Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Democracy survives amid chaos, failing presidency

This has been quite a chaotic week in Washington, but there is a silver lining. Despite a president who remains unfit for the office in every way and shows no sign of maturing, our system of government still works. The checks and balances are in good order despite the dysfunction in the White House. This remains a resilient democracy that is demonstrating that even under stress it cannot be broken by a failing, flailing presidency.

Consider what happened just this week:

• Thanks to the courage and independence of Arizona Sen. John McCain and two other Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, another desperate attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act was defeated by one vote early Friday in the Senate. It was a reckless move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to try to pass a ridiculous, narrow repeal bill just to force negotiations with the House. President Donald Trump tweeted his displeasure shortly after 2 a.m., but perhaps finally there can be a bipartisan effort to improve access to affordable care rather than strip away coverage from millions of Americans.

• Trump abruptly tweeted that transgender troops would be banned from serving in the U.S. military, catching the Pentagon by surprise and contradicting his secretary of defense, who had told top officers to spend another few months weighing the issue. This would reverse years of more inclusive policies toward serving in the military, and it callously threw into limbo several thousand transgender troops who are serving now. Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not move to kick anyone out of the military in response to Trump's tweets. He responsibly is awaiting more formal direction on an irresponsible policy change.

• After Senate investigators questioned the president's son-in-law as part of the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the election, the Senate overwhelmingly approved new financial sanctions on Russia and North Korea. It bars Trump from easing or ending the sanctions unless Congress agrees.

• Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of Trump's early supporters, refused to resign despite Trump's efforts to goad him into quitting by publicly embarrassing him. The president is furious that Sessions appropriately recused himself from the Russia investigation, and he apparently wants to replace him with an attorney general who would fire the special counsel. Republican senators made it clear they would oppose such interference.

• A Boy Scouts official apologized for Trump's rambling, inappropriate speech to 40,000 Scouts. The president's new communications director went on a profane rant, and Trump forced out his chief of staff Friday. Russia cut the number of U.S. Embassy employees there, and North Korea fired a missile that landed within 230 miles of Japan.

Amid all of these threats domestic and foreign, America's democracy continues to survive. But thank goodness for the weekend — and let's hope for one with as few Trump tweets as possible.

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Wednesday’s letters: How home rule can help fight Red Tide

Red Tide on march | Sept. 18How home rule can help fight Red TideAt the end of 2005, as Red Tide ravaged the beaches and intracoastal waterways of Southwest Florida, volunteers from the Suncoast Sierra Club formed a coastal task force to begin de...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Cartoons for Wednesday, Sept. 19

Cartoons for Wednesday, Sept. 19

Editorial cartoons from Times wires
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18

Column: We’re measuring the economy all wrong

Ten years after the collapse of Lehman Bros., the official economic statistics — the ones that fill news stories, television shows and presidential tweets — say that the U.S. economy is fully recovered.The unemployment rate is lower tha...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18
Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Florence began lashing down on the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to make landfall early Friday, washing over dunes, downing trees and power lines and putting some 10 million people in the path of a potentially catastrophic storm. Flor...
Published: 09/13/18
Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Gov. Rick Scott has headed down a dangerous path by announcing he has started the process to fill three upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court as he heads out the door. But to his credit, the governor indicated his "expectation’’ is that he ...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18