Cabinet Secretary Flies High on the Hog
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Cabinet Secretary Flies High on the Hog

Tom Price Prefers Expensive Chartered Jets to Far Cheaper Commercial Flights 

Jet planes. Arch Obamacare opponent Tom Price, the Health and Human Services secretary, has taken at least 24 flights on private charter planes at taxpayer expense since early May, Politico reported. The price tag for these trips is more than $300,000. Price’s immediate predecessors, Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, flew commercial in the continental United States. Many of Price’s trips are between large cities with frequent, low-cost airline traffic such as a June 6 trip from Washington to Nashville which can cost as little as $202 round-trip. Price’s jet cost $17,760.  In 2009, Price railed against congressional expenditures in the hundreds of millions of dollars for several private planes that would ferry members of Congress. “This is just another example of fiscal irresponsibility run amok in Congress right now,” Price said in a CNBC interview at the time.

Kim Jong-un

Dotard-in-chief. Trump on Thursday announced new financial sanctions targeting North Korea, seeking to leverage the dominance of the U.S. financial system by forcing nations, foreign companies and individuals to choose whether to do business with the United States or the comparatively tiny economy of North Korea. Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reacted angrily to Trump’s remarks and actions this week, calling the president a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” and Trump’s earlier speech at the U.N. “unprecedented rude nonsense.” Kim said that he was now thinking hard about how to respond. “Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation,” Kim said, saying that he would “tame” Trump “with fire.” (Editor’s note: A dotard is an old person, especially one who has become weak or senile.)

Hurricane. Maria is the fifth-strongest storm ever to hit the United States. There is no electricity on Puerto Rico, and it could remain out for months. Maria was the strongest storm to hit the island in more than 80 years. Parts of the island got up to three feet of rain. “Irma gave us a break, but Maria destroyed us,” construction worker Edwin Serrano said. More than 95% of the island’s wireless cell sites were out of service. At least 15 people died in Dominica.

Earthquake. The death toll reached at least 274 after the earthquake in Mexico. At least 19 children and six adults died in a school on Mexico City’s south side. The U.S. Agency for International Development sent a Disaster Assistance Response Team. Fifty-two buildings collapsed in Mexico City.

Voting rights. The American Civil Liberties Union will launch an effort to try to expand voting rights in 50 states, starting with Kansas, the home state of Kris Kobach who wants to restrict voter access. Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, is co-chair of Trump’s commission to investigate unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. The ACLU’s membership has quadrupled since the election, and it’s raised $83 million online. “This is a moment to go on offense,” said Faiz Shakir, ACLU’s national political director.

September 22, 2017