Ted Robbins

TV and film writers resumed contract negotiations Tuesday with Hollywood producers with a powerful bargaining tool. Late Monday, the Writers Guild of America said members had overwhelmingly authorized a strike if an agreement is not reached by May 1. That's when the current contract runs out.

More than 90 percent of eligible writers voted to authorize a strike, even though the last strike a decade ago cost some writers their jobs and shut down TV and movie production.

Before Comedy Central's celebrity roasts, before American Idol's Simon Cowell, before Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, one man abused people on TV and in clubs like no other — as one emcee introduced him, "the Sultan of Insults, the Merchant of Venom, the pussy cat with claws, Mr. Don Rickles!"

Rickles died of kidney failure Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 90.

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward has turned down the position of national security adviser to President Trump, a White House official tells NPR's Mara Liasson.

Harward was offered the job after Michael T. Flynn, the former general, resigned Monday after just 24 days on the job. Trump said his confidence in Flynn had eroded after Flynn misled then-Vice-President-elect Mike Pence about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

President Trump started the day by blasting a Democratic senator who revealed criticism of Trump from his nominee to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Judge Neil Gorsuch told Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal that he found President Trump's recent attacks on judges to be "demoralizing" and "disheartening." Gorsuch made the comments during a private meeting, and a member of the Supreme Court nomination team escorting Gorsuch through the get-acquainted meetings also confirmed the remarks to NPR's Tamara Keith.

Judge James L. Robart did not have to actually rule on the legality of President Trump's executive order barring people from seven countries from entering the United States.

In granting a temporary restraining order, the judge essentially had to decide that:

  1. the plaintiffs (the states of Washington and Minnesota) were likely to succeed at a later date;
  2. people in those states could suffer irreparable harm if the ban continued; and
  3. blocking the president's order was in the public interest.

Updated at 1:39 p.m. Thursday

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Let's pause now to remember a British actor best known for playing a Spanish waiter in a 1970s BBC series that lasted only 12 episodes - Andrew Sachs. He died at age 86. As NPR's Ted Robbins tells us, his relatively small role left a big impression.