simple financial relief or fresh water to the storm victims. As you might have guessed already, alien life forms are at the heart of his tangled web of suspicion.

But there’s an all-too-real truth behind Mulder’s tall tale. Click and watch at the 2:41 mark as our bumbling (and chintzy) emergency management team is shown to have 51 areas of incompetence.

#EndorseThis: Seth Meyers Tracks ‘Moron’ To Puerto Rico And Beyond

Of all the embarrassing moments during Trump’s trip to Puerto Rico, Seth Meyers thinks the most revealing was his conversation with a woman distributing water purification tablets at a church. Not only did the president sound rudely insensitive to the desperation of those who must drink purified water — but he seemed to suspect that the woman was perpetrating a scam.

“Is this your company or something?” he asked. No, she replied. She was just a parishioner trying to help her neighbors, a motivation he seemed to find incomprehensible.

Better question: Is he a “moron” or “an effing moron”? Channeling Rex Tillerson, Seth sifts the evidence.

#EndorseThis: Colbert On Trump’s Puerto Rico Visit — The “Second Disaster”

What happens when an impoverished, storm-wracked island is struck by a black hole of narcissistic ego? The people of Puerto Rico found out during Trump’s presidential visit on Tuesday — described aptly by Stephen Colbert as “a second disaster.”

Compassion Donnie-style was on full display, from stupefying condescension (what Colbert calls “Trump-splaining”), inappropriate boasting (“we got an A+”), and foolish questions (“Would you really drink that treated water?”) to an obnoxious paper-towel toss and and even a curtly dim “Have a good time!” as he departed an encounter with survivors.

Yes, this is America’s president. And he’s the only one we’ve got. If you don’t laugh, you may never stop crying.