Smarting from a Supreme Court decision unsealing his financial records and a skidding campaign that cancelled tonight’s New Hampshire rally, President Donald Trump gave himself a victory: Early today he fully commuted the 40-month prison term of confidant Roger Stone, convicted of obstructing and lying to Congress and witness tampering. The move was extraordinary because those offenses are linked to a probe of potential presidential misconduct. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, called it “offensive to the rule of law,” while presidential press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called Stone a “victim of the Russia Hoax.”
Daily U.S. infections rose by 68,000 Friday — a steep increase and a new record as a steadily declining pandemic death toll began climbing again. In four weeks, fatalities in Texas, Arizona and South Carolina have doubled, discouraging states from reopening to boost suffering economies. But it hasn’t stopped President Trump from pushing to send kids back to school, defying experts and worried fellow Republicans. Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has approved the release of 8,000 low-level and elderly prison inmates to allow better distancing for remaining prisoners.
Barring a last-minute stay, white supremacist Daniel Lewis Lee will be the first federal inmate to be executed in 17 years when he is given a lethal injection Monday in Indiana. Death penalty support is at its lowest point yet among Americans — even some survivors of the Arkansas family that Lee killed don’t seek his death. But the Trump White House has few reservations about streamlining this conservative base pleaser. Not even the pandemic, which may endanger witnesses and staff, is enough to delay this first step toward completing sentences for 60 inmates on federal death row.
Aisha Wakil was still new to Maiduguri, Nigeria, in 1989 when the university student started leaving her apartment compound door open for young ethnic Kanuri boys. They would play in the compound and garden with Wakil, and despite her Igbo ethnicity, they called her “mama.” But many of the boys were recruited by Boko Haram, and years later Wakil found herself brokering peace deals, mediating hostage negotiations and convincing militants to disarm. Her mission is becoming impossible, though, writes journalist Chika Oduah, as her “boys” are killed and a suspicious government has locked her up on corruption charges.
Poet Patricia Lockwood developed a low-grade fever just days after she traveled to deliver a lecture at Harvard. COVID-19’s effect on her brain had her googling “coronavirus made me insane?” The hardest part was the forgetting — of her brother’s middle name, her own phone number, how to read. “So I set myself a syllabus of maniacal intensity,” Lockwood writes, adding that one thing that kept her going was her mind telling her: “I used to be able to do this … I will be able to do it again.”
President Donald Trump reportedly has a very nasty name for countries like these. But however inappropriate his “hole” metaphor, there’s no denying the gap: Immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa earn college degrees at a greater rate (40 percent) than stateside immigrants generally (31 percent), OZY reports. That’s according to the Census Bureau, which shows South Africans and Nigerians contributing to that advantage in a big way, with around 60 percent of both groups earning degrees. Why? Experts say many immigrants arrive well-educated, and a sense of community for some helps filter distractions from the goal of achieving the American Dream.
If Warren Buffett is on the money, pig farts could be the next big source of energy. The investor is plunging big money into pipelines that would convey methane from stockyard waste across the United States. The potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions is staggering. Replacing just 12 percent of fossil fuel gas with methane could equal worldwide net-zero emissions, one expert calculates. It’s also a sign that savvy fund managers are looking away from fossil fuels and toward increasingly affordable renewables like solar power and, now, steaming piles of filthy lucre.
Lots of computer games transport players to virtual World War II battlefields, but Svoboda 1945 is different. Its Czech developers sought out historians to create an adventure game that gives participants a sense of what it was like to live under the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. The game also delves into the even more sensitive topic of what happened after the war, when 3 million German civilians were forcibly — often fatally — expelled from the country. Its precursor won two awards for educational games, but the market for awareness can’t compete with the no-questions-asked shoot-’em-up genre.
Two years ago, Douglas Parkhurst put his life on the line as a Honda Civic drove onto a Maine baseball field, scattering young players. The 68-year-old stood in the path of the vehicle, driven by a woman suffering from manic-depression. In death Parkhurst was hailed as a hero. But a new ESPN documentary reveals that he had a dark past : A half-century earlier, he hit and killed a 4-year-old girl in Fulton, New York, while driving drunk. Coincidence? So it seems. But that didn’t stop the victim’s older sister, who had held her hand at the moment of her death, from finding peace.