The Morning Briefing: The U.S. Anticipates Astronomical Metaphor Today and Much, Much More

Clayton Uyeda and his wife Jo are photographed along Dallas Rd. in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. The couple will be enjoying the partial eclipse while traveling from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen ferry terminal on the mainland. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP)

Good Monday Morning.

Here is what’s on the President’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
  • The President will then have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence.
  • Later in the afternoon, the President will meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
  • The President will then participate in a swearing-in ceremony of Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson, IV as United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • In the evening, the President will depart the White House en route to Fort Meyer.
  • The President will then give a Presidential Address to the Nation.
  • The President will then depart Fort Meyer en route to the White House.

The latest on the USS John S. McCain

The USS John S. McCain, a Navy guided-missile destroyer, collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore early Monday morning. Ten sailors remain missing.

This is the fourth accident in Asian waters so far this year.

The Navy reported significant hull damage to the McCain, saying there was flooding in berthing compartments as well as machinery and communication rooms.

“Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities,” the Navy said in a statement posted on the website of the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

“In addition to tug boats out of Singapore, the Republic of Singapore Navy ship RSS Gallant, RSN helicopters and Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark are currently in the area to render assistance,” it said.


Trump to give speech on path forward in Afghanistan

On Friday, President Trump held a meeting with his national security team at Camp David and tonight he will reveal the U.S. path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia. Trump will deliver the speech from Ft. Meyer in Arlington, VA.

Options on the table include proposals to send roughly 3,000 to 5,000 more U.S. troops to a conflict that stretches back to the 9/11 attacks in 2001. More than 2,400 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan.

The top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, has said several thousand additional troops are needed to help break the stalemate in the war against the Taliban, the Islamic State and other insurgent groups there.

Any additional U.S. and coalition troops would remain in a support role in Afghanistan, helping to advise Afghan forces, which have suffered high numbers of casualties in the fight against insurgents. The coalition is also providing limited air support for Afghan government forces.

Mattis said Sunday while en route to Amman, Jordan, that he is satisfied with how the administration formulated its new Afghanistan war strategy. But he refused to talk about the new policy until Trump discloses it.


We need to get out of there.

Politico reports “he [Trump] is expected to approve sending more troops to Afghanistan, deepening U.S. involvement in the region and indicating a more traditional approach to foreign policy than he promised on the campaign trail.”

Mattis said of the soon-to-be-revealed strategy that he was “very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous”

Get ready for the giant astronomical metaphor today

Americans are flocking to prime locations to watch today’s total eclipse and businesses are bracing for a very unproductive afternoon.

A total solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the sun and Earth, an occurrence that lasts up to three hours from beginning to end. Monday’s total solar eclipse is particularly rare because it’s the first time in 99 years that the path of totality exclusively crosses the continental United States from coast to coast. It’s also the first continent-wide eclipse to be visible only from the United States since 1776.

The last time the contiguous United States saw a total solar eclipse was Feb. 26, 1979, when the path of totality crossed the Pacific Northwest. ABC News’ Frank Reynolds anchored a special report on the celestial phenomenon at the time and pledged that the network would cover the next total solar eclipse in 2017.


If you are going to view the eclipse, do it safely with glasses or other approved devices. Hotels are sold out in prime viewing cities and traffic is expected to be miserable for those driving to partake of the spectacle.

Watch Walter Cronkite reporting on the solar eclipse in 1979:

If you don’t have the proper glasses and cannot watch safely (like me), you are not out of luck. Here’s information about how to watch online and here’s how to make a viewer — just don’t look at the sun. ABC News reports: “You’re essentially cooking your retina, the delicate, light-sensitive tissue deep inside the eyeball. Solar radiation can kill those cells. Hours can pass before you realize the extent of the damage.”

Rest in Peace, Jerry Lewis

May his memory be a blessing.

Historical picture of the day:

President Dwight Eisenhower helps unfurl the new 50-star flag on August 21, 1959 in Washington after signing a proclamation making Hawaii the 50th state of the union. At right is Daniel K. Inouye, Democratic congressman-elect from Hawaii. Others are: Lt. Col. James S. Cook Jr. of the Office of the Quartermaster General, and Edward Johnston, center, Secretary of the Hawaii, who represented Gov. -elect William F. Quinn. (AP Photo/Byron Rollins)

Other morsels:

Comedian, civil rights activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


Powerball jackpot jumps to $650M after no winner drawn

Police say 39 people detained over neo-Nazi march in Berlin

Kaepernick items to be included in Black Lives Matter collection at Smithsonian

Secret Service investigating lawmaker’s post

Trump disbands federal advisory panel on climate change: report

‘America First’ protesters face off with opponents at California beach rally

Jeh Johnson: Removal of Confederate statues a matter of ‘Homeland Security’

Site of two Civil War battles cancels upcoming reenactment

University of Texas removes four Confederate statues from campus overnight

Former L.A. mayor and CA gubernatorial candidate anticipates Kamala Harris’ run for president

Jefferson Memorial exhibit update will acknowledge slavery record

More charities cancel fundraisers at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club

White House petition to recognize antifa as a terrorist organization hits 100k signatures

Feminist Joss Whedon’s ex-wife accuses him of years of infidelity

North Korea denounces joint military exercises to start between U.S. and South Korea

And that’s all I’ve got, now go watch the moon blot out the sun! (safely)


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