The U.S. at a glance
No third term
Mayor Rahm Emanuel stunned supporters by announcing he won’t run for a third term. “This has been the job of a lifetime, but it is not a job for a lifetime,” Emanuel said. The mayor was praised for improving Chicago’s financial stability and ensuring public employee pensions are properly funded, but his record tax hikes proved less popular. Emanuel’s tenure was also marked by numerous controversies, including staggering gun violence, the closing of 50 public schools, and a teachers strike. Perhaps most damaging to Emanuel’s administration was his handling of the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Emanuel had fought to keep video of the shooting under wraps. Widespread protests and calls for Emanuel’s resignation followed its release, on a judge’s order. Fallout from the McDonald shooting led to a Department of Justice investigation, which found the Chicago Police Department had engaged in a pervasive use of excessive force.
Kyl to replace McCain
Former Sen. Jon Kyl was tapped by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to fill the late John McCain’s seat in the U.S. Senate. The 76-year-old said he has committed to remaining in the Senate only until the end of the year, though Ducey said he hopes Kyle will stay until a November 2020 special election to fill the seat for the two remaining years of McCain’s term. Kyle served three terms before retiring in 2012. McCain’s widow, Cindy, described Kyl as a friend of the family and called his appointment “a great tribute to John.” President Trump tweeted his support for the pick, saying “Kyl will be an extraordinary Senator.” Kyl is currently serving as Brett Kavanaugh’s so-called sherpa, guiding the Supreme Court nominee through the procedures of his Senate confirmation hearings. Kyl’s appointment guarantees another Senate vote in Kavanaugh’s favor.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry was never considered by any of the five law schools that hired her, according to an exhaustive review of her personnel files by The Boston Globe. Warren claims Native American heritage based on family lore, leading critics to accuse her of benefiting from affirmative action, including President Trump, who has derisively referred to her as “Pocahontas.” Thirty-one of the Harvard Law professors who considered Warren’s candidacy for a position at the school said they saw her as a white woman; none recalled her ancestry being part of the discussion. Warren was not listed as Native American in Harvard’s human resources system until more than two years after she had been offered a position at the school. Warren says she released records of her hiring to the Globe to be “transparent,” adding, “I’m ready for it all to be out there.”
Citizens denied passports
The Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration now extends to citizens with U.S. birth certificates. The government alleges that midwives in Southern border towns for decades falsified birth certificates for babies actually born in Mexico. The same midwives also delivered thousands of babies in the U.S., and the legitimate and illegitimate birth certificates are largely indistinguishable. Now hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Hispanics with U.S. birth certificates are being targeted for passport denial or revocation. The denial and revocation of passports to people delivered by midwives in Texas has been an issue for years, but cases appear to have skyrocketed, said The Washington Post, though the State Department insists there has been no change in policy. Those who try to appeal the denials have been subjected to months of bureaucratic scrutiny and asked questions that have included “Do you remember when you were born?”
Another primary upset
In an echo of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory in New York, Ayanna Pressley shocked the Massachusetts political establishment this week by besting 10-term congressman Michael Capuano in the Democratic primary. With no Republican on the November ballot to oppose her, Pressley is poised to become the first African-American to represent the Bay State in Congress. The 44-year-old Boston City Council member won by 18 percentage points in the district once represented by John F. Kennedy and former Speaker Tip O’Neill. It’s the state’s only minority-majority congressional district. Like Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated a 10-term incumbent in New York’s 14th Congressional District, Pressley is a progressive woman of color who is replacing an establishment Democrat. Pressley argued to voters that she would be not only a solid liberal vote but also a leader in the resistance to Trump.
Kaepernick case to proceed
New York City
Taking a knee
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s grievance against NFL owners will be allowed to proceed to a full hearing later this year, an arbitrator ruled. Kaepernick says the league’s owners have colluded to keep him out of the game, while signing quarterbacks with inferior skills and statistics. The onetime star player sparked a national furor in 2016, when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police shootings of African-Americans. Kaepernick has been unsigned since becoming a free agent in March 2017. The protests became a favorite target of outrage for President Trump. Meanwhile, Nike this week made Kaepernick the face for the 30th anniversary of its iconic “Just Do It” ad campaign. The decision prompted some backlash on social media, with a number of people burning and otherwise destroying their Nike products. ■