Day: August 15, 2017

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Trump makes push for Strange in Alabama Senate race – HALFTIME REPORT: What to know about the Alabama primary


President Trump is fighting to push his candidate over the top as Alabama voters go to the polls Tuesday in the state’s special election primaries for U.S. Senate. 

The president is backing GOP Sen. Luther Strange, appointed in February to the Senate seat vacated by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. But he’s in a tight three-way Republican primary battle with Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks and former state Chief Justice Roy Moore.

“I predict President Trump’s endorsement will be incredibly important because people want his agenda passed,” Strange said Tuesday morning on “Fox & Friends.” “I want his agenda passed. … He has given me his endorsement and full support. I think that will make a difference today.”

Trump on Tuesday morning made a final pitch for Strange, tweeting that the former Alabama attorney general is already “doing a great job for the people of Alabama” and is “tough on crime, borders etc.”

Earlier this week, Trump recorded a one-minute “robocall” for the incumbent.

“Hi, this is President Trump, and I love the people of Alabama. And I hope you go out and vote for Luther Strange,” Trump says in the call, touting such early successes as low unemployment and conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court. “We are doing a lot of things that people said were impossible, but I need Luther to help us out.” 

Trump’s endorsement has rattled some conservative media pundits considering Strange is seen as the establishment pick. 

However, the president, who remains popular in the state, needs Strange’s votes on upcoming tax reform legislation and in his continuing efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

“I couldn’t believe we couldn’t get that done because of a few senators who didn’t fulfill their promise,” Strange said Tuesday about the GOP-controlled Senate’s failed ObamaCare repeal votes this summer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also backs Strange over the more conservative Brooks for much the same reasons. And a super PAC tied to the Kentucky Republican has spent millions of dollars in advertising to try to clear the way for Strange. 

Yet Strange is far from a lock. 

The RealClearPolitics.com polling average shows Moore, who has a strong following among evangelical voters, with 32 percent of the vote. He is followed by Strange with 28 percent and Brooks at 17 percent.

If none of the candidates gets at least 50 percent of the vote, the top-two finishers go to a runoff next month.

The winner will face the Democratic nominee in December. However, Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat for Senate in more than 20 years.

Brooks on Monday continued to hammer at Strange’s support from McConnell and said voters should send a message that “our Alabama Senate seat cannot be bought by special interests in Washington D.C.”

“Alabama has a chance to send a message, a huge message — not only to Washington D.C. — but the United States of America. We can send a message that we are tired of this do-nothing Senate,” Brooks said.

Moore is considered a strong contender in the race because of the fame he has gained as an icon of the culture wars. He was twice removed from his duties as chief justice over stances he took for the public display of the Ten Commandments and against gay marriage.

Other Republicans in the race include Sen. Trip Pittman and Christian Coalition leader Randy Brinson.

The rollicking primary began with Strange’s appointment by then-Gov. Robert Bentley, who later resigned in the cloud of a scandal.

While Strange has said he did Bentley no favors, his challengers have taken repeated swipes at him for seeking an appointment from the governor when Strange, as attorney general, was in charge of an investigation.

The Democratic side is also crowded.

Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney under the Clinton administration, is perhaps the best-known Democrat and is backed by some national party figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden.

Other candidates include Michael Hansen, the head of an environmental organization who has urged Democrats to fully embrace progressive stances. Robert Kennedy, Jr., a Navy veteran who is unrelated to the famed Massachusetts political dynasty, has urged Democrats to build bridges with Republicans and independents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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CLINTON'S PASTOR PLAGIARIZED PRAYER AT HEART OF BOOK…


NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Clinton’s pastor has acknowledged he plagiarized part of the prayer commentary he sent her the day after she lost the presidential election, a devotional that is at the heart of a book he published Tuesday.

The Rev. Bill Shillady said in a statement he was “stunned” to learn that his devotional, “Sunday is Coming,” was so similar to an earlier blog post by the Rev. Matt Deuel of Mission Point Community Church in Warsaw, Indiana. Shillady said he has apologized to Deuel and will credit the Indiana pastor in future editions of the book, titled “Strong for a Moment Like This: The Daily Devotions of Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

The book is a collection of some of the Scripture, devotionals and inspirational writing that Shillady, a United Methodist Church minister, emailed to Clinton, a lifelong Methodist, during the campaign.

Mary Catherine Dean, editor-in-chief of Shillady’s publisher, Abingdon Press, said in a statement, “We fully accept his explanation that he did not intentionally leave Matt Deuel’s passages unattributed.”

Deuel said he noticed the similarities when CNN published the devotional last week. Deuel said in an email that he spoke with Shillady on Monday and accepted the Methodist minister’s apology.

Shillady leads the United Methodist City Society, a social service agency in New York. He officiated at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, led a memorial service for Hillary Clinton’s mother, Dorothy Rodham, and gave the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention. Clinton wrote the forward to his book.

Shillady said he sought inspiration for the Nov. 9 email by searching for material along the familiar Christian theme of holding onto hope and emerging from adversity.

“I searched for passages that offered perspective of this theme. I am now stunned to realize the similarity between Matt Deuel’s blog sermon and my own. Clearly, portions of my devotional that day incorporate his exact words,” Shillady said in a statement.

Shillady credited Deuel with graciously accepting the apology. “My entire approach to this book project has been to credit all of the many ministers and sources who contributed to the devotionals that were written for Hillary over the course of the campaign,” the Methodist minister said.

Clinton is scheduled to discuss the book with Shillady at a Sept. 7 event in New York. A representative for Clinton did not immediately respond to a request for comment



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Trump rips Obama over report he learned of Kremlin threat in 2014


President Trump sought to turn the tables on the Obama administration Tuesday morning on the heels of a report saying they received “multiple warnings” as far back as 2014 about the Moscow meddling threat, suggesting his predecessor kept it under wraps because “he didn’t want to anger Russia.”

“According to report just out, President Obama knew about Russian interference 3 years ago but he didn’t want to anger Russia!” Trump tweeted.

Politico reported that the Obama administration was warned between 2014 and 2016 that the Kremlin was building networks and operations that could be used to disrupt the U.S. political system.

One Russian source reportedly was quoted in a report saying Russia was operating in the U.S. and Europe and had “penetrated media organizations, lobbying firms, political parties, governments and militaries in all of these places.”

According to Politico, this report went to the National Security Council as well as intelligence agencies and the State Department in the spring of 2014.

While it did not specifically warn of a threat to American elections, one official told Politico that some felt the administration was quick to dismiss the possibility of Kremlin interference.

The report is sure to fuel Trump’s complaints about the way the Obama administration handled concerns about Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.

Trump previously has accused his predecessor of failing to act last year, as the president now faces numerous investigations – most prominently, a special counsel probe – into the meddling and allegations of collusion with his own associates.

He has long denied those claims. 

Former Obama NSC spokesman Ned Price, though, pushed back on the notion the Obama administration stood idly by in the face of Russia warnings.

“The Obama administration was nothing but proactive in responding to Russian aggression in all of its forms,” he told Politico. 



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Guam residents relieved – for now – after North Korea tones down missile threat – A nuclear attack? Here’s what to do – North Korea is executing, torturing and enslaving those who practice religion, US says in new report – Guam accidentally broadcasts emergency alerts amid North Korea threats


Residents and officials in this U.S. territory greeted news that North Korea was stepping back from a planned missile strike on the island with some relief and tepid celebration.

After threatening to strike the island with four medium-range ballistic missiles, North Korea officials toned down their warning on Tuesday and said they would “watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees.”

“This information at least gives us reason to believe that Kim Jong Un has kinda paused his intention of shooting anything in our direction,” Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio told reporters. “So we find the silver lining around the cloud and hope that that’s an indication that he is pushing off his intention of firing four missiles in Guam’s direction.”

WHERE IS GUAM AND WHY WOULD NORTH KOREA ATTACK IT?

Still, residents on the island remained on edge. At about midnight, a radio station mistakenly issued a “civil danger warning” in Guam – which turned out to be a false alarm that officials blamed on human error.

In response to Trump’s threat of “fire and fury” comment, North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un ordered his military to prepare a response by targeting Guam. On Monday, military leaders presented Kim with maps and photos of potential flights paths aiming for Guam.

 “Obviously it is something we need to pay attention to,” said ship captain Eric Lewis. “They’re serious and if [President Donald] Trump gets serious, then we will have some real trouble out here.”

AFTER NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR THREAT, GUAM RESIDENTS PREPARE FOR POSSIBLE MISSILE STRIKE

Ground zero for Korean missiles is 18 miles off shore, about an hour by boat. An unarmed missile could splash here and no one on Guam would even know it was fired. But the U.S. military, which has two bases on the island, is not taking the threat lightly.

On Monday, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters a North Korean attack on Guam “could escalate into war very quickly,” adding “it’s game on” should the hostile country try to fire missiles in that direction.

“The bottom line is we will defend the country and for us (the military) that’s war,” said Mattis.

 On Guam, where $7 out of every $10 is generated by tourism, those remarks are comforting.

 “The ocean is our railway, our roadway to the Pacific, so we are concerned about what impact (a missile) would have with cargo coming in and out of Guam,” said port director Joann Brown.

The Commonwealth of Micronesia, which represents dozens of islands and roughly 500,000 residents, depends on the port in Guam for 90 percent of its goods. The port unloads huge cargo ships from China and the U.S. on a daily basis, suppling the islands with everything from cars to paper. Guam is the largest island between Hawaii and the Philippines, site of a former U.S. naval base.

“We sell two things,” said George Charfauros, Guam’s Homeland Security advisor. “We sell paradise—beaches, clean water, sunshine. And then we also sell strategic location. There’s a delicate balance in that.”

The U.S. military occupies about one-third of the island. The rest supports tourism, but remains largely rural. With clear waters in the 80’s, and a coral reef surrounding the island, Guam is popular with divers. Marine biologist Ashton Williams worries about an armed missile strike.

“First, the fish would be killed by that, along with marine mammals and the turtles we love so much – not to mention damage to the coral reef,” Williams said as she prepared to jump off a Micronesian Dive Association boat. “Once the corals break, they take years, even decades to build back up. We also have fish who live in the coral reefs and if we don’t have corals, we don’t have fish, and if we don’t have fish that is going to bring down our tourism industry.”

Tourism, however, is up 7 percent over last year, according to officials, as Japanese and Korean tourists learned long ago to dismiss the idle threat of North Korea’s supreme leader.

“It is a crisis,” said Leo, a vacationer from Japan. “But I think, to many of us, we all realize that there’s very little that we can do that’s within our control, right?”

Paradise in the crosshairs. Up to 15,000 tourist a day on Guam decided that’s OK, dismissing fears of a North Korean missile attack.

Kim said he would step back from the planned missile strike on the condition the U.S. military stop or temper maneuvers on the Korean Peninsula, including a joint exercise with South Korea beginning August 21.

The U.S. said it has no plans to postpone those exercises, putting the ball back in Kim’s court.

But experts say the conditional tone coming out of the hermit kingdom is encouraging – providing a diplomatic window for the two powers to open peace talks.

“The decision is to live life,” said Tim, a Guam resident. As for the tourists, “they’re already here. They’re going to enjoy it.”  



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Photo of cow and boy taking nap goes viral


This here is a little story about a boy and his cow.

They may not have won a ribbon at the Iowa State Fair, but Mitchell Miner and his heifer Audri won the internet after a photo of them taking a nap together went viral.

“She likes to lay down quite a bit,” Miner told the Des Moines Register on Monday. “I don’t really understand the bond with my animal either. She just enjoys my company.”

DELICIOUS DEEP-FRIED TREATS FROM THIS YEAR’S STATE FAIRS

Miner, 15, of Williamsburg, Iowa and Audri entered the Iowa State Fair’s youth dairy cattle show. They prepared for weeks with Miner leading, clipping, walking and bathing Audri nonstop up to the competition. On the day of the show, Miner woke up at 3 a.m. — his third straight early-morning rise — putting the final touches on Audri.

The heifer ended up placing fifth out of seven contestants, but after hard-fought competition, the two took a nap together. Miner’s father, Jeremey snapped a few photos of the two and posted them on Facebook the next day.

By early afternoon, the photo racked up over 15,000 interactions and nearly 800 shares.

“I was asleep. I think she was, too,” Mitchell said to the Register.

Miner’s mother, Laura, told the newspaper that she believes people are usually won over when they see a bond between a kid and their animal.

“I think it’s just when you spend that much time with them, they get really comfortable with you,” she said.

Laura Miner added that the family borrows most of these animals for the summer. Audri will be heading back to a dairy farm in Blairstown later this fall — after the family’s final showing in September.

Click here for more from the Des Moines Register



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Husband of Joyce Mitchell, who helped 2 NY inmates escape prison, angry over wife's delayed parole hearing


The husband of Joyce Mitchell, a former employee at a New York prison who helped two inmates escape in June 2015, said he was angry his wife’s parole hearing was delayed and “wants her home.”

Lyle Mitchell told the Daily Mail that he believes his wife got a “raw deal” compared to Gene Palmer, a former guard at the Clinton Correctional Facility, who was also found guilty of aiding the escape of inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat.

“All I want is for my wife to be coming home,” Mitchell told the Daily Mail.

MASSIVE TREE FALLS IN NEW YORK’S CENTRAL PARK, INJURING 3 KIDS, ADULT

“She’s been inside for more than two years, but Palmer only got six months — and was out in four,” Mitchell said.

“Palmer knew everything that was going on, but it was easier for them to put all the blame on my wife, not him,” Mitchell said. “What he did was ten times worse than what my wife did.”

Palmer admitted to granting the two inmates special privileges in exchange for information regarding other prisoners. He also admitted to giving the two prisoners frozen hamburger meat that Mitchell used to smuggle hacksaw blades to Matt and Sweat.

“I just want her home where she belongs,” Mitchell said. “I just want for us to be left alone.”

Joyce Mitchell, who worked as a tailor at the prison, admitted to becoming close with Matt and Sweat.

Mitchell, who admitted to having sexual relations with the two men, agreed to be their escape driver but checked herself into a hospital the day of their escape after suffering a panic attack.

The two men were reportedly planning on killing Mitchell’s husband after they escaped.

Matt and Sweat escaped Clinton Correctional Facility on June 6, 2015, prompting a weeks-long statewide manhunt. Matt was killed by a U.S. Customs and Border patrol agent on June 26. Sweat was wounded and captured by a trooper two days later. The manhunt cost New York’s state police and Department of Corrections $23 million in overtime.

Mitchell was sentenced to 2 1/3 to seven years in prison. She remains behind bars at the Bedford Hills Correctional Center in Westchester County.

NYC TEEN CHOKES MOM’S EX-BOYFRIEND AFTER WITNESSING HIM ASSAULT HER, COPS SAY

Mitchell, 53, known by her nickname “Tillie,” had her first parole hearing in February but was denied. Her hearing that was scheduled for last week was her second attempt for parole, but she will now have to wait until November due to the delay.

Mitchell said she helped the two inmates because they made her feel special.

“I was going through a time where I didn’t feel like my husband loved me anymore. . .  I was going through depression, and I guess they saw my weakness and that’s how it all started,” Mitchell said.

”Their attention made me feel good.”



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Teen chokes mom's ex-boyfriend after witnessing him assault her, cops say


A New York City teenager was charged with manslaughter Monday after reportedly choking his mother’s former boyfriend when he allegedly witnessed the man assaulting his mom.

Luis Moux, 18, of the Bronx, is accused of fatally strangling Stanley Washington, the ex-boyfriend of his mother, Lorena Sesma, at their apartment on Monday, according to the New York Post. Though he was charged with manslaughter, police were investigating if the incident was self-defense.

“It’s not crystal clear,” a police source told the New York Daily News. “It’s not cut and dry. There was a battle going on back and forth. It could be self-defense, but that hasn’t been decided yet.”

Washington, 43, and Sesma, 37, were reportedly fighting in their apartment building’s hallway before they retreated into their residence. While in the apartment, Washington allegedly started beating Sesma before Moux ran to the aid of his mother, police said.

NYC COPS ACCUSED OF STORING BODIES IN TRANSIT WORKER BREAK ROOMS

Moux, an offensive lineman on Grand Street Campus High School’s football team, reportedly folded his arm around Washington’s neck in an attempt to pull him off the woman. Police said it was not clear if the teen continued to choke him once Sesma and Washington were separated.

Washington had a long criminal history, including 26 prior arrests. Police reported they had been called to Sesma’s residence for prior domestic disputes.

NEW YORK FAMILY SUFFERS 3RD PEDESTRIAN DEATH IN SAME VILLAGE 

“He’s a school kid, a good student not involved with drugs or hanging out with bad people,” Angel Nives, a neighbor, told the Daily News. “He loves playing basketball and football with his friends over in the next building. When I heard the news, I didn’t expect it to be him, but he was right to defend his mother.”



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Flyer sent to wrong country


What was supposed to be a short trip for English businessman Samuel Janowsky instead turned into a cross-continental odyssey that left him stranded in Las Vegas, thousands of miles apart from his home and his pregnant wife. Janowsky—who was on his way to Essex, England, from Cologne, Germany—was somehow granted access to a flight that was headed nowhere near his intended destination. It wasn’t until he woke up from an in-flight nap and saw the plane’s live tracking system that he realized he’d blown past England altogether.

Once he discovered the mistake, he was at least able to call his wife and tell her that he wouldn’t be getting home any time soon. Indeed, when he actually landed in the United States, things somehow only got worse. From there, he says that he was threatened by United States officials with detainment.

RELATED: HOW TO SCORE THE BEST DEAL FOR YOUR NEXT FLIGHT

“I was treated like a person who tried to enter the U.S. without a visa,” he told the Daily Mail. “They seemed to think I had sneaked onto the plane to get a flight to Vegas on the cheap. They even put me in a little cell and completely searched me. I was supervised the whole time I was there.”

He was eventually allowed back onto a plane, but had to travel back to Germany instead of going straight to England. Then, after traveling by plane, train, and automobile, Janowsky was finally able to get onto a flight home, two days later than his original arrival date. Now, he’s blaming the airline, Eurowings, for putting him through this ordeal in the first place.

RELATED: 11 ESSENTIAL GROOMING PRODUCTS FOR YOUR NEXT VACATION

“The whole experience not only cost me time but also I am [$1,034.75] out of pocket for the food, hotel and flight home,” he said. “How could I have boarded the aircraft without a valid boarding pass for that flight? Staff checked my boarding pass three times. It shows the ineptitude of Eurowings staff.”

Sounds like a nightmare, right? 

This article originally appeared on Men’s Health



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TEACHER ARRESTED Gym instructor, 40, charged in sex romp with student


A former Union County middle school gym teacher was arrested Monday for a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Monday.

Shawnetta D. Reece, 40, of Blairsville, was sexually involved with the student in 2013, the agency said in a news release.

Reece was arrested after the Union County Sheriff’s Office received information on the alleged relationship, and asked the GBI to assist with the investigation.

OKLAHOMA TEACHER, 31, WHO HAD SEX WITH STUDENT, 15, ORDERED TO PAY $1 MILLION

“The student was moving from the 8th grade into the 9th grade during this time,” the news release stated. “As a result of the investigation, Reece has been arrested for child molestation and sexual assault by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority.”

Officials said once the investigation is completed, the case will be presented to the Enotah Judicial Circuit District Attorney for prosecution.



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Lincoln Memorial defaced with explicit graffiti


Authorities in the nation’s capital are searching for a vandal after the Lincoln Memorial was spray painted with explicit graffiti early Tuesday.

The National Park Service said it was working to remove the graffiti after it was discovered at about 4:30 a.m., FOX 5 DC reported. 

The graffiti, which was done in red spray paint on a column, appears to say “F*** law.” 

Silver spray paint was also found on a Smithsonian wayfinding sign on Constitution Avenue, according to the park service.

The monument preservation crew started cleaning up the tagged areas with a “gel-type architectural pain stripper safe for use on historic stone,” and will continue to use the treatment until the graffiti is completely gone. 

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the U.S. Park Police at 202-610-7515.



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