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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 48
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 15,239

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Desperate retailers to ask for emergency help amid worries that economic turmoil could worsen

As some companies topple into bankruptcy, others struggle over what to do with a glut of unsold goods

The nation’s retail industry is swamped with stuff and short of cash.

As they reopen stores full of merchandise from March that no one will want in June, retailers are struggling to make room for summer goods trapped in overstuffed warehouses.

With five big retailers having filed for bankruptcy in May, some of the industry’s survivors can’t get financial backing for their holiday season orders — prompting an urgent appeal to the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve for help.

Even though stores were closed for much of March and April, huge amounts of shoes, shirts, suits and swimwear poured into the United States from global supply chains that continued churning despite the pandemic. Retailers have to decide what to do with their leftover March goods and a glut of seasonal gear while they place their bets on what consumer spending will look like in six months.


My family's restaurant caught fire in the Minneapolis protests. Let it burn.

Hafsa Islam is the daughter of the owner of the Minneapolis restaurant Gandhi Mahal.

On Monday night, as I am driving to work at Gandhi Mahal, my family’s Indian restaurant, I see the police arresting a man near Cup Foods in South Minneapolis.

I slow down and watch the man. He’s being walked away in handcuffs, and he’s complying, but I still watch worried from my car, worried at what I see happening and what might happen next to a black man in police custody. I remember this man’s face well. It sticks with me. He was crying, and he was in pain.

Minutes later, George Floyd is dead in the hands of the police. Dead like Breonna Taylor and Philando Castile and Michael Brown and Freddie Gray.

Over the next few days, I watch the protests and witness the anger of the people over Floyd’s unjustifiable death. People flood the streets, crying “Black lives matter!” and “I can’t breathe!” It feels so close to home; Gandhi Mahal is just blocks away from the 3rd Precinct. My father opened his Indian restaurant as the Great Recession hit. It weathered that crisis, becoming a hub for community activism, particularly on climate justice, along the way. It weathered the start of this pandemic, even as the community it built contracted.


Trump is right that free speech is in danger. But he won't admit the danger is him.

“We’re here today to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers,” President Trump said on Thursday as he signed an executive order designed to punish social media sites for exercising free speech. To honestly identify the danger to free speech, he would have had to include a mirror in the signing ceremony.

The White House has been plotting its assault on Internet platforms for some time now, and the directive marks the first shot formally fired. It comes as a response to Twitter applying a fact-checking label to tweets from the commander in chief that falsely suggested that vote-by-mail is systemically fraudulent. Twitter early Friday rallied rather than retreating, slapping a warning on a presidential tweet for glorifying violence. The tweet from the president, and then from the official White House account, called protesters in Minneapolis “THUGS” and declared that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

The order signed on Thursday is a grab-bag of grievances with remedies that are at best illogical and at worst illegal. Certainly the declaration is a terrible abuse of authority. The White House wants federal regulators to write new rules “clarifying” a landmark law regarding Internet speech, and to discipline companies that allegedly display political bias or otherwise engage in censorship. The Justice Department is also tasked with reviewing agencies’ advertising spending to yank dollars away from sites deemed “problematic.” Finally, the proclamation tells the attorney general to develop a proposal for legislation to promote the order’s policy objectives.

This last instruction suggests a glimmer of understanding that the preceding commands run afoul of the law. The order is a backward interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which wasn’t written to prevent platforms from exercising an editorial role. Just the opposite: Section 230 was written to allow platforms to exercise such a role without exposing themselves to legal liability for posts by third parties. Mr. Trump acts as if he seeks an interpretation of the rule when actually he seeks an invalidation. That’s not his role, but Congress’s — and so far Congress has largely chosen to leave Section 230 alone.


Trump loves the rule of law. As long as it targets his enemies.

The president’s gross distortion of facts is a problem, but legal norms themselves may yet survive him.

After his impeachment trial, President Trump declared himself, “I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country.” And then he called for investigations of those who had investigated him, undid prosecutions that had resulted from the Mueller probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, pursued his pursuers all the way to the Supreme Court, encouraged militias to “liberate Michigan,” fired inspectors general who might find wrongdoing in the wrong places and, most recently, tweeted about “some very nervous criminals out there” as he set out to get to the bottom of the bottomless “Obamagate.”

Trump places himself above the rule of law, so it’s easy to see him as a grave threat to it. But as much as the president distorts facts, the law itself is mostly still intact. The president, aided by Attorney General William Barr, other administration officials and Republicans in Congress, eagerly promotes the law, as when he tweets about perceived opponents like his fired former FBI director, James Comey (“What are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail?”), or former Obama secretary of state John Kerry (who supposedly “grossly violated the Logan Act with respect to Iran”). What’s good for the goose may be off limits for the gander, but it’s still good. We do not, for now, live in a tyranny with corrupt laws; we still have just laws. And that bodes well for the survival of norms that seem constantly under assault by a singular president.

The law only appears to be under attack because Americans disagree about facts — and about what officials should do to enforce laws in response to particular facts. But except for some arguments about presidential power under the Constitution, rarely do we disagree about what the law is. How to apply it is another matter.

Americans embrace the rule of law, but egregious departures speckle the country’s history. Often the law itself is not the culprit but rather a gross distortion of the facts applied to enforcement. For example, during the Red Scare after World War I, socialists and immigrants were broadly assumed to be dangerous and so were arrested under the Sedition Act; during World War II, Japanese Americans were broadly assumed to be loyal to Japan and so by executive order were relocated to internment camps; in the McCarthy era, people who had flirted with communism were broadly assumed to be disloyal to the United States, and so were hauled before Congress and lost their jobs. It was not so much that the laws needed changing (we agree that sedition is a crime), but rather the way people turned assumptions, particularly assumptions about large groups of other people, into facts, and the way people in power were allowed to apply the law.


Trump can't contain his excitement about protesters being 'really badly hurt'

It’s a good thing Donald Trump wasn’t president during the civil rights movement. Judging by his tweets, Trump would have been tempted to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor, the notorious Alabama public safety commissioner.

Nearly six decades later, the man who sits in the White House is channeling his inner Bull Connor, unable to contain his eagerness to see play out on his own front lawn the vile tactics that Connor employed against civil rights marchers. In a giddy tweetstorm on Saturday morning, Trump let loose about how excited he would have been to see protesters who showed up across the street in Lafayette Square “really badly hurt” by “the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.”

Trump even went so far as to suggest it was good for the Secret Service to be engaged in the tense confrontation, which — fortunately — has not been reported to have produced any serious injuries, outside the ones that occurred in the president’s fevered imagination.

“Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action,” Trump wrote. He added a quotation, one the president presumably wants us to believe he heard from someone who manages the White House security force: “We put the young ones on the front line, sir, they love it, and . . . good practice.”


Top Trump official misused office to get son-in-law job, probe finds

A senior Trump administration official misused his office for private gain by capitalizing on his government connections to help get his son-in-law hired at the Environmental Protection Agency, investigators said in a report obtained by the Associated Press.

The Interior Department’s inspector general found that Assistant Interior Secretary Douglas Domenech reached out to a senior EPA official in person and later by email in 2017 to advocate for the son-in-law when he was seeking a job at the agency.

Investigators said Domenech also appeared to misuse his position to promote a second family member’s wedding-related business to the same EPA official, who was engaged at the time.

The AP obtained the report detailing the investigation in advance of its public release.


Woman attempts to attack officer with knife outside Temple Terrace City Hall

Authorities say a woman was shot after initiating an unprovoked attack on a Temple Terrace police officer.

According to Temple Terrace police, the shooting happened at Temple Terrace City Hall and for unknown reasons, after requesting help from an officer, 21-year-old Heba Momtaz Alazhari attacked the officer with a large butcher knife.

The officer shot Alazhari and was taken to a local hospital, where she later died from her injuries, deputies say. The officer received non-life-threatening injuries from the attack.

The Temple Terrace Police Department is currently working with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office to investigate the incident.


The video is pretty disturbing.

Apparently the woman is the sister of a terrorist suspect who reportedly was arrested for plotting a mass shooting similar to the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando.

When American conservatism becomes un-American

From Harvard Law School comes the latest conservative flirtation with authoritarianism. Professor Adrian Vermeule, a 2016 Catholic convert, is an “integralist” who regrets his academic specialty, the Constitution, and rejects the separation of church and state. His much-discussed recent Atlantic essay advocating a government that judges “the quality and moral worth of public speech” is unimportant as a practical political manifesto, but it is symptomatic of some conservatives’ fevers, despairs and temptations.

“Common-good capitalism,” a recent proposal by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), is capitalism minus the essence of capitalism — limited government respectful of society’s cumulative intelligence and preferences collaboratively revealed through market transactions. Vermeule’s “common-good constitutionalism” is Christian authoritarianism — muscular paternalism, with government enforcing social solidarity for religious reasons. This is the Constitution minus the Framers’ purpose: a regime respectful of individuals’ diverse notions of the life worth living. Such respect is, he says, “abominable.”

Vermeule would jettison “libertarian assumptions central to free-speech law and free-speech ideology.” And: “Libertarian conceptions of property rights and economic rights will also have to go, insofar as they bar the state from enforcing duties of community and solidarity in the use and distribution of resources.” Who will define these duties? Integralists will, because they have an answer to this perennial puzzle: If the people are corrupt, how do you persuade them to accept the yoke of virtue-enforcers? The answer: Forget persuasion. Hierarchies must employ coercion.

Common-good constitutionalism’s “main aim,” Vermeule says, is not to “minimize the abuse of power” but “to ensure that the ruler has the power needed to rule well.” Such constitutionalism “does not suffer from a horror of political domination and hierarchy” because the “law is parental, a wise teacher and an inculcator of good habits,” wielded “if necessary even against the subjects’ own perceptions of what is best for them.” Besides, those perceptions are not really the subjects’, because under Vermeule’s regime the law will impose perceptions.


Even George Will is now recognizing the Republican Party as the party of traitors.

Lori deserves better. So does America.

One is a politician so obsessed with a morning cable news show that he has sought retribution by repeatedly defaming a dead woman’s memory.

The other is a soft-spoken Air Force engineer who has worked on projects for 32 years with the singular goal of protecting and defending the United States. The 6-foot-3 Florida resident is still mourning the death of a wife he lost 19 years ago. He holds on to cherished memories of Lori Klausutis as a lifelong Republican, a devoted Catholic who sang in her church choir and an avid runner so perpetually cheerful that people called her “Little Miss Mary Sunshine.” After Lori’s death, T.J. Klausutis returned alone to the home the couple had just bought in Niceville, Fla., and faced an almost immediate barrage of Internet conspiracy theories about the “murder” of his wife.

The pace of those hateful lies ebbed and flowed with the years, until they swelled recently into a slimy tsunami of bilge spewing from President Trump’s 80-million-strong Twitter feed. I have never been able to grasp Trump’s bizarre fixation with “Morning Joe,” but that sad obsession has driven him to weaponize Lori’s memory in an attempt to settle some perceived grievance against me. Or perhaps to deflect from the 100,000 Americans lost to a disease he once dismissed as “one person coming in from China.”

I have been a public figure for more than 25 years, so I pay little attention to public lies. T.J. and Lori’s family, however, are innocents in this. To have the commander in chief torment a patriot such as T.J. is disgusting, but sadly, not surprising. Despite the pain he endured from discredited websites and Twitter accounts, T.J. kept his peace for nearly two decades, until the most powerful man on Earth began slandering his wife’s good name.


WH Press Secretary: 'Critics Will Seize On Any Six-Figure Death Toll That Suits Their Narrative'

WASHINGTON—White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany rebuked critics of the president in a briefing Thursday, forcefully arguing that politicians and pundits alike would seize on any six-figure death toll that suits their particular narrative.

“What’s clear is that the biased media in this country is willing to draw attention to any mortalities of American citizens over 100,000 as long as it fits in their narrow perception of what’s important,” said McEany in response to a reporter’s question about the administration’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic before stressing that the president’s supporters would see the death toll for the brazen partisan attack it has always been.

“There’s an obvious opportunism at work when the president’s opponents are suddenly up in arms any time tens of thousands American lives are lost. Frankly, was the mainstream media going to accept any number of mass casualties without pouncing on it as an excuse to scrutinize the commander in chief’s decision making? I somehow doubt it.”

McEnany went on to emphasize that such biased coverage conveniently ignored the hundreds of millions across the country whom the president’s actions had left alive.

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