World to end on Saturday ... travel ban hardest hit?

Will the world end on Saturday, as predicted by a fringe-Christian website? We’ll get back to that one in a moment, but something definitely will come to an end this weekend — the “travel ban” that critics claimed would be nearly as apocalyptic. The 90-day window in Donald Trump’s executive order will expire on Sunday, three months after the Supreme Court ruled the administration could suspend visa processing for natives of six specific countries.

The question now will be whether the Trump administration has its more stringent vetting procedures in place:

The Supreme Court allowed parts of Trump’s policy to go into effect earlier this summer, starting the clock on a 90-day pause in travel from six majority Muslim countries. The stoppage was needed, according to Trump officials, to conduct a review of vetting procedures.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submitted the results of that review to the White House late last week. Its contents have not been revealed publicly, but the report could recommend that the government strengthen its vetting protocols for visas and refugees, add new nations to the list of banned counties, or even craft an entirely new order. …

Depending on the findings, the administration may decide to expand the ban, issue a new one or revamp its vetting procedures, though all those options could face legal challenges.

“The White House has a wide array of options,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University. But “a new order would have the benefit of cleaning the slate and picking better ground for any renewed litigation.”

Or the world could end on Saturday … but we’ll get to that in another moment. The easiest response, short of ending the effort altogether, would be to issue another executive order to extend the pause for a few more months while the White House settles on specific vetting improvements. As The Hill notes, Trump recently lamented that he couldn’t impose a tougher and wider order because of “political correctness” after the bombing in London perpetrated by a refugee.

That, however, comes with even more political risk. While the court decisions interfered with DHS in their development of this report, it has been eight months since the first issuance of Trump’s EO. The point was supposedly to improve vetting, not to stall forever, and any further delay in implementation will begin to look more like incompetence than wisdom. All due respect to Turley, but a new order only provides more opportunity for lower courts to intervene, and might even have the Supreme Court wondering at some point whether the administration is trying to change policy on a more permanent basis via an endless string of EOs. At some point, the Trump administration has to produce on Trump’s promise for more effective security.

None of this matters if the apocalypse arrives first, of course. All right, all right. Will the world end on Saturday, the date identified by a “Christian numerologist” when Planet X will collide with Earth and devastate human life? If it means never having to see another “color rush” NFL game on Thursday nights, some might be cheering it:

A new theory making the rounds on the internet seems to claim that the world will end this Saturday. A self-proclaimed Christian researcher man named David Meade, and a Christian website, Unsealed, are both counting down to Sept. 23, leading many to think it is the date for the end of the world. Spoiler alert: it’s not.

Meade, who wrote a book called “Planet X — The 2017 Arrival,” thinks that a “secret” planet called Nibiru, or Planet X, will crash — or near miss — into Earth, causing catastrophic destruction. Back in 2016, the date was set for Aug. 21, and NASA has debunked the theory and existence of the planet more than once.

But the theory has returned, with Meade telling the Daily Star that the Great American Eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, was a great “harbinger.” Meade has now updated his timeframe to Sept. 23, 33 days after the eclipse. The number 33 plays a big role in Meade’s theory: it was Jesus’ age when he was crucified, the eclipse featured a “black moon” which occurs every 33 months and the eclipse was the first of its kind in 33 years — “33 times three,” Meade said to the Star.

This sounds vaguely similar to the logic used by people who claim that a Trump impeachment would result in Hillary Clinton being named president. But who knows? Maybe Sweet Meteor of Death got delayed in 2016 by a pause in visa applications. Let’s put it this way — the White House had better prepare its new vetting, and don’t take out any personal loans from Vinnie the Nose that you can’t pay back on Monday.