The nation's capital will have some interesting guest in August. The National Park Service has approved an initial request for organizers to hold a second "Unite the Right" rally. The rally will take place across the street from the White House. The first "Unite the Right" rall was held in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The park service has given initial approval to an application from Jason Kessler to hold a "white civil rights rally" on Aug. 11 and 12, as first reported by WUSA9. Kessler, along with white supremacist Richard Spencer and others, organized the 2017 rally, during which a woman was killed. The park service has not yet issued a permit for the event.
Last year in Charlottesville, white nationalists and supporters faced off in clashes with counterprotesters. A self-described neo-Nazi drove a car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring more than a dozen others.
President Trump drew fierce backlash after blaming "many sides" for the violence. Protesters came out in cities across the country the day after his remarks to condemn white supremacists.
Canada has legalized recreational marijuana use after the country's two legislative chambers approved the Cannabis Act Tuesday, the CBC reports.
The bill will allow Canadian provinces to control and regulate how marijuana can be grown, distributed and sold, and it's likely that sales will begin by the end of the summer. The Cannabis Act makes Canada the first Group of Seven nation, and the second country in the world (after Uruguay) to legalize marijuana for adults nationally.
The Cannabis Act still needs Royal Assent – the final step the Canadian legislative process – to become law, but that is expected to happen later this week. Built into the bill is an eight-to-12 week buffer period that will allow provinces to prepare for the recreational sale of marijuana. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet will set the official date on which the law will actually go into effect.
The Cannabis Act will make it legal for anyone over 18 to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, while adults will also be allowed to grow up to four marijuana plants at home. While the bill establishes a national framework for how the cannabis market will operate, each province will be allowed to set their own system of licensing and regulation.
President Donald Trump declared Monday (June 18) that he will move to make a new branch of the military. This branch be focused solely on defending US interest in space.
"I am hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces," Trump said during a meeting of the National Space Council.
"Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security," Trump said.
The idea of a "Space Force" isn't new for President Trump. He floated the idea during a March 13th speech detailing his national security strategy. The president described then how he had originally coined the term as a joke, while discussing U.S. government spending and private investment in space.
"We have the Air Force, we'll have the space force," Trump said in March.
In the National Defense Authorization Act, the House Armed Services Committee proposed last June the establishment of a space corps, a new branch of the military that would fall under the command of the Air Force. This branch's relationship to the Air Force would be similar to the Marine Corps' ties to the Navy. The space corps would have an area of responsibility that encompasses the vast expanse outside of the Earth's atmosphere.
At the time, the White House, the Air Force as well as Secretary of Defense James Mattis disapproved of creating a sixth branch of the military.
While the legislation passed the House, the space corps bid did not make it into the final defense authorization bill in November.
The addition of a service branch would be the first in 71 years. The Air Force is the nation's youngest branch and was added shortly after World War II.
As the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers prepare for game four of the 2018 NBA Finals, they will have one less thing to worry about once a champion is crowned. Which ever team wins the NBA title (probably the Warriors at this point) won't have to worry about planning a trip to Washington D.C. to visit the White House.
Earlier today (June 8) President Trump announced that neither team will be invited to the White House, should they win the championship. This is the second time in a week that the president has uninvited a professional sports team to the White House. On Tuesday of this week (June 5), President Trump revoked the invite to 2018 NFL Champion Philadelphia Eagles after learning that only a handful of players were willing to come. This time, Trump is saying that neither NBA team would be invited after both LeBron James and Steph Curry said they would most likely skip the visit.
The WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx never received an invitation to Trump’s White House. The team chose instead to commemorate its 2017 championship with a day of community service in Washington D.C.
Members of last year’s NHL champion Pittsburgh Penguins and Major League Baseball champion Houston Astros attended White House ceremonies over the past eight months. At least one member of the newly crowd NHL champion Washington Capitals has said he will not accept an invite from Trump.
“The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist,” Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly said.
Trump also dis-invited the Warriors from a White House visit that was never planned following their NBA title victory last season, one day after Curry declared, “I don’t want to go.” A handful of players, including 2017 Finals MVP Kevin Durant, were also on record saying they would not attend if invited.
In February of this year, just after the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the Trump administration established the School Safety Commission. Today (June 5), Education Secretary Betsy Devos has announced that the commission won't be looking at guns role in school violence, despite the over 20 school shooting this year so far.
DeVos was questioned Tuesday by lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Committee about the commission.
"Will your commission look at the role of firearms as it relates to gun violence in our schools?" Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked DeVos.
"That is not part of the commission's charge, per se," DeVos responded.
"I see," Leahy responded. "So, you're studying gun violence but not considering the role of guns."
"We're actually student school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe at school," DeVos said.
When President Trump established the Federal Commission on School Safety in March, he said that the group would "study and make recommendations" on a variety of topics, including age restrictions for certain firearm purchases. His directive also said the Justice Department would help provide firearm training for school personnel.
Leahy also pressed DeVos on whether she thinks 18-year-olds should be able to purchase AR-15 style rifles.
DeVos avoided answering the question directly, saying instead that Congress should continue to debate the issue.
DeVos said in March that "everything is on the table" for the commission's investigations.
The commission met for the first time last month, one day before the Santa Fe, Texas school shooting that left 10 people dead. The group is comprised of just four Republican members: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and DeVos.
Old habits die hard as the old saying goes, that saying rings true today for comedian/actress Roseanne Barr. The star of the hit ABC sitcom "Roseanne" saw her show get cancelled today as ABC reacted swiftly to racially insensitive rant that she posted earlier today (May 29) on Twitter. The show had just returned to the air after first leaving 20 years ago.
"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement.
Disney CEO Bob Iger added on Twitter that "There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing."
The cancellation stunned Hollywood. The revival of "Roseanne" premiered to huge ratings just three months ago. Pre-production was already underway on a second season, which was scheduled for Tuesdays at 8 p.m. this fall.
ABC/Disney aren't the only ones moving on from Roseanne. Barr's talent agency, ICM Partners, have also dropped her following her tweets.
"What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency," the agency said in a statement. "Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client."
If President Trump wants to continue using his Twitter account as a public forum, he must adhere to the First Amendment, which means no blocking other Twitter users, according to a court ruling Wednesday.
U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that Twitter serves as a “designated public forum” and is protected under the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights. Therefore, the judge added, their “exclusion” from the platform constitutes a breach of those rights.
The court rejected the argument from Trump’s lawyers that the president’s own First Amendment rights would be abridged if he was not allowed to block users.
In addition to the president, defendants named in the lawsuit include former White House communications director Hope Hicks, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and social media director Dan Scavino—the man thought to be behind much of Trump’s unusual social media behavior. However, Judge Buchwald excused Hicks and Sanders as defendants.
The Justice Department defended Trump’s Twitter activity, contending that muting is within the president’s “associational freedoms.” He may be president, the DOJ argued, but Trump still maintains a right to decide who he spends time with on the social media platform. A Justice Department spokeswoman said “We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision and are considering our next steps.”
The NFL on Wednesday approved a new policy to intercept national anthem protests before they happen, according to the league.
The measure mandates that players who are on the field must stand for the national anthem but can remain in the locker room if they choose.
Teams could be fined by the league if their players sit or kneel, as many have done in protest of racial injustice and police brutality in recent seasons after NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s initial kneeling protest in 2016 earned nationwide attention.
The fining or punishment of players and other personnel would be dictated by the individual teams.
The NFL Players Association criticized the league for failing to consult with the union on the matter.
“Our union will review the new ‘policy’ and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement,” the union said.
This article originally appeared on Huffpost.
Jemele Hill of ESPN has just been given one of the highest honors in her industry. The National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) have named her their "Journalist of the Year." The award is given annually to the a journalist “who has amassed a distinguished body of work with extraordinary depth, scope and significance to the people of the African Diaspora.”
The ESPN star, a former host of many major shows on the network including His & Hers and Sportscenter, is currently the Senior correspondent and columnist for ESPN’s The Undefeated. She will receive the Journalist Of The Year award at the NABJ Convention and Career Fair in her hometown of Detroit later this summer.
NABJ’s vice president of print Marlon A. Walker said Hill is the “epitome of what a black journalist should be.” The media organization has chosen to honor Hill for using her platform to address national, social and cultural issues while still talking about sports.
Last year was quite a ride for Ms. Hill. She found herself in hot water with some fans and many critics because of a few statements she made on athletes' right to be able to protest. Her statements brought criticism from some NFL owners as well as President Trump. Following the highly-publicized tweets, she stepped down from her 6 p.m. hosting spot on ESPN’s SportsCenter6 after the media company placed her on a two-week suspension. Despite being with ESPN for a little more than a decade, she has publicly said she has no regrets.
NABJ will present Hill with the award Aug. 4 at the NABJ Salute to Excellence Awards in Detroit.
The Senate approved a resolution Wednesday to nullify the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rollback, dealing a symbolic blow to the FCC’s new rule that remains on track to take effect next month.
The move overturns a decision by the FCC that unraveled Obama-era rules that prevent internet providers from slowing, blocking or charging extra fees for access. The measure moves to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, where it is expected to die.
The Senate voted 52-47 on the resolution. Three Republicans joined with Democrats—Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.