May 23, 2019

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is chalking up a delay in putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill to bureaucracy. Her great-great-great-great niece isn't buying it.

In a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, Mnuchin affirmed the long-awaited replacement of Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill wasn't coming until 2028. He went on to blame the setback on addressing "counterfeiting issues," but Tubman's descendant Ernestine Wyatt told CNN's Newsroom on Thursday that Mnuchin's excuse actually "smacks of racism."

With the redesign first being announced in 2016, Wyatt declared that Mnuchin has “had time for this to happen." His defense is "just a nice way of trying to say we don't want this, we're not going to have this, under any circumstances will we have this," she continued. Kathryn Krawczyk

February 25, 2019

Former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen doesn't believe President Trump fully comprehends economic policy or macroeconomics.

In an interview with Marketplace released Monday, Yellen said she doubts Trump "would even be able to say that the Fed's goals are maximum employment and price stability." She added that the president has made comments about trade that "shows a lack of understanding of the impact of the Fed on the economy and appropriate policy goals." When asked if she thinks Trump has a grasp of macroeconomic policy, she responded, "No, I do not."

Now a distinguished fellow in residence at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., Yellen left the Fed in 2018 after Trump did not nominate her for a second term. Trump has criticized her successor, Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates, and he's called the Fed a threat to the economy. Yellen said those comments "concern me, because if that becomes concerted, I think it does have the impact, especially if conditions in the U.S. for any reason were to deteriorate, it could undermine confidence in the Fed. And I think that that would be a bad thing." Catherine Garcia

February 22, 2019

Duke said Thursday that freshman basketball superstar Zion Williamson suffered a mild knee sprain when his Nike PG 2.5 shoe burst apart at the start of the Blue Devils' prime-time televised game against North Carolina, suggesting he could return soon to the currently No. 1-ranked team, The Washington Post reported. Nike shares dropped by 1 percent on Thursday as the athletic apparel maker scrambled to figure out why the shoe disintegrated, per CNN.

Former President Barack Obama was courtside, and was shown in a widely seen video reacting by pointing toward Williamson and saying, "His shoe broke!"

Duke struggled after Williamson's injury, losing to No. 8 UNC in a stunning upset. The incident renewed debate over whether playing college ball is worth the risk for players who stand to make millions as pros. Harold Maass

February 11, 2019

Everything was not awesome for The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part this weekend.

The animated sequel from Warner Bros. took in $34.4 million in its opening weekend, falling significantly short of the first film's $69 million debut in 2014 and The Lego Batman Movie's $53 million debut in 2017, per Box Office Mojo. It did, however, surpass The Lego Ninjago Movie's $20 million opening. But The Second Part was expected to make as much as $55 million this weekend, as reported by Variety last month.

With an 84 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, reviews don't explain the film falling short of expectations. But this could be a classic example of oversaturation, with Warner Bros. releasing four Lego movies since 2014 without letting audiences grow hungry for more. There's also the fact that the most recent Lego movie prior to The Second Part, The Lego Ninjago Movie, was poorly received by critics and fans alike and may have depressed turnout.

Variety reports that the audience for The Second Part was on average younger than that of the original, so it seems the sequel hasn't been able to generate the same excitement from adults as its predecessor.

It's possible that positive word of mouth will help give the film a boost in the coming weeks, but one problem for Warner Bros. is that it will soon have some competition from another animated sequel, DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, which will target the same audience as The Second Part and hits theaters on Feb. 22. Brendan Morrow

February 6, 2019

The Washington Post's editorial board is in agreement: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) must resign.

In an editorial published Wednesday night, the board said there's no way Northam can "effectively serve the people of Virginia who elected him," as his "governorship has been irredeemably wrecked by the self-inflicted, racially callous, and clueless mess he has made in recent days." Northam has given "shifting and credulity-shredding explanations" for a photo on his medical school yearbook page, showing one man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe, and he's been silent since announcing over the weekend he would get a private investigator to clear his name.

There are lots of questions about the photo, the board said — why would Northam admit to being in it if just a day later, he said he wasn't certain? What does this say about his judgment? "The explanations Mr. Northam has proffered are vague and unconvincing," the editorial states. "Virginians deserve better. Mr. Northam's time is up." Read the entire op-ed at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

January 15, 2019

Members of Congress took an hour Tuesday to condemn white supremacy and white nationalism on the House floor.

Why? Because after Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) questioned why those terms are "offensive" nowadays, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) decided to introduce a resolution to officially reject white nationalist and white supremacist movements. And in the debate that followed, 17 bipartisan lawmakers — including King himself — lined up to support him.

Debate isn't the best word for what transpired. It was more like a unanimous rejection of King's words that not-so-coincidentally took place on what would've been Martin Luther King Jr.'s 90th birthday. After hearing from the heads of the House Judiciary Committee, Clyburn kicked off the roast.

King took the floor right after Clyburn, explaining that he came from a family of abolitionists, saying his words were misconstrued, and pledging to back the resolution. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) quickly rose and said she "beg[ged] to differ." A total of four Republicans and 13 Democrats shared similarly scathing takes.

Congress eventually voted 424-1 to pass the resolution. The only no vote came from Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), who said the bill didn't go far enough and demanded a censure of King, which he and two other Democrats moved to do Monday. Also on Monday, King was removed from his committee spots over his recent comments.

Watch everyone's harsh words for King on C-SPAN. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 7, 2019

Just when you thought it was safe to go to Australia.

A "wall" of bluebottle jellyfish is washing up on the country's eastern coast, local officials say, forcing the state of Queensland to close several beaches. They stung 3,595 people last weekend and 13,000 in the past week in Queensland alone, and some scientists think climate change is to blame, The Washington Post reports.

From Dec. 1 to Jan. 7, some 22,282 people were treated for bluebottle stings in Queensland, per The Guardian. The state had 6,831 stings in that same time last year, and the entire country usually sees 25,000 to 45,000 stings a year, the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Service says. It all adds up to what local officials call an "epidemic."

The bluebottles usually end up coming to shore in massive throngs, with Surf Life Saving Queensland reporting approaching pods via Twitter. "Strong and unusual winds" are pushing the squads toward Queensland, the Post writes, and that's not the only climate-related explanation. "Jellyfish are stimulated by just about any change to the ecosystem," a researcher tells the Post, suggesting Australia's warming waters and pollution contributed to the growing jellyfish "bloom."

Bluebottle stings are usually treated with ice or hot water, but nine people have been hospitalized with stings in the past month, per CNN. Rarer species are typically more dangerous, and there's been an uptick in the number of their stings as well. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 2, 2019

Alexandra Pelosi didn't want to discuss her mother on CNN's New Day on Wednesday. But when she did, her speakership endorsement for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was very, very vivid.

As Democrats assume the House majority in the new year, CNN's John Berman wanted to know how the presumptive incoming speaker handles meetings with President Trump. Alexandra Pelosi wouldn't answer at first, but eventually shared a blunt response: "She'll cut your head off and you won't even know you're bleeding. That's all you need to know about her."

Pelosi went on to address criticism against her mother, saying "No matter what you think of her, you have to give her credit" because she's "endured" so many different presidents. That experience means everyone can "sleep at night knowing at least someone in this town knows what they're doing," Pelosi continued.

Despite facing challenges to her leadership before and after the midterm elections, Nancy Pelosi is expected to be elected House speaker on Thursday. Kathryn Krawczyk

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