Day: April 15, 2017

ANOTHER FAILED TEST North Korea attempts to launch missile, but fails


North Korea attempted to launch a missile from an eastern coastal city, but the launched ended in failure, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday.

U.S. Pacific Command said the missile “blew up almost immediately.”

U.S. and South Korean officials were unsure what type of missile Pyongyang was attempting to launch.

“U.S. Pacific Command is fully committed to working closely with our allies in the Republic of Korea and in Japan to maintain security,” Cdr. Dave Benham said in a statement.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket and conducted two nuclear tests last year, including its most powerful to date, and there have been a slew of shorter range missile firings.

North Korea’s goal is a long-range nuclear missile that can strike the continental United States.

Sunday’s launch comes a day after the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Penn Station stampede: 16 injured in chaos amid false reports of gun shots


Sixteen were injured at New York’s Penn Station during a stampede sparked when Amtrak police used a stun gun to subdue a disruptive man amid the disarray of a train with about 1,200 passengers stuck in a tunnel between New York and New Jersey for nearly three hours on Friday.

The New Jersey Transit train became disabled in the Hudson River tunnel late Friday afternoon, when Amtrak was experiencing overhead power problems. A New Jersey Transit spokeswoman said the train finally reached New York’s Penn Station in the early evening.

Meanwhile, the overcrowded train station erupted in panic when Amtrak police used a Taser to subdue a man who was causing a disturbance. New York police said the use of the Taser led to false rumors of gunshots at the station.

People screamed and ran, leaving the station strewn with abandoned bags. The nearby Macy’s department store was briefly locked down.

Amtrak said Friday night the subdued man was in police custody.

The loss of power in the tunnel caused delays of an hour or more on Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. It happened three weeks after the derailment of an Amtrak train at Penn Station and a week after a New Jersey Transit derailment shut down eight of 21 tracks there and disrupted travel in the region for days. No injuries were reported in any of the incidents.

Mia Sanati, a passenger on the train, said shortly after the train entered the tunnel to go under the Hudson River, they felt a bump on the side of the train and saw sparks.

“About 30 seconds later, the train just came to a complete stop,” Sanati said.

The power went out, except for emergency lights, and so did the air conditioning, said Sanati, who made video of the darkened car.

Rush hour passengers trying to leave New York faced mounting delays.

Adam Rosen, a chemical engineer going to Hamilton, New Jersey, said, “They keep extending the delays from 45 minutes to 90 minutes and now indefinitely. This is the worst.”

New Jersey Transit executive director Steven Santoro said in a statement to affected riders, “We deeply apologize for your experience, and I would like to hear from you.”

NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said the railroad was working with Amtrak to determine the cause of the problem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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STICKING WITH THE PLAN Dems stay focused on strongholds instead of pivoting to Middle America


After painful November 2016 losses, Washington Democrats still appear committed to devoting resources to strongholds like California, instead of responding to party pleas to put time and money into Middle America to reconnect with disaffected voters.

The contrast came into full view when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee earlier this month started moving senior staffers to deep-blue California, then provided essentially no help to its candidate in the Kansas special election, who on Tuesday nearly pulled off a huge upset.

Washington Democrats hailed candidate James Thompson’s narrow loss as a moral victory, considering Republicans have held the seat since 1995.

But Thompson made clear that the DCCC and the Democrat National Committee could have done more, considering Washington Republicans including President Trump, Vice President Pence and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz invested time and money to save the seat.

“The DCCC and the DNC need to be doing a 50-state strategy,” said Thompson, after coming within 6 percentage points of winning Kansas GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo’s open House seat. (Pompeo won reelection there last year with roughly 60 percent of the vote before becoming the CIA director in January.)

GOPS WIN IN CLOSE SPECIAL ELECTION IN KANSAS

Thompson also pointed out that his campaign was largely financed by individual, small-dollar donations, saying 99 percent of the money came through average-$20 contributions.

The state Democrat party disputes a report that it gave Thompson just $3,000 late in the race but has failed to provide documentation showing the group in fact backed the first-time candidate’s campaign from the start.

The DNC contributed no last-minute money to counter the GOP infusion, with newly-installed Chairmen Tom Perez telling The Washington Post: “There are thousands of elections every year, though. Can we invest in all of them? That would require a major increase in funds.”

DNC spokesman Joel Kasnetz told Fox News on Wednesday that the outcome of the Kansas race — in a district Trump won in November by 27 percentage points — proves voters’ “resounding frustration” with the president’s agenda and that Washington Democrats are “committed to organizing in every zip code.”

Meanwhile, the DCCC, which declined to comment for this story, is already sending staffers to Southern California to establish a base camp for 2018 House races in the state and in Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

“Moving out West is one of the improvements that we’re making at the DCCC in order to maximize gains in the midterms,” says group Chairman Rep. Ben Ray Luján.

The New Mexico congressman also vowed that he and fellow Democrats are “on offense across the map — including in districts that have not seen a serious challenge in a long time.”

To be sure, the DCCC has sent dozens of paid staffers and hundreds of volunteers to Georgia for the special election Tuesday for the open seat of former GOP Rep. Tom Price, in a district Trump barely defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. (Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff has raised more than $8 million in that race.)

But whether the plan is enough to satisfy rank-and-file Democrats after November 2016 remains to be seen.

Before last year, Republicans had already controlled both chambers of Congress as well as the majority of state houses and governors’ offices.

And losses in Democratic strongholds like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida in 2016 that led to Trump’s upset victory over Clinton — and nixed the party’s chances to retake the Senate — only reinforced the notion that the Midwestern, blue collar vote has been neglected.

“We have to talk to those people who take a shower after work, not those who just take a shower before work,” Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan said after the losses and amid his subsequent, failed effort to replace California Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader.

He also joined fellow party members in saying Democratic leaders had become too focus on liberal bastions like California, New York and neighbor East Coast states.

Despite Democrats last year winning a handful of House seats, Republicans will still have a daunting, roughly 44-seat majority going into the midterms and a 52-48 seat edge in the Senate.

In California, Democrats are targeting seven incumbent House Republicans — including high-profile Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Darrell Issa and three others in Southern California.

Ben Tulchin, a San Francisco-based Democratic pollster and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ pollster in the 2016 Democratic primaries — supports the party’s California strategy.

He says such grassroots efforts in places like Los Angeles and Orange counties make sense because voter-registration drives can reach a large number of unregistered Latinos, Asian-Americans and others who frequently vote Democrat.

“There’s an untapped pool of Democratic voters that just doesn’t exist in place like Iowa,” he said.

Tulchin also argued that reaching voters by TV in the greater-Los Angeles market is too expensive and that voters in largely-conservative Orange County, particularly along the coast, are becoming more socially liberal or at least more moderate.

“They’re almost all pro-environment,” Tulchin said.

 

 

 



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TAKING THE LEAP First Lady, son moving to White House this summer


President Trump’s wife and their young son will officially be moving into the White House this summer, following the end of the school year, a senior White House official tells Fox News. 

The move is in line with what senior Trump transitions officials told Fox News in December about first lady Melania Trump and son Barron Trump’s timeline for moving from Trump Tower in Manhattan to Washington.

Since his January 20 inauguration, President Trump has lived at the White House while his wife and their 11-year-old son have stayed in New York City. 

A senior White House aide says the first lady has been directly involved in arranging the house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the summertime move. 

The former model, born in Slovenia, appears to be taking an increasing role as first lady in her husband’s early presidency and frequently joins him at their South Florida retreat, Mar-a-Lago.

Barron will be the first boy to live at the White House since John F. Kennedy Jr., who was a toddler, in 1963. 

“Mrs. Trump said on the campaign trail that she wanted to be a traditional first lady like Michelle Obama or Pat Nixon,” Andrew Och, a White House historian and author known as The First Ladies’ Man, said in a recent interview. 

“Melania Trump bringing and unifying her family under one roof of the White House is a very smart move, and a very traditional move,” he also said. “The fact she was protecting (Barton) before this, by letting him finish out his school year, is not unprecedented. It is just a little but unusual that they didn’t move into the White House immediately after the inauguration.” 

Serafin Gomez is a White House Producer for FOX News Channel, who also covered the 2016 election as a Special Events & Politics producer and former special campaign correspondent for Fox News Latino. Fin formerly worked as the Miami Bureau Producer for Fox News Channel where he covered Florida Politics & Latin America. Follow him on Twitter: @Finnygo

 

 



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Rep. Walden, co-author of GOP's ObamaCare replacement, latest to get town hall treatment


 

In the auditorium of his old middle school just blocks from where he still lives, the congressman who is a lead author of the stalled House Republican health care bill was treated like the villain in a class play.

It didn’t matter that Rep. Greg Walden was on a first-name basis with many of the roughly 800 attendees. Or that Democrats like Gov. Kate Brown call him congenial and bright. Or that Walden was just re-elected to a 10th House term with 72 percent of the vote in a safely Republican eastern Oregon district. Or that he is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Walden, 60, encountered the same angry buzz saw at town meetings last week that has greeted his Republican colleagues at similar sessions and prompted others to not even bother holding them. President Donald Trump and his party’s policies on health care, immigration, the environment, the arts and Syria have whipped up Democratic voters and liberal organizers while dividing Republicans as well, and they’re letting GOP lawmakers know it.

“Connie, I tried to answer you,” Walden, standing alone on stage in a blue blazer and plaid shirt, pleaded to Connie Burton over resounding boos. Her children played with Walden’s when they were little, but the 63-year-old Burton was now demanding that the lawmaker oppose Trump’s voiding of rules blocking harmful emissions.

“Yes or no,” the audience yelled when Walden answered indirectly.

Chosen to ask a question, one man in the balcony said, “You seem a like a pro-war politician. Have you encouraged your son to join the Marines?” A woman said, “We are absolutely disgusted that you led a committee to take away” peoples’ health care, before loud cheers drowned her out.

“I care about health care. I know you don’t think that,” an exasperated Walden said at one point.

Walden’s reception was far friendlier in more GOP-leaning Prineville, set among grazing land over 100 miles to the south. There were far fewer interruptions, though from the bleachers of the Crook County High School gym, 72-year-old Republican Steve Johnson yelled that Walden should “quit dancing around down there” and produce results in Congress.

But in Hood River, which despite its name is on the banks of the majestic Columbia River, and in Bend, the district’s liberal hub at the foot of the Cascades, huge crowds pressed Walden in two-hour encounters heavy on boisterous interruptions and catcalls.

“People are fired up, and I know that and I respect that,” Walden said in an interview. He said that as the sole Republican in Oregon’s congressional delegation, “I am the place they can come and vent.”

Congress is on a two-week recess that comes with Trump and the GOP health care bill faring dismally in polls, and Walden was often defensive about both. Republicans hope to resuscitate the health care measure and tackle budget, tax and infrastructure legislation, but public reaction — measured partly by town halls like these — will help determine their success.

The Republican measure would largely repeal former President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, including its tax penalties on people who don’t buy coverage and expansion of Medicaid, which provides coverage for the poor. Walden stressed parts of that statute he would keep: its ban on lifetime coverage limits and a requirement that insurers cover even the most ill, costly consumers.

“We’re going to protect people like you,” he told Kim Schmith, 50, of Madras, who described her costly battle against breast cancer and said, “I am no longer uninsurable, and I want be insured.”

Walden said Republicans want to improve competition at a time when insurers are fleeing many insurance markets. He said as the GOP tries reviving its bill, he believes its tax credits will be increased for poor people. Those proposed subsidies have drawn opposition from all sides as too skimpy for low earners.

Walden’s role as a helmsman of the GOP drive to repeal Obama’s law puts him in an odd political situation back home.

As a state legislator in the 1990s, he promoted health care innovations such as rating the cost and effectiveness of medical procedures that are credited with saving Oregon huge sums of money. Now in Congress, he represents a Democratic-run state that’s embraced Obama’s overhaul and adopted its expansion of Medicaid.

“The Republican health care proposal is a disservice to Oregonians and their access to health care,” Brown, the governor, said in an interview. A one-time colleague of Walden in the Legislature, she said the GOP bill runs “counter to Oregon values.” She predicted “political consequences” for Republicans.

Walden won all 20 of his district’s counties last November and did better than Trump in all but one, so he may have little reason to worry. But clearly, there’s a big constituency for Obama’s law in Oregon.

Nearly one-fourth of Oregon’s 4 million residents are on Medicaid, well above the national 20 percent average. That includes about 380,000 in the expanded Medicaid program Obama created to cover people earning modestly above the federal poverty level, an enlargement the GOP bill would phase out.

Walden notes that Oregon faces an $882 million Medicaid shortfall this year, partly because federal payments under Obama’s statute are declining.

About 130,000 other Oregonians have bought policies on the online insurance exchange Obama established, with most getting federal subsidies. Overall, state figures show the proportion of uninsured Oregonians dropped from 17 percent before the law’s full 2014 implementation to 5 percent now.

Walden’s district, which encompasses over two-thirds of Oregon and is larger than 23 states, has taken full advantage of the law. With much of the district poorer than Oregon’s coastal region, 240,000 of its residents receive Medicaid. In six of its 20 counties, more than 3 in 10 are beneficiaries.

 

 



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CA Wet Winter Causes Lettuce Shortage; Prices Double…


SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Eating healthy is about to take a bigger bite out of your budget, thanks to California’s wet winter.

You might have noticed your local grocery store lacking in lettuce, and the drought-busting winter is to blame.

If you’re a big fan of salads, BLTs or anything avocado, you’re not going to be a fan of the latest news on produce prices.

“Prices right here right now, you are going to start seeing sticker shock,” said produce expert Michael Marks. “More than twice the price as what you should be seeing this time of year.”

Row crop vegetables like iceberg lettuce took a hard hit, and that will hit restaurants. Customers may not see price increases on the menu, but it will take a bit out of their bottom line.

“It is all because of the rain. The rain not last week, not last month, but the rain three months ago. Three months ago we should have been planting crops that we should be harvesting now. We can’t harvest those crops because they weren’t planted,” Marks said.

Not only might you be paying double, but what you’re getting might not even be that good, warns Marks.

“When you find really. high prices, a farmer out there – they’re gonna put any lettuce they see in that box. Even if it looks like a head of lettuce they’re going to put it in that box,” he says. “So you’re seeing really low quality when you see these high prices.”

Experts say the price surge could continue for the next six to eight weeks.



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ARREST IN MURDER Police: Suspect in killing of NYC jogger in custody


Prosecutors announced an arrest Saturday in last summer’s brutal murder of a New York City Google manager who was out jogging in rural Massachusetts when she was killed.

“We got him,” Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said in announcing the arrest of Angel Colon Ortiz, 31, of Worcester, in connection with the murder of 27-year-old Vanessa Marcotte in Princeton on Aug. 7.

Early said investigators obtained DNA of Marcotte’s killer because of the fight she put up before she was killed.

Recently a state trooper spotted Ortiz in a dark SUV. The trooper knew that detectives assigned to the Marcotte case were looking for a dark SUV and a Hispanic man, the prosecutor said.

The trooper wrote down the SUV’s license plate on his hand. A day later he showed up at the home where Ortiz lived. Ortiz agreed to provide a saliva sample containing DNA.

Early said the DNA match came back Friday. Ortiz was picked up early Saturday.

“We’re very confident we have Vanessa Marcotte’s killer,” he said.

The prosecutor said Ortiz worked in Princeton near where Marcotte was killed. He declined to say where Ortiz worked or what he did.

Early said Ortiz was jailed on charges of aggravate assault, battery and aggravated assault with intent to rape.

He said he anticipates that Ortiz will be charged with murder.

Marcotte’s naked body was found a day after she left her mother’s house to go jogging and disappeared. Police believe the woman was strangled and her hands and feet set on fire.

DNA PROFILE IN GOOGLE MANAGER’S MURDER PROMPTS ID, POLICE SAY

Investigators discovered the body in a wooded area not far from the home of Marcotte’s mother.

Prosecutors said in February that based on a DNA profile the killer was believed to be a Hispanic or Latino man with an athletic build who is about 30 years old, the station reported.

Investigators received more than 1,300 tips in the case.

The DNA sequence matched to Ortiz occurs only once in about 1.1 quintillion sequences, Early said according to Fox 25 Boston. He said that is why investigators are so sure they’ve found the killer.

Click for more from Fox 25 Boston.

 

 



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TODD STARNES: University students vote to make American flag optional


Students at the University of California, Davis proved you don’t need a Bic lighter to desecrate Old Glory — you just need a majority vote.

The UC Davis Student Senate passed legislation revoking a long-standing rule that required the American flag “stand visibly” at every senate meeting. 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN TO FIGHT BACK AND RECLAIM AMERICA! GET TODD’S NEW BOOK!

“It shall not be compulsory for the flag of the United State (sic) of America to be displayed at the ASUCD Senate meetings,” the new legislation declares. 

Ironically, the author of the anti-American bill is a student who recently became a naturalized citizen. 

“The concept of the United States of America and patriotism is different for every individual,” Itmar Waksman told the CBS  affiliate in Sacramento. 

Under the new rules, any senator who wants to display Old Glory must file a petition. 

“It will then be at the discretion of the Senate Pro Tempore whether to approve, reject or set the decision to a vote of the Senate,” the bill states.

Click here to read the full story on ToddStarnes.com.

 



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FUNDRAISING MACHINE Report: Trump reelection effort has raised $13.2M so far in 2017


President Trump’s reelection campaign has already raised $13.2 million this year, according to federal records filed Friday night and obtained by Politico.

The amount was collected by three committees — Donald J. Trump for President, Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again Committee. And roughly 80 percent of the money was raised through small, online donations.

The Republican National Committee confirmed earlier this month that it had raised $41.3 million over the same period. But as of early Saturday, the group had yet to file a report with the Federal Elections Committee.

The group also says much of the money came from the same small-amount, online donors who helped Trump become president and that the effort brought in tens of thousands of new donors.

According to Politico, the FEC report for the three Trump committees suggested much of the money came from merchandise sold during Trump’s inauguration and early presidency, considering they spent roughly $4.7 million on hats, T-shirts, mugs and stickers.

The committees collectively spent at least $2.7 million on fundraising and other activities including $1.6 million to the web design and digital media company run by Trump campaign digital director Brad Parscale.

The committees reported roughly $16 million in the bank at the end of March.



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World's oldest person, Emma Morano, dies at 117 in Italy


Emma Morano, at 117 the world’s oldest person who is also believed to have been the last surviving person born in the 1800s, died Saturday at her home in northern Italy, her physician said.

Dr. Carlo Bava told The Associated Press by phone that Morano’s caretaker had called him to say she had stopped breathing in the afternoon while sitting in an armchair at her home in Verbania, a town on Italy’s Lake Maggiore.

Bava said he had last seen his patient on Friday when “she thanked me and held my hand,” as she did every time he called on her. While Morano had been increasingly spending more time sleeping and less time speaking in recent weeks, she had eaten her daily raw egg and biscuits that day, he said.

Bava also lives in Verbania and had been her physician for nearly a quarter of a century.

Morano, born on Nov. 29, 1899, had been living in a tidy, one-room apartment, where she was kept company by her caregiver and two elderly nieces.

“She didn’t suffer. I’m happy she didn’t suffer but passed away that way, tranquilly,” Bava said.

He said she had been her usual chatterbox self until a few weeks ago.

“She was slowly fading away,” Bava said.

Bava has previously told the AP that Morano lost a son to crib death when he was six months old and left her husband in the first-half of the last century after he beat her.

Morano “abandoned the husband in the Fascist era, when women were supposed to be very submissive,” Bava said in a 2015 interview. “She was always very decisive.”

Morano went on to support herself by working in a factory making jute bags, then at a hotel, working way beyond the usual retirement age.

She also defied health advice, Bava said Saturday. Some doctors had warned her against eating three eggs daily, which she did for years, but she ignored their advice.



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