Article credited to Texas Monthly:


Earning History

The Houston Astros have the chance to win the World Series tonightAccording to ESPN, Houston will hand the ball to its postseason ace, Justin Verlander, who has allowed just seven runs and nineteen hits in thirty innings so far in the playoffs, while striking out twenty nine. He’ll face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Rich Hill, who allowed one run and struck out seven over four innings against the Astros in game two. If the Astros win, it will be the franchise’s first-ever World Series title—but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Houston has a 3-2 lead and the Dodgers will look to force a game seven. Although the Astros seem to have the momentum after a thrilling eleven-inning victory on Sunday, it’s been a back-and-forth series so far. One thing is certain: Tonight’s game is a must-watch, even on Halloween.

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Kim Wall murder suspect admits dismembering body, denies killing her

Article credited to Fox News:


1 hour ago

Kim Wall murder suspect admits dismembering body, denies killing her

By Travis Fedschun | Fox News

Peter Madsen, right, is charged with killing journalist Kim Wall aboard his homemade Nautilus submarine.

Peter Madsen, right, is charged with killing journalist Kim Wall aboard his homemade Nautilus submarine.  (Reuters)

The Danish inventor charged with killing journalist Kim Wall aboard his homemade Nautilus submarine admitted Monday he dismembered her body — but insisted he wasn’t the one that caused her death, according to police.

Peter Madsen said Wall died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning inside the submarine while he was on deck, Copenhagen police said in a statement.

[Read More]

Las Vegas shooting: California couple that survived attack die in car crash

Article credited to Fox News:




3 hours ago

Las Vegas shooting: California couple that survived attack die in car crash

Fox News

A couple who survived the Las Vegas shooting died in a car crash just a half mile from their California home earlier this month, two weeks after the husband jumped onto his wife to shield her from the hail of bullets raining down on them during the Oct. 1 massacre.

[Read More]


Article credited to Texas Monthly:




Taking a Stand

Most players on the Houston Texans took a knee during the national anthem before Sunday’s game against Seattle in protest of racially insensitive comments made by team owner Bob McNair, according to the Houston ChronicleESPN reported last week that, at an NFL owners meeting earlier this month, McNair said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” when discussing players protesting police brutality and racial injustice. Star wide receiver Deandre Hopkins and running back D’Onta Foreman left practice early on Friday in protest, and McNair publicly apologized and met privately with the team. Apparently that meeting didn’t go smoothly (when asked how it went, team leader Duane Brown told the Chronicle, “uh, not too well”). All but ten Texans players protested by kneeling during the national anthem on Sunday.

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Article credited to Texas Monthly:




JFK Files

The Trump administration made good on a promise to release thousands of documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. The massive file dump release on Thursday night might not be too exciting for the conspiratorially-minded—so far, no one has found any evidence to show that Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t acting alone—but there’s plenty of interesting facts related to Texas that reporters and editors have found in their initial comb through the documents. The Washington Post found an internal FBI report from May 1964 that links Lyndon B. Johnson to the Ku Klux Klan, though the “documented proof” was not provided. The Hill and multiple other outlets reported that on November 24, 1963, an unidentified man called the FBI office in Dallas to say that he would assassinate Oswald; Oswald was killed in Dallas the next day. USA Today reported that the files included a handwritten document from the CIA tracking Oswald’s movements in Mexico City two months before JFK’s assassination. The document shows that the CIA was watching Oswald’s contact with the Soviet embassy in Mexico City; Oswald once lived in the Soviet Union. You can sleuth through the nearly 2,900 documents released at the National Archives website.

Amazon has asked for tax breaks and public subsidies, but Texas cities are refusing to make their proposals public.

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Nearly 400 New Species Found in Amazon Rainforest

Article credited to U.S. News:



Researchers say humans are putting the newly discovered plants and animals at risk.

By Megan Trimble, Associate Editor, Social Media

Nearly 400 new species have been discovered in the Amazon rainforest, and they’re at risk.

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Article credited to Texas Monthly:


Texas Visit

President Donald Trump was in Dallas on Wednesday, where he visited with Texas’s political leaders and attended a fundraiser downtown, according to the Dallas Morning News. Trump met with Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick after arriving at Dallas’s Love Field Airport, where they briefed him on recovery efforts since Hurricane Harvey. Trump said he was open to supporting major infrastructure projects in the Houston area that would that would reduce flooding, and suggested that homeowners in flood-prone areas build water-resistant drywall on the first floor of their homes. “I’m the builder president,” Trump said during the meeting, according to the Washington Post. “Remember that.” A few dozen supporters gathered to greet Trump at the airport, and he posed with a supporter’s sign that read “We played hooky to high five our president.” But he was later met by protesters after going to the Belo Mansion and Pavilion for some fundraising events. The protesters chanted, “Cheeto go home!”

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UK’s Johnson Says Poles’ Post-Brexit Rights Protected ‘Whatever Happens’

Article credited to U.S. News:

UK’s Johnson Says Poles’ Post-Brexit Rights Protected ‘Whatever Happens’

Oct. 26, 2017, at 9:11 a.m.

UK’s Johnson Says Poles’ Post-Brexit Rights Protected ‘Whatever Happens’

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street, London, Britain, October 24 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner Reuters

By Costas Pitas

LONDON (Reuters) – Foreign minister Boris Johnson said Poles in Britain “will be protected, whatever happens” after Brexit, in comments publicized on Thursday that appeared to go further than Prime Minister Theresa May on guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens.

Johnson was speaking on Oct. 17 at the Belvedere Forum on UK-Polish relations, according to the British Embassy in Warsaw in remarks which were reported by The Guardian newspaper on Thursday.

“I have only one message for you all tonight, you know exactly what it is: You are loved, you are welcome, your rights will be protected, whatever happens,” Johnson said in a video posted by the embassy on its Twitter feed.

Earlier this month, May said it was a priority to protect EU citizens’ rights and an agreement with the EU was near but the government has resisted calls to unilaterally guarantee their rights.

 In a letter to EU citizens last week, May said:

“I want to give reassurance that this issue remains a priority, that we are united on the key principles, and that the focus over the weeks to come will be delivering an agreement that works for people here in the UK, and people in the EU.”

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said Johnson was not diverging from May’s comments: “The Foreign Secretary was simply reiterating our determination to achieve this.”

Last year there were just over 900,000 Poles living in Britain, according to the Office for National Statistics and Johnson praised their contribution to British life including through 30,000 businesses.

But some have returned home in recent months, concerned about their status following the Brexit referendum which many saw as a vote against recent immigration from Eastern Europe.

Johnson, who is known for his outspoken comments, has professed loyalty to May in recent weeks but his interventions have been seen as undermining her authority, which was severely weakened after a botched June 7 snap election.

(Editing by Stephen Addison)

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters.

I-75 rock-throwing death makes national, international news

Article credited to mlive:

I-75 rock-throwing death makes national, international news

FLINT, MI — National and international news outlets as far as New Zealand have picked up the story of five Michigan teens accused of throwing more than a dozen rocks from a highway overpass, including one that struck and killed a 32-year-old man.

The teens, who were arraigned Tuesday on second-degree murder charges and denied bond, range in age from 15 to 17 and potentially face life in prison.

National television shows such as Good Morning AmericaCBS This Morning and Inside Edition have aired pieces on the Oct. 18 incident on I-75, and major outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Daily News, BuzzFeed, Time, Huffington Post, The Toronto Sun, BBCInternational Business TimesCNN and Fox News have written stories on it.

On Reddit, a popular social media site, the story has been received thousands of comments.

The victim in the case, Mt. Morris resident Kenneth Andrew White, was a passenger in a van that night when a 6-pound rock crashed through the windshield and fatally struck him, police previously said.

Judge denies bail for 5 teens in deadly I-75 rock-throwing incident

Judge denies bail for 5 teens in deadly I-75 rock-throwing incident

“At this time, based on the seriousness of the nature of these charges and the danger to the public,” Genesee District Judge William H. Crawford said before denying bail for all five.

That rock was one of more than a dozen found on the interstate in the aftermath. One of the rocks weighed 20 pounds.

Prosecutors say 17-year-old Kyle Anger, 16-year-olds Mark Sekelsky and Mikadyn Payne, and 15-year-olds Alexzander Miller and Trevor Gray hurled rocks, tires and an engine piston onto I-75 from the Farrand Road overpass. They are all Clio residents and being charged as adults.

Clio school district offers condolences to family of man killed in rock-throwing

Clio school district offers condolences to family of man killed in rock-throwing

“This is an extremely difficult time for our entire community. Whether we knew Mr. White, those who are being charged and their families, or have driven this same stretch of road countless times, many of us have a personal connection with this senseless tragedy,” said Spears.

Apart from the fatality, several vehicles were also struck and damaged in the incident, leading to malicious destruction of property charges against the group.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said the case sends a clear warning to teens and others.

[Read More]

Fats Domino: Rock and roll legend dies aged 89

Article credited to

Fats Domino: Rock and roll legend dies aged 89

  • 3 minutes ago

Fats DominoImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Fats Domino, one of the most influential rock and roll performers of the 1950s and 60s, has died aged 89.

The American rock and roll artist was best known for his songs Ain’t That A Shame and Blueberry Hill.

The New Orleans singer sold more than 65 million records, outselling every 1950s rock and roll act except Elvis Presley.

His million-selling debut single, The Fat Man, is credited by some as the first ever rock and roll record.

Fats DominoImage copyrightCLIVE LIMPKIN
Image captionAs far as I know, music makes people happy. I know it makes me happy.

Fats Domino was one of the first rhythm and blues artists to gain popularity with a white audience and his music was most prolific in the 1950s.

Domino’s music has been credited as a key influence on artists during the 1960s and 70s. Elvis Presley introduced Fats at one of his Las Vegas concerts by saying “this gentleman was a huge influence on me when I started out”.

Paul McCartney reportedly wrote the Beatles song Lady Madonna in emulation of Domino’s style.

In 1986 he was among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but by his later life Domino would no longer leave New Orleans – even to accept the award.

New Orleans-born musician and actor Harry Connick Jr is among those who have paid tribute to Domino on Twitter, saying he had “helped pave the way for New Orleans piano players”.

Fats Domino: A life in music

Fats DominoImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Antoine “Fats” Domino Jr was born in New Orleans on 26 Feb 1928, the son of a violinist. His parents were of Creole origin, and French Creole was spoken in the family.

He was musically inclined from an early age and learned piano from his brother in law, the jazz banjo player, Harrison Verrett.

He was given his nickname by bandleader Bill Diamond for whom he was playing piano in honky-tonks as a teenager. He said the youngster’s technique reminded him of two other great piano players, Fats Waller and Fats Pichon.

Domino left school at the age of 14 to work in a bedspring factory by day, and play in bars by night. He was soon accompanying such New Orleans luminaries as Professor Longhair and Amos Milburn.

In the mid-1940s, he joined trumpeter Dave Bartholomew’s band, and the two co-wrote Domino’s first hit The Fat Man. Suddenly, the New Orleans sound became popular nationwide.

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2 killed on Grambling State campus; shooter at large

2 killed on Grambling State campus; shooter at large

GRAMBLING SHOOTINGS: Map locates Grambling, Louisiana, where 2 people were shot at state university; 1c x 2 inches; with BC-US–Grambling State-Shootings and related stories; JEM; ETA 7 a.m. SOURCE: maps4news/HERE. Editor’s Note: It is mandatory to…

GRAMBLING, La. (AP) — A student and his friend were fatally shot at a university in Louisiana after an altercation that began in a dorm room and ended in a courtyard, authorities said Wednesday.

The shooter remained at large.

Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s spokesman Stephen Williams said detectives joined campus police investigating the double homicide at Grambling State University after getting 911 calls starting at 12:04 a.m.

The historically black university in northern Louisiana has an enrollment of nearly 5,000 students.

“It was an altercation that started inside one of the dorm rooms and spilled out into the courtyard,” Williams said. “We’re interviewing witnesses.”

Grambling State media relations director Will Sutton told news outlets that one of the victims was a Grambling senior, Earl Andrews, and the other was Monquiarius Caldwell. Both were 23 and from Farmerville, Louisiana.

Andrews’ aunt, Mattie Boyette, told that she had no idea why anyone would want to shoot him.

“He was here at Grambling, good student, good kid. He just wanted an education. He just wanted to better himself,” Boyette said.

“His momma, his sister and his brother, he was the apple of their eye,” she said.

Authorities did not immediately release any information about the suspected shooter.

The deadly shootings happened during the school’s homecoming week. reports that Sutton said it was too early to say whether any homecoming events would be affected.

A Grambling State student was wounded last month in a separate shooting on the campus. Sutton told news outlets then that a student let another person into a dorm and there was a fight that ended with a student being shot in the left arm on Sept. 21.

No suspects have been named in any of the shootings.

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

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Article credited to Texas Monthly:


HOU vs. LA

The Houston Astros take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in game one of the World SeriesTuesday night, and the championship series should start off with a bang. Both teams are rolling out their staff aces, with the Astros starting Dallas Keuchel and the Dodgers giving the ball to Clayton Kershaw. Keuchel has been phenomenal this postseason, allowing just five runs over 17 1/3 innings after winning fourteen games with a 2.60 earned run average during the regular season. Kershaw, meanwhile, is one of the game’s all-time greats, but he’s had a “down” playoffs by his impeccable standards, with a 3.63 earned run average over three starts. He’s got a career 2.36 earned run average in nine seasons and is a three-time National League Cy Young winner, but he’s historically struggled in the playoffs, going 6-7 with a 4.40 earned run average in 106 1/3 innings. Both pitchers will have to deal with the heat, with temperatures expected to be around 95 degrees at the game’s start—the hottest temperature ever for a World Series game, according to USA Today.

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World War 3 THREAT: Qatar situation is MORE DANGEROUS than North Korea, warns Bannon

Article credited to:

World War 3 THREAT: Qatar situation is MORE DANGEROUS than North Korea, warns Bannon

QATAR is just as dangerous to world stability as North Korea, the US President’s former strategist has said.

Qatar threat: Steven Bannon warned of the situation in Qatar
Steve Bannon claimed Qatar is the single most important thing happening in the world and people should be paying a great deal of attention to it.

The Saudi-Arabia led isolation of Qatar is the most worrying confrontation in the world at the moment, the former strategist added.

The US is currently backing moves by the Saudis to punish Qatar for allegedly funding the Muslim Brotherhood and other “radical Islamic terrorism”.

Bannon said at the Hudson Institute yesterday: “I think the single most important thing that’s happening in the world is the situation in Qatar,” Bannon said. “What’s happening in Qatar is every bit as important as what’s happening in North Korea.”

“I don’t think it was just by happenstance that two weeks after the summit that we saw the blockade by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and Egypt and the king of Saudi Arabia on Qatar,” he said.

Foreign Affairs Minister of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al ThaniGETTY

Foreign Affairs Minister of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an unprecedented land, sea and air blockade on their rich Gulf neighbour on June 5.

Qatar has rejected accusations that it supports extremists groups and signed a counter terrorism agreement with the US last month.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has said that the countries behind the blockade have not yet provided evidence to back up accusations that Qatar supports terrorism.

He said: “We have seen continuing escalation and attempt to market the accusation that Qatar supports terrorism without providing any evidence…

“Unfortunately, this is their constant behaviour since the beginning of the crisis.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has tried to protect US interests by rowing back on Donald Trump’s apparent support for the boycott early on.

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Mysterious discrepancies spotted In Tillerson photographs with Afghanistan president

Mysterious discrepancies spotted In Tillerson photographs with Afghanistan president

An apparent crude attempt to alter photographs of a meeting between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday in Kabul has set the Internet abuzz with questions.

A close inspection by The New York Times found significant discrepancies in the photographs that may be explained by an effort to use image-manipulation software to doctor at least one of the images.

Both the photograph released by the U.S. and the one provided by Afghanistan depict Tillerson and Ghani seated at the front of a windowless room, flanked by their delegations.

However, the image released by Afghanistan does not include either the military-style digital clock or the large fire alarm that appear directly above Tillerson and Ghani in the photograph produced by the U.S. government, The Times reported. And in the Afghan photograph, the room is much more brightly lit.

According to an image expert cited by the Times, there is “no question” the Afghan photo was altered. The giveaway, the expert told The Times, is that whoever apparently doctored the Afghan image did not entirely remove the power cord that led to the clock and fire alarm in the U.S. photograph.

The question remains: Why would Afghanistan’s government manipulate a routine photograph of a visiting dignitary?

After Tillerson’s meeting with Ghani on Monday, the American Embassy and Ghani’s office released a statement claiming that the two men had met in Kabul. But the Times noted that the meeting actually occurred at Bagram, the U.S. military base more than thirty miles from Afghanistan’s capital.

Removing the military-style clock and large fire alarm might have been an attempt by Afghanistan’s government to conceal the meeting’s location.  By claiming that Tillerson and Ghani were in Kabul and not a fortified military base, the Afghan government can project strength and advance a positive narrative about the country’s security.

Neither Ghani nor Tillerson’s office has provided an explanation for the discrepancy in the images, or why the American Embassy signed off on the statement claiming the meeting was in Kabul.

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Report: Mueller probe expands to Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta’s Russia dealings

Report: Mueller probe expands to Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta’s Russia dealings

Tony Podesta, a powerful Democratic lobbyist and the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, reportedly has entered Robert Mueller’s investigative crosshairs as the special counsel’s office probes whether his firm violated federal law.

NBC News first reported that Podesta and his Democratic lobbying firm are now subjects in the special counsel’s Russia investigation, after inquiries regarding former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s finances.

The Podesta Group was co-founded by Tony and his brother John Podesta, who is a longtime Clinton aide and served as chairman of her 2016 presidential campaign.


According to Monday’s NBC News report, Manafort organized a PR campaign for a pro-Ukraine nonprofit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which reportedly was backed by a pro-Russia party. The Podesta Group reportedly was one of many firms that worked on the campaign.

According to NBC News, Mueller’s team began looking at Podesta and his company and is now pursuing a criminal inquiry into whether the company violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Under FARA, people in the United States who lobby on behalf of foreign entities must register through the Justice Department as a foreign agent and disclose their work. Podesta’s firm eventually filed a registration for the ECMU work, after the media reported on the business and Congress started asking questions.

But in a statement on Monday, a spokesperson for The Podesta Group claimed the company was in compliance — citing a series of FARA filings dating back years — and is “fully” cooperating with the special counsel’s office.

“The Podesta Group fully disclosed its representation of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECFMU), and complied with FARA by filing under the lobbying disclosure act over five years ago and within weeks of starting our work,” the spokesperson said. “Any insinuation to the contrary is false. The Podesta Group has fully cooperated with the Special Counsel’s office and taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms compliance with the law. Based on our due diligence and on the recommendation of definitive legal experts, the firm immediately filed the appropriate public disclosures of its representation of the ECFMU over five years ago, and in eight subsequent public filings.”

The spokesperson said the work for ECMU “was in support of Ukraine’s admission to the EU, a position supported by foreign policy experts at the time. The ECFMU provided formal certification that it was neither funded by nor directed by a government or political party.”

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on whether Mueller’s team is investigating Tony Podesta and his firm. John Podesta left the company years ago.

The development, though, would speak to how the Mueller probe may be expanding well beyond the original focus on Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with Trump associates — ensnaring Democratic figures in the process.

“It’s a cliché, but a good cliché – prosecutors go where the evidence leads them,” former high-ranking DOJ official James Trusty, now with Ifrah Law LLC, told Fox News on Monday. “When you define the mission broadly, there is a lot of room for [an independent prosecutor’s] exploration.”

Trusty said Mueller’s investigation was broad, leaving “a lot of room to legitimately poke around and find information, on one party or another.”

“If you define it very narrowly, it is much easier to say the special counsel is a rogue elephant, but if you define the mission broadly, it is all fair game to look into any violation of federal law and relationships with Russia,” Trusty told Fox News. “You’ll find there are prosecutions no one would have anticipated at the start, or corruption from a different party than were initially looked at.”

Trusty added: “All of this is fair game if the independent prosecutor is doing his job the right way.”

This wasn’t the first problematic case for the company involving FARA. In November, the Podesta Group told the Justice Department that it failed to file legally required disclosures of White House advocacy on behalf of a foreign government — in this case India, according to federal filings. The Washington Free Beacon first reported that the Podesta Group was in violation of FARA.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

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Jimmy Carter Backs Donald Trump

Article credited to U.S.News:

Jimmy Carter Backs Donald Trump

The former Democratic president reportedly has offered to work on behalf of the current commander in chief.

By Megan Trimble, Associate Editor, Social Media |Oct. 23, 2017, at 11:37 a

Former US President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter arrive for the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 20, 2017. / AFP / POOL / SAUL LOEB

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter told The New York Times he’d be willing to help out the Trump administration. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump may have found an unlikely ally in Jimmy Carter.

Some might think Carter, a Democrat, would hold much different political viewpoints than Trump. But the 93-year-old former president told The New York Times he would be up for a diplomatic mission on behalf of the current administration, going to North Korea to help address Pyongyang’s nuclear pursuits.

During his interview with Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd, Carter said the U.S. has overestimated the influence China has on North Korea – a comment that comes as Trump repeatedly has called on Beijing to rein in the Hermit Kingdom. Yet he also defended Trump when asked about what Dowd described as the president’s “souring our image in the world,” responding that Trump “might be escalating” things but that the issue preceded his time in the Oval Office.

“The United States has been the dominant character in the whole world and now we’re not anymore,” Carter said. “And we’re not going to be. Russia’s coming back and India and China are coming forward.”

The interview isn’t the first time Carter has defended the president. In September, he expressed optimism about Trump’s approach to immigration law, saying the president might actually be able to achieve movement on the issue, according to The Associated Press. In those comments, Carter also said Trump deserves credit where credit is due.

With Dowd, Carter shared his thoughts on a range of issues, from North Korea to the role of the media. Here’s a look at some of his key comments.

1. On whether he would go to North Korea on behalf of the Trump administration amid rising tensions:

“I would go, yes,” Carter told the Times.

Carter said he has talked with Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, but has so far gotten what Dowd described as “a negative response.”

“I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” he said.

2. On former President Barack Obama:

“He made some very wonderful statements, in my opinion, when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that,” Carter said of Obama and the Middle East.

Carter was also tough on Obama’s work with North Korea, saying he had “refused” to talk to the Hermit Kingdom more. And he lamented U.S. involvement in the conflict in Yemen under the Obama administration.

Carter told the Times he does not have Obama’s email address, and that he had his “best relationship” with George H. W. Bush when Bush was in office.

3. On the media’s coverage of the 45th presidency:

“I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” he said.

Carter said he thinks members of the news media “feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.” But he didn’t give Trump a complete pass, saying he thinks the president is “exacerbating” racial division in the country.

“Yes, I think he is exacerbating it,” he told the Times. “But maybe not deliberately.”

4. On his preferred candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination:

“We voted for Sanders,” Carter said of how he and and his wife, Rosalynn, voted during the 2016 Democratic primary, aligning with what he has said in the past.

Carter and his wife, however, disagree on the effect of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. While Rosalynn Carter said the Russians “obviously did” steal the election from eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Carter said he doesn’t think “there’s any evidence that what the Russians did changed enough votes, or any votes.”

5. On the controversy over NFL demonstrations during the national anthem to protest racial discrimination and police brutality:

“I think they ought to find a different way to object, to demonstrate. I would rather see all the players stand during the American anthem,” he said.

But the public debate over removing Confederate monuments was less clear for the former president.

“That’s a hard one for me,” Carter said, adding that his great-grandfather and relatives fought on the Southern side in the Civil War. “I never have looked on the carvings on Stone Mountain or the statues as being racist in their intent. But I can understand African-Americans’ aversion to them, and I sympathize with them. But I don’t have any objection to them being labeled with explanatory labels or that sort of thing.”

Jimmy Carter Defends Trump In NY Times Interview

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Article credited to Texas Monthly:


Presidential Palace

All five living former presidents gathered at Texas A&M University on Saturdayfor a Hurricane Harvey relief benefit, according to the Dallas Morning News. Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter all spoke at the “Deep From the Heart” benefit concert organized by One America Appeal, which had raised more than $31 million from over 80,000 donors by Saturday. “When they see their neighbors, their friends, when they see strangers in need, Americans step up,” Obama said, according to the Morning News. “And as heartbreaking as the tragedies that took place here in Texas, Florida, in Puerto Rico, in the U.S. Virgin Islands have been, what we’ve also seen is the spirit of America at its best.” Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and former Vice President Dick Cheney were also at the benefit concert—plus, Lady Gaga. President Donald Trump did not attend.

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Article credited to Texas Monthly:


Real Talk

Former President George W. Bush delivered a harshly worded speech on ThursdayHe condemned the divisive actions of President Donald Trump, though he stopped short of actually calling out the president by name. “We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty,” Bush said during a sixteen-minute address at “The Spirit of Liberty” event in New York, sponsored by his presidential center. “Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone and provides permission for cruelty and bigotry. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.” Bush said our political system has been corrupted by “conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,” and cautioned against the U.S. turning inward under Trump. “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America,” Bush said. “We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade, forgetting that conflict, instability and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism. We’ve seen the return of isolationist sentiments, forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places.” He took aim at white supremacy too. “Our identity as a nation—unlike many other nations—is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood,” Bush said. “This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.”

[Read More]

Still bruised from Clinton loss, left takes aim at Electoral College in court

Still bruised from Clinton loss, left takes aim at Electoral College in court

A liberal-led push to overhaul the Electoral College could be moving from the op-ed pages to the courtroom, as a Harvard professor who flirted with a dark-horse Democratic presidential bid last year vows litigation to change the system.

Criticism of the Electoral College was resurgent in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss. Clinton recently said she wants the system “eliminated.” The latest effort isn’t aimed at dismantling the structure entirely – but rather, the winner-take-all system used by 48 states in awarding electors, which ends up focusing presidential races on a handful of battlegrounds.

“With a winner-take-all, most of America is ignored,” professor Lawrence Lessig said in previewing his legal case – which, like any challenge to the Electoral College, faces a steep uphill climb.

Lessig, though, argues the system violates the 14thAmendment’s one-man-one-vote principle. Currently, all but two states award all electors to the winner of the state’s popular vote. Lessig said 24 people have volunteered to be plaintiffs, though he’s still deciding which states to focus on.

“We are looking for a Republican from a blue state whose vote never counts and a Democrat from a red state whose vote never counts,” he said.

Lessig, who was very briefly a Democratic candidate for president for the 2016 cycle, insists this isn’t a partisan endeavor and will consist of at least two separate lawsuits. If he were to beat the odds and prevail, the kind of overhaul he seeks could have mixed results — theoretically allowing Democrats to pick up electoral votes in deep-red territory and Republicans to win electors in deep-blue states like California and New York.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig speaks at the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention in Manchester, New Hampshire September 19, 2015.      REUTERS/Brian Snyder - GF10000212698

Lawrence Lessig, shown in New Hampshire during his stint as a Democratic presidential candidate in September 2015, wants to overhaul the Electoral College.  (Reuters)

While it would require a constitutional amendment to ditch the Electoral College for a national popular vote system, the Constitution does not mandate how states award electors. Maine and Nebraska actually divvy up electors by congressional district. Donald Trump picked up one Maine elector in 2016 and Barack Obama won a Nebraska elector in 2012.

Another alternative—which Lessig prefers—would be a proportional system, where a losing candidate could still get a percentage of the state’s electors based on the popular vote.

Lessig contends other proposals, such as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, could take decades to fully implement. By contrast, a court ruling could force states to move to a proportional system by 2020.

Lessig, meanwhile, warns that election results that defy the popular vote could become more common.

“Two of the last three presidents were inaugurated without winning the popular vote,” he noted, referring to Trump’s victory in 2016 and George W. Bush’s in 2000. It has happened in just three prior elections: 1888, 1876 and 1824. “The number of times the Electoral College doesn’t conform with the popular vote will go up given the demographics,” Lessig predicted.

‘The Supreme Court could knock this out.’

– Election lawyer Roger Austin, casting doubt on an Electoral College court challenge

The current system undoubtedly concentrates campaign spending. Just 14 battleground states saw 99 percent of ad spending and 95 percent of candidate visits for campaign purposes in 2016, according to Equal Citizens.

David Boies, who was the lead counsel for former Vice President Al Gore in the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case in 2000, and Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics attorney under President George W. Bush, are part of the legal team for the case.

But the system has its defenders.

Gary Rose, chairman of the political science department at Sacred Heart University and author of “Haywire: A Chronology of the 2016 Presidential Contest,” said it provides stability.

“Under a district plan, we could see a number of third-party candidates emerge, competing for a narrow portion of the vote by just running in congressional districts,” Rose told Fox News. “A proportional system would be a recipe for France, a multi-party system, with a plethora of small parties that are hardly bigger than an interest group.”

Interestingly, fear of third parties brought Congress to its closest point of scrapping the Electoral College. After third-party candidate George Wallace won 46 electoral votes in 1968, the House of Representatives voted 338-70 in 1969 to abolish the Electoral College and require the winner to a presidential election to carry at least 40 percent of the vote. The proposed constitutional amendment was blocked by a Senate filibuster.

While candidates visit only a handful of swing states now, Rose said, under a national popular vote system, presidential candidates would ignore smaller states.

“A national popular vote would be a detriment to the American people, and many voters would really feel disenfranchised if the campaign moved only to the urban areas,” Rose said.

Proving standing for the litigation could pose a challenge depending on which court hears the cases, added Roger Austin, an election lawyer and former general counsel for the Florida Republican Party who also questions the case’s legal merits.

“The Supreme Court could knock this out as a political question that they do not want to tackle or leave to the political branches,” Austin told Fox News. “The court has ducked a lot of cases this way.”

Trump won 306 electoral votes in 2016 to Clinton’s 232, though Clinton won a plurality of the popular vote, with 48.5 percent to Trump’s 46.4 percent. The irony might be that Trump could still have triumphed under a reformed system.

Under a district plan, Trump would have won 290 electoral votes, according to an analysis by the website The analysis found under a proportional system, Trump would have won 267 votes to Clinton’s 265. A third party would have gained six electoral votes, sending the matter to the House of Representatives.

But Lessig’s own analysis of a proportional system found Clinton winning the needed 270 to Trump’s 267.

While technically looking ahead to future elections, Lessig hasn’t quite given up on the last one. He recently penned a Medium post imagining a scenario where Trump is impeached, eventually leading to House Speaker Paul Ryan becoming president – and then handing the presidency to Hillary Clinton.

“I realize this all sounds crazy right now,” he wrote.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: All players ‘should’ stand for national anthem

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: All players ‘should’ stand for national anthem

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he believes all players “should” stand for the national anthem — but stopped short of imposing a rule on standing for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Goodell, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, said it is important for the league and its players to honor and respect “our flag and our country.

“We are not afraid of the tough conversations,” he added. “Out of those discussions, [players] understand that owners and the NFL do really care about the issues.”

Asked about owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

A couple hours later, Trump tweeted his thoughts to the NFL in no uncertain terms: “Too much talk, not enough action. Stand for the National Anthem.”

Goodell, who has been in New York City with teams owners for their annual fall meeting, defended the athletes who have been taking a knee in protest, saying they are “not doing this to be disrespectful to the flag, but they understand how it’s being interpreted.”

“We want our players to stand. We’re going to continue to encourage them to stand,” he said.

Last week, Goodell sent a memo to NFL executives and club presidents aiming to move past the weeks-long feud between the White House and players.

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“The current dispute over the national anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country,” he wrote last week. “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”

On Wednesday, Goodell said the league is working with its players to see how it can continue to support them and how changes can be made in their communities.

“They are very clear about and very knowledgeable about [what needs change],” he said.

The “take a knee” movement — protesting police brutality and other issues — began when Colin Kaepernick first sat for the anthem during the NFL preseason in early August 2016.

It since has grown to a sizable number of NFL and WNBA players and even spread abroad when a German professional soccer team took a knee during pregame ceremonies in solidarity last Sunday.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for