The Weekly Grind: Feb. 25-March 3

Drink in the week’s most important stories — all in one place. In the time it takes to drink your first cup of coffee, we’ll help you get caught up.


Donald Trump addresses joint session of Congress

President softens his tone in hour-long speech

Donald Trump addressing Congress Tuesday night.  (Photo by

President Donald Trump addressed Congress for the first time Tuesday night. His tone was more optimistic than his criticized speech on Inauguration Day. Among many topics, Trump addressed health care and immigration. He asked Congress to end its trivial fights.  The reaction to his address was mostly positive. Van Jones from CNN said this was the moment Trump became president. Others, like The New Yorker’s John Cassidy, warned Trump didn’t pivot at all. (The New York Times, CNN, The New Yorker)


Newly confirmed Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. (Photo by CNN)

Attorney General recuses himself from investigation into Trump ties with Russia

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with a Russian ambassador twice last year while he was still a senator and an adviser to the Trump campaign, according to a Washington Post story. Sessions said he had not had any communication with the Russians during President Trump’s campaign when he was asked about it during his confirmation hearing last month. Sessions announced he would step away from the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia after a bipartisan call for him to do so. Sessions takes perjury very seriously if his comments about the Clintons are considered. (The Washington Post)

Trump hints at details of budget proposal

President Donald Trump is seeking to boost defense spending by $54 billion in his proposed budget plan for 2018. Trump’s plan will leave welfare programs untouched by cuts and is said to focus on the military, safety and economic development. However, the money must come from somewhere. Early reports indicate chunks of the $54 billion will be coming from the money spent on foreign aid, the EPA and the State Department. The White House sent Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint to federal agencies on Monday. They will review and proposes changes as the White house prepares for negotiations with Congress. (BBC, CNN)

German mayor stresses peace after arrest of Syrian teen accused of murder

Germany has accepted more than a million immigrants from primarily Islamic countries within the past two years. Those years have also led to a political siege of the country’s political leaders. Adding to the turbulent atmosphere, two Syrian nationalists linked to terror groups were arrested Thursday in Germany, and a third was arrested in connection with the murder of Gerday Kruger, 82. In the wake of what has unfolded, Mayor Holger Kelch of the eastern German city of Cottbus is calling for peace. We know the origin of the alleged perpetrator will arouse emotions, he said. And he is emphasizing all foreigners within Cottbus not be treated as a monolith due to the actions of a few. (USA Today)

Donald Trump to skip White House correspondent’s dinner

Tensions have been high between President Donald Trump and the press. Come April 29, he will not be in attendance at the White House correspondent’s dinner.  On Sunday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders addressed the issue on ABC’s This Week. “I think it’s … kind of naive of us,” Sanders said. “To think we can all walk into a room for a couple of hours and pretend some tension isn’t there.” (The Washington Post)

Tom Perez takes over as DNC chair

You may remember the controversy surrounding former chair of the Democratic party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz during the presidential election last year. This week, the DNC voted on her replacement. Tom Perez, who worked as the the Secretary of Labor under President Obama, defeated Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison to secure the position. Perez has the monumental task of reinvigorating a party that suffered defeats both federally and locally last fall. (The Washington Post, CNN)


Snap Inc.’s sign outside New York Stock Exchange (Photo by Harrison Weber/VentureBeat)

Snapchat’s parent company begins public trading

Snap Inc. started trading on the exchange Thursday morning. The company’s I.P.O. was one of the most anticipated in years. Thanks to a loyal base of millennial users, Snap Inc.’s stock jumped 44 percent on the first day, valuing the company at $34 billion, making it the most valuable technology company to go public since Facebook.  (New York Times)

SpaceX plans to send tourists around the moon next year

SpaceX, a company owned by Elon Musk, announced it plans to send two tourists around the moon in 2018. It is an ambitious promise considering no one has been that far into space in 40 years. The trip would not circle the moon but not land on it. The voyage is expected to last one week. (New York Times)

Jon Stewart addresses the media on The Late Show

Jon Stewart stopped by “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” this Tuesday, bringing with him the satirical social commentary that escalated his one-time program on Comedy Central, The Daily Show, to its Emmy award-winning popularity. Stewart took no time in delivering jabs at President Donald Trump. “Trump lies more in one press conference than CNN does in a year,” Stewart said. “And this is coming from a guy, who you know, hates CNN.” Toward the end of his guest appearance, he turned his attention to the media, suggesting it was time for it to get its groove back. Stewart offered some advice before leaving, “Do something for yourself, self-improvement, take up a hobby – I recommend journalism.” (USA Today, CBS News)

The Oscars’ gaffe

The Oscars was running smoothly until it closed the night off with the presentation of the show’s most prestigious award on Sunday night. Presenting the Oscar for best picture, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced “La La Land” as the winner after having accidentally being handed the wrong envelope from an award that was already presented. Once the production crew for “La La Land” made its way to the stage, they were greeted by a man wearing a headset holding an envelope concealing the true winner. As soon as this information came to light, “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz stepped up to the microphone. “I’m sorry, there’s a mistake. ‘Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture,” Horowitz said. The accounting firm responsible for the integrity of the Academy Awards, PwC, formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers, is taking full responsibility for the mix-up, having sent out a letter apologizing to all those affiliated: “For the past 83 years, the Academy has entrusted PwC … and last night we failed the Academy.” (CNN,

UNL celebrates Nebraska’s Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary)

The Nebraska by Heart project features 81 sponsored, 6-foot-tall fiberglass heart-shaped sculptures individually designed to portray the identity of the state. They will be showcased around Lincoln to celebrate the 150-year anniversary of Nebraska’s statehood. This display will feature around 30 of these sculptures around the University’s City Campus and East Campus. All sculptures are said to be installed by May 1 and to be auctioned off on Oct. 6 to then be set into their permanent locations. Proceeds raised will go toward artists and the project’s sponsors: Boys Hope Girls Hope and the Sadie Dog Fund. (Nebraska Today)


Tom Hanks gives journalists a pick-me-up

The note attached to the espresso machine gifted by Tom Hanks  (Photo by Allie Malloy/CNN)

A new espresso machine appeared at the White House Thursday morning. It was a gift from Tom Hanks to the press corps. The espresso machine came with a little note of encouragement. It is the third time in 13 years Hanks has gifted an espresso machine to the White House press corps. (CNN)



Come see Mike Riley on March 9, as part of UNL’s week-long Our Nebraska program (Nebraska Today)

The Ross is holding viewings for the critically acclaimed foreign film, “Neruda” from March 3 – 9. (Nebraska Today)

UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications will host The Press and the Presidency in the Post-Truth Era March 10. (UNL)


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