Welcome to the “Articles of the Week.” Here are the articles that caught our attention and may drive further conversation in the days ahead. These articles have relevance in the communications battle space and cover a variety of topics - PR advice/tricks of the trade, sports, national security, politics and plain old fun content.
Week of 9 - 13 March
1– Fighting Fear with Facts – Global Communications for Covid-19
By Debble Hindle, Blog
In a crisis, fear can be fought with facts.
The Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak means the world is facing a rapidly-spreading unknown disease, from an unknown source. The unknown generates fear and this is exactly what we experienced during the SARS outbreak in 2003. Today we share that fear even more rapidly through social media, but the communications skills we use to address concerns are still the same.
By Erica Pandey, Axios
Why it matters: The coronavirus is triggering a grand experiment: Remote work and remote learning have long been buzzwords, but the sudden switch to telecommuting en masse has the potential to accelerate shifts in how work is conducted and the way we think about it.
“The virus could act as a game-changer for remote work,” says Prithwiraj Choudhury, a professor at Harvard Business School.
The big picture: Telework isn’t a new concept. It can be a great way to bring new types of workers — including stay-at-home parents or people living in rural areas — into the fold, and it can save companies millions in real estate costs.
3- VA suspends GI Bill certifications for five universities over deceptive enrollment practices
By Dylan Gresik and Leo Shane III, Military Times
The Department of Veterans Affairs is suspending educational benefits for new students enrolling in programs at five universities, citing “erroneous, deceptive, or misleading” enrollment practices, Military Times has learned.
In an email to congressional offices, the VA identified University of Phoenix, Colorado Technical University, American InterContinental University, Bellevue University and Temple University as in violation of U.S. law which prohibits illegal “advertising, sales, or enrollment practices.”
4- Navy Needs Bigger Budget Than Other Services: Rep. Wittman
By Paul McLeary, Breaking Defense
A prominent lawmaker waded into the inter-service money wars today by calling for the Navy receiving a larger share of the budget than the other branches of the armed forces. The Army, Rep. Rob Wittman emphasized, can’t even deploy abroad without the Navy’s help.
“We need to look at the one-third, one-third, one-third allocation of defense dollars to all the different service branches,” said Wittman, the top Republican on the Democratic-controlled House Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee. (The actual allocation is a bit trickier than that, but it’s close).
5- Women's woeful C-suite representation
By Felix Salmon, Axios
Why it matters: Stagnant numbers of female CEOs don't mean that nothing is happening. Rather, they mean that boards continue to perpetuate their biased hiring practices.
By the numbers: The average tenure of a global CEO is now five years, which means that in a typical year about 100 of the CEO slots at Fortune Global 500 companies will be filled with someone new.
6– Why the Houston Astros' cheating scandal could be worse for MLB than the steroid era
By Howard Bryant, ESPN
Do Damage. That phrase emblazoned across sweatshirts during baseball's postseason the past few seasons came across as a longing, desperate attempt by marketing sloganeers to find some way, any way, for baseball to return to the cool, Madison Avenue merchandising game now dominated by the NBA. After Reggie, Fernando and Junior, this was a space baseball had left behind. Months removed from the disaster of the previous three Octobers -- at the hands of the Houston Astros, the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox via the Alex Cora-Carlos Beltran Houston connection -- the milky, homogenized Do Damage catchphrase has acquired an accidental urgency. It is suddenly true. So much damage has been done.
Defense & Aerospace Podcast [Friday Roundtable Mar. 13, 2020
On this Roundtable episode of the Defense & Aerospace Report Podcast, sponsored by Bell, we dedicate the entire session to discuss the numerous worldwide implications of the COVID-19 virus.
Our guests include Byron Callan of the independent equity research firm Capital Alpa Partners; Michael Herson, President and CEO, American Defense International, Todd Harrison, the director of defense budget analysis and the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Chris Skaluba, Director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council.
3Cs in a Pod: Credible Comms During the Corona Virus
Breaking from our normal format, our team focuses on one specific issue...communicating during a crisis...in this the Coronavirus.
We share our tips for reaching and maintaining credibility with your audience.
Whether coronavirus imposes a danger on your employees, clients and lines of business or you stand to profit from prevention and treatment endeavors, communicating clearly will help ensure you maintain trust and confidence through out.
1 – SXSW 2020 Canceled Amid Coronavirus Fears
By Elaine Low, Variety Magazine
SXSW has officially been canceled, amid growing fears over the spread of coronavirus. As of Friday afternoon, there have been 17 confirmed cases in Texas, where the annual entertainment, music and technology festival takes place.
Festival organizers shared the following statement online, adding that they are “devastated,” but will follow the City of Austin’s decision:
The City of Austin has cancelled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s directions.
2 – What's killing Staff Sergeant Wesley Black? The VA doesn't want to talk about it
By Brianna Keilar and Catherine Valentine, CNN
Black was 31 years old and had recently begun a new career as a firefighter. His wife had just given birth to their baby boy. Days before, they had signed the mortgage on their first home.
The colon cancer had spread to his liver and lungs and Black says doctors gave him three to five years to live. That was three years and one month ago.
Later, he learned burn pits used by the military to destroy trash in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Black had served in the Vermont National Guard, were to blame.
3 – It's fair to wonder what's really going on with Tiger Woods
By Bob Harig, ESPN
To panic seems extreme, but that and any all emotions surrounding Tiger Woods and his decision Friday to skip the Players Championship are certainly valid at this point.
Pull your hair out. Fret and fuss. Spew doom and gloom. Go dark. It's all fair when the subject is Tiger's back and his inability to play tournament golf.
He's been down this road too many times, with too many potholes along the way, to think of it as anything but worrisome.
4 - Beyond USS Ford: Navy Will Study Next-Generation Aircraft Carriers
The Future Carrier 2030 Task Force, which the service will announce next week, will study how carriers stack up against new generations of stealthy submarines and long-range precision weapons being fielded by China and Russia.
By Paul McLeary, Breaking Defense
The Navy is launching a deep dive into the future of its aircraft carrier fleet, Breaking Defense has learned, even as the Secretary of Defense, dissatisfied with current Navy plans, conducts his own assessment. The two studies clearly show the deepening concern over how China’s growing might and the Pentagon’s eroding budgets could affect the iconic, expensive supercarriers.
The Future Carrier 2030 Task Force, which the service plans to announce next week, will take six months to study how carriers stack up against new generations of stealthy submarines and long-range precision weapons being fielded by China and Russia. It comes at a fraught moment time for the fleet, as Defense Secretary Mark Esper has taken personal ownership over the service’s force planning while publicly lambasting the Navy’s deployment model as broken.
5 – Tom Hanks's new movie, Greyhound, speaks to American glory
By Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner
I'm excited for the upcoming Tom Hanks movie, Greyhound, the first trailer for which was released on Thursday, because it will speak to a moment in history that almost perfectly encapsulates American exceptionalism: the service of Americans to save strangers far away.
Based on the novel The Good Shepherd by the master of maritime fiction C.S. Forester, Greyhound follows a U.S. Navy convoy task force commander as he seeks to deliver aid to Britain and the fight against the Axis powers. It's a topic worthy of Hanks's attention. While convoy escorts in the Pacific theater also faced daunting threats, the tenacious skill of Kriegsmarine U-boat commanders made the Atlantic especially precarious. The Kriegsmarine's use of "Graue Wölfe" or "Grey Wolf" pack tactics often meant that convoys would face multiple submarines at the moment of attack. Just imagine being in the middle of a stormy ocean, surprised by multiple torpedoes incoming from multiple directions.
Tens of thousands of Allied sailors or merchant marine men were lost as a result of such tactics.
1 – A legendary woman, a trailblazer, an American hero -- Katherine Johnson
Opinion by Reshma Saujani, CNN.com
“When I'm traveling the world talking about Girls Who Code -- whether to a classroom full of girls or to others during a big speech -- there is one woman I always mention: NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, immortalized by Taraji P. Henson's portrayal in the film ‘Hidden Figures’ as one of the key participants who helped enable America's 20th century space program.
On February 24, 2020, at 101 years old, Katherine passed away. In truth, she was a hidden figure for too long. It wasn't until Hollywood released a movie based on a book by Margot Lee Shetterly that she came into the spotlight, and we really got to see all that she and her colleagues at NASA did to get us to space, to expand what was possible for America and for humanity.”
2 – Coronavirus "infodemic" threatens world's health institutions
By Eileen Drage O'Reilly, Axios
“The spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak is being matched, or even outrun, by the spread on social media of both unintentional misinformation about it and vociferous campaigns of malicious disinformation, experts tell Axios.
Why it matters: The tide of bad information is undermining trust in governments, global health organizations, nonprofits and scientists — the very institutions that many believe are needed to organize a global response to what may be turning into a pandemic.”
3 – How three pro-Hong Kong gamers protested their way into an international storm
By Paul Kix, ESPN
“CASEY CHAMBERS SEES it over breakfast in his dorm room, scrolling through his social feeds one October morning, a story so surprising he thinks, They wouldn't actually do this. ‘They’ being Blizzard Entertainment, the American company that makes some of the world's most beloved video games. "This" being Blizzard's apparent ban of Blitzchung, a professional Hearthstone player from Hong Kong who two days ago shouted, after a livestreamed match, ‘Liberate Hong Kong! The revolution of our age!’
Yet it appears they had, in fact, done this. Blizzard had banned Blitzchung from playing Hearthstone for a year and reclaimed his prize money.”
4 - Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis
By Martin Reeves, Nikolaus Lang and Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak, Harvard Business Review
“The Covid-19 crisis has now reached a new critical phase where public health systems need to act decisively to contain the growth in new epicenters outside China.
Clearly, the main emphasis is and should be on containing and mitigating the disease itself. But the economic impacts are also significant, and many companies are feeling their way towards understanding, reacting to, and learning lessons from rapidly unfolding events. Unanticipated twists and turns will be revealed with each news cycle, and we will only have a complete picture in retrospect.”
5 - Friends of David Forney fight in his memory at Brigade Boxing Championships
By Bill Wagner, Capital Gazette
“David Forney loved the Brigade Boxing Championships.
Forney, who was a heavyweight wrestler for two seasons at Georgetown Prep, loved the mano a mano nature of the sport and felt a responsibility to root for the boxers in his company.
After 9th Company mate Jake Clary came away victorious in the first boxing match of his career during the event known as the “Plebe Smoker,” the 6-foot-3, 300-pound football player may have been more excited than his 119-pound classmate.”
1 - National newspapers thrive while local outlets struggle to survive
By Sara Fisher, Axios
The inequity between giants like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and their local counterparts represents a growing problem in America as local communities no longer have the power to set the agenda for the news that most affects them.
2 - Beijing’s Great Leap Backward
Expelling Wall Street Journal reporters returns China to a darker age.
By Bret Stephens, New York Times
Several years ago, in an overheated room in Beijing, I was forced to endure a stern lecture from a Chinese foreign ministry official. My sin: As the editor at The Wall Street Journal responsible for the paper’s overseas opinion sections, I had apparently insulted the entire Chinese people by publishing the work of a “well-known terrorist” — the courageous Uighur human-rights activist Rebiya Kadeer.
3 - John Solomon columns on Ukraine ripped in newspaper’s internal investigation for conflicts and distortions
By Paul Farhi - Washington Post
In effect, the Hill said Solomon amplified an inaccurate and one-sided narrative about the Bidens and Ukraine that was fed to him by Giuliani, “facilitated” by businessman Lev Parnas, who was working with Giuliani at the time, and reinforced by Solomon’s own attorneys, who also represented clients embroiled in U.S.-Ukraine politics.
4 - The Crookedest Team in Baseball History
The Houston Astros cheated their way to a World Series title—and mostly got away with it.
By Rick Reilly, Author of Commander in Cheat
I want to attend every Houston Astros game this season with a trash-can lid and bang it every time one of their sign-stealing cheatballs comes to bat. I want to find Commissioner Rob Manfred and pelt him with Stay Puft marshmallows for his pillowy-soft punishment of the most crooked team in baseball history. Chicago Black Sox? Please. That scandal was eight players in one series. This was the whole team, and coaches, for two full seasons.
5 - China tests its soft power in Southeast Asia amid coronavirus outbreak
By Keith Zhai and Patpicha Tanakasempipat, Reuters
According to a draft joint statement seen by Reuters, both ASEAN and China emphasized the “growing urgency and need for cooperation” in combating the virus outbreak and agreed to strengthen “risk communication”.
1 – Massive Fleet Changes Loom As Navy Briefs SecDef Esper
By Paul McLeary, Breaking Defense, 11 Feb 2020
“Congress can’t want a bigger and stronger fleet more than the Navy and Marine Corps want a bigger and stronger fleet,” Rep. Mike Gallagher, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said today. “There’s a lot of confusion about the budget.”
That 2021 budget request has already come under fire from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and was labeled “dead on arrival” by Rep. Joe Courtney, chair of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee.
The proposal calls for a $4 billion reduction from last year’s shipbuilding budget, and asks Congress for $3 billion less overall from 2020, part of an overall reduction of 11 ships the Navy had planned to buy by 2025.
2 – Chairman of Iowa Democratic Party resigns after caucus catastrophe
By Adam Levy, Paul LeBlanc and Jeff Zeleny, CNN, February 12, 2020
“His resignation comes more than a week after the Iowa caucuses, marred by faulty technology and arcane rules, descended into chaos.
The state's treasured first-in-the-nation contest fell into turmoil as the reporting methods for the nearly 1,700 precincts broke down, halting the emergence of a clear winner and forcing a slow rollout of partial results. It took the party days to release the full count of votes and multiple campaigns highlighted errors in those counts after they were released, prompting the state party to agree to a partial recanvass of the results.”
3 - The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President
How new technologies and techniques pioneered by dictators will shape the 2020 election
By McKay Coppins, The Atlantic Magazine, March 2020
“After the 2016 election, much was made of the threats posed to American democracy by foreign disinformation. Stories of Russian troll farms and Macedonian fake-news mills loomed in the national imagination. But while these shadowy outside forces preoccupied politicians and journalists, Trump and his domestic allies were beginning to adopt the same tactics of information warfare that have kept the world’s demagogues and strongmen in power.”
4 - Transparency Is Killing Congress
Every institution needs an inner life—a sanctum where its work is really done.
By Yuval Levin, The Atlantic, February 9, 2020
Congress isn’t doing its job. That much has become painfully clear in this century. Legislation barely moves, the budget process has not functioned properly in years, members of both parties are frustrated with their leaders, and the institution has long been surrendering its power to administrative agencies, presidents, and judges. But if Congress isn’t doing its job, just what exactly is it doing? Members aren’t sitting around. Their lives are frantic and intense. But how might we describe what they are busy with?
For one hint, consider Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s decision to launch a daily podcast for the duration of the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Trump. As his co-host, the conservative commentator Michael Knowles, put it on the first day of the trial: “Each night, the senator will head straight from the Capitol to our studio to give you a behind-the-scenes look into the impeachment trial and so much more.” The show, unironically entitled “Verdict With Ted Cruz,” soon topped the political-podcast rankings.
5 – The U.S. Navy is spending millions plotting the drone-enabled fleet of 2045
By: David B. Larter, Defense News, 13 Feb 2020
The US Navy is requesting $21.5 million to fund a continuing study on what the Navy will look like in 2045 once its fleet of Ticonderoga-class cruisers and many of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers no longer rules the waves, according to budget documents released February 10.
The bulk of the requested funding will go toward future surface combatant studies that are funded this year to the tune of $33 million.
6 - Everything you need to know about MLB's sign-stealing scandal
By Bradford Doolittle, Jeff Passan and David Schoenfield, ESPN.com, 12 Feb 2020
Major League Baseball's sign-stealing saga is the biggest scandal in the sport since the steroid era.
As the fallout continues from the league's investigation and subsequent punishment of the Houston Astros -- along with its ongoing investigation of the Boston Red Sox – ESPN breaks down the latest penalties and revelations, and what they mean for the game going forward.
1 – Iowa Caucus Creates Historic Crisis for Iowa Democratic Party
By Nicole Schuman, PR Newswire
“Remember the simplicity of hanging chads?
It seems like 20 minutes ago, instead of 20 years that electoral mishaps corralled themselves within the state of Florida. Iowa made its mark on political history Monday evening. The Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) failed to deliver same-day Iowa Caucus results, a benchmark for those campaigning, and the first chance to win delegates toward the presidential nomination in July.”
2- Kobe Bryant's death transcends other news
By Neal Rothschild, Sara Fischer - Axios
“The tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna became one of the most talked-about news events of the social media era, according to data from NewsWhipprovided exclusively to Axios.
Why it matters: More people have engaged with the story over the past week than nearly every other major news story combined — illustrating that what breaks through in a saturated, splintered media landscape is unexpected, emotional news.
By the numbers: In the week after the Jan. 26 helicopter accident, stories about Kobe and Gianna generated 208 million interactions on social media — more than coronavirus, impeachment, the Super Bowl, the Iowa caucuses and the Grammys combined.”
3- The Environmental Burden of Generation Z
Kids are terrified, anxious and depressed about climate change. Whose fault is that?
By Jason Plautz, Washington Post Magazine
“The teenagers pour off buses near Denver’s Union Station under a baking September sun. Giggling with excitement at skipping out on Friday classes, they join a host of others assembled near the terminal. Native American drummers and dancers rouse the crowd, and there’s a festive feeling in the air. But this is no festival. The message these young people have come to send to their city, to their state, to the nation — to the world of adults — is serious. Deadly serious. “We won’t die from old age,” reads one of the signs they hoist above their heads. “We’ll die from climate change.”
4 – Key takeaways from Trump's State of the Union address
By Zachery Basu, Axios
“An impeached President Trump struck a defiant and hyperbolic tone in his third State of the Union address on Tuesday night, a day before he's set to be acquitted by the Senate.
Inside the room: Tension permeated the House chamber from the outset. Trump snubbed a handshakefrom Speaker Nancy Pelosi, only to be met with a retaliatory slight of his own when Pelosi failed to apply the honorific language typically used to introduce presidents at joint sessions of Congress.
As Trump concluded his speech, Pelosi ripped up the transcript of his remarks. Trump exited the chamber without shaking her hand.”
5– Chinese Media Is Selling Snake Oil to Fight the Wuhan Virus
So-called traditional Chinese medicine will do more harm than good in fighting the crisis.
by James Palmer, Foreign Policy
“As the new coronavirus continued its march across China this weekend, Xinhua, the nation’s official news service, advised a worried public to turn to herbal medicine. Shuanghuanglian, an oral remedy, sold out in stores across the country.
The impetus for the Xinhua article came from a study supposedly conducted by two institutions, the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, using the principles of what the state calls traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a major part of the Chinese medical system.
State-backed TCM doesn’t include all traditional medical practices, it’s a very specific, state-backed set of treatments, theories, and drugs, many of which were invented in the 20th century.”
1 - Pompeo Called Me a ‘Liar.” That’s Not What Bothers Me.
By Mary Louise Kelly - NPR
Ask journalists why they do the job they do, and you’ll hear a range of answers. Here’s mine: Not every day, but on the best ones, we get to put questions to powerful people and hold them to account. This is both a privilege and a responsibility.
2 - What Happens When The News Is Gone?
By Charles Bethea - New Yorker
“I don’t care what you do, there’s always going to be someone that shows up saying, ‘I didn’t know about this.’ Because people want to be spoon-fed. And I’ve also learned over the years that no matter how much you publicize, how much you print, how much you provide, most people—not all, but most—don’t read it.” One of his expressions, he told me, is “Most people don’t want to be confused with the facts.”
3 - Echo Chambers Are Getting Worse
By Sara Fischer - Axios.com
The big picture: It's not just news that polarizes us — it's our culture, too. Other studies out over the past year that suggest that the trend extends beyond news and information to entertainment and leisure.
4 - ABC Suspends Reporter for Inaccurate Report on Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash: TRAINA THOUGHTS
By Jimmy Traina - Sports Illustrated
"Reporting the facts accurately is the cornerstone of our journalism,” an ABC News representative said to the L.A. Times. “As he acknowledged on Sunday, Matt Gutman’s initial reporting was not accurate and failed to meet our editorial standards.”
5 - Trump allies are handing out cash to black voters
By Ben Schreckinger
The organizers say the events are run by the book and intended to promote economic development in inner cities. But the group behind the cash giveaways is registered as a 501(c)3 charitable organization. One leading legal expert on nonprofit law said the arrangement raises questions about the group’s tax-exempt status, because it does not appear to be vetting the recipients of its money for legitimate charitable need.
1 – Engagement isn’t Viewership
By Kendall Baker, Axios
“The NBA has embraced social media as a way to drive fan engagement, and it's working. Problem is, "engagement" isn't "viewership," and what plays well on social media doesn't necessarily make fans want to tune in to the games.
Driving the news: In the two months since we were first made aware of the NBA's declining TV ratings, all kinds of theories have been posed to explain the dip.”
2 – America's hardest places to grow up
By Erica Pandey, Axios
“The big picture: In a new report, researchers at Brandeis University used several factors — such as poverty rate, employment statistics and acres of green space — to assign opportunity scores (ranging from 1 to 100) to all 72,000 neighborhoods in the country.
The hardest place to grow up is Bakersfield, California, where more than half of residents under 18 live in low-opportunity neighborhoods. The best is Madison, Wisconsin.
Cities in the South generally have lower scores than those in the Northeast.”
3 - What does impeachment show the world? America’s stability.
By David Ignatius, Washington Post
“Since Watergate, presidents and their aides have warned that impeachment is destabilizing to foreign policy. But history suggests otherwise. Presidential scandals create uncertainty abroad, but the impeachment process itself seems to bring clarity and resolution.
Keep this lesson in mind this week as the Senate begins its trial of President Trump. The president’s advocates will argue (as he himself has already) that impeachment and trial are harmful to America’s image abroad and derail normal foreign policy. But the evidence doesn’t support that dire view.”
4 - Naming a future flattop after Doris Miller was right and just
By Capt. Lawrence Brennan (retired), Navy Times
“A future U.S. Navy aircraft carrier will be named Doris Miller, the first African American sailor to receive the Navy Cross for heroism during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
It’s not the first warship to honor the warrior cook. On June 30, 1973, the Knox-class destroyer escort Miller was commissioned. Two years later, the warship was reclassified as a frigate and served through the Cold War, a constant reminder to the fleet of his heroism.”
5 - This is why you should have your own personal communication style
To be an effective communicator, a leader must have good emotional intelligence—and follow these few simple steps.
By Stephanie Vozza, Fast Company
“When it comes to most problems, you can often trace the root cause to a breakdown in communication. Something said the wrong way, or not at all, can lead to assumptions that create unnecessary challenges. So wouldn’t it be great if more of us focused on improving our personal communication style?
‘The people who are good communicators also have intellectual and emotional intelligence,’ says Jack Modzelewski, author of Talk is Chief: Leadership, Communication, and Credibility in a High-Stakes World. ‘They’re very in tune with others, whether they’re talking to one person, a small group, or an audience of many.’”
6 - Baseball’s Existential Crisis
By Doug Glanville, New York Times
“We all search for relevance. To a baseball player, it often begins in a dream. My dream was brought to life in any game against my big brother in Wiffle ball. The bases were always loaded, there were always two outs and the big game was forever on the line. It was about more than just being the hero. It was about reaching the pinnacle of the sport.
In baseball, that pinnacle is the World Series. And it is not just a matter of getting there. You need to win it. What are you willing to do to be relevant?”
1 - New Mets manager Beltrán out amid sign-stealing scandal
By Mike Fitzpatrick - AP
Beltrán told the New York Post in a text message he was “not aware of that camera.” He told The Athletic the Astros “took a lot of pride” in studying pitchers via computer before games but insisted “that is the only technology that I use.” He said he didn’t consider his actions cheating.
2 - Trump’s trial begins, senators vowing ‘impartial justice’
By Lisa Mascaro - AP
Eventual acquittal is expected in the Republican-controlled Senate. However, new revelations are mounting about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.
The Government Accountability Office said Thursday that the White House violated federal law in withholding the security assistance to Ukraine, which shares a border with hostile Russia.
3 - DHS has requested Pentagon assistance to build 270 miles of border wall
By Ryan Browne and Geneva Sands - CNN
In order to pay for hundreds of miles of additional border wall, the Defense Department will likely have to divert funds from other military accounts in order to provide adequate funding, something it did previously to pay for $2.5 billion of wall that was authorized via the counter drug account. There is a relatively small amount of money in the Pentagon's counter-drug account.
4 - U.S. chief justice faces unfamiliar glare of spotlight at Trump trial
By Lawrence Hurley - Reuters
His hand shaking slightly as he held a sheet of paper, Roberts then swore in the senators as jurors. The senators raised their right hands and swore to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.”
5 - New Orleans police issue arrest warrant for Browns' Odell Beckham Jr.
By Jake Trotter, ESPN
"We are aware of the situation regarding Odell Beckham Jr. interacting with LSU student-athletes and others unaffiliated with the team following the championship game Monday night," the LSU statement said. "Initial information suggested bills that were exchanged were novelty bills. Information and footage reviewed since shows apparent cash may have also been given to LSU student-athletes.
1 - Black Britons Know Why Meghan Markle Wants Out
It’s the racism.
By Afua Hirsch – New York Times
“The British press has succeeded in its apparent project of hounding Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, out of Britain. The part it perhaps didn’t bargain for, however, is the loss of Prince Harry — a much loved royal and a key part of the family’s global brand — along with her.
In a statement released this week, the couple said they want to ‘carve out a progressive new role’ within the royal family and will ‘step back as senior members, and work to become financially independent.’”
2 - 2020 could be a defining year for the cannabis industry
By Alicia Wallace, CNN Business
“2019 was a momentous year for the cannabis industry: Hemp-derived CBD had a heyday, Illinois made history, California got sticky, vapes were flung into flux, and North American cannabis companies received some harsh wake-up calls.
2020 is gearing up to be an even more critical year.”
3 - For a Larger Fleet: An Open Letter to the President
By Bryan McGrath
CDR Salamander – Blog
“A larger fleet will not build itself - especially a reach through the headwinds of the next decade to 355. To do so will not just take words, it will take vision, leadership, and substantial investment. Nothing will happen without strong consistent Presidential leadership, supporting senior personnel, and emphasis that this is a priority.”
4 - Trump Has Made Us All Stupid
The decline of discourse in the anti-Trump echo chamber.
By David Brooks – New York Times
“Donald Trump is impulse-driven, ignorant, narcissistic and intellectually dishonest. So you’d think that those of us in the anti-Trump camp would go out of our way to show we’re not like him — that we are judicious, informed, mature and reasonable.
But the events of the past week have shown that the anti-Trump echo chamber is becoming a mirror image of Trump himself — overwrought, uncalibrated and incapable of having an intelligent conversation about any complex policy problem.”
5 - 'Captain Marvel' Effect? Air Force Academy Sees Most Female Applicants in 5 Years
By Oriana Pawlyk – Military.com
“When the Brie Larsen blockbuster "Captain Marvel" rolled out earlier this year, the Air Force launched an all-out recruiting effort, hoping to capitalize on the story of female fighter pilot-turned superhero Carol Danvers.
The Air Force placed pre-show ads in more than 3,600 theaters nationwide, bought space at geek hubs such as Fandom.com, and hosted its own press events with Larsen, as well as a red-carpet screening in Washington, D.C.
From at least one perspective, the Air Force effort to hitch its wagon to Captain Marvel's star was an unreserved success.”