Friday Grabbag

Friday Grabbag

Fox News' Host Tucker Carlson says teenagers aren't citizens.

A Civics Lesson for Fox's Carlson

Did Tucker Carlson Flunk 9th Grade Civics?

The nation took notice on Wednesday as tens of thousands of high school students walked out of their classrooms to take part in peaceful demonstrations on behalf of stronger gun laws. It was refreshing to see young people doing what Congress won’t – standing up to the National Rifle Association.

But over on Fox News, talking head Tucker Carlson took exception to the youthful activism. “If they’re too young to buy guns, why should they be making my gun laws?” Carlson asked. When a guest pointed out that the students don’t make the laws and were simply exercising their right as citizens to speak out, Carlson had a breathtaking retort: “They’re not citizens. They’re children.”

Watch Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s take on the exchange:


Living Large

They call themselves conservatives, but some members of President Trump’s inner circle continue to demonstrate that they’re anything but conservative when it comes to their taxpayer-funded expense accounts.

There’s new evidence this week that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and his wife were personally involved in the selection of a $31,000 dining set for the secretary’s office. Politico reports that “emails obtained by the advocacy group American Oversight show a HUD employee referring to “print outs of the furniture Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out” on Aug. 29, 2017.” Carson had claimed to have no advance knowledge of the furniture buy, which shatters a $5,000 limit set by Congress on furniture purchases for senior government leaders.

Meanwhile, over at the Treasury Department, Secretary Steven Mnuchin apparently ran up a $1 million tab for the use of military aircraft during national and overseas trips between the spring and fall of last year. Citing documents obtained by the watchdog group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW), The Hill newspaper reports that a military plane Mnuchin and his aides used for a trip to Miami cost $45,136; that’s $18,000 more than an available craft owned by the Federal Aviation Administration and $41,000 more than commercial flights would have cost for the five flyers.  You’ll recall that former Health Secretary Tom Price was forced out last year after revelations that he spent more than $400,000 in taxpayer money on chartered flights and that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent $139,000 on new office doors. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin had to reimburse the government after expensing a ticket for his wife to join him on a jaunt to the annual tennis championships at Wimbledon.

PA Returns Bolster Case for Paper Ballots

The razor-thin outcome of Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District is underscoring the need to replace the touch-screen voting machines used there and in much of the country with paper ballots.

BuzzFeed News reports today that because each vote was recorded directly to a computer memory, there is no way to check the reported tallies against actual ballots. “If you think about a bank audit or cash register audit, you’re going to have a record of what was the original transaction and then you’re going to check that against the reported transaction,” Marian Schneider, Pennsylvania’s former deputy secretary for elections and administration, told BuzzFeed. “That’s the major flaw with this kind of voting machine, that you don’t have a record of the original transaction to check against what the computer reports.”

Democrat Conor Lamb defeated Republican Rick Saccone by 627 votes according to the official tally. Republicans are reportedly considering seeking a recount but under Pennsylvania law Saccone would need to pay $50 and have three supporters sign a petition in each of the district’s 593 precincts that he wanted to recount.