Day: July 22, 2017

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THAT WAS THEN … Scaramucci deletes left-leaning tweets to avoid being 'distraction' for White House


Newly-tapped White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci acknowledged Saturday that he is deleting old tweets from his personal Twitter account that might cause a “distraction” for the White House. 

“Full transparency: I’m deleting old tweets,” Scaramucci tweeted. “Past views evolved & shouldn’t be a distraction. I serve @POTUS agenda & that’s all that matters.”

Scaramucci also said: “The politics of ‘gotcha’ are over. I have a thick skin and we’re moving on to @POTUS agenda serving the American people.”

On Friday, President Trump announced that Scaramucci will oversee the entire White House communications operation and report directly to him.

A number of Scaramucci’s past tweets — expressing liberal views on guns, climate change, the border wall and even Hillary Clinton — re-surfaced after his White House appointment.

Among tweets deleted by Scaramucci:

“Walls don’t work. Never have never will. The Berlin Wall 1961-1989 don’t fall for it,” he tweeted in 2015.

“We (the USA) has 5% of the world’s population but 50% of the world’s guns. Enough is enough. It is just common sense it apply more controls,” he tweeted in 2012.

“You can take steps to combat climate change without crippling the economy,” he tweeted in 2016. “The fact many people still believe CC is a hoax is disheartening”

Scaramucci also deleted a 2012 tweet about Hillary Clinton that said, “I hope she runs, she is incredibly competent.”

Scaramucci’s past comments on television have also come back to haunt him. Addressing the press from the briefing room podium on Friday, he expressed regret for a 2015 comment calling Trump a “hack politician.”

“Mr. President, if you’re listening, I apologize for the 50th time for saying that,” Scaramucci said.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted a defense of Scaramucci.

“In all fairness to Anthony Scaramucci, he wanted to endorse me 1st, before the Republican Primaries started, but didn’t think I was running!” Trump said.

In a statement on Friday, Trump said, “Anthony is a person I have great respect for, and he will be an important addition to this administration. He has been a great supporter and will now help implement key aspects of our agenda while leading the communications team.”

Meanwhile, Scaramucci said in his first interview since being named White House communications director that Trump is “on missile lock” to keep his promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.

“I know this is one of his campaign promises that he is on missile lock to keep,” Scaramucci said Saturday on “Breitbart News Saturday” on SiriusXM.

Pressed by host Matthew Boyle on when the wall would be built, Scaramucci noted he only started the job on Friday and hadn’t spoken with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly about it yet.

“The wall is at the top of the list for the president, so I can assure you it’s going to get done,” he said.

Scaramucci referenced the well-known list of Trump campaign promises on the office wall of senior adviser Steve Bannon and vowed that the White House would still work to implement them.

“Here’s what I will say: we have a list of campaign promises that are up on Steve Bannon’s wall, and we’re going right through those campaign promises,” he said.

He added, “What we want to do is: here’s the things we’re promised and like good business people, we’re going to deliver on these promises and try to make the system better.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was promoted Friday to White House press secretary, replacing Sean Spicer in the wake of his abrupt resignation.

Spicer on Friday confirmed he left because of the president’s plans to bring in new people, like Scaramucci.

Scaramucci is a Wall Street financier and campaign donor who served as a surrogate for Trump on television since the campaign.

SPICER SAYS ‘TOO MANY COOKS’ AT WHITE HOUSE

“I just thought it was in the best interest of our communications department, of our press organization, to not have too many cooks in the kitchen,” Spicer told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in an interview Friday.

 

 

 

 



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Steven Spielberg debuts 'Ready Player One' trailer at Comic-Con


Steven Spielberg dives into the world of virtual reality in his adaptation of “Ready Player One.” The director unveiled action- and nostalgia-packed footage from the film Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con.

The 6,500-person Hall H crowd gave the director a standing ovation and cheered heartily when the first images from the dystopian future world came up on screen, and even more so when The Iron Giant popped up.

Author Ernest Cline said he learned how to be a storyteller because of Spielberg. Spielberg said he liked the idea of doing a flash forward and flash back in the film, although he said that when he first read the book, his first thought was that they were going to need a younger director.

“Ready Player One” opens in March 2018.



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As Senate struggles to get 50 votes, is 40 the new 60?


We’ve all heard about 40 is the new 30. Thirty is the new 20. Even 70 is the new 50. In the Senate, 40 may be the new 60.

It takes two rounds of 60 votes in the Senate to break most filibusters. But if you can’t produce 60 yeas to quash the filibuster, you have but one option: a special process called “budget reconciliation,” which neutralizes filibusters. The Republican-controlled Senate needs only 51 votes to advance legislation under budget reconciliation.

Budget reconciliation is the method congressional Republicans crafted to inoculate their ObamaCare repeal-and-replace efforts from filibusters. Democrats deployed budget reconciliation to approve their final version of ObamaCare in 2010.

They had precisely 60 senators on their side of the aisle and successfully broke every filibuster Republicans lodged against the health care law.

That is, Democrats had 60 votes, until they unexpectedly lost a seat in a Massachusetts special election in January, 2010. Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., prevailed over Democratic nominee Martha Coakley.

So with only 59 Democrats, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, turned to budget reconciliation and its lower threshold to polish off ObamaCare with a simple majority.

But Republicans can’t even get 51 votes to start debate on a health care bill. Any bill. That’s why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y., is trying a last-ditch effort to at least start debate “early next week” on the health care bill the House approved in May.

“It’s pretty clear there are not 50 Republicans at the moment for a replacement,” said McConnell shortly after he euthanized the second Senate Republican stab at health care.

So McConnell forges ahead with a vote to summon the bill to the floor. The gig is up if that doesn’t marshal a majority of Republicans.

“We will have demonstrated that Republicans by themselves are not prepared at this particular point to do a replacement,” lamented McConnell.

This was the whole reason the House and Senate worked overtime to set up this entire “budget reconciliation” contrivance. To avoid Democrats from gumming up the works. They didn’t realize they’d have trouble with Republicans.

Math is imperative on Capitol Hill. Republicans hold 52 of the Senate’s 100 seats. Various iterations of the health care package forced anywhere from less than a handful to perhaps as many as 10 Republicans to oppose starting debate on the bill. Republicans could lose only two votes on their side and ask Vice President Pence to break the tie.

But there’s new algebra with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., out due to brain cancer. Ninety-nine total senators and only 51 GOPers. The GOP can only lose one senator now and still advance a measure with 50 votes. Forty-nine kills it. That also means there’s no chance for the vice president to break a tie.

“We are really trying to get an agreement,” Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said shortly after he and his colleagues prayed at a late-night health care conclave over McCain’s condition. “But obviously now it is more challenging.”

There remains a chance that McConnell can still cobble together enough votes to initiate the debate on the “motion to proceed.” That’s the key vote. Numerous Republican senators argue they’ll pass something if they can at least kick off the debate.

“I believe we will get there,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. “I believe we will get to yes. I think we have to get to yes. A failure on this would be catastrophic and we’re not going to fail.”

So this is what McConnell is undertaking: a definitive, final stand to uproot ObamaCare. It’s almost like Winston Churchill’s heralded 1940 speech to Parliament.

“We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets,” he said.

Without forcing the issue, McConnell cannot say he didn’t “go on to the end,” as Churchill proclaimed. If the vote fails, then McConnell will have exhausted the process. And nobody could really blame him for then pivoting from the health care issue to tax reform. Or — gasp — working with Democrats to “repair” ObamaCare.

House Republicans are turning up the heat on the Senate.

“With all due respect to that body, come on guys,” said an exasperated Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., about the Senate’s inaction on health care. “Someone needs to go over there and say ‘Get it done.’”

“This is very disappointing,” said Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio. “Over in the Senate, there’s a lot of obstruction. It’s slow moving. The Senate needs to think about a lot of the rules over there.”

Well, the Senate already ran that trap when McConnell established a new precedent and lowered the bar to break filibusters on Supreme Court nominees. That was the only route the chamber could take to confirm Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch’s confirmation is the only parliamentary achievement about which President Trump can brag.

The use of the budget reconciliation to advance legislation isn’t a “rules change.” But it was the parliamentary ploy Republicans elected to use to use to advance health care and avoid a Democratic filibuster.

So what’s next if the GOP can’t solve the health care riddle with its narrow majority? Lower the bar from 51 to 40?

With a current operational number of 51 now, Republicans just don’t have cushion to lose a few votes. By the same token, it also means McConnell must prevail on only a couple of senators to get the issue on the floor and pass the bill.

Can they do that? Perhaps with a concrete “replacement” bill waiting in the wings. But a bill that simply repeals ObamaCare that grants a two-year window to figure out something else may not fly.

“I think that would be a bad use of our time,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, if there wasn’t a deal on a replacement plan.

It was easy for Republicans to vote to repeal ObamaCare during the Obama administration. President Obama was in the White House. It was artifice. Republicans knew the president wouldn’t sign it. Now they’re firing with live ammo.

McConnell wants resolution to this health care debacle this week. Otherwise, it’s time to move onto tax reform.

Will that be easier?

To approve tax reform, House and Senate Republicans plan to use a special process called “budget reconciliation,” which rebuffs filibusters … .

Er, wait a minute. Isn’t that what the Senate is using to try to pass health care? Well, that hasn’t worked out so hot. The Senate can’t use budget reconciliation as a parliamentary tool unless the House has OK’d a budget.

The House Budget Committee approved one late Wednesday night. But there’s still no path to lug the budget across the floor.

“I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that they don’t have the votes to pass it on the House floor,” North Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, declared about leaders of the GOP-controlled chamber.

Many Freedom Caucus members are holding out. They want a concrete tax plan first and a package to handle the debt ceiling.

So, if they can’t move tax reform in the Senate …

Maybe Bob Gibbs is onto something.

Drop the bar to 45 to pass bills in the Senate? Forty? Thirty-five?

On Tuesday afternoon, Republican senators completed a grim weekly lunch on health care. They spilled out into the Ohio Clock Corridor of the Capitol amid a sea of reporters.

A phone rang. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, fiddled with his phone before realizing it wasn’t his. But that didn’t stop him from hamming it up for the cameras. He then pretended (we think) to take a call from someone important.

“Yes Mr. President,” deadpanned Roberts into his phone. “I’m standing here with 10,000 of them.”

The typically rapturous press corps fell silent, entranced by Roberts performance.

“Oh. A better approach is to get the hell out of here,” Roberts said into the phone before disappearing into the Senate chamber.

Perhaps that’s what a lot of congressional Republicans will want to do if health care and tax reform remain stunted. 



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Eatery has one-drink limit policy for customers with kids


A restaurant in New York has a very strict policy about drinking and driving.

Peddlers Bar and Bistro in Clifton Park, NY, said they have a one limit drink rule enforced to customers that are driving with a child or children in the car after dining at the establishment, according to WKBN.

Melisa Gravelle, the general manager of the restaurant, said the establishment enforced the rule as it prepared for the summer.

NY ‘DOOFY’ TEEN WHO LOST CAR AT METALLICA CONCERT IN TORONTO FINDS IT, DAYS LATER

“We love children,” Gravelle told WKBN. “Everybody loves children and children don’t have a voice.”

“I could never live with myself knowing that I killed somebody driving,” Gravelle continued. “I could never do that; it’s a choice that you can avoid.”

Gravelle warned that those who do not abide by the rule would be asked to go.

“They (servers) do get berated at the tables and some come back very upset,” Gravelle said. “The manager go to the table and they explain we’re not picking on parents, it’s just something that we feel in our hearts is something that we can do in order to help.”

Many customers believe the policy would be effective.

“Why take the chance? Definitely doesn’t make any sense,” Greg Culver, a customer, said. “That way you keep those people off the road.” 

90 HOSPITALIZED DURING CHANCE THE RAPPER SHOW IN CONNECTICUT

“I’m a former educator and I think it’s a great policy,” Barb Buckley, a Peddlers diner, said. “When you think about the responsibility that a parent has to protect their children, I think it’s a great policy. I’m behind them 100 percent.” 

The restaurant does not have the legal rights to enforce their policy but it has been implemented since 2010.



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'Doofy' teen who lost car at Metallica concert in Toronto finds it, days later


A New York teenager who couldn’t remember which parking lot he left his car in while attending a Metallica concert in Toronto found the vehicle – four days later.

Gavin Strickland, 19, of Syracuse, N.Y., said he drove his Nissan sedan to Toronto to attend a Metallica concert on Sunday but could not remember which parking garage he left it in, according to CBC News.

Strickland’s parents wrote an advertisement and posted it to Craigslist asking the public for their help. The advertisement went viral after the description called Strickland “doofy.”

FLORIDA BOY, 10, ARRESTED 4 TIMES IN 6 WEEKS FOR ALLEGEDLY STEALING CARS

“Our doofy son parked the car in an indoor parking garage, in the first floor (slightly lower/basement level) but that garage cannot now be located,” Strickland’s father wrote in the advertisement.

The announcement offered a $100 reward as well.

“The car has U.S. Florida license plates, a small Canadian flag affixed to the door frame and a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker.”

This is not the first time Strickland lost his car. Last winter the teenager forgot where he parked when he attended a concert in New York, according to Syracuse.com.

Strickland took a bus home Monday morning after he could not find his vehicle.

Madison Riddolls, 26, discovered Strickland’s car on Wednesday. Riddolls and her boyfriend decided to go searching after reading the advertisement.

POLICE CALLED AFTER ‘DEMON GOAT’ BIRTH TERRORIZES TOWN

“We were a little bored and decided to go to bed or go on a little adventure in our own city,” Riddolls told CBC News. “I felt like I owed it to the family,” Riddolls continued. “They were sort of relying on us.”

Strickland lucked out after the garage charged him only one day of parking and gave him a Bluetooth device just in case he lost his car again.

“I love Canada and I think I just love how the city got together to help me out,” Strickland said.



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Mexican religion involving human sacrifice gaining status among criminals


A Mexican folk religion involving human sacrifice and devoted to “Holy Death” is growing in popularity among drug traffickers and violent criminals, prompting Texas officials and the Catholic Church to warn about honoring the so-called “Saint Death.”

Authorities are speaking out about the religion devoted to La Santa Muerte, which translates to “Holy Death” and “Saint Death,” that has gained popularity steadily since the late 1980s among Mexican-American Catholics.

“She’s not a saint. There is nothing good that can come out of praying to her,” Sante Fe Archbiship John Wester said in February. “We have a lot of saints who represent the teaching of Jesus Christ. This is an aberration.”

Clad in a black nun’s robe and holding a scythe in one hand, Santa Muerte appeals to people seeking all manner of otherworldly help, from fending off wrongdoing and carrying out vengeance to people seeking protection for their drug shipments against law enforcement.

Devotees often use Catholic prayers and set up shrines in “her” honor.

The Catholic Church in Mexico and the U.S. denounces the skeleton “saint,” and warns that worship is spiritually dangerous. In February, Wester, El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz and San Angelo Bishop Michael Sis in Texas joined their counterparts in Mexico in urging Catholics to avoid honoring the folk saint and called her “antithetical” to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Law enforcement officials in Austin, Texas told KVUE the religion has become prominent among drug traffickers and violent criminals.

“We’re seeing more and more criminals that are praying to Santa Muerte,” Robert Almonte, a former narcotics detective, told the television station.

Almonte, who now gives seminars across the country educating law enforcement on the signs of the folk religion, said officers are now “encountering elaborate Santa Muerte shrines” when entering homes on drug search warrants.

Austin police told KVUE they haven’t seen any ritualistic killings in the area, but in two separate incidents the names of a judge and probation officer were found written on a piece of paper.

“Their hope is to actually have the officer or detective or what not – something bad happen to them and they might be able to go free from their cases,”  an undercover officer told KVUE.

A 2008 kidnapping by Gulf Cartel members of rival members in the Sinaloa Cartel featured executions in public Santa Muerte shrines, according to a 2014 FBI law enforcement bulletin.

And a massacre earlier this month of more than two dozen prisoners in a Mexican prison may be tied to a ritual of Santa Muerte, the Catholic News Agency reported.

The killings of 28 prisoners at the Las Cruces jail in Acapulco included executions “in the middle of a ritual to Santa Muerte” led by drug traffickers, according to documents obtained by the Mexican newspaper Reforma.

State authorities refused to comment on the ritual aspect of the massacre, but Roberto Alvarez Heredia, security spokesman for Guerrero state, said in the statement the killings began because of “constant dispute between rival groups inside the prison.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more from KVUE.



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Star on killing women in DUI


Amy Locane’s life was forever changed on the night of June 27, 2010.

The 45-year-old actress, known for starring in the 1990 musical comedy “Cry-Baby” opposite Johnny Depp, as well as playing Sandy Louise Harling on the hit 1992 series “Melrose Place,” was drunk when her SUV plowed into a car that killed 60-year-old Helene Seeman at the scene. The passenger’s husband Fred Seeman suffered from broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Locane had a blood alcohol level that was more than three times the legal limit. And police testified she was found in a ditch and reportedly giggling after the collision.

“I don’t even recall how many I had,” Locane admitted to Entertainment Weekly.

In 2012, Locane was found guilty of second-degree vehicular homicide and assault by an auto. She was immediately remanded to jail.

“The worst night of my life was when I had to tell the kids that their mother wasn’t coming home,” recalled her ex-husband Mark Bovenizer. He called it quits with Locane in 2015.

However, the controversy wasn’t over. Judge Robert B. Reed sentenced Locane to three years in prison, making her eligible for parole after two and a half years. He cited Locane’s two young children, with one of them diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, as the reason for his leniency. The news outraged Seeman.

“I went into county jail right after I was found guilty,” said Locane. “Most people get bailed out and go home and be with their family, but I decided the sooner I got in, the sooner I would get out.”

She was released from prison on June 12, 2015. The case is currently being appealed a second time in the Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court.

“While it has been a long ordeal for the Seeman family, they remain resolute in seeing Ms. Locane and any other responsible parties brought to justice,” said Raymond Silverman, the lead trial attorney in the civil suit.

In the meantime, Locane is adjusting to her new life without cameras. She sees her daughters every week, attends AA meetings, and makes occasional appearances at schools arranged by the organization Steered Straight. Despite her efforts, Locane is not expecting anyone to feel sorry for her.

“I’m not minimizing what I did,” she said. “That’s why I talk to high schoolers. It’s not as simple as don’t drink and drive.”



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Burned by a fruit?


Here’s one more reason why you should prep for your outdoor party in advance: Handling certain citrus fruits outside in the sun—say, if you’re squeezing limes for margaritas or lemons on your grilled fish—can put you at risk of serious burns.

That’s what Adam Levy, a 52-year-old from Minnesota, learned firsthand after he was preparing for his daughter’s graduation party by squeezing limes. Hours later, his hand broke out in a two-inch blister and swelled to four times its normal size, and he began to feel dizzy and nauseous, he told the Daily Mail.

Two days later, he went to the hospital. That was when he finally made the connection between his second-degree burns and his lime prep.

FAMILY RACING TO RAISE FUNDS FOR DAUGHTER FACING INCURABLE GENETIC DISEASE

“The blistering was exactly where the lime juice droplets would have touched my skin while I was squeezing them out,” he told the Daily Mail.

Turns out, limes were the culprit—and it’s not as crazy as it may sound. Credit a condition called phytophotodermatitis, which is a fancy name for a rash or burn caused by a chemical in citrus fruits called furanocoumarin. It makes you more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays, says dermatologist Delphine Lee, M.D., Ph.D., director of translational immunology at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

That’s because the acids in citrus can exfoliate the outer layer of your skin, which thins it out, explains Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.  So if you go outside in the sun afterwards, you can be more susceptible to getting burned. The ingredients in citrus fruits like limes can also react with the sun to cause a severe inflammatory reaction, sometimes called a margarita burn,  he says. (In fact, it’s just one of the surprising things that can make your sunburn even worse.)

TEXAS COMPANY ISSUES RECALL AFTER VIAGRA-LIKE INGREDIENT DISCOVERED IN ITS COFFEE

As with other sunburns, you likely won’t notice it right away—but a few hours later, you may start to experience the redness, irritation, and blistering. And as with Levy, the rash will likely show up mimicking the lime or lemon juice running down your arm.

In less severe cases, your doctor may just prescribe an anti-inflammatory ointment to reduce discomfort. But in Levy’s case, he was put on an IV drip of steroids and antihistamines, and even had his blister lanced.

As the burns heal, you might be left with painless brown spots called hyperpigmentation, which can last for weeks or months, says Dr. Lee.

More on this…

To prevent these citrus burns from happening in the first place, prepare anything that involves lime or lemon juice inside—or, at least, in the shade. And wear rubber gloves for extra protection. 

Then, be sure to wash your hands well after handling the fruit, Dr. Lee advises. 

Additional reporting by Alisa Hrustic and Marygrace Taylor

This article first appeared on Men’s Health. 



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Oklahoma third-grade teacher resorts to panhandling to afford school supplies


A public school teacher has turned to panhandling at an Oklahoma interstate off-ramp to raise money to buy classroom supplies for her third-grade students.

Teresa Danks, a teacher in the Tulsa Public Schools system, stood at the busy Interstate-44 intersection Tuesday begging for spare change with a scrawled sign that said, “Teacher Needs School Supplies! Anything Helps.”

“All I want to do is give those kids the best,” Danks told Fox 23 Tulsa.

State education budget cuts have forced Danks to pay for supplies with her own money, the station reported. Her teacher salary is $35,000.

“I easily pay $2,000, $3,000 out of pocket every year to make it happen for my kids,” Danks told the station.

She added, “It all adds up week after week and month after month. So it’s a huge need.”

It didn’t take long for her to raise $80.

Danks choked up as she told the station she was overwhelmed by the response.

“I find I’m getting emotional talking about it,” she said.

She told the station she hopes other teachers join her effort to focus attention on the budget crisis in the Oklahoma state capitol.



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90 hospitalized during Chance the Rapper show


Police in Connecticut say more than 90 people were hospitalized during a concert featuring Chance the Rapper.

Authorities say many were taken to hospitals for excessive drinking.

Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said Saturday that officers made 50 underage drinking referrals Friday at Hot 93.7’s Hot Jam concert at Xfinity Theatre. Most of those charged were issued a summons to appear in court. Several other arrests were made throughout the evening.

Police say the crowd was apparently made up of people in their late teens and early 20s. He says tailgating, partying and excessive alcohol consumption was “extremely prevalent.”

Foley says a large number of people hospitalized were underage attendees experiencing “severe intoxication.”

Other artists performing at the concert were Kyle, PnB Rock and ANoyd.



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