Month: April 2017

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Georgia police beating: 1 of 2 wanted Gwinnett officers turns himself in


One of two Georgia police officers captured on video kicking and hitting a man during a traffic stop turned himself in Thursday as officials gave the other just a few more hours to surrender.

Sgt. Mike Bongiovanni walked into the Gwinnett County Jail Thursday morning on charges of battery and violation of oath of office – a felony – alongside his wife and lawyer, local media reported.

Bongiovanni and Master Police Officer Robert McDonald, who faces the same charges, were fired following the April 12 traffic stop incident in which videos showed the pair kicking and punching Demetrius Hollins after pulling him out of a car and handcuffing him.

DELAWARE STANDOFF OVER: TROOPER’S KILLER SHOT DEAD AFTER BARRICADING HIMSELF IN HOME

Both face a total bond of $15,000 and McDonald has yet to turn himself in despite authorities setting a Thursday deadline, WXIA reported.

“The police department and its employees will continue to serve the citizens while maintaining our core values and highest level of professionalism,” Gwinnett Police Chief Butch Ayers said, according to Fox 5.

A police incident report viewed by ABC News said Hollins was driving without a license plate and had a brake light out.

MURDERED DELAWARE TROOPER SERVED THE FORCE FOR NEARLY A DECADE

Mike Puglise, a lawyer for Bongiovanni, said his client maintains his innocence and is disappointed by the charges.

“He’s in a fight for his life and he plans to vigorously defend himself,” Puglise said. He has previously said Bongiovanni was following procedure and using an elbow strike, a defensive tactic taught by the FBI.

Puglise said last week that Bongiovanni has asked the police human resources department to reinstate him.

Gwinnett County Solicitor-General Rosanna Szabo, whose office prosecutes misdemeanor and traffic offenses in the county, on April 14 dismissed 89 cases in which either McDonald or Bongiovanni was the main officer or a necessary witness.

“The actions of these officers completely undermine their credibility and they cannot be relied upon as witnesses in any pending prosecution,” Szabo said in a news release.

McDonald, who was hired by the department in August 2013 and graduated from the police academy in March 2014, had reached the rank of master police officer. Bongiovanni, a sergeant, was hired in September 1998 and graduated from the academy in February 1999. Police earlier this month released the two former officers’ personnel files.

Bongiovanni’s last two annual evaluations, filed in June 2016 and June 2015, describe a well-liked supervisor with good management skills who kept his cool in stressful situations and cared about his officers. He received a rating of “often exceeds expectations” in nearly every category.

He’s received numerous honors and commendations during his nearly two years with the department, including good conduct awards and sharing officer of the month honors for January of this year.

But disciplinary records show he was nearly demoted in 2014 for leaving his highway interdiction team unsupervised several times a week to go exercise while on duty. According to an evaluation from June 2014, he also left to visit his wife and go home early while his officers were on an active narcotics detail. His supervisor said he did not provide proper direction or a good example to his team.

Over nearly two decades with the department, Bongiovanni had 67 use-of-force reports in his file.

Bongiovanni wrote McDonald’s evaluation last June. In it, he described McDonald as “an excellent example of a team player with a strong work ethic” who completed his work on time, was always willing to help others and was courteous and professional with the public. Bongiovanni gave McDonald a rating of “often exceeds expectations” in many categories and no rating lower than “generally meets expectations.”

McDonald received a three-year good conduct ribbon in August. He and several other officers were named officer of the month for November 2015. He had three use-of-force reports in his file.

McDonald faced a disciplinary loss of his good driving record after he rear-ended another car in his patrol car in June 2015. But the officer who responded to the accident said in a letter to the department’s safety review committee that it would have been very difficult for McDonald to avoid the wreck.

Click for more from Fox 5.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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'TROUBLED BY THAT' Obama’s $400G Wall St. payday stuns liberal base


Former President Obama’s upcoming speech to Wall Streeters is putting $400,000 in his pocket – and putting longtime supporters in a difficult situation.

Democratic Party leaders and grass roots activists alike are at a loss to explain how the onetime champion of the 99 percent could cash in with a September address at a health care conference run by investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald.

“Spiritual leader of the people’s #Resistance cashes in with $400k speech to Wall Street bankers,” read one tweet.

“[Money] is a snake that slithers through Washington.”

– Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

“Obama’s $400,000 Wall Street speech will cost @TheDemocrats much more than that,” read another. “It reinforces everything progressives hate about Democrats.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said she “was troubled by that,” when asked her opinion on Sirius XM’s “Alter Family Politics” radio show this morning. But she held back from criticizing the president directly while referring repeatedly to her new book, “This Fight is Our Fight,” in which she outlines her concerns about big money’s influence on American politics.

“One of the things I talk about in the book is the influence of money. It’s a snake that slithers through Washington,” Warren said.

Calls to other prominent liberal elected officials, including Sen Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent who ran hard for the Democratic presidential nomination by championing the middle class and denouncing Wall Street, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were not immediately returned.

While Obama’s longtime allies in Washington were taciturn, far-left groups that viewed him as their champion could not hide their bitterness. 

“Even if he donates the money from this Wall Street firm to charity, his speech and remuneration reminds ‘ordinary’ working class people that both major political parties are in bed with Big Business,” said David Michael Smith, of the Houston Socialist Movement. “In my view, our country needs a new kind of political party and social movement to represent the vast majority of the population, not the wealthy few.” 

The fee – equal to one year’s presidential salary – was not the issue with critics so much as the idea a leader the Democratic base always considered beyond the reach of Wall Street taking it.

“Now Democrats are being put in the position of deciding whether their former president should take $400,000 from Wall Street for a speech,” the left-leaning Washington Post wrote. “At the least, it risks suggesting the party’s anti-Wall Street posture is in some cases just that — posturing.”

Some of Obama’s supporters saw nothing wrong with the former president’s pay day.

“He served us faithfully and well for 8 years as President – he doesn’t work for us anymore. More power to him,” one supporter wrote on Twitter.

Obama spokesman Ed Schulz insisted the former president remains true to his progressive values, and said taking money from Wall Street is not the same as being bought by Wall Street.

“With regard to this or any speech involving Wall Street sponsors, I’d just point out that in 2008, Barack Obama raised more money from Wall Street than any candidate in history — and still went on to successfully pass and implement the toughest reforms on Wall Street since FDR,” Schulz said.

Still, the development seemed a far cry from sentiments Obama expressed in his 2006 memoir, “The Audacity of Hope.”

“The path of least resistance – of fund-raisers organized by the special interests, the corporate PACs, and the top lobbying shops – starts to look awfully tempting, and if the opinions of these insiders don’t quite jibe with those you once held, you learn to rationalize the changes as a matter of realism, of compromise, of learning the ropes,” then-Sen. Obama wrote. “The problems of ordinary people, the voices of the Rust Belt town or the dwindling heartland, become a distant echo rather than a palpable reality, abstractions to be managed rather than battles to be fought.”

Obama will have an opportunity to reconcile his evolving position on money and politics in his next memoir, for which he has already signed a $60 million deal.



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ESPN’S BAD CALL Website posted poem honoring fugitive cop killer


An ESPN site targeting female sports fans on Thursday removed a poem paying homage to a convicted cop killer after “an oversight in the editorial process” led to the poem being published several days ago, the embattled sports giant told Fox News.

DaMaris Hill’s poem “Revolution” had led the April 25 ESPNW.com feature “Five Poets on the New Feminism,” which was produced “in honor of National Poetry month…to reflect on resistance, redefining feminism and movement,” according to a site description. But Hill’s poem opened with the dedication “(for Assata Shakur),” honoring the one-time Black Liberation Army member who has been hiding out in Cuba to avoid finishing a prison term for her murder rap.

“There was an oversight in the editorial process for selecting the poems for the ‘Five Poets on the New Feminism’ feature on espnW,” a spokesperson told Fox News in an email. “Dr. DaMaris Hill is a respected professor and poet, who submitted this poem based upon her personal feelings toward Assata Shakur. While the editors welcomed a contribution from a notable writer and chose it as a reflection of this one poet’s experience, upon further review we have decided it is not an appropriate selection for our site and have removed the piece from the feature.”

Later Thursday, the title of the feature had been changed to “Four Poets on the New Feminism,” Hill’s poem was gone and an editor’s note at the bottom of the page informed readers of the changes.

Attempts to reach Hill for comment were not immediately successful.

Social media was abuzz with critics bashing ESPNW for publishing the poem in the first place, with The Federalist’s Sean Davis mocking the Connecticut-based power on Twitter as “The worldwide leader in praising cop killers.”

The poem debacle comes on the heels of ESPN’s massive Wednesday purge of about 100 television, radio and Internet personalities as part of the network’s attempt to emerge from a ratings plunge.

Shakur, aka Joanne Chesimard, the godmother of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, is suspected in a series of early 1970s incidents linked to black revolutionary groups in New York City, including a bank robbery, grenade attack and the ambushing of police officers in Queens and Brooklyn. She was convicted of fatally shooting a New Jersey trooper in the head in 1973, but escaped prison and, in the early 1980s, fled to Cuba, where she was granted political asylum. She is on the list of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists.



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BREAKING NEWS Doctor dragged off United flight settles with airline


Fox News has learned that Dr. David Dao, the man who was forcibly removed from his seat and dragged off a United Airlines flight, has settled with the carrier for an undisclosed amount. 

United spokesman Jonathan Guerin sent the following statement to Fox News Thursday afternoon:

“We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411. We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do.”

DO AIRLINES HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMOVE SEATED PASSENGERS FROM PLANES?

On April 9, Dao boarded a a plane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport bound for Louisville, Ky. He had already boarded and was seated when the airline told passengers that a few fliers would have to give up their seats to make room for four crew members who needed to fly to Kentucky for work. Dao refused multiple times, at which point officers from the Chicago Department of Aviation forcefully pulled the 69-year-old doctor from his seat and dragged him down the aisle of the aircraft.

The incident sparked widespread outrage and has prompted calls for change in how airlines handle overbooking situations. 

United CEO Oscar Munoz has since announced several airline policy changes, including a $10,000 incentive for voluntarily bumped passengers on overbooked flights, new time restrictions for when crew members must arrive in order to bump passengers and a promise to reduce the amount of overbooking on flights.

This story is developing.



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California gas tax hike prompts fierce backlash from the right


A 12-cent gas tax hike recently approved by California’s Democratic leaders has prompted a huge backlash on the right, with a grassroots coalition vowing to ensure it never takes effect.

A combination of AM-radio talk show hosts, a consumer advocacy group and a GOP assemblywoman have joined forces to battle the measure – set to kick in this November – that would give California the dubious honor of the second-highest gas tax in the nation at 73.2 cents per gallon. Only Pennsylvania residents will pay more, with a 77.7-cent tax.

California isn’t alone in the gas tax money grab. The Institute for Energy Research says a dozen states are considering similar hikes. On Jan. 1, another seven states saw an increase: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana and Florida.

The California tax  ​– which also increases yearly vehicle registration fees – was pushed along by Gov. Jerry Brown to raise an additional $52 billion for road repairs from a newly created fund.

The tax does not have a ceiling and could skyrocket from there, said Republican state Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez. And critics question the benefit – complaining the ​taxes currently go into the ​general fund​, which has backed questionable items like a $100 billion high-speed rail project in the desert.

“We are building a broad-based coalition, people are just fed up,” said former San Diego city councilman and GOP political activist Carl DeMaio, who hosts a local radio show. “This is rushed through and will hit working families pretty hard. It will cost an extra $300 to $500 per driver every year … This is the final straw.”

DeMaio has joined forces with talk show hosts John and Ken on Los Angeles’ KFI. The duo was instrumental in recalling former Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 over several issues, including tripling the car tax and giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.

The three hosts plan on using their public platform to try recalling Orange County Democratic Sen. Josh Newman, who was elected ​to his first term ​last year by a narrow margin. He helped pass the gas tax, which was approved by state lawmakers with the exact number of votes required.

Newman is seen as the most vulnerable target in a bid to roll back the plan.

“Once he is recalled, we will issue an ultimatum: either you rescind the tax or we will go after you,” DeMaio said.

​Newman’s office ​verified that he had been served last week with a recall notice.

Other foes include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which led a successful 1978 ballot measure to cap property tax increases, and Melendez, who says she has been overwhelmed with bipartisan complaints from her Southern California constituents.

The Howard Jarvis group is looking at a ballot measure for next year that would restrict gas​ price increases beyond the national average, said organization president Jon Coupal.

He complained that only 20 cents of every gas tax dollar goes toward repairing the state’s crumbling roads and bridges, while the other 80 cents goes to the general fund to pay for California’s skyrocketing pension system. 

“You can call it a transportation tax, education tax or health care tax. At end of day the money will find its way into public employee compensation,” Coupal said.

Melendez is working the legal channel. She has accused Gov. Brown of offering to dole out transportation dollars to legislators who voted for the measure – which passed the Legislature ​along party lines ​on April 6​ with the exception of one Republican, Sen. Anthony Cannella of Northern California.

Melendez was incensed to learn that Cannella and t​hree​ other lawmakers will receive millions for projects in their districts. One ​of the companion bills reviewed by Fox News is dated Jan. 11 and shows an amendment on April 5 to include language devoting funds to Cannella’s district.

​Melendez has asked Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, to conduct ​”an investigation of apparent quid pro quo-inspired vote trading.” Her letter named ​Brown and two other legislators as ringleaders without specifying the lawmakers who benefitted. She later pointed to Cannella and three Democrats.

Cannella, though, has admitted to lobbying for the funds and says he didn’t do anything wrong. Fox News requested comment and was sent a press release​ discussing the gas tax as a solution for repairing roads.

​While Brown hasn’t announced when he will sign the bill and the amendments, he is one of the backers and his signature is guaranteed, Melendez said.

​Brown did not agree to an interview for this story; however, spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman provided Fox News with recent ​ comments the governor made on the bribery allegations, which he called “preposterous.”

“When somebody says, ‘here, here’s $10,000, I want your vote,’ you’ve got bribery, it’s illegal,” Brown said. “When someone says, ‘you know, I think this bill would be better if you include these projects or these ideas or these rules,’ we listen. That’s democracy, that’s openness and that is the compromise spirit that makes democracies work.”

Tori Richards is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.

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Trisha: Why I bailed


Family comes first in the Yearwood-Brooks household.

Trisha Yearwood revealed in a new interview the reason why she bailed on the Emmys in 2013 after her show, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen” was nominated for the first time.

“The first time we had the Emmy nomination, it was Father’s Day,” she told The Wrap. “I was really torn, but we stayed home with Garth [Brooks].”

She added, “Either way, I never take this stuff for granted.”

The husband and wife superstars have often spoken about putting their family and marriage above all else.

“I’ve got to tell you, I never knew it could be like this,” Brooks told Elen DeGeneres of life with Yearwood in 2013. “I never knew that everyday you could wake up and feel like this. And I have God and I have Ms. Yearwood to thank for this.”



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Texas mayor under fire for saying lack of faith in God leads to poverty


A Texas mayor’s remark that a lack of faith in God causes poverty has brought widespread outrage after the video of the comment went viral.

A video of the comments made earlier this month by Ivy Taylor, the first-term Democratic mayor of Texas’ second-largest city, in reply to a question about poverty that was asked during a forum, has caused deep resentments among her constituents.

“I’ll go ahead and put it out there,” Taylor said, in response to the question on poverty raised by the director of the San Antonio Christian Resource Center. “To me, it’s broken people . . . people not being in a relationship with their Creator, and therefore not being in a good relationship with their families and their communities . . . and not being productive members of society.”

Despite Taylor’s words reflecting one of the central tenets of normative, historic Judaism, Christianity and Islam —  that all humanity’s problems are consequences of the biblical event of Adam and Eve not obeying God — her comments quickly drew the ire of many non-Christians, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which penned a letter to her that said “as mayor, you represent a diverse population that consists of not only Christians, but also atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims and Hindus.”

The letter continued: “Nationally, about 35 percent of millennials are nonreligious. Imagine for a moment a mayoral candidate making such undeserved and broad accusations against Jews or Muslims instead of nonbelievers. The outcry would properly be swift and severe. It should be no different for nonbelievers.” 

The San Antonio mayor, who is running for re-election in a city where nearly 15 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, fired back that her comments were taken out of context and the viral video was meant to mislead voters about her record on combating poverty.

“The video clip that surfaced on social media this weekend is a dishonest, politically motivated misrepresentation of my record on combating poverty,” Taylor said on Facebook. “It was intentionally edited to mislead viewers.”

Taylor added: “I have devoted my life to breaking the chains of generational poverty — as an urban planner, the District 2 Councilwoman, and now Mayor. I’ve done so because of my faith in God and my belief in Jesus’s ministry on Earth. I believe we are all called on to help lift our brothers and sisters out of poverty.”

While Taylor admits that she could have expressed herself better, she reaffirms that Original Sin means that all humans are “broken” until they “forge a relationship with our Maker.”

This is not the first time that Taylor’s religious views have gotten her into political hot water.

In 2013, while serving as a councilwoman, Taylor used the reasoning that people shouldn’t be forced to treat everyone equally if it goes against their faith or “moral values” when she voted against a nondiscrimination ordinance that would protect LGBT peoples from being discriminated against by public and private business owners.



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JUDGE NAPOLITANO Hillary Clinton and the FBI… again


Last weekend, The New York Times published a long piece about the effect the FBI had on the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign. As we all know, Donald Trump won a comfortable victory in the Electoral College while falling about 3 million votes behind Hillary Clinton in the popular vote.

I believe that Clinton was a deeply flawed candidate who failed to energize the Democratic Party base and who failed to deliver to the electorate a principled reason to vote for her. Yet when the Times reporters asked her why she believes she lost the race, she gave several answers, the first of which was the involvement of the FBI. She may be right.

Here is the back story.

In 2015, a committee of the House of Representatives that was investigating the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, learned that the State Department had no copies of any emails sent or received by Clinton during her four years as secretary of state. When committee investigators pursued this — at the same time that attorneys involved with civil lawsuits brought against the State Department seeking the Clinton emails were pursuing it — it was revealed that Clinton had used her own home servers for her emails and bypassed the State Department servers.

Because many of her emails obviously contained government secrets and because the removal of government secrets to any non-secure venue constitutes espionage, the House Select Committee on Benghazi sent a criminal referral to the Department of Justice, which passed it on to the FBI. A congressionally issued criminal referral means that some members of Congress who have seen some evidence think that some crime may have been committed. The DOJ is free to reject the referral, yet it accepted this one.

It directed the FBI to investigate the facts in the referral and to refer to the investigation as a “matter,” not as a criminal investigation. The FBI cringed a bit, but Director James Comey followed orders and used the word “matter.” This led to some agents mockingly referring to him as the director of the Federal Bureau of Matters. It would not be the last time agents mocked or derided him in the Clinton investigation.

He should not have referred to it by any name, because under DOJ and FBI regulations, the existence of an FBI investigation should not be revealed publicly unless and until it results in some public courtroom activity, such as the release of an indictment. These rules and procedures have been in place for generations to protect those never charged. Because of the role that the FBI has played in our law enforcement history — articulated in books and movies and manifested in our culture — many folks assume that if a person is being investigated by the FBI, she must have done something wrong.

In early July 2016, Clinton was personally interviewed in secret for about four hours by a team of FBI agents who had been working on her case for a year. During that interview, she professed great memory loss and blamed it on a head injury she said she had suffered in her Washington, D.C., home. Some of the agents who interrogated her disbelieved her testimony about the injury and, over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, asked Comey for permission to subpoena her medical records.

When Comey denied his agents the permission they sought, some of them attempted to obtain the records from the intelligence community. Because Clinton’s medical records had been digitally recorded by her physicians and because the FBI agents knew that the National Security Agency has digital copies of all keystrokes on all computers used in the U.S. since 2005, they sought Clinton’s records from their NSA colleagues. Lying to the FBI is a felony, and these agents believed they had just witnessed a series of lies.

When Comey learned what his creative agents were up to, he jumped the gun by holding a news conference on July 5, 2016, during which he announced that the FBI was recommending to the DOJ that it not seek Clinton’s indictment because “no reasonable prosecutor” would take the case. He then did the unthinkable. He outlined all of the damning evidence of guilt that the FBI had amassed against her.

This double-edged sword — we won’t charge her, but we have much evidence of her guilt — was unprecedented and unheard of in the midst of a presidential election campaign. Both Republicans and Democrats found some joy in Comey’s words. Yet his many agents who believed that Clinton was guilty of both espionage and lying were furious — furious that Comey had revealed so much, furious that he had demeaned their work, furious that he had stopped an investigation before it was completed.

While all this was going on, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, was being investigated for using a computer to send sexually explicit materials to a minor. When the FBI asked for his computer — he had shared it with his wife — he surrendered it. When FBI agents examined the Weiner/Abedin laptop, they found about 650,000 stored emails, many from Clinton to Abedin, that they thought they had not seen before.

Rather than silently examine the laptop, Comey again violated DOJ and FBI regulations by announcing publicly the discovery of the laptop and revealing that his team suspected that it contained hundreds of thousands of Clinton emails; and he announced the reopening of the Clinton investigation. This announcement was made two weeks before Election Day and was greeted by the Trump campaign with great glee. A week later, Comey announced that the laptop was fruitless, and the investigation was closed, again.

At about the same time that the House Benghazi Committee sent its criminal referral to the DOJ, American and British intelligence became interested in a potential connection between the Trump presidential campaign and intelligence agents of the Russian government. This interest resulted in the now infamous year-plus-long electronic surveillance of Trump and many of his associates and colleagues. This also produced a criminal referral from the intelligence community to the DOJ, which sent it to the FBI.

Yet this referral and the existence of this investigation was kept — quite properly — from the press and the public. When Comey was asked about it, he — quite properly — declined to answer. When he was asked under oath whether he knew of any surveillance of Trump before Trump became president, Comey denied that he knew of it.

What was going on with the FBI?

How could Comey justify the public revelation of a criminal investigation and a summary of evidence of guilt about one candidate for president and remain silent about the existence of a criminal investigation of the campaign of another? How could he deny knowledge of surveillance that was well-known in the intelligence community, even among his own agents? Why would the FBI director inject his agents, who have prided themselves on professional political neutrality, into a bitterly contested campaign having been warned it might affect the outcome? Why did he reject the law’s just commands of silence in favor of putting his thumb on political scales?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. But the American public, and Hillary Clinton, is entitled to them.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. 



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High school basketball player collapses, dies after open gym session


A Kentucky high school sophomore was wrapping up an open gym session with his basketball teammates on Wednesday when he collapsed in the locker room and later died at a nearby hospital. Star Ifeacho, 15, had been working with teammates on drills and two-on-two games with coaches and an athletic trainer present, The Lexington Herald reported.

WIFE PROVIDES HUSBAND WITH LIFE-SAVING PARTIAL LIVER DONATION

“Star stopped shooting baskets and was with the athletic trainer when he collapsed in the locker room,” Manny Caulk, Fayette schools superintendent, said in a news release. “The athletic trainer immediately provided emergency care, including CPR and the use of the AED (automated external defibrillator), while 911 was called. When paramedics arrived, they took over his care and transported him to the hospital.”

Ifeacho died at University of Kentucky Hospital later that evening, though officials have not released a cause of death, the news outlet reported. Caulk said counselors were being made available to students and staff at Paul Laurence Dunbar, where Ifeacho attended classes.

FAMILY IN RACE AGAINST TIME TO SAVE TODDLER FROM ‘CHILDHOOD ALZHEIMER’S’ 

“The absolute worst part of my job is getting a call like I received Wednesday night with the sudden loss of this young man,” Julian Tackett, Kentucky High School Athletic Association commissioner, told The Lexington Herald. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family, the Paul Laurence Dunbar and Fayette County school community, and all those who valiantly tried to save this young man following his incident.”

Teammates and friends took to social media to express their sympathy and love for Ifeacho, who was a shooting guard on Dunbar’s team and averaged 6.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. The Lexington Herald reported that he would have been the team’s second-leading returning scorer for the 2017-18 season.

 A post on a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of the family described him as a “gentleman, student and athlete.”

PARENTS WHO CARRIED BABY WITHOUT BRAIN TO TERM SAY HEARTBREAKING GOODBYES

“Please help his mother, Peace, and his brother, Sam, with the cost of his funeral and burial,” the page said. “No mother should ever have to bury her child and if we can help alleviate some of the stress of the cost, we should. RIP Star. You were a shining light in our lives and will continue to shine in our hearts and minds.” 



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Congress eyes stopgap to avert shutdown, as health care bill gains steam – Trump's tax plan a boon to small business?


House lawmakers have filed a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown this weekend, as lawmakers juggle talks on a longer-term budget deal and a potential revival of ObamaCare replacement legislation.

The short-term “continuing resolution” would fund the government through May 5, under current funding levels.

“I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon. It is time that this essential work is completed so that critical programs and activities – including national defense –are properly and adequately funded for the year,” House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., said in a statement, as he introduced the stopgap overnight ahead of a Friday-at-midnight deadline.

The White House and Congress continue to debate the particulars of a broader deal, with President Trump on Thursday taking to Twitter to air his concerns.

“The Democrats want to shut government if we don’t bail out Puerto Rico and give billions to their insurance companies for OCare failure. NO!” he tweeted.

The tweet was a reference to a Democratic push to help Puerto Rico fund its Medicaid program, and to keep funding payments under Obamacare that go to reimburse health insurers for reducing deductibles and co-payments for lower-income people. 

Trump didn’t stop there, as he continued to accuse Democrats of wanting to “shut down” the government, in a mid-morning tweet-storm.

“I promise to rebuild our military and secure our border. Democrats want to shut down the government. Politics!” he wrote. 

Despite the warnings, the White House earlier dropped a separate demand for money for Trump’s promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, helping clear the way, eventually, for a broader deal.

At the same time, House Republicans had a breakthrough on health care legislation as a key group of conservatives, the House Freedom Caucus, announced it would support a revised version of the bill. Freedom Caucus opposition fueled the legislation’s collapse a month ago, a humiliating episode for Republicans that called into question their ability to govern given that they’ve been promising for seven years to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Yet whether the Freedom Caucus support would be enough remained uncertain, amid concerns from moderates and uncertainty over any bill’s prospects in the Senate.

The changes in the bill would let states escape requirements under Obama’s health care law that insurers charge healthy and seriously ill customers the same rates, and cover a list of specified services like maternity care. Conservatives embraced the revisions as a way to lower people’s health care expenses, but moderates saw them as diminishing coverage.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, of the Freedom Caucus, backed the proposal in an interview with Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”

“This bill doesn’t fully repeal ObamaCare and that’s a problem … but it at least gives the states that option to get that waiver,” he said, while vowing to continue to work for a full repeal.

With Trump’s 100-days marker hitting this Saturday, GOP lawmakers could try to move on the health care plan by the end of the week. But the timing is fluid, and it could slip.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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