Don Gonyea

Certain rituals have grown up around the use of the presidential pardon.

The most common is a lengthy review by the Justice Department on the merits of any such petition for a pardon.

But for President Trump, the pardon seems to have become the ultimate symbol of presidential power — the ability to use this exclusive authority as an act of benevolent largess and as the ultimate political perk.

Ry Cooder has been described as a singer-songwriter, slide guitar hero, session musician to so many other artists, producer, musicologist and historian, a man beholden to no single style, a champion of Cuban and international roots music, and a composer of film soundtracks.

Yet, now a half-century into his prolific career, Cooder continues to carve out new trades for himself.

Don Blankenship is an unlikely hero to the working class.

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"The Dude abides."

OK. As iconic movie lines go, maybe it's not as iconic as "Here's looking at you, kid" or "I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

But for fans of the film The Big Lebowski, there are few things better than hearing Jeff Bridges say those words with such nonchalant slacker indifference.

Add Planned Parenthood to the list of organizations looking to take advantage of President Trump's low approval ratings in the 2018 midterm elections.

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Republicans are using tough language in the current immigration debate. They speak of the threats and dangers posed by those in the U.S. illegally. Their words largely echo those of President Trump in warning that immigrants steal jobs from Americans and drag down the standard of living.

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And some news just now - Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat who has spent more than half a century in Congress, just made this announcement.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE MILDRED GADDIS SHOW")

JOHN CONYERS: I am retiring today.

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