Easing Shutdown Worries, Trump Relents On Another Major Hurdle

President Donald Trump before signing an executive order at the White House on Tuesday.

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Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

With just two days left to stop a partial shutdown of the federal government, the Trump administration on Wednesday removed another major sticking point in the spending bill negotiations.

The White House told lawmakers it will not cut off federal subsidies that help low-income Americans pay for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, at least for now, an administration official and congressional sources confirm to NPR.

Democrats sought to have the federal payments — known as cost-sharing reduction, or CSR — included in the spending package.

This second spending bill concession by the White House makes the specter of a shutdown unlikely. Earlier this week, President Trump back offed his demand that any funding bill Congress passes provide a down-payment for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats had for weeks signaled a lack of support for any spending bill that included money for Trump’s pet project.

Pelosi: “We’ve now made progress”

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate welcomed the new developments.

“Our major concerns in these negotiations have been about funding for the wall and uncertainty about the CSR payments crucial to the stability of the marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act. We’ve now made progress on both of these fronts,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

An aide to Pelosi says she spoke twice Wednesday with White House chief of staff Reince Preibus as negotiations over a spending bill continued.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a statement, said of President Trump dropping his healthcare threat, “Like the withdrawal of money for the wall, this decision brings us closer to a bipartisan agreement to fund the government and is good news for the American people.”

Negotiators in the House and Senate are working ahead of a Friday deadline to reach a spending deal to avoid a government shutdown and fully fund federal departments and agencies through the end of the current fiscal year in September. They could seek a one or two-week extension, which would allow lawmakers time to reach a more solid deal.

GOP renews health care push

Meanwhile, the House Freedom Caucus is injecting the GOP’s health care push with a shot of momentum.

The bloc of roughly 36 hard-line conservatives — which sidelined the previous Republican attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — on Wednesday threw its support behind the party’s revised health care plan.

The updated measure includes an amendment authored by Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C, and Tuesday Group leader Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J.

The Tuesday Group is an informal caucus of roughly 50 moderate House Republicans.

The revised plan would allow states to get waivers for many of the Affordable Care Act’s mandates. States could opt out of setting requirements on the benefits health insurers must cover in their policies and the ban on allowing insurance companies to charge more based on a person’s age and health status.

“Due to improvements to the AHCA and the addition of Rep. Tom MacArthur’s proposed amendment, the House Freedom Caucus has taken an official position in support of the current proposal,” the group said in a statement.

“While the revised version still does not fully repeal Obamacare, we are prepared to support it to keep our promise to the American people to lower healthcare costs.”

An official Freedom Caucus endorsement requires support from 80 percent of its members. But at least one member — Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala. — said early Wednesday he wouldn’t support it.

Moderate Republicans slow to embrace new health care plan

Still, the overwhelming backing from Freedom Caucus conservatives means the future of the GOP’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act now rests with moderate House Republicans. But many of them seem slow to embrace it.

“The concerns that I’ve had have not been addressed by the current proposals,” Rep. Dan Donovan, R- N.Y., said Wednesday. Donovan is a member of the Tuesday Group. “We have to help people who were harmed by the Affordable Care Act, but at the same time not harm the people who were helped by it.”

For his part, House Speaker Paul Ryan — who last month pulled the GOP healthcare bill from the floor after it failed to secure enough votes — reacted favorably to the MacArthur amendment, calling it “very constructive.”

“I think it helps us get to consensus,” Ryan told reporters during a Wednesday press conference on Capitol Hill.

Republican Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., summed it up more succinctly, speaking to reports off the House floor. “If this is what it takes to get the bill passed,” Collins said, “God bless Donald Trump.”

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Dueling Rallies Rack Caracas After Death Toll Inches Toward 30 In Venezuela

Opposition activists take cover behind advertisement placards during a fight with police in Caracas on Wednesday. More than two dozen people have died since protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro began to swell roughly a month ago.

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It has been just under a month since dissatisfaction with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro erupted into massive protests — but if Wednesday’s street skirmishes in Caracas are any indication, the unrest is unlikely to end soon.

Nearly 30 people have been killed in the demonstration since the end of March, when the pro-Maduro Supreme Court tried to nullify an opposition-dominated legislature — but then quickly backpedaled.

Opposition leaders announced three of the deaths Wednesday, according to The Associated Press, which reports that the total death toll has climbed to 29. Reuters and the BBC place that number at 27 and 26, respectively.

A protester tosses a combustible device during a clash with riot police in Caracas on Wednesday.

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Anti-Maduro demonstrators have been calling for elections, which the president indefinitely postponed late last year, as well as an end to the shortages that have left Venezuelans struggling to obtain necessities like bread.

“I want everything to end: the hunger, the murders, the corruption, all the ills we are suffering,” student Ricardo Ropero told Reuters at a march in Caracas. “We have to stay in the street until there is change. We are the majority.”

The focal point of demonstrators’ efforts Wednesday was the national ombudsman’s office in Caracas. They marched on the office to express frustration with the agency, which is responsible for investigating complaints against the government. Protesters say the office has done little to represent their interests.

But before they could get to the building, the AP reports the marchers were turned back by security forces that lobbed tear gas on them.

Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro march in the capital on Wednesday.

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At the same time, the protesters were not alone. Maduro’s supporters also took to the streets en masse, clad in red and reciting slogans to counter what they see as the wanton destabilization of the president’s regime. As the BBC notes, Maduro and his allies assert that opposition leaders have been resorting to looting and violence in order to seize power themselves.

Still, Maduro faces resistance from outside his borders, as well.

General Motors stopped its operations in the country last week after its plant there “was unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations,” the massive American automaker said in a statement — though, as NPR’s Camila Domonoske reports, the details of the takeover might be murkier than they first appear.

A demonstrator protects his mouth with a cloth as riot police advance on protesters on Wednesday. Security forces fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters during the Caracas rally, while protesters often returned fire with rocks and other objects.

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And the Organization of American States, an organization of Western Hemisphere countries based in the U.S., has severely criticized the manner in which the Venezuelan president has grappled with his opposition — criticism that Venezuela has rebutted by threatening to withdraw from the organization.

“We’re not going to continue allowing legal and institutional violations that are arbitrary and surpass any moral, ethical and licit boundary that nations in this regional organization should respect,” Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said Tuesday, according to the AP.

It is unclear what Venezuela’s withdrawal from the OAS would mean for the organization, which has never had a member state leave since its charter was signed in 1948.

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Trump's Tweets On Court Blocking 'Sanctuary City' Order: 5 Facts To Know

President Trump signs an executive order on immigration enforcement and “sanctuary cities” on Jan. 25.

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Trump has been tweeting about a federal court ruling that temporarily blocked his plan to suspend funding for “sanctuary cities.”

These are cities — among them New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and San Francisco — that have limited their cooperation with federal immigration authorities. For example, they may refuse to detain people who are in the U.S. illegally on behalf of the federal agents.

Now, the Trump tweets:

First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2017

Out of our very big country, with many choices, does everyone notice that both the “ban” case and now the “sanctuary” case is brought in …

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2017

…the Ninth Circuit, which has a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80%). They used to call this “judge shopping!” Messy system.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2017

Here are five key points to keep in mind about the court ruling and Trump’s reaction.

1. The court

It wasn’t the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled against the administration on “sanctuary cities.” It was a single district court judge in San Francisco who issued the court ruling, which applies nationwide.

There is in fact no appeal yet, though the case if appealed, it almost certainly will go to the 9th Circuit, and probably the Supreme Court.

2. The numbers

The 9th Circuit, which covers nine states, including California, is the biggest in the country in terms of area and population, and it was indeed reversed by the Supreme Court in eight of 10 cases that the Supreme Court reviewed and decided last term.

But that is not far off the average circuit reversal rate.

It is not true, as Trump has previously claimed, that the 9th is the circuit most reversed by the Supreme Court.

In the last Supreme Court term, the 9th Circuit came in second on that score. It came in third in 2013-14 term, and tied for fifth in the 2012-13 term.

3. The “judge shopping”

On the judge shopping question — it is natural that many immigration cases come out of California. The state has the largest number of “unauthorized immigrants” in the country, according to the Migration Policy Institute, which crunched some U.S. Census Bureau numbers.

4. In law as in life, what goes around comes around

Conservatives during the Obama administration advanced and perfected a strategy of challenging Obama’s executive actions in court. They brought cases in Texas, for example, a conservative state with conservative judges.

A single Republican-appointed federal judge in Texas, for instance, blocked Obama’s attempt to temporarily grant legal status to some immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

That judge, like the judge in San Francisco, said the president had exceeded the authority granted him by Congress and the Constitution.

In the San Francisco case on sanctuary cities, Judge William Orrick Jr., an Obama appointee, linked his decision to the Constitution’s provision giving Congress control over the federal purse.

Congress, he said, did not authorize putting such conditions on federal grants. To buttress the point, he cited an array of Supreme Court decisions that are stars in the current conservative firmament.

Among them, the court’s 1997 opinion striking down a key provision of the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, and the court’s 2012 opinion striking down a provision of the Affordable Care Act that cut off Medicaid money to states that refused to cooperate with the federal health insurance program.

In both opinions — one written by Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon; and the other written by Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative George W. Bush appointee — the legal underpinning was that the federal government cannot commandeer the state’s apparatus to enforce a federal mandate.

5. The out-of-court rhetoric

A rare pattern is emerging in the Trump administration’s most highly visible court challenges. The president’s own words, and those of his advisers, are being used against them.

In the travel ban case, the Justice Department’s claim that this was a carefully crafted and narrow ban of Muslims in seven countries was contradicted by the president’s repeated pledge during his campaign to ban all Muslims. Indeed, Trump adviser and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that Trump’s intent was to come up with a “Muslim ban” and make it legal.

Similarly, in the “sanctuary city” case, Justice Department lawyers argued that the executive order would only affect a few grants. But that is not how President Trump or Attorney General Jeff Sessions have talked about it. They have portrayed the cutoff of federal funds as a club to force these cities to aid federal authorities in carrying out Trump administration immigration policies.

Intern Lauren Russell contributed to this report.

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'Handmaid's Tale' Wants You To Feel Like 'This Could Happen Here'

The few fertile women remaining in the oppressive Republic of Gilead must serve as reproductive surrogates for powerful leaders in the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale.

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is one of a handful of dystopian novels that have seen a boost in sales since the 2016 election. The book tells the story of what happens when a theocratic dictatorship takes over the government and gets rid of women’s rights.

In 2016, Atwood told us that the idea started as a question: “If you want women to go back into the home, how do you make them do that? And the method I proposed in 1985 was, now that we have credit cards, it’s very easy to just cut off people’s access to credit. And that’s what happens in the book.”

That’s also the premise of the TV adaptation of the book, now streaming on Hulu. In the imaginary Republic of Gilead, women are not allowed to own property or have bank accounts, and because of widespread infertility, those who have successfully had children are assigned to be Handmaids — bearing children for the rich and powerful.

“It was very important to us from the very beginning to make sure that people understood that this is present in a ‘this could happen here’ idea,” says Elisabeth Moss, who stars as Offred.

Samira Wiley plays Moira, Offred’s best friend from “before Gilead.” She describes her character as a feminist in “every way, shape or form.”


Interview Highlights

Moira (Samira Wiley, left) and Offred (Elisabeth Moss) are best friends “before Gilead.” In flashbacks, their world seems normal — they go for jogs, talk about Uber and Tinder, and organize protests.

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George Kraychyk/Hulu

On Moira’s reaction to her husband reassuring her that he will take care of her, after her bank account has been taken away

Samira Wiley: It’s not supposed to be an insult. … It comes from a place of love, it comes from a place of wanting his wife to feel safe, but Moira is very, very sensitive to that language. … She feels like she is standing up 100 percent for what she believes in and where women should be in the present. And if anyone comes even close to jeopardizing that, it is her responsibility to nip that in the bud.

Elisabeth Moss: That scene, it’s directly from the book and it really sets up this complexity of what is my husband supposed to say? The women now don’t have access to any of their money and of course my husband loves me and just says what comes naturally which is: I’m going to take care of you. And of course that brings up the sensitive issue of, oh great, now I have to be taken care of.

On women becoming a part of systems that hurt other women — for example, Aunt Lydia’s character, who tells the Handmaids they are “so lucky” to serve powerful men and their barren wives

Moss: It’s another interesting thing raised by Margaret and by the show, which is: A really good way to control women is by using other women. And we also play the opposite, which is women, when they stand together, can be incredibly powerful.

Ann Dowd plays Aunt Lydia and when she speaks about the character, from her perspective, she loves these girls. She believes she’s actually doing a good deed and good service by protecting these women. And that’s one of the things about the show is, we provide these different points of view and make these characters complex and not black and white.

On the costumes — rich, married women wear green; barren aunt servants wear gray; Handmaids who are reproductive surrogates wear scarlet red and white bonnets

Wiley: It highlights the differences between who I am and who the other is. It shows immediately how I am supposed to relate to someone. If I see a Handmaid who is of the same caste as I am, I know that we are equal. But … if I see immediately that you are a wife, then I know how I am supposed to react. And that is just another way to have the oppression right on top of these women.

On whether it feels weird to have real-life protesters donning Handmaid’s Tale robes

Moss: Not weird. Awesome. So, so, cool. This costume, this color, the bonnets — they’re so iconic. And they stand immediately for feminism and women’s rights. You take one look at that costume and you know what that girl is doing. You know why she’s wearing it. And so, for me, seeing something like that is so incredibly moving.

On the show underscoring the idea that there are different kinds of resistance

Moss: I think that’s one of the great things about it. There are many different ways of resistance, and all of them should be used. Marching, talking, conversation. Margaret has a quote that I love, which is: “A word after a word after a word is power.” And she also says: “You can mean more than one. You can mean thousands.”

Wiley: I think that they are all valid. … A television show, at the end of the day, can be art, and it can elicit real change. … I just feel so blessed to be able to be a part of something that can elicit real change.

Radio producer Christina Cala, radio editor Mallory Yuand Web producer Beth Novey contributed to this story.

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Giant rabbit dies after United Airlines flight to United States

FILE PHOTO – A United Airlines Boeing 787 taxis as a United Airlines Boeing 767 lands at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, U.S. on February 7, 2015.

REUTERS/Louis Nastro/File Photo

A 3-foot-long giant rabbit died at a United Airlines pet holding facility in Chicago following a flight from London, in another embarrassment for the airline as it struggles with a global backlash this month over a passenger dragged from his seat.

The 10-month-old Continental Giant breed rabbit named Simon, who was tipped to become one of the world’s largest rabbits, had appeared to be in good condition upon arrival at the facility at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, an airline spokesman said.

Simon was due to be picked up by a celebrity who had bought him. But when a United worker later checked on Simon, he found he had died, spokesman Charles Hobart said.

“We never want that to happen and it’s always a sad experience for all involved when an animal passes while in our care,” Hobart said by telephone on Wednesday.

The cause of death has not yet been determined, the spokesman said, adding that United was reviewing what happened.

Hobart said the airline had offered to carry out a post-mortem investigation on the rabbit, but the owner had declined. He said United also offered compensation to the owner, whom he did not identify, but did not disclose the amount.

The incident took place on April 20, but was first reported on Wednesday by The Sun newspaper. Simon’s breeder, Annette Edwards, told the paper she was suspicious.

“Simon had a vet’s check-up three hours before the flight and was fit as a fiddle,” Edwards told The Sun. “Something very strange has happened and I want to know what.”

Edwards, a former Playboy model, said she has shipped rabbits all around the world and that nothing like this had ever happened. “The client who bought Simon is very famous. He’s upset,” she said.

Earlier this month, a United passenger, Dr. David Dao, was unceremoniously dragged from his seat off a plane at O’Hare bound for Louisville, Kentucky, to make room for crew members.

Video recorded by other passengers showed the 69-year-old doctor being dragged down the aisle with blood on his face after he refused to give up his seat on the April 9 flight.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton; Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Sandra Maler)

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FCC Chief Begins Rollback Of 'Net Neutrality' Regulations

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai launched his net neutrality repeal campaign in a speech Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

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Net neutrality regulations are getting yet another remake.

The new head of the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday launched his long-expected campaign to undo the regulations adopted in 2015 under former President Barack Obama. Specifically, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to loosen the legal structure that placed Internet service providers under the strictest-ever oversight of the agency, in favor of a “light-touch regulator framework.”

“Going forward, we cannot stick with regulations from the Great Depression that were meant to micromanage Ma Bell,” Pai said in a speech at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “Nothing about the Internet was broken in 2015.”

Pai’s plan so far lacks many specifics, but it marks the start of what’s expected to be a new months-long debate. The FCC is expected to vote to formally begin the repeal process on May 18. After that, the agency would collect comments from the public and the stakeholders before crafting a detailed approach and scheduling another agency vote to adopt it.

All this means the FCC is beginning a new phase of one of its hottest, longest-running debates: How should the government regulate Internet service providers to ensure that they don’t act as gatekeepers to Americans’ equal and fair access to web sites and services?

Over time, the FCC established so-called net neutrality principles that state that Internet providers shouldn’t block or slow down any websites or apps (no blocking or discrimination), and shouldn’t charge extra for faster loading (no paid prioritization). As this blogger once wrote, the term net neutrality “was so nerdy that it’s been ‘re-branded’ as Open Internet.”

Over the years, the FCC has attempted several legal mechanisms to enforce these net neutrality principles. Three times, the attempts ended up challenged in court. The last attempt — after months of heated public debate — did gain full support from a U.S. appeals court in June 2016.

That approach is known as Title II reclassification. Adopted by the majority of Democrats who ran the FCC at the time, the regulations reclassified how the FCC treats Internet service providers — both wired and mobile — to put them in a similar bucket to traditional telephone companies, like utilities.

This dramatically expanded the FCC’s authority over the Internet, which was praised by consumer advocacy groups. But cable and telecom companies such as AT&T and Comcast argue that this regulatory regime weighs on the industry, an outdated approach that dampens investment and innovation.

The FCC “decided to put the federal government at the center of the Internet,” says Pai, who at the time was a dissenting Republican FCC commissioner. He was elevated to chair the agency by President Trump in January. Pai says the net neutrality rulemaking was political and, in fact, has harmed smaller broadband providers.

Pai’s plan broadly is to undo the Title II back to a lighter-regulated Title I classification. (For the wonky: from utility-like “telecommunications services” to “information services.”) AT&T, Comcast and other telecom and cable companies welcomed this effort, while adding that they do support “a free and open Internet” as well as the fundamental principles of net neutrality.

The Internet Association, which represents web companies including Google and Netflix, said it will keep working to defend the existing rules from repeal. The group said they protect “consumers from ISPs looking to play gatekeeper or prioritize their own content at the expense of competition online.”

The previous FCC effort to write net neutrality rules had drawn a record outpouring of more than 4 million public comments.

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Aimee Mann On World Cafe

Aimee Mann’s latest album is Mental Illness.

Sheryl Nields/Courtesy of the artist

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Sheryl Nields/Courtesy of the artist

  • “Patient Zero”
  • “Rollercoasters”
  • “Good For Me”

Aimee Mann joins World Cafe for an interview and to perform songs from her new album, Mental Illness, her first solo record since she took time to collaborate with indie rocker Ted Leo in their duo The Both.

Mann says the sound of her new album was influenced by recordings from the late ’60s and early ’70s:

“I think that the touchstones for the sound would probably be early Leonard Cohen records or Neil Young’s Harvest. You know, Ted Leo and I … when we were on tour we started listening to Bread, almost as a joke — but you listen to those records, they sound so great.”

Mann co-wrote much of Mental Illness with Jonathan Coulton, who’s internet-famous for his songs about geek culture and who joins her in the studio for this session. Hear it in the player above.

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The High Price Of Fake Authenticity: $425 'Muddy' Jeans Inspire Mockery

Nordstrom is selling jeans with a “caked-on muddy coating” for $425.


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Nordstrom/Screenshot by NPR

Straight-leg. Five-pocket. Medium-blue. And for the finishing touch, a “caked-on muddy coating.”

For just $425, these PRPS jeans can be yours.

But you can make fun of them for free. And that’s a bargain the Internet couldn’t pass up.

Now-deleted reviews on Nordstrom’s site celebrated the way the jeans mimicked the fruits of hard labor, “without ever having to leave my BMW.” “Perfectly match my stick on calluses,” one user wrote.

On social media, countless people made the same joke: Heck, I’ll sell you pants like that …

The pants, according to their description on the Nordstrom site, “embody rugged, Americana workwear that’s seen some hard-working action” and show “you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.” Except, of course, the pants have never seen action and the wearer only looks dirty. (The look is pretty convincing, though; there’s even some shine on that mud.)

Mike Rowe, the former host of Dirty Jobs and a longtime advocate for the value of skilled trades, had one of the most popular, and most thoughtful, responses.

He noted that the fake-dirty jeans seem to value the idea of work. “What they don’t value — obviously — is authenticity,” he wrote on Facebook:

“But forget the jeans themselves for a moment, and their price, and look again at the actual description. ‘Rugged Americana’ is now synonymous with a ‘caked-on, muddy coating.’ Not real mud. Fake mud. Something to foster the illusion of work. The illusion of effort. Or perhaps, for those who actually buy them, the illusion of sanity.

“The Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans aren’t pants. They’re not even fashion. They’re a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic — not iconic.”

The jeans aren’t alone. PRPS, a premium denim brand known for its “heavily distressed” styles, offers other besmirched denim options, including a pair of pants “prominently defined” by dirt smudges and a “mud denim jacket” with “caked-on and baked-in muddy smears.” There are pants destroyed to the point of being “abstract art.”

Speaking of which, if you’d rather imitate a different kind of work, you can purchase “slouchy joggers” with paint splatters that look “as though they stepped straight out of the art studio.”

And if your first thought was, “just $425? Do they have anything pricier?” … well, yes. It’s not available on Nordstrom’s site, but PRPS does sell $900 selvedge jeans with distinctly dirt-like stains.

The fake-mud-splattered PRPS jeans aren’t new; the look was featured in PRPS’ fall 2016 lineup, though they didn’t hit the spotlight until this week.

And more generally, people have been griping about paying good money for pants with holes in them ever since distressed denim was a thing.

Even dirt isn’t exactly breaking new territory. In a 2010 thesis on “dressing poor,” Australian curator and editor Kate Louise Rhodes described the political implications of dirt “worn as a deliberate accessory” in high fashion.

She traced a brief history, from the intentional stains of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren in the ’70s to literally moldy couture presented by Martin Margiela in the late ’90s — and countless examples of fake-dirty, fake-torn or fake-stained garments.

Rhodes argued that such looks can generate an “aura of authenticity,” while raising philosophical and moral questions about what it means to be mimicking stereotypes of poverty in the pricey world of high fashion.

Nordstorm has not responded to NPR’s inquiries. A spokesman for PRPS said the brand is not available for comment.

But the denim line provides a hint at its philosophy on its website — where the idea of craft, precision and meticulous detail is applied to tears and smears.

“Each loving stitch and rip suggests a job well done,” PRPS writes at one point. At another, it says garments “stitch the soul of ancestral American jeans … onto modern silhouettes that bear the old stains proudly.”

And then there’s that pesky word: authenticity. The word pops up again and again as PRPS founder Donwan Harrell describes his values.

The brand uses denim woven on vintage looms. Harrell started it in response to what he saw as a lackof “authentic” jeans on the market. Even the name — PRPS, as in Purpose — is a callback to a time when jeans were designed as workwear, with a real function.

In an interview last year, Harrell invoked authenticity — or the emulation thereof — as a core design principle.

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Trump Administration Proposes 'Massive' Tax Overhaul And Tax Cut Plan

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, accompanied by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, discusses President Trump’s tax proposals in the briefing room of the White House on Wednesday.

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Andrew Harnik/AP

The Trump administration Wednesday put forth a proposal that it labeled a “massive” tax overhaul, that would give big tax cuts to individuals and corporations, and reduce the number of tax brackets and deductions.

Outlined at a White House press briefing by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, director of the president’s National Economic Council, it would reduce the number of individual tax brackets to three, as well as eliminate most tax deductions, other than for home mortgages and charitable contributions.

It would double the standard deduction individuals can take, and proposes cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent.

Administration officials acknowledge the plan is a broad brush outline, with specific details yet to be determined.

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