Today’s edition of quick hits:
* A heartbreaking disaster in Guatemala: “Search-and-rescue workers headed to villages hit by Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire early Monday after it spewed lava, ash, rocks and deadly hot gas, killing at least 33 people.”
* After declaring an “absolute right” to pardon himself, Donald Trump went on to insist that the “appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”
* Quite a scene: “As the sun set Sunday night, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) went to a shuttered Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, that has been converted into a detention center for immigrant children who have been separated from their parents. He asked for a tour. Instead, the government contractor that runs the converted store called the cops. An officer filled out a police report, and the senator was asked to leave.”
* That’s not an unreasonable request: “Protesters Demand Audit of Hurricane Maria Death Toll in Puerto Rico.”
* Duterte can’t seem to help himself: “Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte … blasted a United Nations human rights expert who had warned about judicial integrity in the country. ‘Tell him not to interfere with the affairs of my country,’ Duterte said when asked about the criticism by Diego García-Sayán, a U.N. special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. ‘He can go to hell.’”
* Something new for Facebook to apologize for? “As Facebook sought to become the world’s dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users’ personal information.”
* Late last week, Rhode Island “became the latest state to join a nationwide push to strengthen gun laws, with new measures to ban bump stocks and give law enforcement additional power to temporarily seize guns from individuals determined to be an imminent danger to themselves or others.”
* I think a lot about stories like these in the context of 21st century primacy: “After decades of American dominance, Chinese science is ascendant, and it is luring scientists … away from the United States. Even more China-born scientists are returning from abroad to a land of new scientific opportunity.”
* The valedictorian at Bell County High School in Kentucky read an inspirational quote during his commencement address: “ ‘Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.’ – Donald J. Trump.” The crowd quickly cheered. “Just kidding,” the student added. “That was Barack Obama.” The crowd fell silent.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.