(UA-59908317-1)

Lincoln Memorial Vandalized With Spray Paint

Vandals used red spray to write an expletive on the historic monument.

Lincoln Memorial Vandalized With Spray Paint

The Lincoln Memorial was vandalized early Tuesday, according to the National Park Service. (EMILIE SOMMER/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

The Lincoln Memorial was vandalized with red spray paint early Tuesday morning, and preservation crews are working to restore the historic monument, officials said.

Graffiti was found at about 4:30 a.m. on a column at the memorial, the National Park Service said in a statement. The writing was difficult to read, but “[expletive] law” appeared to have been scrawled across the pillar’s stone, according to the statement.


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The Lincoln Memorial was vandalized with red spray paint. (THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE)


Additional graffiti was discovered in silver spray paint on a Smithsonian wayfinding sign in the 1400 block of Constitution Avenue, but officials said they couldn’t read what was written.

Members of the National Mall and Memorial Parks monument preservation crew had begun to remove the graffiti by Tuesday afternoon using “a mild, gel-type architectural paint stripper that is safe for use on historic stone,” according to the Park Service. The paint stripper is applied to the stone, left to set for about an hour and then rinsed clean with water.

Crew members are expected to apply treatments as necessary until the graffiti is entirely removed.

 The Park Service is not unfamiliar with cleaning graffiti from vandalized memorials on the National Mall. In February, the Washington Monument and the World War II, Lincoln and D.C. War memorials were vandalized with unexplained messages written in black marker, like “Jackie shot JFK,” in apparent reference to President John F. Kennedy’s death.

Crews also turned off an drained the water from a Dupont Circle fountain to remove graffiti and conserve the fountain, according to a Monday tweet from the Park Service.

Authorities continue to investigate the Lincoln Memorial vandalism, and anyone with additional information is asked to call U.S. Park Police at 202-610-7515.

 
Graffiti spray painted on Lincoln Memorial
WTTG – Washington, DC

Megan Trimble ASSOCIATE EDITOR, SOCIAL MEDIA

Megan Trimble is an associate editor of social media for the News division at U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn or send her an email at mtrimble@usnews.com.

Texas A&M Cancels White Nationalist Rally

Texas A&M Cancels White Nationalist Rally

The rally, which headlined alt-right speaker Richard Spencer, was to take place on Sept.11.

By Lauren Camera, Education Reporter Aug. 15, 2017, at 8:06 a.m.

White nationalist Richard Spencer speaking to select media in his office space.

Texas A&M University canceled a white nationalist rally scheduled to take place on campus Sept. 11, citing safety concerns in the wake of the rally organized by alt-right groups in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one dead.

“Linking the tragedy of Charlottesville with the Texas A&M event creates a major security risk on our campus,” the school said in a statement.

The event at Texas A&M, titled “White Lives Matter,” was organized by Preston Wiginton, described by the Texas Tribune as a “Texan with deep ties to white nationalist movements,” who says he was inspired by the events in Charlottesville.

“Today Charlottesville, Tomorrow Texas A&M,” read the announcement for the event, which headlined Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and one of the founders of the alt-right movement, who previously spoke on campus in December at an event also organized by Wiginton.

The statement released by Texas A&M cites a new school policy adopted after Spencer’s visit, which sparked outrage and protests. The new rules require outside speakers to be sponsored by a university-sanctioned group to reserve campus facilities.

“None of the 1,200-plus campus organizations invited Preston Wiginton nor did they agree to sponsor his events in December 2016 or on September 11 of this year,” the school said.

Violent campus protests largely against conservative speakers highlight the recent struggle colleges and universities are having walking a line between preserving free speech and acting as a space that showcases a variety of ideas, while at the same time protecting students – particularly those in demographic groups who may feel marginalized or threatened by the ideas espoused by a group or speaker.

“Texas A&M’s support of the First Amendment and the freedom of speech cannot be questioned,” the school’s statement read. “However, in this case, circumstances and information relating to the event have changed and the risks of threat to life and safety compel us to cancel the event.”


Photos: White Nationalist Rally Turns Violent


PHOTO GALLERY
CHARLOTTESVILLE, USA - AUGUST 11: Neo Nazis, Alt-Right, and White Supremacists march through the University of Virginia Campus with torches in Charlottesville, Va., USA on August 11, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, USA - AUGUST 11: Neo Nazis, Alt-Right, and White Supremacists encircle and chant at counter protestors at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson after marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches in Charlottesville, Va., USA on August 11, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A counter demonstrator uses a lighted spray can against a white nationalist demonstrator at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.   Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Former Louisiana State Representative David Duke arrives to give remarks after a white nationalist protest was declared an unlawful assembly, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va. The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. (Shaban Athuman /Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
A white nationalist demonstrator walks into Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.  Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday after violence erupted at a white nationalist rally in Virginia. At least one person was arrested.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
State Police in riot gear guard Lee Park after a white nationalist demonstration was declared illegal and the park was cleared in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.  Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday after violence erupted at the white nationalist rally. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12:  White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with police as they are forced out of Lee Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-facist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them.   /The Daily Progress via AP)
People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12:  Rescue workers move victims on stretchers after car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The car plowed through the crowed following the shutdown of the "Unite the Right" rally by police after white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" and counter-protesters clashed near Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12:  A Virginia State Police officer in riot gear keeps watch from the top of an armored vehicle after car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The car plowed through the crowed following the shutdown of the "Unite the Right" rally by police after white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" and counter-protesters clashed near Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12:  A man makes a slashing motion across his throat twoard counter-protesters as he marches with other white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
White nationalist demonstrators clash with a counter demonstrator  as he throws a newspaper box at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12:  Rescue workers and medics tend to many people who were injured when a car plowed through a crowd of anti-facist counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The car plowed through the crowed following the shutdown of the "Unite the Right" rally by police after white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" and counter-protesters clashed near Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, USA - August 12: A counter protestor strikes a White Nationalist with a baton during clashes at Emancipation Park where the White Nationalists are protesting the removal of the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville, Va., USA on August 12, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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Aug. 11, 2017 | Charlottesville, Virginia | The night before the “Unite the Right” rally, a demonstration against the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, scores of white nationalists march with lit torches through the University of Virginia campus. (SAMUEL CORUM/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES)


Students turns their backs on DeVos at graduation
Reuters

Lauren Camera EDUCATION REPORTER

Lauren Camera is an education reporter at U.S. News & World Report. She’s covered education policy and politics for nearly a decade and has written for Education Week, The Hechinger Report, Congressional Quarterly, Roll Call, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. She was a 2013 Spencer Education Fellow at Columbia University’s School of Journalism, where she conducted a reporting project about the impact of the Obama administration’s competitive education grant, Race to the Top.


Arctic Voyage Shows Global Warming Impact

Arctic Voyage Shows Global Warming Impact

Arctic voyage finds global warming impact on historic Northwest Passage’s sea ice, wildlife, native communities.

Aug. 14, 2017, at 6:16 a.m.

Researcher Tiina Jaaskelainen points out a possible sighting of wildlife aboard the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as it traverses the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Saturday, July 22, 2017. As the icebreaker entered Victoria Strait, deep inside the Northwest Passage, those onboard looked for a shadow moving in the distance or a flash of pale yellow in the expanse of white that would signal the presence of the world's largest land predator.

Researcher Tiina Jaaskelainen points out a possible sighting of wildlife aboard the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as it traverses the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

VICTORIA STRAIT, Nunavut (AP) — The email arrived in mid-June, seeking to explode any notion that global warming might turn our Arctic expedition into a summer cruise.

“The most important piece of clothing to pack is good, sturdy and warm boots. There is going to be snow and ice on the deck of the icebreaker,” it read. “Quality boots are key.”

The Associated Press was joining international researchers on a month-long, 10,000 kilometer (6,200-mile) journey to document the impact of climate change on the forbidding ice and frigid waters of the Far North. But once the ship entered the fabled Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific, there would be nowhere to stop for supplies, no port to shelter in and no help for hundreds of miles if things went wrong. A change in the weather might cause the mercury to drop suddenly or push the polar pack into the Canadian Archipelago, creating a sea of rock-hard ice.

So as we packed our bags, in went the heavy jackets, insulated trousers, hats, mittens, woolen sweaters and the heavy, fur-lined boots.

Global warming or not, it was best to come prepared.

___

Learn more about the Arctic and read dispatches sent by a team of AP journalists as they traveled through the region’s fabled Northwest Passage last month, click here.

___

If parts of the planet are becoming like a furnace because of global warming, then the Arctic is best described as the world’s air-conditioning unit. The frozen north plays a crucial role in cooling the rest of the planet while reflecting some of the sun’s heat back into space.

Yet for several decades, satellite pictures have shown a dramatic decline in Arctic sea ice that is already affecting the lives of humans and animals in the region, from Inuit communities to polar bears. Experts predict that the impact of melting sea ice will be felt across the northern hemisphere, altering ocean currents and causing freak weather as far south as Florida or France.

“Things are changing in the Arctic, and that is changing things everywhere else,” said David ‘Duke’ Snider, the seasoned mariner responsible for navigating the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica through the Northwest Passage last month.

Researchers on the trip sought a first-hand view of the effects of global warming already seen from space. Even the dates of the journey were a clue: The ship departed Vancouver in early July and arrived in Nuuk, Greenland on July 29th, the earliest transit ever of a region that isn’t usually navigable until later in the year.

As it made its way through the North Pacific — passing Chinese cargo ships, Alaskan fishing boats and the occasional far-off whale — members of the expedition soaked up the sun in anticipation of freezing weeks to come.

Twelve days after the ship had left Vancouver, the ice appeared out of nowhere.

At first, lone floes bobbed on the waves like mangled lumps of Styrofoam. By the time Nordica reached Point Barrow, on Alaska’s northernmost tip, the sea was swarming with ice.

Snider recalled that when he started guiding ships through Arctic waters more than 30 years ago, the ice pack in mid-July would have stretched 50 miles farther southwest. Back then, a ship also would have encountered much thicker, blueish ice that had survived several summer melts, becoming hard as concrete in the process, he said.

He likened this year’s ice to a sea of porridge with a few hard chunks — no match for the nimble 13,000-ton Nordica.

Since the first orbital images were taken in 1979, Arctic sea ice coverage during the summer has dropped by an average of about 34,000 square miles each year — almost the surface area of Maine or the country of Serbia. More recent data show that not only is its surface area shrinking, but the ice that’s left is getting thinner too. Snider said he has seen the ice cover reduced in both concentration and thickness.

The melting ice is one reason why modern ships have an easier time going through the Northwest Passage, 111 years after Norwegian adventurer Roald Amundsen achieved the first transit. Early explorers found themselves blinded by harsh sunlight reflecting off a desert of white, confused by mirages that give the illusion of giant ice cliffs all around, and thrown off course by the proximity of the North Pole distorting their compass readings.


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Modern mariners can get daily satellite snapshots of the ice and precise GPS locations that help them dodge dangerous shallows. But technology can be fickle. After two weeks at sea the ship’s fragile Internet connection went down for six days: no emails, no Google, no new satellite pictures to preview the route ahead.

The outdoor thermometer indicated a temperature of 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8.3 Celsius), but in the never-setting sun of an Arctic summer it felt more like 60 F. Days blurred into nights. Distant smoke from Cape Bathurst signaled slow-burning shale fires, while giant white golf balls indicated the remains of Cold War radar stations.

At one point a row of shacks appeared on a hill. As the ship passed by Cambridge Bay — home to Canada’s High Arctic Research Station— a brief cellphone signal flickered to life, allowing one homesick sailor to make a tearful call to his family.

The Finnish crew, meanwhile, took solace in the creature comforts of home, such as the on-board sauna and reindeer roast on Saturdays.

Even in their bunks, those on board heard the constant churning of ice as the ship plowed through the debris rolling beneath the hull, thundering like hail on a tin roof.

___

As the icebreaker entered Victoria Strait, deep inside the Northwest Passage, we looked for a shadow moving in the distance or a flash of pale yellow in the expanse of white that would signal the presence of the world’s largest land predator.

At last, a cry went out: “Nanuq, nanuq!”

Maatiusi Manning, an Inuit sailor, had spotted what everyone on board was hoping to see — the first polar bear.

The 1,000-pound predators are at the top of a food chain that’s being pummeled by global warming because of the immediate impact vanishing sea ice has on a range of animals and plants that depend on it.

“If we continue losing ice, we’re going to lose species with it,” said Paula von Weller, a field biologist who was on the trip.

No Arctic creatures have become more associated with climate change than polar bears. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated in January that about 26,000 specimens remain in the wild. Population counts of polar bears are notoriously difficult, and researchers are unsure how much their numbers have changed in recent years. But the Fish and Wildlife Service warned that melting sea ice is robbing the bear of its natural hunting ground for seals and other prey.

While some polar bears are expected to follow the retreating ice northward, others will head south, where they will come into greater contact with humans — encounters that are unlikely to end well for the bears.

Still, being the poster child of Arctic wildlife may help the polar bear. Sightings are a highlight for adventure tourists who are flocking to Arctic cruises in increasing numbers.

Last year, the hottest on record in the Arctic, the Crystal Serenity took 1,100 high-paying guests on a cruise of the Northwest Passage, prompting environmentalists to warn of an Arctic tourism rush that could disrupt wildlife habitat. Crystal Cruises says it works closely with local guides, marine biologists and conservationists to ensure wildlife isn’t harmed.

Von Weller said there are benefits to people seeing the region and its animals themselves.

“People are so far removed from the Arctic that they don’t understand it, they don’t know it and they don’t love it,” she said. “I think it’s important for people to see what’s here and to fall in love with it and have a bond and want to protect it.”

That love may need to extend further down the food chain if the fragile ecosystem in the Arctic continues to fall apart. Some of the animals highly associated with the ice are not going to be able to adapt in a reasonable amount of time to keep up with climate change, Weller said.

“The walrus, for example, may spend more time on the mainland. They’re very prone to disturbance so that’s not a good place for walrus to be,” said von Weller.

Research published four years ago rang alarms bells about the future of the red king crab — a big earner for Alaska’s fishing industry — because rising levels of carbon dioxide, a driver of global warming, are making oceans more acidic. Scientists found that juvenile crabs exposed to levels of acidification predicted for the future grew more slowly and were more likely to die.

Algae that cling to the underside of sea ice are also losing their habitat. If they vanish, the impact will be felt all the way up the food chain. Copepods, a type of zooplankton that eats algae, will lose their source of food. The tiny crustaceans in turn are prey for fish, whales and birds.

Meanwhile, new rivals from the south are already arriving in the Arctic as waters warm. Orca have been observed traveling further north in search of food in recent years, and some wildlife experts predict they will become the main seal predator in the coming decades, replacing polar bears.

Humans are also increasingly venturing into the Arctic in search of untapped deposits of minerals and fossil fuels — posing a threat to animals. The potential for oil spills from platforms and tankers operating in remote locations has been a major cause for concern among environmentalists since the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off Alaska killed a quarter of a million seabirds, as well as hundreds of seals and sea otters. Simply getting the necessary emergency response ships to an Arctic spill would be a challenge, while cleaning oil off sea ice would likely take months.

Last month, Canada’s supreme court ruled in favor of the Clyde River community of Baffin Island, which is fighting the proposed seismic blasts used by oil companies to map the sea floor. The Inuit fear that the loud underwater noise caused by the blasts could disorient marine mammals such as whales that depend on sound to communicate, and affect the reproductive cycles of fish and shrimp stocks.

The Inuit and other local peoples are already feeling the impact of global warming because they rely on frozen waterways to reach hunting grounds or relatives on other islands. But some say it will not be all bad: Cruise ships offer potential revenue to those Inuit communities willing to engage with tourists.

The absence of sea ice for longer periods each summer, meanwhile, will allow boats to supply villages and mines for longer periods of the year. Where it used to be a hard and fast rule that ships had to be out of the Northwest Passage by Sept. 28, the operating season now stretches beyond October.

Tiina Jaaskelainen, a researcher at the Hanken School of Economics in Finland who was on board the icebreaker, said responding to these changes will require a better understanding of the social impact rather than just the science of climate change.

“Inuit communities need to be involved in planning each use of the passage and the Arctic in general,” she said. “It’s important they can play an active role in the region’s economic development, while good governance may enable local communities to also maintain their traditions.”

___

Upon entering the Atlantic, the FM radios aboard Nordica began picking up local stations again, including one that played David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust.’ Nordica reached Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, after 24 days.

“The fact that we were able to plan and execute this transit so efficiently says something about the changes in the ice,” said Scott Joblin, an expert on maritime and polar law from Australian National University in Canberra who studies the legal implications of climate change in the Arctic.

Scientists believe there is no way to reverse the decline in Arctic sea ice in the foreseeable future. Even in the best-case scenario envisaged by the 2015 Paris climate accord, sea ice will largely vanish from the Arctic during the summer within the coming decades.

In the end, the route that foiled countless explorers claimed little more than a camera and a drone.

But we did get a taste of the warming Arctic: Those heavy fur-lined boots never got used.

___

White House commission wants opioid epidemic declared national emergency – here’s what that could mean

White House commission wants opioid epidemic declared national emergency – here’s what that could mean

A White House commission tasked with finding ways to combat and treat the country’s growing opioid addiction strongly recommended earlier this monththat President Donald Trump declare a national emergency to battle the issue.

But when addressing the nationwide epidemic Tuesday, Trump stopped short of doing that.

“The first and most urgent recommendation of this Commission is direct and completely within your control,” the commission said in its report. “Declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price also told reporters Tuesday that while President Donald Trump “certainly believes that we will treat it as an emergency,” it doesn’t need to officially be declared.

The opioid crisis “can be addressed without that declaration of a national emergency,” Price said.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that 91 Americans die daily from opioid-involved deaths – and a recent study by Dr. Christopher Ruhm suggests that opioid-related deaths are severely underreported.

Usually, it would be up to Price in his role as HHS secretary to declare a national public health emergency. But Trump could declare a federal emergency because of provisions set with the Stafford Act.

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Should the administration eventually decide to follow through with the commission’s request to declare a national emergency, here’s what it could mean.

Access to greater funding  

The commission predicted that an emergency declaration would persuade lawmakers to allocate more funding to combat opioid addiction.

“People are talking about this more and more, but if the president were to declare this a national emergency, it creates recognition around the country and awareness around the country that this epidemic needs right now.”

“Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life,” the commission said in its report.

But a federal declaration would also allow the government to dip into certain funds, possibly including those appropriated to the Public Health Emergency Fund.

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Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Shatterproof, argued that more funding is needed in order to properly combat the opioid epidemic.

“It gives the president and Congress expedited ways to fund what needs to be funded to save the lives of so many every day and mobilizes the Cabinet to attack this issue,” Mendell told Fox News.

Keith Humphreys, an addiction specialist at Stanford University, told the Washington Post that a federal declaration would open up monetary resources to states from the federal Disaster Relief Fund, “just like they could if they had a tornado or hurricane.”

Create more attention about the issue

Officially declaring an emergency would bring more attention to the health crisis, the commission said.

“It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will,” the commission said. “You, Mr. President, are the only person who can bring this type of intensity to the emergency, and we believe you have the will to do so and to do so immediately.”

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Mendell agreed, saying that the crisis needs more “attention and awareness.”

“People are talking about this more and more, but if the president were to declare this a national emergency, it creates recognition around the country and awareness around the country that this epidemic needs right now,” he said.

Combat stigma associated with addiction

When asked why an emergency hasn’t already been declared, Mendell blamed the stigma associated with addiction and mental illness.

But a federal declaration of emergency could help change that negative stigma, Mendell said.

 

Trump Continues Twitter Attacks While on Vacation

Trump Continues Twitter Attacks While on Vacation

The president was apparently angered over a report that Republicans were getting ready for a 2020 election without him.

President Donald Trump walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, in Washington.

While on vacation Monday, President Donald Trump criticized several of his favorite Twitter targets.(ALEX BRANDON/AP)

President Donald Trump took time away from his vacation Monday morning to slam several of his favorite Twitter targets – particularly The New York Times – and to brag to his base about his political accomplishments despite the widening Russia investigation and his sinking poll numbers.

“The failing @nytimes, which has made every wrong prediction about me including my big election win (apologized), is totally inept!” he wrote, on the morning of his first full week of a 17-day stay at his Bedminster, New Jersey, property.

“The Trump base is far bigger & stronger than ever before (despite some phony Fake News polling). Look at rallies in Penn, Iowa, Ohio and West Virginia,” he continued in a string of tweets. “The fact is the Fake News Russian collusion story, record Stock Market, border security, military strength, jobs Supreme Court pick, economic enthusiasm, deregulation & so much more have driven the Trump base even closer together.”

“Will never change!” he said. “Hard to believe that with 24/7 #Fake News on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, NYTIMES & WAPO, the Trump base is getting stronger!”

The president seemed to have been reacting to an article published the New York Times on Sunday that said several Republicans were beginning to position themselves to run for the White House in 2020, and predicted that Trump would be either severely politically damaged or out of office. Vice President Mike Pence in a statement vehemently denied he has ambitions to take the top job in the next election, calling the report “categorically false.

Trump also sought to further deflect criticism over the length of his stay in New Jersey and over his repeated trips to his properties since taking office.

“Working hard from New Jersey while White House goes through long planned renovation,” he tweeted. “Going to New York next week for more meetings.”

While presidents have traditionally taken several weeks away from Washington in August – and the job inevitably goes with them – Trump has been particularly sensitive to criticism over his trips. So far, he has taken nearly twice as many days away from the White House as President Barack Obama had at the same point in his first year, despite vowing as a candidate not to take time off and repeatedly chiding Obama for vacationing on the taxpayer’s dime.

Since traveling to Bedminster late last week, he has been photographed golfing and crashed a wedding taking place at the club.

And on Monday morning, the president was apparently tuned to CNN. Some 15 minutes after Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., appeared on air to criticize Trump for “weaponizing” the Justice Department over leaks, Trump revived an attack line on Blumenthal’s military service.


Blumenthal said on CNN’s “New Day” that he thought it was “a disservice to the law” and “politicizing” the department for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to crack down on leaks, particularly the plan to review how the department issues subpoenas to news organizations that receive and report on leaked information.

In response, Trump went after Blumenthal for misrepresenting his service during the Vietnam War.

“Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist!” Trump wrote.

“Never in U.S.history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal. He told stories about his Vietnam battles and conquests, how brave he was, and it was all a lie,” he continued. “He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child. Now he judges collusion?”

 Blumenthal did not serve overseas during the Vietnam War; he received five deferments – the same number as Trump. But Blumenthal was a member of the Marine Reserves during the war, stationed stateside.

In at least two occasions in 2003 and 2008, Blumenthal described his service in a way that implied he had been shipped out, later apologizing for having “misspoken” about his record.

Trump calls for investigation into Richard Blumenthal for lying about Vietnam service

Washington Examiner

College professor wears combat gear to protest Texas’ campus carry law

College professor wears combat gear to protest Texas’ campus carry law

A Texas professor is making waves on social media after protesting the state’s campus carry law by wearing protective combat gear to class.

San Antonio College geography instructor Charles K. Smith went to his class last week sporting a camouflaged bulletproof vest and helmet. He said he wore it because he doesn’t feel safe.

“It definitely makes me feel uneasy that there are more firearms on campus than there should be,” Smith told mySA.com. “[Dressing this way] was just a statement on how I felt.”

Campus Carry, which was signed into state law in 2015 and officially implemented into Texas community colleges on Aug. 1, allows individuals with a conceal license to carry a handgun on college premises. The law went into effect at 4-year institutions in 2016.

A photo of Smith wearing the combat gear was shared on Facebook, which generated a flurry of comments in favor of and against the professor.

“I realize students were carrying guns on campus illegally, but now it’s legal to do so. It increases the chances of something happening,” said Smith, who also acknowledged that no one had pulled a gun on him in his 10 years at the college.

“Used to, when they got mad at me, they had to go home to get the gun and had time to cool off. Now they will have it with them,” he added.

Smith said he’s concerned about an argument breaking out and one of the participants having a gun.

“My assumption is that you will have more people carrying guns – that will lead to problems. It always has,” he said. “There is nothing on this planet worth a human life.”

James “Hot Mustard” Velten, who posted the photo on Facebook, told Fox News on Tuesday that response on campus has been mostly positive.

“Many professors admire his statement about campus carry,” he said. “Many professors don’t feel safe because of the law.”

Velten also told mySA.com that Smith was a passionate professor.

“Around people like that, you tend to listen a bit more,” he said.

Smith said his protest has nothing to do with San Antonio College, as they are following the law. He said he ran his plans by local police and the administration beforehand.

“Some of them were okay and some of them weren’t, but it’s freedom of speech,” he said.

3 tornadoes struck Oklahoma, National Weather Service says

TORNADO

3 tornadoes struck Oklahoma, National Weather Service says

The National Weather Service says three tornadoes struck northeast Oklahoma, including an EF2 twister that caused heavy damage and injured at least 30 people near midtown Tulsa.

Meteorologist Bart Haake said Monday that the Tulsa tornado touched down at 1:19 a.m. Sunday. Eight minutes later an EF1 tornado struck the southeast Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow and an EF1 tornado then touched down five minutes after that near Oologah, about 20 miles  northeast of Tulsa.

No injuries are reported from the last two twisters.

Haake said the Tulsa tornado had wind speeds of 120-130 mph while the others had winds of 90-100 mph.

St. Francis Hospital spokeswoman Lauren Landwerlin says about 30 people were treated at the hospital, in “non-critical” condition.

 

Half the candidates in Detroit mayoral election are felons, analysis shows

Half the candidates in Detroit mayoral election are felons, analysis shows

Half the candidates in next week’s Detroit mayoral primary have been convicted of felony crimes, according to a local analysis.

The Detroit News found three of the eight mayoral hopefuls have faced gun charges — two for assault with intent to commit murder — and a fourth candidate pleaded guilty to a non-gun charge years ago. While some of these cases date back to the 1970s, some are more recent.

Under Michigan state election law, convicted felons can vote and run for office, so long as they are not incarcerated or guilty of crimes breaching public trust. The nonpartisan primary will narrow the field down to two candidates who will face off in November.

The candidates are apparently open about their histories. Greg Bowens, a political consultant and former press secretary to former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, told The Detroit News that the rap sheets aren’t unique to this election or Detroit.

“[The candidates] deserve the opportunity to be heard, but they also deserve to have the kind of scrutiny that comes along with trying to get an important person elected,” he said.

Three of the candidates told The Detroit News their criminal histories have served as motivation in running for office.

Donna Marie Pitts, 58, has multiple felony convictions, beginning in 1977, according to court records reviewed by the newspaper.

“I don’t hide it. God has brought me out,” Pitts told the paper. “I hope [voters] don’t look at it as negative but as my experience, and I can help. I want to fight for them.”

Other candidates with past charges include Danetta Simpson, who was convicted in 1996 for assault with intent to murder; Articia Bomer, who was charged in 2008 for carrying a concealed weapon; and Curtis Christopher Greene who was charged with fourth-degree fleeing and eluding police during an attempted traffic stop, and a marijuana-related count. The felony charge reportedly came when he violated probation in 2005 and was charged over a fraudulent check, according to the report.

Detroit’s mayoral primary election is set for Aug. 8.

Boy Scouts Aren’t Aware of Trump-Praising Call

Boy Scouts Aren’t Aware of Trump-Praising Call

The president said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that Boy Scout leaders praised his speech, but on Tuesday BSA officials stood firm that the speech was political and they again apologized.

US President Donald Trump waves after speaking to Boy Scouts during the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia, July 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump was met with chants and cheers from a group of Boy Scouts during the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia.

 President Donald Trump and the head of Boy Scouts of America have a different understanding of how last week’s speech at the National Jamboree in West Virginia went.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal on July 25 that the head of the Boy Scouts called him after he spoke at the event to tell him that it was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.”

But, in an interview with TIME, the organization begged to differ. It said they were unaware of any call between Trump and officials after the Jamboree, and that the organization strives to be nonpolitical.

“The Chief Scout Executive’s message to the Scouting community speaks for itself,” the organization said, referring to a July 27 statement from Michael Surbaugh, the Chief Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America.

“I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree,” Michael Surbaugh wrote in the statement. “For years, people have called upon us to take a position on political issues, and we have steadfastly remained non-partisan and refused to comment on political matters. We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.”

Trump went a step further in his recently released interview with Wall Street Journal to say that, despite Surbaugh’s apology for his political comments, the organization “loved” his remarks.

“That was a standing ovation from the time I walked out to the time I left, and for five minutes after I had already gone,” the president said.

In his speech, Trump criticized his one-time opponent Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, boasted about his win and called out the national media for portraying him in an unflattering light.

Trump Speech to Boy Scouts Raises Ire of Parents and Former Scouts
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McCain, playing the maverick, votes ‘no’ on ‘skinny repeal’ amendment

McCain, playing the maverick, votes ‘no’ on ‘skinny repeal’ amendment

U.S. Sen. John McCain was the center of attention — and scrutiny — on Capitol Hill on Friday morning after the “skinny repeal” amendment, part of Senate Republicans’ plan to repeal ObamaCare, was defeated in a 51-49 vote.

The Arizona Republican’s “no” vote shortly after 1:30 a.m. ET sent audible gasps throughout the Senate chamber, ruining Republicans hopes of a 50-50 vote and a tiebreaker by Vice President Mike Pence.

Just days ago, McCain had voted “yes” on a procedural measure that led to Friday morning’s vote, sparking confidence among some Republicans that there was a chance McCain would back the “skinny repeal” amendment as well.

But after the amendment failed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced his frustrations: “This is clearly a disappointing moment,” McConnell said. “I regret that our efforts were simply not enough — this time.”

Following the vote, protesters were heard outside the Capitol chanting, “Thank you, John McCain!”

Prior to the vote, Senate Republicans, including McConnell and Pence, were seen trying to convince McCain to support the amendment, but the famed Senate “maverick” stuck to his “no” vote.

McCain’s office released a statement immediately following the vote.

“From the beginning, I have believed that ObamaCare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people,” he said. “The so-called ‘skinny repeal’ amendment the Senate voted on today would not accomplish those goals.”

McCain returned to Washington on Tuesday for the health care proposal, nearly a week after announcing he had been diagnosed with an extremely rare form of brain cancer and undergone surgery above his left eye.

The other two Republican senators to vote “no” were Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Tillerson Takes ‘Time Off’ Amid Reports of Frustration With Trump

Tillerson Takes ‘Time Off’ Amid Reports of Frustration With Trump

A State Department spokeswoman said the nation’s chief diplomat was not considering resigning.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives at the Capitol to join Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, in briefing House members on the situation with ISIS, July 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C. The Trump Administration cabinet members briefed members behind closed doors about the ongoing fight against the Islamic State in Syria.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives at the Capitol to join Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, in briefing House members on the situation with ISIS, July 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (MARK WILSON/GETTY IMAGES)

The spokeswoman for the State Department on Tuesday said the nation’s chief diplomat, Rex Tillerson, was “taking a little time off” amid reports that he is increasingly at odds with President Donald Trump.

“He does have the ability to go away for a few days on his own,” the department’s Heather Nauert said when asked at a press briefing about Tillerson’s whereabouts. “He’s just taking a little time off.”

CNN and other media outlets have cited people close to Tillerson’s who say the former Exxon Mobil CEO feels increasingly cast aside by the White House, particularly as it debates a new policy for Iran and fills personnel positions within the State Department. In May, the White House proposed a spending plan that would cut the State Department’s overall budget by almost a third, and the White House has blocked Tillerson picks for senior official positions over their reported criticism of Trump during the presidential campaign.

Earlier in the briefing Nauert dismissed a question about whether Tillerson was planning to resign, saying her staff had spoken with the secretary and that he had made it “very clear he intends to stay at the State Department.”

She added that the secretary serves at the pleasure of the president and noted that Tillerson has meetings scheduled through the rest of the week.

 “The secretary is committed to staying,” she said.
Nauert cited Tillerson’s “mega trip overseas” including the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, in early July, adding, “I don’t know what is standard for secretaries of state, how they actually list private days.”

A reporter present offered that the secretary’s vacation time is usually announced and that Tillerson had no public appointments or travel listed on his public schedule.

Trump announces ban on transgender individuals serving in military

Trump announces ban on transgender individuals serving in military

In a series of tweets, he wrote:

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming..victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

White House issues new Sessions warning as Trump tears into AG

White House issues new Sessions warning as Trump tears into AG

The top White House spokesperson warned Tuesday that President Trump’s frustration with Jeff Sessions is not going away, moments after the president tore into his attorney general on Twitter as “VERY weak” on Hillary Clinton’s supposed “crimes.”

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, speaking with “Fox & Friends,” also neither confirmed nor denied reports that Trump has discussed the possibility of firing Sessions and did not rule it out. She said she hasn’t been part “of any conversations discussing any potential replacements,” but made clear that Trump is “frustrated and disappointed” in the attorney general for recusing himself from the Russia meddling probe.

“That frustration certainly hasn’t gone away, and I don’t think it will,” Sanders said.

As for whether Trump wants Sessions out, she said, “That’s a decision that if the president wants to make, he certainly will.”

She also addressed rumors about former federal prosecutor and ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani being considered for the job. She said Giuliani is someone Trump “respects” but, “Right now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the attorney general.”

Earlier Tuesday morning, Trump unleashed a battery of tweets berating Sessions, first for the absence of an investigation into Clinton’s connections to Ukraine and then for the AG’s alleged stance on other Clinton controversies.

“Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign – ‘quietly working to boost Clinton.’ So where is the investigation A.G.,” he began, tweeting at Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

Moments later, he added: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!”

Sessions has been under fire since last week, when Trump leveled harsh criticisms in a New York Times interview, calling Sessions’ recusal “very unfair to the president” and adding that he never would have appointed him attorney general had he known he would do so.

Sessions, though, said he would stay put. And Sanders had told reporters last week that the president “clearly has confidence in him or he would not be attorney general.”

The Associated Press, citing three people who have recently spoken to the president, reported that Trump continues to rage against Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation — and has talked to aides about the possibility of firing him.

Those who have spoken with the president cautioned that a change may not be imminent or happen at all.

Sessions was at the White House Monday for a standing meeting he has at the White House every week. Trump was not at the meeting, which is not unusual, officials said.

Department of Justice officials told Fox News that Sessions is in “good spirits.”

Trump’s intensifying criticism has fueled speculation that Sessions may resign even if Trump opts not to fire him. During an event at the White House, Trump ignored a shouted question about whether Sessions should step down. The attorney general said last week he intended to stay in his post.

If Trump were to fire Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would be elevated to the top post on an acting basis. That would leave the president with another attorney general of whom he has been sharply critical in both public and private for his handling of the Russia probe, according to four White House and outside advisers who, like others interviewed, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

It could also raise the specter of Trump asking Rosenstein — or whomever he appoints to fill the position — to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with Trump’s campaign.

The president’s tweet about the former Alabama senator comes less than a week after Trump, in a New York Times interview, said that Sessions should never have taken the job as attorney general if he was going to recuse himself. Sessions made that decision after it was revealed that he had met with a top Russian diplomat last year.

Trump and Sessions’ conversations in recent weeks have been infrequent. Sessions had recently asked senior White House staff how he might patch up relations with the president but that effort did not go anywhere, according to a person briefed on the conversations.

Newt Gingrich, a frequent Trump adviser, said that the president, with his criticisms of Sessions, was simply venting and being “honest about his feelings. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to do anything,” Gingrich said. Still, he said the president’s comments would have repercussions when it comes to staff morale.

“Anybody who is good at team building would suggest to the president that attacking members of your team rattles the whole team,” Gingrich said.

Sessions and Trump used to be close, sharing both a friendship and an ideology. Sessions risked his reputation when he became the first U.S. senator to endorse the celebrity businessman and his early backing gave Trump legitimacy, especially among the hard-line anti-immigration forces that bolstered his candidacy. Several of Sessions’ top aides now serve in top administration posts, including Stephen Miller, the architect of several of Trump’s signature proposals, including the travel ban and tough immigration policy.

After Trump’s public rebuke last week, Sessions seemed determined to keep doing the job he said “goes beyond anything that I would have ever imagined for myself.”

“I’m totally confident that we can continue to run this office in an effective way,” Sessions said last week.

The Associated Press contrib

POLITICS

The Most Important Elections You Haven’t Heard About

The upcoming slate of governors races combines an unusually favorable map for Democrats with a strong chance to influence the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting process. That process helps determine how many seats each party holds in the House, and Republican success at controlling the process has helped the party achieve dominance in Congress.

Washington politicos and grassroots activists alike often overlook governors races, and that’s especially true in the Democratic Party, which is years behind the GOP when it comes to investing in state races.

The party is down to just 16 out of 50 governors, the fewest in recent decades. It lost nearly 1,000 state legislative seats during President Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House.

“We’ve been annihilated at the local level,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a former national party chairman, told NBC News at the National Governors Association conference here last weekend. “My problem with the party is, we raise billions of dollars in the presidential year and then go away for four years until the next one.”

Governors Races: 2017 and 2018

Republican Seats

Open seats

Incumbent seats

Republicans have a lot of ground to defend in 2017 and 2018, including some of the bluest states in the country, like New Jersey, Illinois, and New Mexico. They control 27 of the 38 governors’ mansions at stake, but will lack the benefits of incumbency in 14 of them, because of term limits that have forced out many of the GOP governors elected in the 2010 wave.

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Democratic Seats

Open seats

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Democrats have been annihilated in state capitals, leaving them with just 16 out of the 50 governorships. The silver lining of those losses means they have few tough seats to defend. They’ll be focused on preserving Virginia this year and re-electing Gov. Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania next year, but the rest of their states are more likely to feature interesting primaries than competitive general elections.

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Independent Seats

Incumbent seats

Alaska’s Bill Walker is the only independent among the nation’s governors. While he’s seen as a conservative, he could find a re-election bid complicated by a three-way race if Republicans join Democrats in running against him. If Republicans split their vote, that could even create an unlikely opening for Democrats to win ruby-red Alaska, just as Republicans won blue Maine’s governorship twice, thanks to independent spoilers.

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McAuliffe, like other Democratic governors, has been traveling the country to preach about the “existential” importance of these races to the survival of his party to any officials and donors who will listen.

“We need to get in the game and build our bench because the governors are the future of the Democratic Party,” McAuliffe said. “If we don’t have them, [Republicans] are going to roll us in redistricting, and then it doesn’t matter.”

A well-timed wave in 2010 gave Republicans control over the last round of redistricting, which they used to draw congressional districts that have helped lock out Democrats from the House, even in years when Democrats win more votes.

Democrats have vowed not to lose another decade, and Obama has asked former Attorney General Eric Holder to lead a major redistricting project ahead of the 2020 Census that centralizes the party’s beefed-up electoral, legal, and technical strategies, taking a page from the GOP’s highly effective REDMAP program.

Image: Terry McAuliffe
Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe opens a “Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge” plenary session” at the second day of the National Governors Association meeting on July 14 in Providence, R.I. Stephan Savoia / AP

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), said his party’s leaders and operatives are increasingly aware of the importance of state races.

“People have tended to take their eye off gubernatorial races,” Malloy said in an interview. “I don’t think that’s going to happen now. We’re getting participation and support from corners of the party that historically have not invested in state races… and from people whose primary contributions have been to presidential or Senate campaigns.”

The DGA enlisted the man who ran the campaign arm of House Democrats, former Rep. Steve Israel of New York, to explain to donors that no matter how much money his committee he had for House races, they were always disadvantaged by gerrymandering.

“I think the 2016 election was kind of a rude awakening for a lot of people that have focused primarily on the presidential and on Congress,” said Elisabeth Pearson, the DGA’s executive director.

And with durable gridlock in Washington, Democrats are playing catch-up with conservatives like the Koch family’s political network and the American Legislative Exchange Council in turning to the states to advance their policy agenda.

“I hope that both Washington and folks around the country are focusing on these governors races, because they’re what is even more tangibly going to be making a difference in people’s lives,” said Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

That includes issues like voting restrictions, which can impact federal elections too, he noted.

Image: Steve Bullock
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock talks with reporters in his office in the State Capitol in Helena, Mont. on July 18. Thom Bridge / AP

From Democrats’ losses over the past decade comes an opportunity over the next two years, because Republicans may be overextended. Of the 38 governorships at stake, including two races this year, Democrats have to defend just 10, mostly in safe states, while Republicans have to defend 28, including in some of the bluest states in the country like Illinois and Maryland.

And 14 Republican incumbents will be leaving office, mostly because of term limits, creating more vulnerable open seats. That’s an advantage for Democrats, because it’s hard to knock off incumbents: 53 of the last 57 have won re-election.

Democrats have a good shot at winning both of this year’s gubernatorial elections, in New Jersey and Virginia. And in 2018, they’re eyeing pickups in blue states like New Mexico and Maine, and have recruited strong candidates in tossup states like Ohio and Florida.

With nine of the 10 biggest states in the county electing governors in 2017 or 2018, the cycle is expected to be most expensive in history. Spending in Illinois alone could top a quarter of a billion dollars.

But as Hillary Clinton learned, no amount of money can make up for a lack of enthusiasm, which has often crippled Democrats in non-presidential races, when their younger and more diverse base turns out less reliably.

Officials are counting on President Donald Trump to solve that problem by motivating their rank-and-file, just as a backlash to George W. Bush in 2006 gave Democrats their only midterm wave this century.

“I think it’s going to be very straightforward to get people engaged, because they’re watching Donald Trump,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said after meeting privately with Democratic governors here.

Officials point to record-breaking turnout in Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary in June as proof that liberal voters are unusually active — but they worry openly whether that enthusiasm will sustain itself.

Persuading voters, which is crucial in down-ballot races outside blue states, will be difficult but crucial in contests where there are not enough reliable base voters alone to win. The DGA hopes new data it collected before and after the election on late-deciding voters will help.

“Large swaths of the country have been written off. And that’s no way to win elections,” said Bullock, who won re-election in Montana last year as Clinton lost the state by 20 percentage points.

And North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, who also won re-election last year in a state Clinton lost, said Democrats in the states can help show Americans that the party is about more than just opposing Trump.

“We have to have a credible alternative for people,” he said. “Because I believe that a lot of people voted for Trump not necessarily agreeing with him or believing his ideas, but simply because they wanted to shake things up in Washington.”

 

http://exoticclassifieds.com/news/national-news/14730/

Hawaii Prepares for North Korea Missile Attack

Hawaii Prepares for North Korea Missile Attack

While chances are low, the Aloha state has created an emergency plan for the public.

By Katelyn Newman , Digital Producer, Staff Writer July 21, 2017

This July 4, 2017, file photo distributed by the North Korean government shows what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM, in North Korea's northwest. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

The North Korean government released this photo July 4, 2017, showing what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea’s northwest. (KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY/KOREA NEWS SERVICE VIA AP, FILE)

Hawaii is developing an emergency plan in the unlikely event that North Korea fires a missile toward the Aloha state, according to local officials.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency announced it will release Friday its newest public information and education campaign to educate islanders on what to do on short notice if a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile heads toward the islands.



“We do not want to cause any undue stress for the public; however, we have a responsibility to plan for all hazards,” Vern Miyagi, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency administrator, said in a release reported Thursday by the Star Advertiser.

The plan, which the agency has worked on since December 2016, includes instructions for residents and tourists on what to do when they hear certain sirens, where to go and how to set up proper communications with family and friends.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have escalated in recent weeks after Kim Jong Un successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, which landed in the Sea of Japan. U.S. intelligence officials said the test proved that the isolated nation could launch a missile 4,000 miles, putting all of Alaska into the realm of possibility, but unable to reach Hawaii or the other 48 states.

Officials estimate that, if North Korea develops a longer-reaching missile. it could reach Hawaii in 20 minutes, leaving about 12 to 15 minutes to warn locals.

“We don’t know the exact capabilities or intentions of the North Korean government, but there is clear evidence that it is trying to develop ballistic missiles that could conceivably one day reach our state,” Miyagi continued.

As a result of the increasing threat, the U.S. State Department plans to ban Americans from traveling to to North Korea, sources tell the Associated Press.

 Intercontinental ballistic missiles were last on Hawaii Emergency Management’s threat list in the 1990s, removed only after the Soviet Union crumbled.

China sends troops to open first overseas military base
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Tags: North KoreaUnited StatesHawaiiAlaskamissilesnational securityU.S. intelligenceKim Jong Unmilitaryemergency planning

‘I’ve been through worse’: War-hero McCain tells Senate pal he’ll be back

SENATE

‘I’ve been through worse’: War-hero McCain tells Senate pal he’ll be back

McCain, R-Ariz., talked about the long road ahead regarding treatments, but said that he has been through wars. Graham said McCain — who is resting at his home in Arizona — sounded resolved and determined.

“The disease has never had a more worthy opponent,” Graham said.

McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years. Injuries from being tortured left the longtime Arizona senator unable to lift his arms above his head.

McCain, chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, has glioblastoma, an aggressive cancer, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, where McCain had a blood clot removed from above his left eye last Friday.

It’s the same type of tumor that struck McCain’s close Democratic colleague in legislative battles, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.

The tumor digs tentacle-like roots into normal brain tissue. Patients fare best when surgeons can cut out all the visible tumor, which happened with McCain’s tumor, according to his office. That isn’t a cure; cancerous cells that aren’t visible still tend to lurk, the reason McCain’s doctors are considering further treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation.

In a statement on Twitter, the senator’s daughter, Meghan McCain, spoke of the shock of the news and the anxiety over what happens next. “My love for my father is boundless and like any daughter I cannot and do not wish to be in a world without him. I have faith that those days remain far away,” she said.

News about the operation to remove a blood clot above his eye took many by surprise. Some theorized that McCain may have showed signs of a health issue during last month’s Senate questioning of former FBI Director James Comey. The senator appeared to struggle with his line of questioning. At one point, Comey said, “I’m a little confused, Senator.”

McCain blamed his vague questions on being tired from staying up late to watch an Arizona Diamondbacks game the night before.

A neurosurgeon downplayed the Senate hearing testimony as evidence of the condition, USA Today reported. Dr. Joseph Zabramski, a neurosurgeon, told the paper that McCain “was normal” after the hearing and does not see a connection.

As word spread of his diagnosis, presidents past and present along with McCain’s current and former Senate colleagues offered support in an outpouring rarely seen in Washington.

“Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon,” President Trump said.

A group of senators prayed together Wednesday night after learning that McCain had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, according to one of the lawmakers.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said he asked Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., who has a master’s degree in divinity, to lead the group in prayer.

“It was very emotional,” Hoeven added. The group of senators was taking part in an evening meeting to discuss health care.

Couple Found in Swiss Glacier Disappeared 75 Years Ago

Couple Found in Swiss Glacier Disappeared 75 Years Ago

Authorities have formally identified two bodies discovered in a melting Swiss glacier.

By Megan Trimble, Associate Editor, Social Media July 19, 2017, at 10:24 a.m.

The Associated Press

Shoes and clothing were found at a Swiss glacier where two bodies were discovered. (GLACIER 3000/KEYSTONE VIA AP)

Police in Switzerland say frozen remains recently found on a melting glacier belong to a Swiss couple who disappeared in the Alps nearly 75 years ago.

Authorities have officially identified the bodies found Friday on the Tsanfleuron glacier as Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin, victims of what police have said was likely an accident that occurred decades ago. The husband and wife were 40 and 37 years old, respectively, when they went missing.

The Dumoulins, parents of seven, reportedly disappeared on Aug. 15, 1942, after they had gone to feed their cattle in a meadow above Chandolin, a village in the Swiss canton of Valais.

“We spent our whole lives looking for them, without stopping,” their youngest daughter, Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, told Le Matin, a paper in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The 79-year-old’s father – a shoemaker by trade – and her mother, a teacher, had set off on foot to tend to their animals but never returned home. Now, they can be given the funeral they deserve, she said.

Frozen bodies discovered in shrinking glacier

“Mom and Dad will finally have their burial,” Udry-Dumoulin told the paper.

A worker with Glacier 3000, a cable car and ski-lift company, came across the couple at an altitude of 8,580 feet. Officials recovered the bodies and sent the remains and a number of objects – including a backpack, watch and book – for forensic analysis, according to police.

Bernhard Tschannen, director of Glacier 3000, told local media the bodies were perfectly preserved, and that he believes the couple may have fallen into a crevasse where they remained for decades, according to Reuters.

“The bodies were lying near each other. It was a man and a woman wearing clothing dating from the period of World War II,” Tschannen said.

Swiss regional police have a list of more than 200 missing people dating to 1925, according to The Associated Press. Authorities explained that bodies of long-missing people regularly surface from glaciers receding as a result of climate change.

For Udry-Dumoulin, the discovery represents closure and answers to long-held questions.

She said she plans to wear white to her parent’s funeral – a testament to the hope she never lost.

Bodies of couple missing since 1942 found in glacier
Inform News

Foreign-born recruits, promised citizenship by the Pentagon, flee the country to avoid deportation

Foreign-born recruits, promised citizenship by the Pentagon, flee the country to avoid deportation

 July 17 at 6:30 AM

Frustrated by delayed promises from the U.S. military for citizenship, and in fear of the Islamic State if he were deported back to Iraq, Ranj Rafeeq has given up the American Dream for a Canadian one.

Rafeeq was eager as a teenager to translate for U.S. troops stationed in his home town of Kirkuk in 2005. He immigrated to Portland, Ore., to study seven years later, hoping to don an Army uniform after earning his graduate degree in civil engineering.

He signed an enlistment contract in January 2016, with a training date set in September.

“I loved American soldiers. It was my dream to be a part of them,” Rafeeq, now 29, told The Washington Post.

But Rafeeq’s plans to serve imploded as the Pentagon’s program, designed to leverage medical and language skills of immigrants in exchange for fast-tracked citizenship, was log-jammed with additional security measures for recruits last fall, stressing an already overburdened screening process.

The program was put on hold in September 2016 — just as he was scheduled to report for training — sparking fear in Rafeeq and across the recruit population that their path to citizenship would abruptly end.

Then he received a letter from Kurdish officials warning of sweeps targeting Kurds for deportation and watched as news reports of the program’s struggles mounted.

Rafeeq’s student visa was set to expire on Aug. 1. He faced a decision: wait for the Pentagon’s bureaucracy to untangle itself as the Trump administration seeks to expand deportation powers, or flee.

He chose to flee. On June 11, Rafeeq went to Vancouver to apply for asylum in Canada. His biggest fear with deportation is the chance that Islamic State militants would prize his capture if they uncovered his attempt to enlist.

“I can’t go back to Kirkuk,” he said. “They would kill me.”

Pentagon proposals spark fear

On June 26, The Post first reported on the Defense Department’s internal recommendations to shutter the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program, which has naturalized 10,400 troops since 2009, and to cancel the contracts of 1,800 of recruits like Rafeeq who are waiting to train.

About 1,000 of those recruits have waited so long that they have fallen out of legal immigration status. An internal Defense Department memo obtained by The Post acknowledges that canceling these contracts would expose the recruits to deportation. In response, lawmakers urged Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to honor the contracts of those recruits.

The recruits, who have already sworn allegiance to the United States in their oaths of enlistment, could potentially face harsh interrogations or jail time if they are deported to countries such as China or Russia, said Tom Malinowski, former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor in the Obama administration.

“These are not rule of law societies, and if they want to put pressure on [recruits], they will,” Malinowski told The Post.

Malinowski said public announcements and photos of enlistments on social media could easily be exploited by adversarial intelligence agencies, in a potential propaganda victory attacking not just the United States but its most revered institution — the military.

Those governments could force the recruits to “tell the honest story of how America betrayed them,” he said.

“The basic purpose of Russian propaganda is not to extol Russia, but to convince people that America is amoral,” Malinowski said.

The Chinese government’s charge of treason, which it finds in cases threatening to national security, ranges from 10 years of confinement to death, according to the Chinese People’s Congress.

Along with South Korea, China is one of the main sources of program recruits, according to a Pentagon assessment of the program.

Media reports on the memo ignited discussion among the program’s recruits and hopefuls, who closely track developments in tightknit online forums, with one Facebook page alone listing 20,000 members.

A recruit from India who administers some of pages told The Post he has seen an increase in the discussion of recruits seeking preemptive refuge. He estimates that hundreds of the 1,000 potentially under threat of deportation have either fled or are seriously considering fleeing to Canada, Germany, Australia and other countries.

One Chinese national, who declined to give his name, enlisted in the program and expected to leave for training in July 2016, but the program’s suspension and a closing window for his immigration status prompted him to file for asylum in the United States last month.

China has a nativist culture, he said, and if deported he would face persecution from neighbors suspicious of his activities after living in the United States for six years.

“I wish people would see us as assets, not liabilities,” he said. “I love the United States a great deal, and I would do anything to defend this country.”

Security concerns

The program was created after military officials determined that certain medical skills and language proficiencies — such as Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Korean — were vital to national security but in short supply among U.S.-born troops. The program promises citizenship in months instead of the years-long naturalization process.

Program recruits are especially valuable to the Special Operations Command because of deep cultural and language skills necessary to train and advise foreign militaries and militias, according to a 2013 Pentagon review of the program.

Rafeeq’s case is emblematic of sudden widespread distrust in the program at a time when the military seeks to ramp up personnel numbers after years of Obama-led troop level drawdowns, said Margaret Stock, a retired Army officer who led the program’s design and implementation and is now an immigration lawyer.

“The Defense Department has undermined the program in such a way that it is unlikely that the damage can be undone at this point,” she said. “Immigrant recruits are unlikely to trust the military in the future, and recruiting will suffer.”

Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael declined to comment on any aspect of the program, citing ongoing lawsuits related to the program filed against the agency. It is unclear whether the recommendations will be implemented.

The action memo revealed by The Post draws on agency concerns that infiltrators could use the program but does not mention whether any have exploited the program.

Officials assigned threat level tiers to the nearly 10,000 program recruits, both in the service and waiting to serve, based on characteristics such as proximity to classified information and how thoroughly they have been vetted.

Stock said program recruits are the most vetted in the military, and infiltrators likely would not risk screenings in the process involving the departments of State and Homeland Security, and various intelligence agencies.

“Instead of improving overall vetting of all individuals who pose a risk, the Defense Department has chosen to waste valuable vetting resources, time and energy on ‘extreme vetting’ of people who pose little risk,” Stock said.

‘I was looking for ways to make America great’

Rafeeq has watched Iraq burn from Portland. His family fled violence in Kirkuk after his younger brother was injured by a car bomb. The Islamic State battled Kurdish militias there in 2014, and militants have been active there as recently as October.

“I lost all my faith in the military. I felt like they were lying to me and all my brothers and sisters,” Rafeeq said. “I was looking for ways to make America great in the world while they were trying to kick us out.”

If Canada grants him asylum, Rafeeq wants to join the military, with a maple leaf on his shoulder.

“In Afghanistan, in Syria, I will serve them,” he said. “They are hospitable and respectful toward me.”

 

Human remains found in search for missing men, 1 victim ID’d

Human remains found in search for missing men, 1 victim ID’d

Matthew Weintraub, District Attorney for Bucks County, Pa., speaks with members of the media in New Hope, Pa., Thursday, July 13, 2017. Authorities said they’ve found human remains in their search for four missing young Pennsylvania men and they can now…

NEW HOPE, Pa. (AP) — Investigators found the body of one of four missing young men along with other human remains buried on a Pennsylvania farm, and vowed to “bring each and every one of these lost boys home to their families.”

Cadaver dogs led them to the spot on the 90-acre (36-hectare) farm in Solebury Township where they discovered human remains inside a 12½-foot-deep (3.66-meter-deep) common grave.

“I don’t understand the science behind it, but those dogs could smell these poor boys 12½ feet below the ground,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said at a midnight news conference.

The body identified was that of 19-year-old Dean Finocchiaro. Weintraub did not say how he died. The other remains have not yet been identified. The missing men are 22-year-old Mark Sturgis, 21-year-old Tom Meo and 19-year-old Jimi Tar Patrick. Patrick, who attended a Catholic high school for boys with the man authorities consider a suspect, was last seen Wednesday, while the other three vanished Friday.

“This is a homicide; make no mistake about it. We just don’t know how many homicides,” Weintraub said.

Authorities said they are looking at pursuing homicide charges against a 20-year-old man who was taken into custody earlier Wednesday and whose parents own the farm.

Cosmo DiNardo was being held on $5 million cash bail after he was charged with trying to sell another victim’s car after he disappeared. The car was found on the DiNardo family’s property.

DiNardo also had been arrested Monday and held on $1 million bail on an unrelated gun charge before his father paid $100,000 to bail him out Tuesday. The charge stems from accusations that DiNardo was caught with a shotgun and ammunition in February despite a prior mental health commitment.

The back-to-back arrests bought investigators time as they scoured the farm and other spots across the county for clues to the men’s disappearance, Weintraub said.

DiNardo’s parents, Antonio and Sandra DiNardo, own the farm in upper Bucks County, a bucolic area with rolling hillsides, new housing developments and historic sites. They also own a nearby farm parcel that was also searched and a concrete company near their home in Bensalem, closer to Philadelphia.

An attorney representing the couple issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying they sympathize with the families of the missing men and are cooperating “in every way possible with the investigation.”

The FBI had been using heavy equipment to dig a deep ditch on the farm property, and then sifting through each bucket of dirt by hand.

At least some of the missing men are friends, but it’s unclear how well they knew DiNardo, if at all.

Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

IN OTHER NEWS:
Pennsylvania man in custody for allegedly stealing missing man’s car

Trump tweets defense of Donald Trump Jr., blasts ‘Fake Media’

WHITE HOUSE

Trump tweets defense of Donald Trump Jr., blasts ‘Fake Media’

Trump Jr.: I probably would’ve done things differently

President Trump on Wednesday morning tweeted a full-throated defense of his son, pushing back after the release of a damning email chain between his son and a Russian publicist appeared to show the younger Trump readily accepting help from the Kremlin.

The president had initially offered praise for Donald Trump Jr., issuing a statement through a spokesperson saying his son was a “high-quality person” and applauding his “transparency” after Trump Jr. released a June 2016 email chain that spelled out an offer to give the Trump administration incriminating information on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as part of Russia’s “support for Mr. Trump.”

But on Wednesday President Trump was the defiant tweeter-in-chief, taking to social media to support his son after a Tuesday night appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity.”

“My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!” Trump wrote.