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Trump and the altered map that started the #SharpiePresident memes. / AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Sharpie memes and poetic justice

Do you need a laugh? Or a cry?

Grab your closest online device and call up #Sharpie or #SharpiePresident on Twitter.com.

It's never-ending.

There's the one that puts Sharpie-drawn stick people in the empty spaces of the Washington mall at President Trump's inauguration. There's one that puts Trump's umbrella over poor Melania. There are several that give Trump more hair.

Finally late Thursday, an aide did acknowledge to the Washington Post that, yes, it was the president himself who altered a NOAA weather forecast map with a black marker.

The Post wrote: "It was Trump who used a black Sharpie to mark up an official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map, which he displayed during an Oval Office briefing on Wednesday, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. 'No one else writes like that on a map with a black Sharpie,' the official said of the map, which added Alabama into the hurricane's potential pathway inside the loop of the marker."

Never mind that when asked earlier in the week about how the map was altered, the president said, "I don't know. I don't know. I don't know."

On Friday, he was defending himself again. He was right, he raged about his assertion that Alabama was in the path of the storm.

Mr. President, please tell us more about your campaign and finance connections to Russia.

 

Justice for a bad cop

Kudos to federal prosecutors for pursuing and obtaining guilty pleas from a former Chattanooga police officer who has admitted to raping three women in his custody and using a Taser on another woman he had driven to an isolated parking lot at UTC in 2016.

Desmond Logan, 33, now faces 10 years in prison on each of two deprivation of rights counts: one for a 2018 rape and one for the incident at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In each count, he also faces $250,000 in fines and a maximum term of supervised release up to three years. The two additional rapes, one in 2015 and one in 2016, are listed in federal court documents as "relevant conduct" in the plea agreement. Sentencing will come later.

The case came to light when the woman in the 2018 case reported the incident to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, which began a criminal investigation. Logan told the woman she was under arrest then drove her to an empty parking lot and raped her in the early morning hours.

But kudos, also, to Times Free Press reporter Mark Pace, whose dogged reporting helped turn up the fact that Chattanooga Department leaders covered up similar previous incidents — going back to 2015 — leaving the officer in a position to continue abusing the power of his badge again and again.

Pace's reporting in May revealed that two now-retired, high-ranking officers may have played a role in covering up years of rape allegations against Logan.

The decorated officers — retired Assistant Chief Edwin McPherson and retired Capt. Pedro Bacon — and their potential roles in a cover-up were then said to be part of ongoing rape and human rights violations alleged against Logan

In May, Pace wrote: "Officials believe McPherson and Bacon were involved in the suppression of records and emailed about their attempts to cover up the accusations, sources told the Times Free Press. However, digital footprints and emails that may confirm the allegations have been withheld for months by the city attorney's office because they are part of the ongoing federal investigation and criminal investigation by the sheriff's office, city attorney Phil Noblett said."

Those records remain blocked by a city that has a laundry list of misconduct by officers and civilian employees. And we still don't know what, if anything, will come of the cover-up.

At least in the case of Logan, there likely will be justice — thanks to the FBI and thanks to a reporter who was unafraid of hard work and hard looks.

 

Justice for a Trump whim

Then there's Trump's justice, which he uses to punish those he sees as his enemies.

The Trump Justice Department last week launched an antitrust investigation into four leading automakers over an agreement they forged with the state of California to maintain higher fuel efficiency standards — the standards that give us cars that get better mileage and pollute less. But those higher fuel efficiency standards are the ones that Trump and his buddies in the oil industry want trashed. In fact, Trump has eased them. And now he wants automakers to go back to building cars and trucks that guzzle gas.

Yes, this raises questions of whether the Justice Department is being politicized to impose the president's policies.

And separately, the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department notified California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols that the state's deal with Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW of North America on future mileage targets "appears to be inconsistent with federal law."

"We urge you to act immediately to dissociate CARB from the commitments made by the four automakers," the two agencies' general counsels wrote. "Those commitments may result in legal consequences given the limits placed in federal law on California's authority."

Hello? What happened to GOP's favorite baby: state's rights?

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