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.

Don Blankenship is an unlikely hero to the working class.

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Jesse Ball's latest book Census is about a man — a widower — who learns he doesn't have long to live. So he takes one last trip with his adult son, who has Down syndrome. The father signs up as a census taker for the government, and he and his son head north.

"I suppose the profession is arbitrary," Ball says. "It's more of a model for the way we as a culture look at the world."

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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