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Sept. 23 2017 4:02 PM

Another Strong Earthquake Rattles Mexico as Rescue Efforts Continue

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake shook southern Mexico on Saturday morning, spreading fear and panic in the country that is still reeling from two quakes earlier this month. Although no deaths were immediately reported, the latest quake forced rescue workers to stop some of the ongoing searches for survivors of Tuesday’s larger quake. It also caused some already damaged buildings, and even a bridge, to collapse. “Homes that were still standing just fell down,” a witness said. “It’s hard. We are all in the streets.”

The epicenter of Saturday’s relatively shallow quake was in Oaxaca state in a town that is about 275 miles southeast of Mexico City. No new damage was immediately reported in the Mexican capital although there was increased concern about the risk that it could pose to already damaged buildings, leading to the suspension of some rescue operations. That frustrated rescue workers that continued battling the clock to find any possible survivors. “We hear that there are possibly more people alive, but the clock is ticking and they are injured and dehydrated,” said a worker who had been helping to clear rubble. “It’s frustrating not being able to do anything.”

Scientists said the Saturday quake was likely an aftershock of the 8.1-magnitude quake that struck southern Mexico and killed almost 100 people, largely in Oaxaca state, on Sept. 7. “We’re calling it an aftershock of the 8.1,” U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist John Bellini said. “An 8.1 is expected to have several aftershocks in the 6 range. … The 6 is not surprising.”

The death toll from Tuesday’s quake has no increased to at least 305 people, increasing to more than 400 when taking into account those killed by the Sept. 7 earthquake.

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People start a memorial with flowers at a park in front of one of the collapsed buildings in Mexico City on September 23, 2017.

LUIS PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images

Sept. 23 2017 11:04 AM

Trump Rescinds White House Invitation for NBA’s Warriors After Criticism From Players

President Donald Trump said that anyone who doesn’t see going to the White House as an honor shouldn’t go. As part of a Saturday morning tweetstorm, Trump suggested he won’t invite the Golden State Warriors to the White House to celebrate their NBA title after Stephen Curry made it clear he didn’t want to go.

“You can talk about all the different personalities that have said things and done things—from Kaepernick to what happened with Michael Bennett to all sorts of examples of what has gone on in our country that has led to change,” Curry told reporters on Friday. “We’re all trying to do what we can using our platforms, using our opportunities to shed light on that. That’s kind of where I stand on that. I don’t think us going to the White House will miraculously make everything better, but this is my opportunity to voice that.”

On Twitter on Saturday morning, the president wrote that the invite was off. “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

In effect, Trump withdrew an invitation that didn’t actually exist. The White House had not invited the Warriors but the two sides had been talking about the issue and administration officials made it clear the administration would extend the invitation if the team decided to go, according to ESPN.

“I don’t want to go. That’s the nucleus of my belief. If it was just me, it would be a pretty short conversation,” Curry said as the management of the team said they would discuss the issue with the players to make a decision as a group.  Curry wasn’t alone in his views. Kevin Durant also said he didn’t want to go to the White House. “I don't respect who's in office right now,” he said.

The president commented on Curry 20 minutes after Fox & Friends covered the story on Saturday morning.

Trump's tweet marked the second time in less than 24 hours that the president commented on sports. On Friday night, the president criticized the NFL players who protest during the national anthem, although he didn't mention anyone by name. Earlier, the White House had called for the firing of ESPN's Jemele Hill* after she described Trump as a white supremacist. "Why anyone would think that of a politician who continually publicly attacks outspoken black people in an attempt to whip up his largely white constituency is not much of a mystery," notes Deadspin.

Correction at 6:45 p.m.: This article initially misspelled Jemele Hill's name.

Sept. 23 2017 9:37 AM

Trump Calls on NFL Owners to Fire Players Who Kneel During Anthem

President Donald Trump went to Alabama Friday night to campaign for Sen. Luther Strange, telling supporters he had a better chance of beating the Democratic candidate than his primary opponent, Roy Moore. But the commander in chief found it difficult to stay on message, giving a nearly 90-minute rambling speech in which he all but acknowledged that endorsing Strange may have been a mistake and vowed to campaign for Moore if he won the primary.

In one of his many asides, Trump harshly criticized the NFL and its owners for tolerating players who he said disrespect the United States by failing to stand up for the national anthem. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!’” Trump said. “You know, some owner is gonna do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

Trump called on supporters to “leave the stadium” to protest against the political statements by players. “I guarantee things will stop.” The president then went on to suggest the NFL was suffering a drop in ratings because it was being way too strict on hard tackles, seemingly criticizing the efforts to prevent injuries. “Because you know today if you hit too hard: Fifteen yards. Throw him out of the game,” Trump said. “That’s what they want to do. They want to hit. It is hurting the game.”

Commenting on the NFL was hardly the only time Trump got off topic at the rally in Huntsville, where many of the attendees openly told reporters they were only there to hear the president and would vote for Moore. The Washington Post summarizes:

He repeatedly cursed, mocked the leader of North Korea, jokingly threatened to fire a Cabinet member who endorsed Moore, called on professional football team owners to fire players who kneel during the national anthem, promised to build a new “see-through wall” on the southern border, called allegations of Russian interference in the election a “hoax,” accused unions of protecting “sadists” who abuse elderly veterans, and repeatedly relived the 2016 election.

Trump also said his supporters should vote for Strange at least in part because if he loses it would be really embarrassing for the president. “If Luther doesn't win, they're not going to say we picked up 25 points in a very short period of time. They're going to say, ‘Donald Trump, the president of the United States, was unable to pull his candidate across the line. It is a terrible, terrible moment for Trump. This is total embarrassment’.” The president also acknowledged that he “might have made a mistake” by endorsing Strange rather than outspoken conservative Moore, who is leading in the polls and has been endorsed by many conservatives, including his former chief adviser Steve Bannon.

Even if Strange loses though, Trump’s supporters shouldn’t worry because he’ll “be here campaigning like hell” for Moore.

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Alabama Sen. Luther Strange walks to embrace President Donald Trump during the senator's rally at the Von Braun Civic Center September 22, 2017 in Huntsville, Alabama.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Sept. 22 2017 2:08 PM

John McCain Is a "No" on Graham-Cassidy. The Bill May Be Doomed.

This post has been updated.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, one of the three votes to kill Obamacare repeal's chances over the summer, might have just buried the GOP's last ditch effort to repeal it, too.

"I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal," McCain said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

Senate Republicans were hoping to turn McCain around from his objections, which were largely procedural. He wanted any health care bill to go through the "regular order" of committee hearings, amendments, markups, and debates. The best Senate Republicans could offer him was one hearing in the Finance Committee on Monday. McCain made clear to reporters over the last week that that would not be good enough.

With Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul already a "no" on the bill, and Maine Sen. Susan Collins "leaning no," as she said Friday, Graham-Cassidy would appear to be in its dying breath.

But South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain's best friend and a co-author of the bill, hasn't given up yet. In a statement following McCain's announcement, Graham insisted they would "press on." That would mean flipping Collins from a "lean no" and winning Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, or losing one of them and somehow putting the screws to Paul, who hates the bill.

Here's McCain's full statement:

As I have repeatedly stressed, health care reform legislation ought to be the product of regular order in the Senate. Committees of jurisdiction should mark up legislation with input from all committee members, and send their bill to the floor for debate and amendment. That is the only way we might achieve bipartisan consensus on lasting reform, without which a policy that affects one-fifth of our economy and every single American family will be subject to reversal with every change of administration and congressional majority.
I would consider supporting legislation similar to that offered by my friends Senators Graham and Cassidy were it the product of extensive hearings, debate and amendment. But that has not been the case. Instead, the specter of September 30th budget reconciliation deadline has hung over this entire process.
We should not be content to pass health care legislation on a party-line basis, as Democrats did when they rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2009. If we do so, our success could be as short-lived as theirs when the political winds shift, as they regularly do. The issue is too important, and too many lives are at risk, for us to leave the American people guessing from one election to the next whether and how they will acquire health insurance. A bill of this impact requires a bipartisan approach.
Senators Alexander and Murray have been negotiating in good faith to fix some of the problems with Obamacare. But I fear that the prospect of one last attempt at a strictly Republican bill has left the impression that their efforts cannot succeed. I hope they will resume their work should this last attempt at a partisan solution fail.
I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full CBO score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.
I take no pleasure in announcing my opposition. Far from it. The bill’s authors are my dear friends, and I think the world of them. I know they are acting consistently with their beliefs and sense of what is best for the country. So am I.
I hope that in the months ahead, we can join with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to arrive at a compromise solution that is acceptable to most of us, and serves the interests of Americans as best we can.

Sept. 22 2017 1:20 PM

Tom Price Took at Least 24 Private Flights at Taxpayer Expense Since May, Politico Reports

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has taken taxpayer-funded private jet flights at least 24 times since May, Politico reported on Thursday:

The frequency of the trips underscores how private travel has become the norm — rather than the exception — for the Georgia Republican during his tenure atop the federal health agency, which began in February. The cost of the trips identified by POLITICO exceeds $300,000, according to a review of federal contracts and similar trip itineraries.

Price’s use of private jets represents a sharp departure from his two immediate predecessors, Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, who flew commercially in the continental United States. HHS officials have said Price uses private jets only when commercial travel is not feasible.

In an article earlier this week on Price’s flights, Politico reported that Price’s claim does not appear to be true: Affordable commercial alternatives were available, for instance, for a round trip to Philadelphia last week, which would have cost $725 at the most. Ultimately the flight cost around $25,000. Politico reported Thursday that alternatives were likely available for many of the other flights Price has taken since May, including a June 6 trip to Nashville, Tennessee. “There are four regular nonstop flights that leave Washington-area airports between 6:59 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. and arrive in Nashville by 9:46 a.m. CT,” Politico’s Rachana Pradhan and Dan Diamond wrote. “Sample round-trip fares for those flights were as low as $202, when booked in advance on Orbitz.com. Price’s charter, according to HHS’ contract with Classic Air Charter, cost $17,760.”

HHS spokeswoman Charmaine Yoest told Politico that Price’s travel had been affected by the demands of responding to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. “Nonetheless, POLITICO identified at least 17 charter flights that took place before the first storm—Hurricane Harvey—hit in late August, and included flights that did not appear to be for urgent HHS public health priorities,” Pradhan and Diamond write. “For example, Price took a Learjet-60 from San Diego to the Aspen Ideas Festival—a glamorous conference at the Colorado resort town—that arrived at 3:33 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, June 24, nearly 19 hours before his scheduled panel. That flight likely cost more than $7,100, according to one charter jet agency estimate.”

Sept. 21 2017 11:40 PM

Facebook Agrees to Turn Over Thousands of Russian-Bought Political Ads During 2016 Election

Facebook announced Thursday it will turn over to Congress more than 3,000 political ads that were bought during the 2016 president election and linked to Russian accounts. The move, announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook, comes as evidence continues to grow that Russian-affiliated accounts were able to manipulate the site in a variety of different ways to target American voters. Shady Russian accounts have been known to try to sow division and disorder, but during the election they didn't stop there. A Russian Facebook page called “Being Patriotic,” for example, was able to organize more than a dozen Trump rallies in Florida. Recently, Facebook has shut down hundreds of fake accounts posing as American activists run by a Russian firm linked to the Kremlin. Facebook also admitted it allowed a pro-Kremlin Russian “troll farm” to buy $100,000 worth of ads to target voters during the 2016 election and beyond.

The scope of Russia’s influence on the social media network suddenly appeared to be far more pervasive and Facebook struggled to respond to criticism of its permissiveness and calls for greater transparency. The company balked at handing over too much of its ad data citing concerns for user privacy, but on Thursday changed course offering to turn over the ads to investigators. “The integrity of our elections is fundamental to democracy around the world,” Zuckerberg said. “That's why we've built teams dedicated to working on election integrity and preventing governments from interfering in the elections of other nations... We are looking into foreign actors, including additional Russian groups and other former Soviet states, as well as organizations like the campaigns, to further our understanding of how they used our tools."

Zuckerberg also outlined policy changes to increase security and oversight of political ads, particularly propaganda, and create greater transparency when a political ad shows up in your timeline.  

When someone buys political ads on TV or other media, they're required by law to disclose who paid for them. But you still don't know if you're seeing the same messages as everyone else. So we're going to bring Facebook to an even higher standard of transparency. Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser's page and see the ads they're currently running to any audience on Facebook. We will roll this out over the coming months, and we will work with others to create a new standard for transparency in online political ads.

“[W]e are in a new world. It is a new challenge for internet communities to deal with nation states attempting to subvert elections,” Zuckerberg said. “But if that's what we must do, we are committed to rising to the occasion.”

Sept. 21 2017 9:13 PM

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Responds to Trump, Calling Him a “Mentally Deranged Dotard”

On Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un responded to President Trump’s United Nations address in the pair’s escalating nuclear rhetoric, saying in a statement that Trump would “pay dearly” for his speech where the president referred to Kim as “Rocket Man” and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” Kim continued in a statement released by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Whoa, whoa, whoa—let’s pause for a moment before President Trump squeezes a tweet in. First, fair play, that was kind of a sick burn there. Didn't think you had that in you. I was just thinking it was time someone hauled dotard back into the vernacular.

I would feel a bit better about the two nations’ ability to communicate if one of the leaders wasn’t using Google translate to use words the other clearly doesn’t know. Next time, just write that bad boy in Korean. We’ve got folks who can translate it. They’ll send it to the rest of us. The North Koreans, however, traditionally issue these statements in English, which, over the years, the quirky corpus has turned into a genre of the language all its own. (For more about why North Korea’s statements sound as wacky, but strangely familiar as they do, check out Daniel Engber’s Slate explainer here.)

For extra authenticity, the Korean state news agency published the statement along with a photo of Kim Jong-un sitting at a desk holding some papers. Nice touch.

Just sayin'.

The statement—discarding the specter of nuclear war (obvs)—is pretty much nonsensical. Here’s the opening line: “The speech made by the U.S. president in his maiden address on the UN arena in the prevailing serious circumstances, in which the situation on the Korean peninsula has been rendered tense as never before and is inching closer to a touch-and-go state, is arousing worldwide concern.” Who’s a maiden?

There is something strangely poetic about the North Korean English turn of phrase.

Shaping the general idea of what he would say, I expected he would make stereo-typed, prepared remarks a little different from what he used to utter in his office on the spur of the moment as he had to speak on the world's biggest official diplomatic stage.

Go on.

But, far from making remarks of any persuasive power that can be viewed to be helpful to defusing tension, he made unprecedented rude nonsense one has never heard from any of his predecessors.

Yes, yes he did “make unprecedented rude nonsense.” I had not thought to describe it like that before you said it right there.

A frightened dog barks louder.

Than? A normal, chill dog?

I’d like to advise Trump to exercise prudence in selecting words and to be considerate of whom he speaks to when making a speech in front of the world.

Good note.

The mentally deranged behavior of the U.S. president openly expressing on the UN arena the unethical will to “totally destroy” a sovereign state, beyond the boundary of threats of regime change or overturn of social system, makes even those with normal thinking faculty think about discretion and composure.

Hmm … I thought I knew where you were going with this and what you were talking about halfway through.

His remarks remind me of such words as “political layman” and “political heretic” which were in vogue in reference to Trump during his presidential election campaign.

The good old days.

After taking office Trump has rendered the world restless through threats and blackmail against all countries in the world. He is unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country, and he is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician.

I mean, the syntax is a bit icky, but not too far off base as far as geopolitical analysis goes.

His remarks which described the U.S. option through straightforward expression of his will have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last ... Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say.

And the finale:

I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue.
Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.
I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.

Good imagery. If we weren’t talking about nuclear war this would be “ha ha” funny not “terrifying” funny.

Sept. 21 2017 8:02 PM

Today in Conservative Media: Kimmel vs. Kilmeade

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A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.

Conservatives focused their fire on Jimmy Kimmel again on Thursday after his response to criticisms of his commentary on Graham-Cassidy by right-wing voices like Fox’s Brian Kilmeade, who he claimed “kisses my ass like a little boy meeting Batman” when they see each other:

[Kilmeade] follows me on Twitter. He asked me to write a blurb for his book, which I did. He calls my agent, looking for projects. He’s dying to be a member of the Hollywood elite. The only reason he’s not a member of the Hollywood elite is because nobody will hire him to be one.
And, you know, the reason I’m talking about this is because my son had an open-heart surgery and has to have two more, and because of that I learned there are kids with no insurance in the same situation.
I don’t get anything out of this, Brian, you phony little creep. Oh, I’ll pound you when I see you.

RedState’s Brandon Morse compared the reception of Kimmel’s threat to the criticism of the Blaze’s Dana Loesch several months ago after calling for the New York Times to be ‘fisked’ in an NRA ad. “Do you hear the cacophony of outrage over threatened physical violence coming from the same places that attacked Loesch for not threatening anyone?” he asked. “Me either. The rules seem to be that if you lean to the right, and you come on strong, then you’re a violent villain who needs to watch what comes out of your yapper. If you lean left, however, you can say whatever violent thing you want.”

Kilmeade responded to Kimmel on Fox:

Hope your son gets better. I hope your son gets all the care he needs. I’m glad you’re interested. You’re doing a great job bringing he dialogue out. But you should actually do what we’re doing. Talk to the people that wrote it—Senator Graham, Senator Cassidy ... and we’ll see where we go from here.

Hot Air’s Allahpundit faulted Sen. Bill Cassidy for starting Kimmel’s commentary after saying that an Obamacare replacement would have to pass the “Jimmy Kimmel test” and ensure a child with congenital heart disease would be able to recieve all the care they would need in the first year of life:

That was political malpractice on two levels. One: You don’t make any single person the moral arbiter of your legislation, especially a celebrity. Whatever Kimmel’s broader ideological leanings, he was destined to come under heavy pressure from his industry to attack any repeal bill the GOP offered. It was especially stupid of Cassidy to hand that power to a comedian, as the odds of a comic defending Republicans in their effort to undo the biggest part of Obama’s legacy were exactly zero. The whole thing is as ridiculous as if Obama had announced an “Adam Sandler test” for whether the Iran nuclear deal passed muster.
Two: The “Jimmy Kimmel test” is in keeping with Cassidy’s wider view of health-care reform, but that view isn’t shared by many members of his own party.

In other news:

Multiple outlets ran posts on Bush-era figure Valerie Plame Wilson’s tweeting of an anti-Semitic article about neoconservatives called “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” “Scratch a leftist and you inevitably find a raving, frothing anti-Semite just waiting to get out,” said the RedState writer known as Streiff. “But it is rare indeed when one of them waves as points to themselves and declares their Jew-hatred. That happened today on Twitter. The protagonist is the former faux deep cover, non-official cover CIA ANALYST (yeah, try to figure out how that worked) Valerie Plame who was ‘outed’ by Colin Powell’s minime Richard Armitage but somehow resulted in Scooter Libby getting a felony conviction.” The Washington Free Beacon highlighted a fundraiser Plame Wilson held for the Clinton campaign, while the Federalist’s Bre Payton noted other times she’d tweeted similar articles by the same author. “In 2015, she shared a link to a post criticizing the role of Jewish people serving in Congress,” Payon wrote. “In 2014, Plame Wilson tweeted a link to an article by the same author entitled: “Why I Dislike Israel.”

Sept. 21 2017 4:56 PM

Marriott Refuses to Cancel Conference Booked by Anti-Muslim Hate Group

One of the largest anti-Muslim grassroots hate groups in the United States, Act for America, is hosting its annual conference on Oct. 2–3 in Arlington, Virginia, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel. ACTCON2017 strives to be a massive gathering of people from across the country to strategize how to fight the “leftist Islamic coalition,” which is “waging war against the rule of law,” according to the group’s founder, Brigitte Gabriel.

The group Muslim Advocates, a civil rights organization, sent Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson, a letter on Sept. 11 urging his company to cancel the hotel’s commitment to host ACTCON2017. As the letter points out, Marriott states on its website that “diversity and inclusion is fundamental to our core values and strategic business goals,” which, one would think, might include not hosting a group that works to advance hate speech and anti-Muslim legislation.

Watch the full ACTCON promotional video:

Act for America said in a statement to Slate that Muslim Advocates are unfairly portraying the group as racist, noting that there will be a Palestinian, a Jewish person, and other underrepresented minorities speaking at the conference.

Act for America was behind the more than 20 anti-Muslim protests, dubbed “March Against Sharia,” held across the country during Ramadan this year, where participants, some of whom were armed, marched down streets and in front of mosques with the aim of opposing Islamic law and the presence of Muslims in the United States. The Facebook pages for March Against Sharia were likewise statured with calls for violence toward, and even murdering, Muslims.

But, as a spokesperson from Marriott confirmed for Slate, the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington will not be canceling its hosting. “We are a hospitality company that provides public accommodations and function space,” said the spokesperson. “Acceptance of business does not indicate support or endorsement of any group or individual.”

Marriott’s decision to host ACTCON is particularly curious given the company’s 2010 decision to cancel its hosting of American Renaissance, a white nationalist conference. Sorenson, the CEO of Marriott, previously noted that President Trump’s travel ban focusing on six Muslim-majority countries was broadly perceived as “a big deal” in the Middle East and that “the symbolism is wrong.”

Marriott recently started a new ad campaign called “Golden Rule,” which appears to promote a theme of treating every person with equality and dignity. One of the advertisements, for example, starts with images of strangers helping each other and the line: “It would be great if human beings were great at being human and if all of mankind were made up of kind women and kind men.”

This decision from Marriott comes after Airbnb decided last month to boot off its platform several white supremacists and neo-Nazis who booked nights at homes in Charlottesville, Virginia, for after-parties following the Unite the Right rally. After Airbnb stopped working with the organizers of the Unite the Right rally, which was largely being organized on the alt-right website the Daily Stormer, other online businesses decided to stop doing business with the the Daily Stormer as well, on account of the rampant hate speech hosted there, which violates many web companies’ terms of service. GoDaddy, Cloudflare, and Google all stopped worked with the Daily Stormer.* Later, numerous other web companies, like Spotify, PayPal, and OkCupid, all made efforts to remove accounts of individuals or groups that forward hate speech, too. These decisions give Marriott plenty of social and political cover if it would decide to stop providing a forum for Act for America. But Marriott isn’t using it.

*Correction, Sept. 21, 2017, at 5:15 p.m.: This article originally misspelled Cloudflare's name.

Sept. 21 2017 4:19 PM

Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: Voters Bump Trump for Repub Dump

The Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative daily estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump leaves office before his term ends, whether by being impeached (and convicted) or by resigning under threat of same.

Our man's approval rating is soaring! Per FiveThirtyEight's approval poll aggregator, he's almost up to the point of being a regular unpopular president rather than a historically despised one:

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Screenshot/FiveThirtyEight

Wha' happen? A new NBC/WSJ poll indicates that the public was impressed when Trump rejected the typical Republican approach to budgeting—namely, shutting down the government for no reason while threatening to create an economic catastrophe by defaulting on the national debt—in favor of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer's plan to not do that:

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Not ruining things on purpose is apparently a better political move than praising the patrons of a white-power torch rally as "some very fine people." Who knew?

Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo. Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images, Drew Angerer/Getty Images, and Peter Parks-Pool/Getty Images.

Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo. Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images, Drew Angerer/Getty Images, and Peter Parks-Pool/Getty Images.

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