Friday News: Tweeting for war

TRUMP'S THREATS TO NORTH KOREA ON TWITTER COULD LEAD TO MILITARY CLASH: President Donald Trump's tweets are adding fuel to a "vicious cycle" of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea's vice foreign minister told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Friday. The official added that if the U.S. shows any sign of "reckless" military aggression, Pyongyang is ready to launch a pre-emptive strike of its own. Trump posted a tweet Tuesday in which he said the North is "looking for trouble" and reiterated his call for more pressure from Beijing, North Korea's economic lifeline, to clamp down on trade and strengthen its enforcement of U.N. sanctions to persuade Pyongyang to denuclearize. Trump has threatened that if Beijing isn't willing to do more to squeeze the North, the U.S. might take the matter into its own hands.

VIRGINIA FOXX WORKING TO DESTROY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx wants the federal Department of Education to disappear. She wants Washington to stop passing down rules and regulations schools have to follow. As the new chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, the seven-term North Carolina congresswoman has a powerful forum to talk about all that. Foxx, who helped lead the writing of the 2016 Republican Party platform and served in House leadership, figures she’ll have to dilute Education Department power bit by bit. Already, she’s championing the use of a rare legislative tactic in Congress to eliminate some Obama administration regulations. Foxx and her Republican congressional allies have a new favored tool for walking back regulations: Congressional Review Acts, which allow Congress to overturn specific federal rules and regulations and prevent them from coming back up.

TRUMP BOWS TO ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVISTS BY DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD: President Donald Trump signed legislation Thursday allowing states to withhold federal family planning dollars from clinics that provide abortion services, a move that effectively deprives Planned Parenthood and other groups of a significant source of funding. The move marks the 12th time that Trump has signed a resolution under the 1996 Congressional Review Act abolishing a rule issued under President Barack Obama. Although most of these ceremonies have taken place before the cameras, this was closed to the press. The ceremony was attended by Seema Verma, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as prominent abortion opponents such as the leaders of the Susan B. Anthony List and Concerned Women for America.

TRUMP QUIETLY REMOVES FEDERAL RESTRICTIONS ON FUGITIVES AND MENTALLY ILL PURCHASING GUNS: With little attention, President Donald Trump’s administration has been quietly loosening firearms restrictions in the United States after successfully seeking the support of gun owners on the campaign trail. His agencies narrowed the definition of “fugitive,” a change that cuts the number of people who’ll be included in a database designed to keep firearms from people who are barred from owning them. Trump signed a bill behind closed doors that killed an Obama-era regulation that required the government to add to the no-buy list people whom the Social Security Administration has deemed eligible for mental disability payments.

PITTMAN NEEDS TO APOLOGIZE FOR HIS SHAMEFUL FACEBOOK POST: "And if Hitler had won, should the world just get over it? Lincoln was the same sort if [sic] tyrant, and personally responsible for the deaths of over 800,000 Americans in a war that was unnecessary and unconstitutional." -- Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus County, April 12, 2017 Facebook post. Pittman’s Facebook statement is no small matter. If the leadership and members of the state House have even an ounce of integrity, they should pass a resolution that formally demands that Pittman apologize for his remarks. House Speaker Tim Moore would be wise to lead this effort to maintain the integrity of the legislature. If Pittman doesn’t make that full and public apology, the legislative leadership, his fellow legislators and the leaders of his political party should demand he resign his seat.



Good Friday apology

Today's news brief seems exceptionally evil and disheartening, but that was not my intent. I mean, I'm never tempted to float fluffy bunny stories here, but usually there's some little news nugget to hold onto that isn't end-of-the-worldish. But Trump seems determined to raze the crops and salt the field.

All the more reason to spend quality time with loved ones, and try to find beauty in the simple things.