National News at a Glance
Posted November 17, 2018 9:03 p.m. EST
Hazing, Humiliation, Terror: Working in Prison While Female
For women who work in federal prisons, where they are vastly outnumbered by male colleagues and male inmates, concealing every trace of their femininity is both necessary and, ultimately, futile. Some inmates do not stop at stares: They grope, threaten and expose themselves. But what is worse, according to testimony, court documents, and interviews with female prison workers, male colleagues encourage such behavior, undermining the authority of female officers and jeopardizing their safety. Other male employees join in the harassment. And while women who report harassment face retaliation, professional sabotage and even termination, a New York Times examination found, the careers of many harassers and those who protect them flourish.
Democrat Concedes in Florida Governor’s Race
Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee and mayor of Tallahassee, has conceded the Florida governor’s race to Ron DeSantis, a former Republican congressman closely allied to President Donald Trump, saying he was satisfied with a recount that had showed him trailing by about 34,000 votes. DeSantis declared victory on election night more than a week ago, and Gillum announced he was conceding the race at the time. But he re-entered the race a week ago, under pressure from staff members and allies in organized labor, after the Florida Secretary of State’s office declared an automatic recount.
Trump Administration Proposes New Way for Employers to Skirt Birth Control Mandate
The Trump administration is making it easier for employers to exclude birth control from health insurance benefits provided under the Affordable Care Act, and it has come up with a new justification, saying that female employees can obtain contraceptives at family planning clinics for low-income people. That, in turn, could increase demand for clinic services, which are already squeezed. In a proposed rule, the Trump administration said women denied contraceptive coverage by their employers would be eligible for the family planning program created by Congress in 1970 under Title X of the Public Health Service Act. The plan is one of several proposals that could affect access to birth control.
Following Path to 2020, Big Democratic Donors May Take a Sharp Left
As the debate rages among Democrats about how best to position the party to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020, many big donors are signaling early support for expanding and firing up the party’s liberal base rather than backing centrist appeals targeting the Rust Belt. Even though middle-of-the-road Democrats helped propel the party to broad gains in the House in the midterm elections, influential donors signaled their priority would be to back progressive appeals in Sun Belt states. Efforts in particular to register and mobilize minority and low-income voters in the South and Southwest, they said, present greater potential return on investment.
An Election Grid Rife With Flaws Shows Them All
Nearly two decades after voting problems in Florida counties paralyzed the nation, the United States’ election grid this month remained a patchwork of inconveniences, confusion and errors. The system, combined with claims of voter suppression and skewed maps from redistricting, once again tested confidence in the integrity of the vote. As in 2000, no evidence emerged of widespread fraud or political interference. But just finding enough qualified poll workers to make Election Day happen was once again a challenge, as voters navigated more than 100,000 polling places, staffed by 900,000 mostly volunteer workers and administered by some 10,000 local jurisdictions.
Rift Widens Between Facebook and Democratic Allies
The alliance between Democrats and Silicon Valley has buckled this year amid revelations that platforms like Facebook and Twitter allowed hateful speech, Russian propaganda and conservative-leaning “fake news” to flourish. But those tensions burst into open warfare this past week after revelations that Facebook executives had withheld evidence of Russian activity on the platform for far longer than previously disclosed, while employing a Republican-linked opposition research firm to discredit critics and billionaire George Soros, a major Democratic Party patron. Democrats now face a painful reckoning with longtime friends in the tech industry.
The Passing of the Torch
It took two years of worry and strategizing, but the day of truth finally arrived for Doug Phelps. As part of a $100 million upgrade, his construction crew moved the original Statue of Liberty torch from its resting place inside the statue’s pedestal, where it’s been on display since it was replaced in the 1980s, and relocated it to a new museum nearby. Early Thursday, a crew of 15 moved the 3,600-pound torch, made of copper and amber glass, from one side of Liberty Island to the other. The torch is more than 16 feet tall and 12 feet across.