JESSE WATTERS: The government has been hiding Jeffrey Epstein’s flight logs since he committed suicide four years ago. Fighting international sex trafficking should appeal to everybody, no matter what political party. We care about women and children. We care about law and order.
We care about corruption. So when Senator Marsha Blackburn from the great state of Tennessee tried to subpoena the flight logs of Jeffrey Epstein, we were surprised that Senator Dick Durbin from the great state of Illinois was making it difficult. And why hadn’t Dick Durbin subpoenaed the flight logs himself?
Why hasn’t any politician until Marsha Blackburn tried to find out who flew on the world’s most notorious child sex traffickers plane? Perhaps they have a good explanation for flying on Jeffrey’s jet. Like Bill Clinton, who was on humanitarian missions, we’re told. Are these flight logs being used as blackmail?
What powerful people were on the plane and what kind of intelligence operation was Epstein running? And why would Senator Dick Durbin be running interference for a dead pedophile?
Former President Donald Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday that he does not expect President Joe Biden to make it to the 2024 election.
During Fox News’ town hall with Trump, Hannity claimed Biden was “struggling cognitively” and said, “I can’t think of, in the last couple of months, any appearance that he has had where he wasn’t either mumbling or bumbling or stumbling, or having no clue where to go, where to exit.”
After Hannity asked Trump, “Do you think in 11 months he will be their candidate?” Trump replied, “I personally don’t think he makes it.”
He continued, “I think he’s in bad shape physically. Do you remember when he said, ‘I’d like to take him behind the barn’? If he took me behind the barn and I went like this [blows] I believe he’d fall over. I believe he’d fall over. But who knows? Who knows?”
Trump went on:
By the way, it was ok for him to say, “I’d like to take him behind the–” He could say that and everyone thought it was so cute. If I ever said it, they’d say, “He’s a dictator! He’s a horrible human being.” You know, it’s a whole double standard we have, not only in the law, but just about everything else, as you know very well. I personally don’t think he makes it physically. I watched him at the beach, he wasn’t able to lift a beach chair which is meant for children to lift. You can lift it like that.
And mentally I would say he’s possibly equally as bad and maybe worse. But I don’t know. I will say this. He’s got vicious people surrounding him around that beautiful Oval Office. There are people in that Oval Office that are evil people, bad people, smart people, young, vicious. They are communist and they are bad.
Asked who the most likely Democratic replacement for Biden would be, Trump mentioned California Governor Gavin Newsom and cited Newsom’s recent Fox News debate with Ron DeSantis – Trump’s Republican primary rival.
“I saw him on your debate the other night, and he’s slick, but he’s got no facts. You know? He’s got no facts. I thought he did well,” Trump told Hannity. “Considering that he didn’t have the facts, I thought he did well.”
Trump also suggested that Vice President Kamala Harris could replace Biden as the nominee, “because they say if they didn’t give it to her, the African American vote, the Black vote would not go to them.”
The Yankees are very familiar with his work, especially in their own ballpark. Verdugo has a career .252/.299/.437 slash line at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with five homers, seven doubles and 12 RBI over 31 games.
The Yankees were a righty-dominant team last season in a ballpark that favors lefties, which is why Cashman had an emphasis on adding that aspect to his 2024 roster. While the Yankees remain in on players available via trade, like Juan Soto, and free agents like Cody Bellinger, adding someone like Verdugo who has shown he can play in one of the hardest cities to produce is a smart strategy.
Verdugo had a .264/.324/.421 line in 142 games with the Sox last season, and that batting average is low for his standards. A high-contact hitter, Verdugo hit .280 in 2022 and .289 in 2021, so he’ll be looking to bring that average up next season for his new squad.
For his career, Verdugo is a .281/.337/.428 hitter with 152 doubles, 57 homers and 255 RBI in 651 games.
This is just one of what’s expected to be a few moves made by Cashman and the Yankees’ front office after not making the postseason in 2023 following a 2022 campaign that ended with an ALCS appearance.
The Yankees have been linked heavily to Soto, Bellinger, and Japanese star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Verdugo has just this year left on his rookie contract before becoming a free agent in 2025.
Donald Trump said President Joe Biden is unaware of his own existence during a town hall on Tuesday night.
Speaking with Sean Hannity of Fox News in front of a crowd of Iowans, the former president ranted about Biden’s cognitive capacity.
Trump, the likely Republican challenger to the president, claimed that even in his younger years, Biden was intellectually limited. He told an anecdote about the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
“I did him a big favor one time,” he said of Kennedy. “And somehow, he liked me and I liked him even though we were opposite in many ways, politically, certainly. And I said to him, ‘Who’s the smartest guy in the Senate?’ He gave me a name. I don’t want to tell you because I really don’t like the guy at all. He’s still around. I said, ‘Who’s the dumbest? He said. ‘Probably Joe.’ I said, ‘Who’s Joe?’ ‘Joe Biden.’”
Trump then said Biden cannot be depended on to have the nation’s nuclear codes.
“Nuclear weapons are the biggest problem we have,” he continued. “And we have a man that can’t put two sentences together. We have a man that doesn’t know he’s alive. And he’s backed up by the media. The biggest problem we have is the media. The media’s fake. I came up with the term a long time ago and they won’t talk about it. If I did some of the things that he did, they’d would reinstitute the death penalty.”
The death penalty, while still valid at the federal level, has not been used during the Biden administration.
Former President Donald Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he would only be a “dictator” on “day one” in the White House after Hannity asked him to pledge to “never abuse power as retribution against anybody.”
During Fox News’ town hall with Trump on Tuesday, Hannity said, “We almost have to go to a break. I want to go back to this one issue though because the media has been focused on this and attacking you.”
Hannity then asked, “Under no circumstances, you are promising America tonight, you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?”
Except for day one,” replied Trump, before telling the audience, “Look, he’s going crazy.”
Trump repeated, “Except for day one.”
After Hannity asked Trump what he meant by that, Trump said, “I want to close the border and I want to drill, drill, drill.”
“That’s not retribution,” Hannity pointed out.
Trump continued, “We love this guy. He says, ‘You’re not gonna be a dictator, are you?’ I said, ‘No, no, no, other than day one.’ We’re closing the border and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator, ok?”
Hannity concluded, “That sounds to me like you’re going back to the policies when you were president.”
Trump laughed and said, “That’s exactly–” as the town hall cut to commercials.
In March, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump told his supporters, “I am your warrior, I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”
Political candidates in San Francisco have long used both English and Mandarin names on ballots to help win over the city’s considerable Chinese population. But that tradition may soon be discarded, according to The San Francisco Standard.
“After an inquiry from Supervisor Connie Chan, the Department of Elections has decided to follow a 2019 state law saying self-submitted Chinese names may only be used if candidates can prove that they were born with them, as many Chinese immigrants or Chinese Americans were, or they have been using the names for at least two years,” according to the report.
If that’s not the case, candidates will then be given a transliteration-based name, which are often wordy and based on Mandarin phonetics.
The decision may affect how the name of some political candidates, like Daniel Lurie, appear to voters. Lurie’s choice for his name in Chinese includes characters that mean “auspicious” and “virtue,” according to the report, while a phonetic approximation of his name — “DAN-knee-er LOO-lee — doesn’t have any special meaning.
Supervisor Chan has led the policy to make it more difficult for political hopefuls to self-submit “Chinese names,” with the exceptions being candidates who can prove that “they were born” with the name or have been “using the name for at least two years.”
“Cultural appropriation does not make someone Asian,” Chan told The Standard. “There is no alternative definition to whether someone is Asian or not. It should be based solely on a person’s ethnicity and heritage. That’s what this law is about.”
The “specific incident’ that spurred the Department of Elections policy change was when “Natalie Gee (who is Chinese American) accused a non-Chinese candidate, Emma Heiken, of using the same Chinese given name in her campaign,” according to the outlet.
The Standard previously reported in May that politicians give themselves “flowery Chinese names” on purpose to “court” voters.
San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston, “who is of German descent,” according to The Standard, “requested to appear on the ballot as “潘正義,” which means “Justice Pan” in Chinese. Previously, he was “迪恩‧普瑞斯頓” on the ballot, a long and transliteration-based Chinese name.”
Chan and the San Francisco Department of Elections did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
During an appearance on Fox News, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. uttered words that no campaign manager wants to hear from their client.
On Tuesday’s Jesse Watters Primetime, Jesse Watters said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is blocking the release of the flight logs from Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet. Epstein – the sex offender who associated with powerful politicians, business leaders, and celebrities – committed suicide* while being held on charges of child sex trafficking in 2019.
Several minutes later, Watters welcomed Kennedy to the show and asked his guest about an unrelated matter from that day’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. In the meeting, FBI Director Christopher Wray was grilled by Republican senators over a long-rescinded memo from the Richmond field office warning that communities of traditional Catholics could yield domestic extremists.
Wray also also took questions about Epstein’s flight records.
“You weren’t ever on Jeffrey Epstein’s jet, were you?” Watters inquired.
“I was on Jeffrey Epstein’s jet two times,” he replied before revealing that his wife, Cheryl Hines, had “some kind of relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell,” who was convicted of sex trafficking minors.
“I was on it in 1993, and I was on it in– and I went to Florida with my wife and two children to visit my mom over Easter [inaudible],” he said. “And my wife had some kind of relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell and they offered us a ride to Palm Beach. I went then, and another occasion, I flew again with my family with, I think, four of my children.”
Kennedy added, “I have been very open about this from the beginning. This was in ’93, so it was 30 years ago. It was before anybody knew about Jeffrey Epstein’s, you know nefarious issues. And I agree with you that all of this information should be released. We should get real answers on what happened to Jeffrey Epstein and any of the high-level political people that he was involved with. All of that should be open to the public.”
The U.S. on Tuesday said Russia rejected a new and a “significant” proposal that would have freed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former Marine Paul Whelan.
“This was a new proposal in recent weeks. It was a significant proposal,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said at a press conference. “And it was rejected by the Russians, but it does not, it will not deter us from continuing to do everything we can to try and bring both of them home.”
He added that the two American citizens should never have been arrested “in the first place,” calling on the Russian government to immediately release them.
“They never should have been arrested in the first place. They should be released immediately,” Miller said. “But we have made a number of proposals, including a substantial one in recent weeks and we will continue to work every day to bring Evan and Paul Whelan home. There is no prior higher priority for the Secretary of State. There is no higher priority for the president.”
While the State Department declined to provide details of the proposal to free Gershkovich and Whelan, the proposal is confirmation that Washington is continuing to secure the release of the two American citizens.
The U.S. government has declared both Whelan and Gershkovich to be wrongfully detained.
Whelan was arrested in December 2018 on charges of espionage and spying for the U.S. government and sentenced to 16 years.
He and the U.S. have denied the charges as the 53-year-old remains imprisoned at a labor camp in Russia’s Mordovia republic.
Whelan was arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service while staying in a hotel in the Moscow area.
At the time, he had reportedly arrived in the Russian capital to attend a friend’s wedding and act as a travel guide for the groom’s family. However, Russian officials claimed that Whelan had met with an unnamed Russian citizen who gave the former Marine a USB drive containing classified material.
Gershkovich was detained on March 29 of this year during a reporting trip in Yekaterinburg, the fourth-largest city in Russia, and accused of being a spy.
The U.S. has asserted that Russia’s allegations against the 32-year-old are ridiculous.
Coworkers and loved ones have described the American-born son of Soviet immigrants as a diligent reporter who is being used as a political pawn due to his high profile.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, says Republicans want the border “closed” as part of a potential congressional agreement for additional emergency spending requested by the White House and criticized “clueless” Democrats who want to negotiate border provisions.
“Dems want $106B—GOP wants a closed border. That’s the trade. But clueless Dems want to negotiate the border bill. Not going to happen,” Romney said on X, formerly Twitter. “Is an open border more important to Dems than Ukraine and Israel?”
Republicans and Democrats have been struggling to find common ground over how to handle the crisis at the southern border as part of a supplemental spending agreement that includes border security and funding to Ukraine and Israel.
The White House requested $14 billion to help it deal with the massive crisis at the southern border. The request includes $6.4 billion for “border operations,” which includes $4.4 billion for holding facilities and reimbursement of support from the Pentagon. It also includes money for DNA collection and over $1.9 billion for Health and Human Services “to support eligible arrivals and unaccompanied children.”
Related to migrant care is $1.4 billion for shelter and services for migrants released from DHS custody. This is in addition to $800 million distributed to states and non-governmental organizations by the administration to aid the many migrants who have been released into the U.S. interior.
But Republicans want to see higher standards for asylum, limits on parole and other inclusions to make it harder for migrants to be released into the U.S. interior.
House conservatives have been pushing Speaker Mike Johnson to refuse to accept anything less than H.R. 2, the GOP’s marquee border bill, which would reinstate Trump administration-era measures such as Remain In Mexico and restart border wall construction.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has teed up a vote on Biden’s aid request for later this week, but so far GOP leadership is urging a no vote until there are “meaningful” changes at the border.
Meanwhile, some Senate Democrats have said policy changes should not go ahead unless they are linked to an amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
“As negotiations surrounding the supplemental aid package progress, we are concerned about reports of harmful changes to our asylum system that will potentially deny lifesaving humanitarian protection for vulnerable people, including children, and fail to deliver any meaningful improvement to the situation at the border,” a coalition of 11 Democratic senators said Wednesday.
“Using a one-time spending package to enact these unrelated permanent policy changes sets a dangerous precedent and risks assistance to our international partners,” they said. “Any proposal considering permanent changes to our asylum and immigration system needs to include a clear path to legalization for long-standing undocumented immigrants.”
NYT (“In Florida’s Hot Political Climate, Some Faculty Have Had Enough“):
Gov. Ron DeSantis had just taken office in 2019 when the University of Florida lured Neil H. Buchanan, a prominent economist and tax law scholar, from George Washington University.
Now, just four years after he started at the university, Dr. Buchanan has given up his tenured job and headed north to teach in Toronto. In a recent column on a legal commentary website, he accused Florida of “open hostility to professors and to higher education more generally.”
He is not the only liberal-leaning professor to leave one of Florida’s highly regarded public universities. Many are giving up coveted tenured positions and blaming their departures on Governor DeSantis and his effort to reshape the higher education system to fit his conservative principles.
The Times interviewed a dozen academics — in fields ranging from law to psychology to agronomy — who have left Florida public universities or given their notice, many headed to blue states. While emphasizing that hundreds of top academics remain in Florida, a state known for its solid and affordable public university system, they raised concerns that the governor’s policies have become increasingly untenable for scholars and students.
This was predictable and, indeed, predicted. Florida will have no trouble at all replacing these professors, as there has been a glut of qualified academics for at least two generations now and the state generally has a lot to offer. But academics do lean liberal and the most elite have their choice of jobs, so states with policies that restrict academic freedom will be at a disadvantage in competing for their talents.
The University of Florida said that its turnover rate is not unusual and remains well below the 10.57 percent national average. Hiring, it said, has also outpaced departures. Florida State University and the University of South Florida released similar figures.
Again: no university in the country, lt alone one with doctoral programs, will have any trouble recruiting qualified faculty. Indeed, I suspect Florida, Florida State, and South Florida could fill their ranks with nothing but people who finished their PhDs in 2023. The question is whether the new hires have credentials comparable to those being replaced.
Governor DeSantis’s office did not respond to requests for comment. But Sarah D. Lynne, chair-elect of the University of Florida’s faculty senate, said that little has changed except that her campus has become the focus of national politics. Most people who leave, she said, do so for reasons that have nothing to do with politics.
“Florida isn’t really a unique scenario when it comes to the politicization of higher education,” said Dr. Lynne, who teaches in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. “It’s a beautiful state to live in and we have amazing students, so we’re staying.”
Data from several schools, however, show departure rates have ticked upward. At the University of Florida, overall turnover went from 7 percent in 2021 to 9.3 percent in 2023, according to figures released by the university.
A report by the faculty senate at the University of Florida found some departments hard hit. The school of arts — which includes art, music and dance — “struggles to hire or retain good faculty and graduate students in the current political climate,” said the report, issued in June.
In liberal arts, the report said: “Faculty of color have left.”
I’m not sure comparing departure rates on a year-over-year basis is all that useful, in that people retire or leave for new jobs for all manner of reasons. But I would imagine that, yes, something like a school of arts would have difficulty recruiting in a state seen as hostile to the LGTBQ community. And, in the MAGA era, it wouldn’t shock me at all if non-whites who had other options chose to live in a blue state.
Danaya C. Wright, a law professor who currently chairs the faculty senate, said she sees job candidates avoiding the state. “We have seen more people pull their applications, or just say, ‘no, I’m not interested — it’s Florida,’” she said.
At Florida State University, the vice president for faculty development, Janet Kistner, commented during a faculty senate meeting in September that the “political climate in Florida” had contributed to an upswing in faculty turnover, with 37 professors leaving for reasons other than retirement in the past year compared to an average of 23 during the past five years.
Paul Ortiz, a history professor at the University of Florida and a former president of the school’s faculty union, is leaving after more than 15 years to join Cornell next summer.
“If the academic job market was more robust, then a lot more people would be leaving,” Dr. Ortiz said.
I mean, a lot of faculty would have left Florida for Cornell, given the opportunity, at any point in the university’s history. I don’t think we can blame DeSantis for that.
Walter Boot, a tenured psychology professor who had secured millions of dollars in grants for Florida State, is headed to Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, where he will continue developing technology for the elderly.
Dr. Boot said he joined Florida State in 2008 and immediately felt at home on the Tallahassee campus: “This was the place I could see myself spending the rest of my career — great department, great university.”
Things began to change, he said, when the DeSantis administration started to push its education policies. Dr. Boot, who is gay, cited a 2022 law that limits what educators can say about gender and sexuality in elementary schools. It was not technically aimed at universities, but it fueled a frightening environment, he said.
“The run-up and aftermath of its passage involved hostile rhetoric painting queer and trans individuals as pedophiles and groomers, rhetoric that came not just from citizens but from state officials,” Dr. Boot recently wrote in the Tallahassee Democrat.
He pointed out that soon after the bill’s passage, a man threatened to kill gay people on Florida State’s campus.
“It’s been very difficult, from a day-to-day perspective, not feeling comfortable or even safe where I live,” Dr. Boot said in an interview.
Other gay professors cited recent state sanctions aimed at transgender employees and students who do not comply with a law, passed in May, restricting access to bathrooms, as well as state restrictions on transgender medical procedures.
Hope Wilson, who was a professor of education at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, had served as an adviser to the school’s Pride club and worked with the L.G.B.T.Q. center.
Dr. Wilson said that she particularly objected to what she regarded as intrusive requests from the state for information — to which her school responded — on everything from how many students had received transgender care to expenditures for D.E.I. initiatives.
“It just felt very dystopian all the way around,” she said.
Her professional discomfort was matched by personal worries, because her child is transgender.
“Florida isn’t a state where I can raise my family or do my job,” Dr. Wilson said. She landed at the Northern Illinois University.
Again, this strikes me as much more compelling. While I don’t know that Florida was ever super friendly to open gays, the issue has been weaponized in recent years. But, again, they’ve chosen two examples of professors leaving for objectively better schools.
Regardless, this was my initial instinct when I saw the report on memeorandum:
To Christopher Rufo, a conservative writer and activist whom the governor appointed a trustee of New College of Florida this year as part of a campus shake-up, faculty departures are a plus.
“To me, this is a net gain for Florida,” he wrote in a statement, railing against diversity programs and transgender medical care. “Professors who want to practice D.E.I.-style racial discrimination, facilitate the sexual amputation of minors, and replace scholarship with partisan activism are free to do so elsewhere. Good riddance.”
The policies are having precisely the intended goal! To be sure, it’ll significantly harm the state’s universities in various ranking systems (although those seem to be falling out of favor of late, so who knows) but DeSantis and company very much seem not to care about that. (This, despite being products of elite schools.)
The University of Florida’s law school has been particularly hard hit this year, with a 30 percent faculty turnover rate.
Some of those professors said political interference contributed to their departures, while other faculty said Florida’s reputation had deterred professors elsewhere from joining.
Maryam Jamshidi said that after a 2021 law permitted students to record professors in the classroom, liberal-leaning professors feared they would see videos of their lectures on Fox News.
“As a Muslim woman who works on issues of racism and American power, I didn’t feel like U.F. was a place I could safely be myself and do my work,” said Ms. Jamshidi, who now teaches at the University of Colorado Boulder.
We finally have an example of someone taking a job at a considerably lower-ranked school!
Questions about gender and race are fundamental to an array of legal arguments, from constitutional law to criminal justice and workplace discrimination.
But in May, Governor DeSantis signed a bill that regulated what can be said in the classrooms and also barred university spending on diversity programs.
By that time, Kenneth B. Nunn had already decided to leave, one of several Black law professors who have recently departed.
In 2021, Mr. Nunn had been barred from signing a brief challenging state restrictions on voting by felons. Mr. Nunn said that signing such briefs is “something that is considered a matter of course for faculty to do anywhere else.”
The school later reversed itself on the question of whether he could sign, but Mr. Nunn took the episode as an indication of the university’s direction. He opted to retire from the law school, and is currently a visiting professor at Howard University.
For Dr. Buchanan, the economist and law professor, a final straw was the institution of a review process for tenured faculty, which he viewed as the end of academic freedom.
“It’s not just that the laws are so vague and obviously designed to chill speech that DeSantis doesn’t like. It’s that they simultaneously took away the benefit of tenured faculty to stand up for what’s right,” he said. “It’s tenure in name only at this point.”
Since Dr. Buchanan writes on tax policy from a progressive perspective, he said that he felt he could become a target any time.
“The Republicans who are running Florida,” he said, “are squandering one of the state’s most important assets by driving out professors who otherwise wouldn’t have wanted to leave.”
Post-tenure review is becoming increasingly common and I don’t necessarily oppose it. At some point, faculty that stop conducting research or putting in effort in the classroom need to go. Still, Florida’s version is highly problematic for reasons I’ve discussed previously. Beyond that, the freedom to write what one pleases is fundamental to the life of a scholar, particularly one who does policy-relevant work.