Delta and United Airlines on Saturday announced they are cutting ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Delta is reaching out to the NRA to let them know we will be ending their contract for discounted rates through our group travel program. We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from their website.
— Delta (@Delta) February 24, 2018
United is notifying the NRA that we will no longer offer a discounted rate to their annual meeting and we are asking that the NRA remove our information from their website.
— United Airlines (@united) February 24, 2018
The airlines join the Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, Alamo, and National car rental brands as well as First National Bank of Omaha, Best Western hotels, MetLife insurance, and more than a dozen other companies in ending deals with the NRA. Delta previously offered discounted airfare for NRA members, and United offered discounts on flights to and from the organization's annual conference.
Companies are distancing themselves from the NRA in response to outrage following last week's mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school. Customer responses to the tweeted announcements were predictably mixed. Bonnie Kristian
YouTube is distancing itself from vlogger Logan Paul, who caused outrage when he posted a video Dec. 31 showing the body of a man who died by suicide, announcing Wednesday it is removing Paul from a top-tier ad platform and putting his projects on hold.
"In light of recent events, we have decided to remove Logan Paul's channels from Google Preferred," a YouTube spokesman said. "Additionally, we will not feature Logan in Season 4 of Foursome and his new originals are on hold." Foursome is a comedy series starring Paul and other social media personalities.
The controversial video was filmed in a Japanese forest known for a high number of suicides, and it received six million views before it was deleted. Not only was the public upset at Paul for posting the video, but many were mad at YouTube as well for waiting so long to say something. Paul has apologized for the video, and in a statement after he deleted it he said "suicide is not a joke" and "depression and mental illness are not a joke." Paul's YouTube page has more than 15 million subscribers. Catherine Garcia
Conservative politicians were quick to slam President Obama's directive Friday that public schools allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity, rather than biological sex, with Texas even going so far as to hint at a lawsuit. "We will not be blackmailed," Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said, advising local school boards and superintendents not to heed the administration's orders. "I believe it is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public schools. Parents are not going to send their 14-year-old daughters into the shower or bathroom with 14-year-old boys. It's not going to happen."
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) joined Patrick's rebuke of the law, advising school districts to ignore the "offensive" directive. Tim Moore, the Republican speaker of the North Carolina House, has said the move makes him "wonder what other threats to common sense norms may come before the sun sets on the Obama administration." Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) called the directive an overreach of federal government and advised Obama to "focus on his job," which "is not to intervene in state and local affairs."
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has responded by pointing out the directive is merely "guidance" for how schools can ensure students aren't discriminated against, and that it doesn't add any legal requirements — though there's an underlying implication that schools that do not comply will be at risk of losing federal funding by refusing to follow Title IX rules. Becca Stanek
During his visit to a Baltimore mosque Wednesday, President Obama sought to remind Americans — and Republican presidential candidates — that anti-Muslim rhetoric is "inexcusable" and "has no place in our country." Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, however, saw the speech as nothing but divisive.
"I'm tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this president's done," the Republican presidential candidate said. "Always pitting people against each other. Always! Look at today: He gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims."
In Rubio's opinion, Obama's focus on intolerance was just a distraction from the real issue at hand. "Of course there's discrimination in America, of every kind," Rubio said. "But the bigger issue is radical Islam. And by the way, radical Islam poses a threat to Muslims themselves. They argue that. They'll tell you that."
Obama's visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore Wednesday marked his first visit to a U.S. mosque as president.
Listen to Rubio's speech below. Becca Stanek
On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticized remarks made by Pope Francis, who said during a Mass attended by the Armenian president that the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians under Ottoman rule 100 years ago was "the first genocide of the 20th century."
Armenia says that up to 1.5 million people were killed in 1915 by Ottoman forces, the BBC reports, while Turkey disputes the number and says the deaths were part of the civil conflict that started World War I. Cavusoglu tweeted: "The Pope's statement, which is far from the legal and historical reality, cannot be accepted. Religious authorities are not the places to incite resentment and hatred with baseless allegations."
Turkey's foreign ministry said it felt "great disappointment and sadness" over the comments, and recalled the country's ambassador from Rome. Catherine Garcia
On Tuesday, President Obama dropped his proposal to remove the ability for people to withdraw money tax-free from 529 college savings plans.
The administration said that the tax break disproportionately benefited the wealthy, with more than 70 percent of accounts held by families who make at least $200,000 annually, and wanted to redirect more money to the middle class, The Washington Post reports. The White House faced criticism from parents and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, who said the accounts are one of the best ways for families to save for college. "The President's plan has the puzzle pieces necessary to bring the middle class back, but this particular piece didn't fit," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said.
Officials say the backlash became "such a distraction" that it was decided the plan needed to be abandoned. Catherine Garcia
A billboard for the movie American Sniper in Los Angeles was defaced Sunday, when someone spray painted the word "murder!" in red.
— People magazine (@peoplemag) January 19, 2015
LAPD Sgt. A Bone told People that it will be very difficult to determine who did this, saying: "Taggers like to throw up their own stuff. If it's just the word 'murder' there's practically no way to track it down." The Clint Eastwood–directed American Sniper tells the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, known as the deadliest sniper in U.S. history. The movie brought in $90 million during its opening weekend. Catherine Garcia
Elizabeth Lauten, a Republican Congressional staffer, told NBC News that she is resigning today after the backlash to her comments about Sasha and Malia Obama.
Lauten, who served as communications director for Rep. Stephen Lee Fincher (R-Tenn.), criticized the girls' behavior at the presidential turkey pardoning last week. She wrote in a Facebook post that they should "try showing a little class" and advised the girls to "dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar." The girls were photographed looking less than enthused during the ceremony.
"I quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager," Lauten wrote in a Facebook post. "After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents, and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly just how hurtful my words were." --Meghan DeMaria
— Vox (@voxdotcom) December 1, 2014