Sen. Johnson: brain tumor may have been factor in McCain's "no" vote - Axios
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Sen. Johnson: brain tumor may have been factor in McCain's "no" vote

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson suggested Sen. John McCain's recently diagnosed brain tumor may have played a role in his deciding "no" vote against skinny repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Johnson, speaking last week to AM560 "Chicago's Morning Answer," per CNN's KFILE:

"We did get a call from Paul [Ryan] and he assured us that skinny repeal…would have to go to conference. Again, I'm not gonna speak for John McCain — he has a brain tumor right now — that vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning, some of that might have factored in."

More from Johnson: "Again, I-I-I don't know exactly what — we really thought — and again I don't want speak for any senator. I really thought John was going to vote yes to send that to conference at 10:30 at night. By about 1, 1:30, he voted no. So you have talk to John in terms what was on his mind."

Think back: McCain and Johnson both took part in a press conference — along with Sen. Lindsey Graham — hours before the skinny repeal vote where they refused to vote for the bill without clear assurance from the House that it wouldn't become law.

McCain's response to Johnson's quote: "It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Senator Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend. Senator McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote."

A statement from Johnson: "I'm disappointed I didn't more eloquently express my sympathy for what Sen. McCain is going through. I have nothing but respect for him and the vote came at the end of a long day for everyone."

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Trump and McConnell reportedly haven't spoken in weeks

Evan Vucci / AP; Alex Brandon / AP

A new report in the New York Times revealed that President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell haven't spoken in weeks — and McConnell has been telling people behind the scenes that Trump is "unwilling to learn the basics of governing" as his administration approaches the point of no return.

  • The flash point: The Senate's failure to pass health care reform led to a "profane shouting match" of a phone call between McConnell and Trump. It also alienated other GOP senators, as West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito was refused a seat on Air Force One after refusing to commit to a repeal vote.
  • Why it matters: The GOP's hope for achieving meaningful reform —involving health care, taxes, or infrastructure — rests on Trump keeping an open line of communication with congressional leaders. The more that he poisons that well, the more he risks kneecapping his own agenda.
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10 protests scheduled for Trump's Phoenix rally

President Trump is hosting a campaign-style Make America Great Again rally in Phoenix tonight, where he will address some of his most enthusiastic supporters. But there will also be various protestors and anti-Trump groups outside of the convention center ahead of tonight's event.

Why it matters: From Charlottesville to Boston, the past two weeks have put the tense protests between white nationalists, free speech advocates and anti-racism counter protesters on full display. Tonight is an opportunity to address Trump country in a way that was successful for him throughout the campaign, and a way that he clearly enjoys given the number of campaign-style rallies he has hosted since winning the election. But the trove of counter protesters expected tonight will serve as a reminder to Trump and the country that tensions have not been resolved and may be getting worse.

Protest Trump Downtown Phoenix

  • Why they're organizing: "White supremacist leader Donald Trump is coming back to Phoenix ... It will be his first public rally since his hate-filled rants...aligning himself with the Neo-nazis of Charlottesville. Come stand up for decency, equality, and good. Stand up for your children and the goodness in their hearts. Stand in solidarity with the brave people in Charlottesville. Stand up against bigotry, hate, white supremacy, Nazis, Islamophobia, transphobia, xenophobia."
  • How many are attending: Approx. 4,100

White Supremacy Will Not Be Pardoned

  • Why they're organizing: "Trump will be in Arizona and we want to send a very clear message that we will not pardon white supremacy the way he has done so with#Charlottesville and now with Joe #Arpaio. ... Show up and tell him he is not welcome and that we will never pardon white supremacist!"
  • How many are attending: Approx. 2,800

Never Again: Jews and Allies Against Hate Rally

  • Why they're organizing: "In the hours before the Trump rally in Phoenix, we will make clear that we will not accept the false equivalency between neo-Nazis and peaceful protestors who oppose hate. We will not stand by as Nazism makes a resurgence in America."
  • How many are attending: Approx. 271

Unity Vigil & March

  • Why they're organizing: "President Donald Trump and Gov. Doug Ducey have made it clear that they are on the side of hate and bigotry this week. ... to denounce his hateful rhetoric at 8:00pm and will march from the Phoenix Convention Center to the Arizona State Capitol to rally against Confederate monuments that Gov.Ducey wont remove at 8:30!"
  • How many are attending: Approx. 844

Anti-fascist anarchists

  • Why they're organizing: "We will converge, in the spirit of solidarity and hostility to the current order, and as a physical body ready to act in self-defense and mutual protection of each other from cops, fascists, and liberal/radical 'peace police.'"
  • How many are attending: N/A

Cosplayers Rally Against Hate

  • Why they're organizing: "With Trump visiting next Tuesday, I want to help drown out the hate groups that will make an appearance by showing up to the rally in cosplay. If you also plan to show up by yourself or with a group in costume, thank you! Goals: Protest peacefully; Empower people with positive imagery; Keep the energy up, nothing beats Captain American standing on your side against Nazis!"
  • How many are attending: Approx. 59

Love Activists: Healing Hearts & Minds

  • Why they're organizing: "This is a solidarity event for targeted communities and families with children that want to do something on this historic day but don't want to be in the middle of the action. We honor those who are willing and able to show up on the front lines and equally honor those with a lot more to lose - such as people of color, the undocumented, DACA recipients, DREAMERS, other minority groups, and those who feel negative emotions so deeply."
  • How many are attending: Approx. 77

Indivisible Surprise: Trump Rally - Purple for Heather

  • Why they're organizing: "Tell Trump that Heather's positive intentions were in no way equivalent to those of the racists and bigots present at the rally in Charlottesville.Let him know that what Heather wanted, what the 1000 people at Heather's memorial service wanted, and what YOU want is EQUALITY."
  • How many are attending: Approx. 28

Bikers for Trump Rally Call To Action

  • Why they're organizing: "There have been plans for Charlottesville sympathizers to protest. We need our bikers to show up and keep people safe. ... If there are people outside waiting to get in I don't want anyone to harrass them. Protesters have a right to protest, but they don't have a right to threaten or intimidate. That is why we need to be there."
  • How many are attending: Approx. 92

Maricopa County Young Republicans Trump Takes AZ

  • Why they're organizing: "Join President Donald J. Trump for a rally in Phoenix, AZ"
  • How many are attending: Approx. 42

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Tillerson: "Pakistan must adopt a different approach"

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after speaking at the State Department (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

Following Trump's Afghanistan speech, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Tuesday that Pakistan will play an important role in initiating the negotiation process between the U.S. and Afghanistan's Taliban, but noted that the country must first "adopt a different approach" to easing tension in the region.

"There's been an erosion in trust because we have witnessed terrorist organizations being given safe haven inside of Pakistan to plan and carry out attacks against U.S. servicemen, U.S. officials, disrupting peace efforts inside of Afghanistan," said Tillerson. "Pakistan must adopt a different approach, and we are ready to work with them to help them protect themselves against these terrorist organizations ... We are going to be conditioning our support for Pakistan and our relationship with them on them delivering results in this area."

More highlights:

  • Tillerson said it's up to the Afghanistan people to decide how to govern themselves, but as long as they don't offer a refuge to terrorists.
  • Message to the Taliban: "You will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you."
  • Tillerson said North Korea's recent "restraint" in missile testing since the adoption of the U.N. Security Council resolution has "perhaps" created a pathway for potential dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.
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Nikki Haley's "personal conversation" with Trump

President Donald Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at Trump's National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told CNN today that she had a "personal conversation" with President Trump about how he handled the fallout from Charlottesville, per Politico.

"Well, I had a personal conversation with the president about Charlottesville, and I will leave it at that," Haley said on CNN. "But I will tell you that there is no room for hate in this country. I know the pain that hate can cause, and we need to isolate haters, and we need to make sure that they know there is no place for them."

On "Good Morning America," Haley brought up her conversation with Trump again, adding that her message was "taken very well." As for whether Trump believes he was in the wrong with his response? "The president clarified so that no one can question that he's opposed to bigotry and hate in this country," said Haley.

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Chelsea Clinton wants Barron Trump to have a "private" life

AP

Chelsea Clinton defended fellow first child, Barron Trump, on Twitter Monday after a Daily Caller reporter criticized the 11-year-old for his casual attire.

  • The critique: "The youngest Trump doesn't have any responsibilities as the president's son, but the least he could do is dress the part when he steps out in public," entertainment reporter Ford Springer wrote in the Daily Caller.
  • Clinton's kickback: "It's high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves" she tweeted, linking to the story.
  • Why it matters: Clinton, who has otherwise been known to rail against Trump and his administration on social media, has come to Barron's defense on several occasions. Twice she's tweeted that Barron deserves the right and the privacy to be a kid.
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Former Uber exec will be H&R Block's next CEO

Photo courtesy of H&R

Jeff Jones, the former Target CMO who spent just six months at Uber as its president of ride-sharing, will be H&R Block's next CEO, starting in October, the company said today.

  • Despite the enthusiasm around Jones' hiring last year, his departure was less positive. He left amid a flurry of controversies bubbling at Uber, including allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination within the company, and shortly after it announced plans to hire a COO.
  • Jones on his departure: "It is now clear, however, that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride sharing business."

Jones is not the only Uber executive to leave the company in the last six months. Others include its head of finance, head of its AI labs, its head of product and growth, its PR chief, and several employees from its self-driving car teams — including Marakby's boss, former head of Google Maps Brian McClendon.

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Blue Apron faces shareholder lawsuits

Bree Fowler / AP

Blue Apron, the meal kits company that went public in June, has been hit with multiple shareholder lawsuits. They allege that the company misled investors about its business prior to going public, although only two suits have been formally filed, Axios is told. Now, these investors are angry and want their money back.

Tough crowd: Despite being a media darling while a private company, Blue Apron has had a tough time on the markets since going public — its stock price is now nearly half of what it was at the IPO. The company is also facing competition from Amazon, which recently debuted its own meal kits business, which investors claim Blue Apron knew and hid.

Amazon declined to comment on the lawsuits.

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Uber adds new options for driver flexibility

Eric Risberg / AP

Over the last few months, Uber has been on a campaign to repair its relationship with drivers via changes to its policies and service. This time, it's trying to make their driving more flexible thanks to new options in their mobile app, such as setting a trip arrival time if they need to be done by a certain time to pick up their kids from school, and notifications before long trips, for example.

  • In the last six months, it's become clear to the company that it needs to take a friendlier approach in many aspects of its business, including its relationship with drivers.
  • Driver turnover is a big problem for ride-hailing companies, and Uber has to compete for them with rival Lyft, which has cultivated a driver-friendly image.
  • Uber published a paper on time and income flexibility for drivers to support its new policies.
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Combating America's food waste problem

Food waste takes up 21% of America's landfill volume. The founders of Misfit Juicery say that ugly fruits and veggies may be the solution.

WATCH: More from Smarter Faster


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Study: knowing more doesn't change disbeliefs about science

Associated Press

If someone is already pre-disposed to disbelieve scientific conclusions around issues like human evolution, climate change, stem cell research or the Big Bang theory because of their religious or political views, learning more about the subject actually increases their disbelief, a new study finds.

Why it matters: The research flies in the face of commonly held views that more science literacy and greater education around controversial scientific issues will diffuse polarization but supports a growing body of evidence about how our identity forms our views.

  • For stem cell research, the Big Bang theory and evolution, religious identity overrode science literacy.
  • Political beliefs surrounding climate change led to polarization.
  • They found little evidence (yet) of political or religious polarization for nanotechnology and genetically modified food.

What they found: Carnegie Mellon social scientists looked at Americans' beliefs around six potentially controversial issues: stem cell research, the Big Bang theory, nanotechnology, GMOs, climate change and evolution. The found people's beliefs about topics associated with their religious and political views become increasingly polarized with more education (measured by markers like the number of years in school, highest degrees earned, aptitude on general science facts or the number of science classes taken). Baruch Fischhoff from CMU said:

"These are troubling correlations. We can only speculate about the underlying causes. One possibility is that people with more education are more likely to know what they are supposed to say, on these polarized issues, in order to express their identity. Another possibility is that they have more confidence in their ability to argue their case."

One bright spot for science literacy advocates: If someone is already pre-disposed to trust the peer-reviewed science process and scientists, they're likely to believe what they say and find in all of these areas.

Go deeper: Arizona State University's Daniel Sarewitz got to the heart of it in the Guardian yesterday.