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Interior Sec requires staffer to fly a special flag when he enters HQ — and military officials are flummoxed

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has come under fire for spending nearly as much as former Secretary Tom Price on private airline flights, but now it appears he also has special mandates for the buildings he’s in.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Zinke unearthed a military ritual hoisting special secretarial flags on whatever buildings he happens to be in. Each time Zinke is scheduled to enter a building, a security staffer takes an elevator to the top floor and climbs to the roof where his special flag is raised. When he is not in the building, the security staffer must, once again, climb the steps to the top and take the flag down.

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The flag, is a royal blue with a seal that features a bison and seven stars on it. It’s remarkably similar to the flag for Montana’s Chippewa Tribe Zinke was seen holding as a U.S. Representative.

Flag of the US Dept of Interior (Photo: Wikipedia)

According to The Post, no one can recall when the “arcane military ritual” has ever been used in the federal government. However, Zinke’s spokesperson claims it’s an example of the secretary’s “major sign of transparency” showing that he is in his office.

“Ryan Zinke is proud and honored to lead the Department of the Interior, and is restoring honor and tradition to the department, whether it’s flying the flag when he is in garrison or restoring traditional access to public lands,” press secretary Heather Swift said.

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The ritual is remarkably similar to the one used to signify when the Queen of England is at Buckingham Palace. When the president is in the White House a presidential flag could also be raised, but Trump has not demanded it.

“We’re talking about Cabinet members and federal buildings, not the Queen of England and Buckingham Palace,” said Chris Lu, deputy Labor secretary in the Barack Obama administration.


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Why you should sell your house now — and not wait for the climate to change

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Cities across the United States are already seeing the impacts of climate change. Sea levels are on the rise in Miami, Florida, where ocean waters creep into the streets, even when it isn't raining. Massive wildfires have taken out whole neighborhoods in California and in Alaska, about 2.5 million acres have burned since July 3. Wildfires there are getting worse, according to experts.

The problem of climate change has reached a dangerous level for some homeowners in areas that are no longer insurable. In Miami, for example, the "street-level" is now considered the basement and insurers are dropping coverage for basements. According to the Daily Beast, at least 340,000 California homeowners lost their property insurance coverage between 2015 and 2018 because the wildfires are getting worse and companies don't want to pay out when homes are destroyed.

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GOP lawmakers working behind the scenes with Democrats to curb Trump’s tariff madness

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According to a report from Wall Street Journal, Republican lawmakers are working behind the scenes to rein in Donald Trump's penchant for declaring tariffs willy-nilly depending on how he feels about other countries and their leaders at any given time.

As the president trade war rages on -- impacting manufacturers, farmers and consumers alike -- Republicans looking at the 2020 election are desperate to turn around a U.S. economy that looks headed for a recession.

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Beto O’Rourke doubles down on gun buybacks

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Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a Texas Democrat who is running for president in 2020, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he believes assault weapons are "instruments of terror" and the government should implement a mandatory buyback policy.

I was asked about @SenToomey saying mandatory buybacks are "awful."

I said the priorities in D.C. are screwed up.

What's awful is a 17 month-old baby shot in the face with an AR-15 in Odessa. What's awful is 22 people killed in a Walmart buying school supplies in El Paso. pic.twitter.com/JAN1xfrQYS

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