Some malls will still have Santa visits during Christmas.
Some malls will still have Santa visits during Christmas.
President interrupts his allegations of a ‘rigged election’ to offer a message of support for Joe Biden
The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed two of President Donald Trump's picks for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), in a move that could secure a Republican majority on the panel through June. The Senate passed Mark Christie, a Republican, and Allison Clements, a Democrat, by voice vote to FERC, an independent panel of the Energy Department.
It's been four months since Congress' coronavirus relief bill expired, and the Senate and House still seem no closer to agreeing on a new one.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and the White House have debated for months over what to include in the next stimulus package, with Senate Republicans seeking a far smaller bill than Democrats. But McConnell said Monday that some Democrats are now willing to accept "half a loaf" rather than delay relief any longer, pushing the onus on Pelosi to bring a smaller package to the House.House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill months ago, while Senate Republicans have refused to accept a price tag anywhere close to that. But McConnell said Monday that "there is no reason" Congress shouldn't pass something by the end of the year, especially since some Democrats seem willing to accept Republicans' slimmer proposals; Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), for example, said Monday that "both sides are going to have to compromise."Pelosi also doesn't have quite the negotiating power she had before the 2020 election given that Democrats ended up losing seats in the House, McConnell added. He failed to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden will be bringing his Democratic administration to the White House in less than two months.While boosted unemployment insurance expired with the CARES Act at the end of July, unemployment benefits for some Americans may disappear altogether if a new bill isn't passed soon. Federal unemployment programs for people who aren't covered by traditional jobless benefits, as well as extended benefits for those who have exhausted state unemployment, are set to expire at the end of the year, along with an eviction moratorium and other provisions.More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation Chuck Grassley returns to Senate after COVID-19 infection, calls for 'long overdue relief legislation' How camp explains Trump
Europe must stand up for its values in its dealings with China, but given the country's sheer population and economic importance, there will always be a trade-off between the EU's values and its interests, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. "We must define our own European interests, and this also includes common ground (with China) on foreign policy, on economic policy and digital policy and many more," she said.
President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14.This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to Joe Biden on November 3.Behind in almost all the major polls, Trump stormed within a hair’s breadth in the key battlegrounds of winning reelection, and his unexpectedly robust performance helped put Republicans in a strong position for the post-Trump-presidency era. This is not nothing. But the president can’t stand to admit that he lost and so has insisted since the wee hours of Election Night that he really won -- and won “by a lot.”There are legitimate issues to consider after the 2020 vote about the security of mail-in ballots and the process of counting votes (some jurisdictions, bizarrely, take weeks to complete their initial count), but make no mistake: The chief driver of the post-election contention of the past several weeks is the petulant refusal of one man to accept the verdict of the American people. The Trump team (and much of the GOP) is working backwards, desperately trying to find something, anything to support the president’s aggrieved feelings, rather than objectively considering the evidence and reacting as warranted.Almost nothing that the Trump team has alleged has withstood the slightest scrutiny. In particular, it’s hard to find much that is remotely true in the president’s Twitter feed these days. It is full of already-debunked claims and crackpot conspiracy theories about Dominion voting systems. Over the weekend, he repeated the charge that 1.8 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania were mailed out, yet 2.6 million were ultimately tallied. In a rather elementary error, this compares the number of mail-ballots requested in the primary to the number of ballots counted in the general. A straight apples-to-apples comparison finds that 1.8 million mail-in ballots were requested in the primary and 1.5 million returned, while 3.1 million ballots were requested in the general and 2.6 million returned.Flawed and dishonest assertions like this pollute the public discourse and mislead good people who make the mistake of believing things said by the president of the United States.Elected Republicans have generally taken the attitude that the president should be able to have his day in court. It’s his legal right to file suits, of course, but he shouldn’t pursue meritless litigation in Hail Mary attempts to get millions of votes tossed out. This is exactly what he’s been doing, it’s why reputable GOP lawyers have increasingly steered clear, and it’s why Trump has suffered defeat after defeat in court.In its signature federal suit in Pennsylvania, the Trump team argued that it violated the equal-protection clause of the U.S. Constitution for some Pennsylvania counties to let absentee voters fix or “cure” their ballots if they contained an error while other counties didn’t. It maintained that it was another constitutional violation for Trump election observers not to be allowed in close proximity to the counting of ballots. On this basis, the Trump team sought to disqualify 1.5 million ballots and bar the certification of the Pennsylvania results or have the Pennsylvania General Assembly appoint presidential electors.By the time the suit reached the Third Circuit, it had been whittled down to a relatively minor procedural issue (whether the Trump complaint could be amended a second time in the district court). The Trump team lost on that question, and the unanimous panel of the Third Circuit (in an opinion written by a Trump appointee) made it clear that the other claims lacked merit as well. It noted that the suit contained no evidence that Trump and Biden ballots or observers were treated differently, let alone evidence of fraud. Within reason, it is permissible for counties to have different procedures for handling ballots, and nothing forced some counties to permit voters to cure flawed absentee ballots and others to decline to do so.Not that it mattered. The court pointed out that the suit challenged the procedures to fix absentee ballots in seven Democratic counties, which don’t even come close to having enough cured ballots to change the outcome in the state; the counties might have allowed, at most, 10,000 voters to fix their ballots, and even if every single one of them voted for Biden, that’s still far short of Biden’s 80,000-plus margin in the state.The idea, as the Trump team stalwartly maintains, that the Supreme Court is going to take up this case and issue a game-changing ruling is fantastical. Conservative judges have consistently rejected Trump's flailing legal appeals, and the justices are unlikely to have a different reaction.Trump’s most reprehensible tactic has been to attempt, somewhat shamefacedly, to get local Republican officials to block the certification of votes and state legislatures to appoint Trump electors in clear violation of the public will. This has gone nowhere, thanks to the honesty and sense of duty of most of the Republicans involved, but it’s a profoundly undemocratic move that we hope no losing presidential candidate ever even thinks of again.Getting defeated in a national election is a blow to the ego of even the most thick-skinned politicians and inevitably engenders personal feelings of bitterness and anger. What America has long expected is that losing candidates swallow those feelings and at least pretend to be gracious. If Trump’s not capable of it, he should at least stop waging war on the outcome.
France's State Council, the country's highest court, on Sunday ordered the government to review a law limiting the number of people in churches during religious services to 30. The Council said in a statement that the measure was not proportionate to coronavirus infection risks. Shops selling non-essential goods were allowed to reopen from Nov. 28 and indoor religious services were allowed to resume, but the number of worshippers was capped at 30 people, regardless of the size of the place of worship.
Gale-force winds lashed much of the northeastern U.S. on Monday, prompting tornado watches and flash-flood warnings. “Hold on to your hats!” the National Weather Service in Boston tweeted as gusts exceeding 50 mph (80 kph) and heavy rainfall bore down on a large swath of southern New England. More than 43,000 homes and businesses had lost power as of midafternoon in Massachusetts, mostly on Cape Cod, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.
Sincere Pierce, 18, was one of two teenage victims in the 13 November killing by a Brevard County deputy officer
He may have been a Founding Father, but John Adams could be every bit as petty as President Trump.Like Trump, Adams was turned out of the presidency after serving a single term; voters in the 1800 election instead selected his archrival, Thomas Jefferson. Adams skipped Jefferson's inauguration, and his Federalist Party allies rammed a series of last-minute judicial appointments through the Senate. Jefferson was understandably unhappy with the situation, and upon taking office ordered Secretary of State James Madison not to deliver the commissions that would allow some of the new "midnight judges" to take office. One of those appointees, William Marbury, brought a lawsuit. He ultimately lost. But the case, Marbuy vs. Madison, is remembered today as a key milestone in American history — the moment when the Supreme Court asserted its power to declare a law unconstitutional.There are two takeaways from this story. Despite the pride Americans have in the country's unbroken streak of peaceful presidential transitions, the handover of power from one chief executive to another has been a fraught affair from the earliest days of constitutional government. And messy transitions can sometimes alter the country's path in fateful ways.Those lessons may be more relevant than ever in 2020. After all, we don't really expect Trump to conduct himself with more decorum than John Adams, do we?Sure enough, Trump administration officials are doing everything they can to make life difficult for their successors when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated in January. While Trump himself refuses to concede that Biden won the election, his allies are pushing through new environmental regulations to hobble Biden's anti-pollution agenda, moving pandemic stimulus money out of Biden's reach, and racing to strip civil service protections from almost 90 percent of the federal workforce.That last item could be the most serious, as it potentially would give Trump the power to fire thousands of federal workers in the next few weeks — effectively sabotaging the new administration before it takes over.Trump "should not be making these changes, period, and certainly not changes this dramatic on [his] way out," Max Stier, president and chief executive of the Partnership for Public Service, told The Washington Post.These problems were inevitable. As I wrote a few weeks ago, now that networks have declared Biden the winner of the election, Trump has little to lose by behaving badly. The country is at the mercy of an outgoing president who knows how to make trouble.Logistics are partly to blame. The machinery of American government is huge, a multi-trillion dollar operation with millions of employees. Shifting power from one administration to the next is almost always a logistical nightmare. There are two-and-a-half months between Election Day and Inauguration Day, and new administrations typically need every minute of that time to get up-and-running. A same-day transition, as happens in the United Kingdom, may not be possible here. In the meantime, the outgoing president remains in power until January — even if, like Trump, he has been repudiated by voters.This doesn't have to be a problem, even when the White House is shifting from one party to the other. The seamless shift from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, for example, has been referred to as the "gold standard" of presidential transitions. But it does require the outgoing president to respect his successor, and the will of the American people. Clearly, that is not the case with Donald Trump and Joe Biden.It might be time to take a fresh look at how America does its presidential transitions. There is some historical precedent for this: The Great Depression prompted passage of "the Lame Duck Amendment" to the Constitution, moving the new president's inauguration from March to January. The process was refined, with an eye on national security, after the 9/11 attacks. There is room for further improvement. Even if transitions cannot be instantaneous, it is worth examining whether they can be shorter. And in the meantime, Congress might consider the possibility of banning "midnight rulemaking" by outgoing administrations after Election Day.Any changes will come too late to help Biden, which is a shame. Transitions are difficult, even in the best of times and with the best of departing presidents. Right now, neither condition applies in America.More stories from theweek.com Americans are choosing death over deprivation Chuck Grassley returns to Senate after COVID-19 infection, calls for 'long overdue relief legislation' How camp explains Trump