Sunday, the Oscars may finally give Britain a chance to celebrate — that is, if Olivia Colman, nominated for best actress for her role as Queen Anne in “The Favourite,” takes home the gold-plated statue. Kate Maltby wrote that
“here in Britain, we’ll be cheering like mad for a national treasure. Come on Hollywood, take pity on our Brexit-plagued island, and give us this win.” Of course, that would mean beating out Glenn Close, currently favored by many to win for her role in “The Wife.”
But just as soon as the Oscars come to a close, we will be jostled back to the world of American presidential politics. On Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the latest candidate to declare his 2020 presidential bid, participates in a CNN town hall. And CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer believed
Democrats could benefit from taking note as to what has made Sanders so appealing — beginning with the mandate to “build a movement, not a campaign.”
While Trump wished Sanders well as a fellow rival of Hillary Clinton’s in his 2016 run, it’s unlikely the President will have too much time to focus on the Democratic candidates this week, as he heads to Vietnam for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
, Professor of International History at Cambridge University, saidin an exchange
with CNN military and diplomatic analyst John Kirby
that there are pros and cons to hosting summits. “Yes, political leaders can cut through the red tape and the roadblocks imposed by lower-level bureaucrats. But they can also overreach themselves by making promises that experts would consider ill-informed and misguided,” said Reynolds. And given Trump’s propensity for going off script, it’d be wise to keep expectations low.
The plot thickens
Though Trump may be thousands of miles away, his legal challenges at home continue to mount. CNN legal analyst Elie Honig wrote
in his weekly column, if the latest New York Times reporting, alleging that Trump may have tried to influence which Southern District of New York prosecutor oversaw the Michael Cohen probe, proves true, Trump legal woes may grow. As a former prosecutor, Honig added, “I’ve charged and tried obstruction of justice cases. If this isn’t an attempt to obstruct, then I don’t know what is.”
Of course, this isn’t the first Trump legal story to set off an alarm in Washington. McCabe, in a “60 Minutes” interview this week, said
that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein broached the idea of recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. (Rosenstein has denied making such a suggestion.)
, a professor at Youngstown State University, was baffled
by the admission that two top government officials could potentially “think for even a moment that invoking the 25th Amendment was a plausible way” to remove Trump — especially since the process must be initiated by Vice President Mike Pence (who appears to remain a fierce Trump loyalist). And Trump himself weighed in on Twitter, accusing both McCabe and Rosenstein of treasonous activity.
The challenges to Trump’s presidency could only get worse this week when Michael Cohen testifies publicly before Congress on Wednesday.
While Josh Campbell has said
he isn’t in the business of making predictions, he thinks Mueller will ultimately “not move against the President” and instead uphold existing Department of Justice protocol to not indict a sitting president. Campbell cautioned that just because Mueller doesn’t bring a case against Trump, doesn’t mean he won’t lay out “a compelling case for looking upon many of Trump’s actions as highly questionable.”
And Neal Katyal
, acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama, added
in The New York Times that if the report is “anything less than a full clearing of the president: Congress would be under a constitutional obligation to investigate the facts for itself.”
Trying on new 2020 candidates just for fit
Sanders isn’t the only Democratic candidate making waves. This week, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota participated in a CNN town hall in New Hampshire, carving out a space for herself as a moderate and pragmatic Democrat. As Jill Filipovic
, a progressive Democrat, noted
, Klobuchar is a worthy foe for those on the left. “If she’s defeated from the left — and I believe she will be — it will be the confirmation and the mandate for true progress so many of us have been waiting for.”
Meanwhile, rumors continue to swirl around whether former Vice President Joe Biden will declare his candidacy soon. If Julian Zelizer
had anything to say about it, the answer would be a definitive no. He argued
that with such a diverse array of candidates already in the mix, Biden would do little to move the Democrats forward.
Diversity isn’t the only driving factor in the primaries. Karen Tumulty
, a Washington Post columnist, wrote
that the conversation around socialist and progressive ideals will play a critical role in determining the Democratic presidential nominee. That said, she cautioned that many of these proposals — from the Green New Deal to Medicare For All — are light on details, a sign that “the presidential contenders are not sweating the policy details because they understand that Democratic primary voters aren’t, either.”
Is it 2019 — or 1919?
It’s 2019, and one Alabama editor and publisher — Howard “Goodloe” Sutton — thought the Ku Klux Klan should ride again. While many dismissed Sutton as a fringe figure, Ashley M. Jones warned us
that this wasn’t just Alabama’s problem: “He is part of an American problem which has festered and bubbled since before 1776.” In other words, Sutton clings to bigoted ideas that many of America’s Founding Fathers did when they drafted the Constitution.
But Jones went one step further and said Sutton shouldn’t be “written off as just a man using free speech.” After all, his words are inciting violence against innocent Americans of color, and “how many black people have been free-speeched to death?”
AL.com’s Kyle Whitmire shared
Jones’ fear and frustration, though perhaps for slightly more personal reasons. Whitmire once worked for Sutton, and this editorial has called into question everything he thought he knew about his former boss.
Sutton could have made significant contributions to “Alabama’s Black Belt, long poisoned by poverty and racial oppression.” But instead, Whitmire wrote, “he let himself be eaten from the inside by hatred.”
The Jussie Smollett case
Sometimes racists aren’t the only hurdle in battling bigotry. This week, Chicago police charged “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett with disorderly conduct for falsely claiming he was attacked by two men in MAGA hats in January. Though his attorneys have promised an “aggressive defense,” the story raises a variety of uncomfortable questions, wrote LZ Granderson
. The hardest question is the what — “as in what do we do next?”
And, as the Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt wrote
, it’s critical we not lose sight of the fact that for every Smollett case, there are thousands of other indisputable hate crimes that “leave a lasting impact on the targeted victims and their communities.” In fact, he notes, hate crimes are on the rise — and we cannot let one case impact the many victims who may “seek justice in the future.”
Violence like this leaves scars, as Bill Hinkle reflected
about a homophobic attack he and his then-boyfriend endured in Los Angeles. “I’ve never considered myself a victim, although I guess I technically am,” reflected Hinkle, who said “every possible scenario” explaining Smollett’s behavior “saddens me”; “this event will be with him for the rest of his life, just like the scar on my chin will be with me.”
Misogyny on the runway and at City Hall
After the death of Karl Lagerfeld, a beloved and prolific designer, Hilary George-Parkin
wrote we should not gloss over the parts of his life and legacy that we do not like. “His opinions of women’s bodies were damaging, archaic and often misogynistic,” she said
. And as the fashion industry tries to make strides toward embracing a variety of shapes and sizes, it’s important to acknowledge that “there is still a long way to go” in countering the pernicious tropes about beauty that Lagerfeld helped to normalize.
But fashion isn’t the only industry plagued by misogyny. Christine Quinn argued
that the political sphere is just as bad. When she ran for New York mayor in 2013, she “made sure that everything from my hair to my clothes made me seem more ‘likable,’ approachable and classically feminine.” The result? Voters thought she was inauthentic, and she lost. Six years later, and with a number of female politicians entering the presidential race, she warned that the “same destructive dynamics” are at play.
You couldn’t stop sending Amazon stories. We couldn’t stop reading them
After Amazon withdrew its bid to put a new headquarters in New York, reactions were swift, furious and remarkably lacking in consensus. Last week, we asked CNN Opinion readers
for their take: Was the pullout an economic blow or a boon to the little guy? Your answer
came this week: all of the above — and then some. “It’s one of the cases where a small mob overrules the majority,” one reader said. “I stand with the Democrats in stopping uncontrollable corporate growth,” declared another. Thank you to the 500 readers who tried to provoke and persuade us!
A very personal take on vaccinations
From celebrities to politicians’ wives to President Trump himself
, it seems almost anyone is willing to question the science behind vaccines. But Elsa Sjunneson-Henry wrote
she is living proof of what happens when people do not take childhood vaccination seriously. Her mother was exposed to German measles while she was pregnant, a result of herd immunity failure. And Sjunneson-Henry was born with Congenital Rubella Syndrome
, which has resulted in cataracts, a heart defect, hearing loss and countless surgeries.
Though she is healthy today, Sjunneson-Henry is using her platform to advocate for childhood vaccination and against the false and dangerous claims that vaccines cause autism. As she wrote, she hopes “we remember that we came close to killing measles once, and we can do it for good if we work together to strengthen the herd.”
After this, science would never be the same
It’s nearly impossible to underestimate the significance of Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev’s discovery in 1869 — the periodic table of elements, wrote Don Lincoln
. Which is why it’s no surprise that UNESCO has designated this year as the 150th commemoration of the chart, which now has over 100 elements.
And lest you doubt the significance of the periodic table, Lincoln said, remember that it helps “explain everything that is familiar about the world. They explain water and rock and people. They explain how the air we breathe oxygenates our lungs. They explain how fires burn and why diamonds are what they are.”
So, raise a glass to Mendeleev!
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