5 Things for August 11: North Korea, McConnell, New Orleans, Opioids, Taylor Swift

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 8/11/2017, 6:18 a.m.
Been busy? Just now realize a big solar eclipse is coming? Don't worry; here's our guide for slackers. And here's ...
President Trump and North Korea

By Doug Criss, CNN

(CNN) -- Been busy? Just now realize a big solar eclipse is coming? Don't worry; here's our guide for slackers. And here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

1. North Korea

Surprising no one, President Trump doubled down on his tough talk with North Korea, saying that his earlier threat to hit the North with "fire and fury" probably didn't go far enough. Trump responded to the regime's threat to attack Guam with a threat of his own, vowing "an event the likes of which nobody has seen before." Our experts considered how that might unfold. But Trump's bombastic barbs weren't just for the North Koreans. He saved some for his predecessors, too, saying past US presidents didn't do enough to stand up to the North.

2. Mitch McConnell

We know the President has no qualms about going after his own people (Hello, James Comey and Jeff Sessions). So, it wasn't a shock to find Mitch McConnell in Trump's crosshairs. Still, McConnell is the Senate majority leader, the husband of one of Trump's Cabinet members and the man who can make it easier -- or really hard -- for Trump to get his agenda through Congress. But Trump, clearly miffed that the Obamacare repeal effort died in the Senate, went after McConnell on Twitter and in comments to reporters, ordering him to get back to work on health care and demurring when asked if he should resign. McConnell this week said Trump has "excessive expectations" about the "democratic process."

3. Opioid crisis

The opioid crisis is officially a national emergency. President Trump finally made that declaration, which his own bipartisan commission recommended. Trump called the opioid crisis a serious problem "the likes of which we have never had" (yes, you've heard that phrase before). Trump compared the current crisis to the days of his youth, saying, "When I was growing up, they had the LSD and they had certain generations of drugs." The national emergency designation means more resources will be made available to state and federal agencies to fight the opioid epidemic. Just two days ago, the administration said declaring a national emergency was not necessary.

4. New Orleans flooding

Rain's in the forecast today for the Crescent City, and that's very bad news. Regular, run-of-the-mill rainstorms have flooded parts of New Orleans recently, because a handful of key pumps that drain the city -- some of which sits below sea level -- aren't working. A turbine that helps power some of those pumps also was damaged in a fire. In anticipation of today's rain and possible flooding, some schools are closed, and residents are being warned to stay indoors and off the roads. Rainwater flooding did not wreck the city in Hurricane Katrina, when breaches in federal levees let a nearby lake spill into the streets.

5. Taylor Swift

Pop superstar Taylor Swift took the stand in her civil suit against a former DJ she said groped her during a meet-and-greet. Swift said David Mueller, a radio host in Denver, grabbed her backside when they took a picture together four years ago. Mueller denies this and says it's all a misunderstanding. Swift was having none of that: "What Mr. Mueller did was very intentional," she testified. She later told Mueller's lawyer, "I'm not going to allow you or your client to make me feel in any way that this is my fault, because it isn't."

Writer Peggy Drexler said Swift spoke for all women and highlighted the sexual harassment they endure daily. And CNN legal analyst Paul Callan said Swift sent a strong message to men, too: Get your groping hands off us.


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