All posts tagged There

If ever there was a moment for Donald J. Trump to share the spotlight, his formal announcement of his running mate on Saturday was it.

Instead, his introduction of Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana was a remarkable reminder that ultimately, the Trump campaign is about one person.

He called Mr. Pence his “partner,” but before the governor took the stage, Mr. Trump stood there alone and talked for 28 minutes, delivering a long and improvised riff that emulated his rallies instead of a traditional vice-presidential debut.

Looking away from his notes, he talked about Hillary Clinton, terrorism, his primary victories, his crushing of a “Stop Trump” movement. Donald Trump, Mr. Trump said, understands infrastructure and how to build a border wall. He even got in a plug for his new hotel in Washington.

After roughly 20 minutes, Mr. Trump reached for his notes. “Back to Mike Pence!” he declared, turning to Mr. Pence’s record of job creation in Indiana. Then he used the reference to the Hoosier State to remind the 150 people in attendance that he had trounced Mr. Pence’s endorsed candidate, Senator Ted Cruz, in the primary there.

When Mr. Trump ultimately ceded the microphone to Mr. Pence, rather than stand beside him while he delivered his remarks, Mr. Trump patted him twice on the left shoulder and walked off the stage.

Vice-presidential rollouts are usually a carefully orchestrated high point of a presidential campaign, but Mr. Trump’s has been unusual and chaotic from the start. Typically, the vice-presidential candidate is given a moment to shine. But Mr. Trump spoke for more than twice as long as Mr. Pence, whose speech clocked in at roughly 12 minutes.

Indeed, the event, in a ballroom at a Midtown Manhattan Hilton, had the feel of back-to-back news conferences lacking a recurring theme.

Mr. Trump referred to the two men as “the law-and-order candidates,” adding that “we’re the law-and-order party.” He said that Mr. Pence “looks good,” and that “to be honest,” part of the reason for Mr. Pence’s selection was to unify the party. Then Mr. Trump proceeded to mock those Republicans who had opposed him.

Mr. Trump, who eschewed a teleprompter despite aides’ attempts to impose discipline on his speeches, also unveiled a new attack against Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. He described her as something of a foreign policy puppeteer who had led President Obama down unfortunate paths across the globe.

Mr. Trump conspicuously tried to tamp down reports that he had vacillated about Mr. Pence as his choice as late as Thursday night, saying he was his “first choice” all along. Mr. Pence, a relative stranger to Mr. Trump, also said he had received a call on Wednesday about serving on the ticket.

Mr. Pence left most of the attack-dog role that is typical of a running mate to Mr. Trump. Instead, he spoke softly and with humility about a middle-class upbringing and his spirituality.

He also seemed more mindful than Mr. Trump of the need to present a united front, a particular challenge given the fractured state of the Republican Party and the two candidates’ own considerable differences.

He sought to glide over his previous criticism of Mr. Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigrants, choosing instead to criticize Mrs. Clinton’s call to take in more Syrian refugees. He did not speak with any depth about trade pacts, which he has supported in the past and which are a target of Mr. Trump’s criticism.

While Mr. Trump was freewheeling, Mr. Pence was smooth and polished, bringing the guests to their feet when he said he was joining the ticket “because Hillary Clinton can never become president of the United States.”

He cast the 2016 election in familiar terms that could soothe Republicans anxious about their unusual nominee. Mr. Pence called himself “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” a phrase that has become his trademark, and he described Mr. Trump as a “patriotic American.”

“Donald Trump is a good man, and he will make a great president of the United States,” Mr. Pence said, adding, “I know what all of America will soon know: These are good people.”

Afterward, the Pence family and the Trump family came onstage, save for Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, who was said to be at their golf club in Bedminster, N.J., with their young son, Barron. The two men then worked a rope line with attendees.

The oversize ballroom felt cavernous; the event was originally scheduled for a smaller space on Friday, but Mr. Trump postponed the announcement, saying it was out of respect for the tragedy in Nice, France. Few local Republican leaders were in attendance; most had already decamped for the convention in Cleveland. The entire production was over in less than an hour.

The candidates did not take questions, but they sat together Saturday for their first joint interview, with Lesley Stahl of CBS’s “60 Minutes,” set to air Sunday night. Ms. Stahl asked Mr. Pence, who publicly swore off negative campaigning years ago, how he could run with a candidate so reflexively given to name-calling.

Mr. Pence evaded the question, saying the campaign had been about “issues the American people care about,” but Mr. Trump eventually gave him an assist.

“We’re different people,” Mr. Trump said. “I understand that. I’ll give you an example: Hillary Clinton is a liar.”

Mr. Pence, after stopping to eat at a Chili’s, flew back to Indiana — without Mr. Trump — for what was billed as a “Welcome Home” rally at an airport hangar in Zionsville. Mr. Pence, joined by his wife, Karen, and daughter Charlotte, offered just eight minutes of remarks as humble as the tableau that awaited him.

“The last few days have been truly overwhelming, but this is the best part,” Mr. Pence said, gazing upon the crowd of roughly 500. “Karen and I will cherish this Hoosier homecoming for the rest of our lives.”

Afterward, he beckoned to a close friend in the crowd and embraced him tightly over the metal barricades.

“Buckle up,” Mr. Pence said with a smile.

Interactive Feature | Donald Trump and Mike Pence: Highlights Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence appeared for the first time in public together since Mr. Pence was named as Mr. Trump’s running mate. Here’s how we analyzed it.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at
Recommended article from Most Labour MPs in the UK Are Revolting.

Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

There may not be a contested convention, but the RNC may have a floor fight on its hands, even if efforts to change the rules fail, according to a group pressing for delegates to “vote their conscience” during next week’s nationally-televised roll call.

Delegates Unbound, a group spearheading efforts to insist delegates can already vote freely for the presidential nomination, has set up shop in downtown Cleveland, just blocks from where those delegates will cast their vote on the floor of the Quicken Loans arena next week.

In an interview in their nerve center, a room scattered with empty coffee cups and donut boxes, Dane Waters, the head of the group, told ABC News even if last-ditch attempts to change the rules fail, the roll call vote on the floor of the GOP convention won’t be “some quiet little rodeo.”

“These individuals are extremely passionate about the right to vote their conscience,” he said. “So I can’t imagine that people are gonna sit around and not do anything.”

They’ve been working out of their office for 20 days, trying to educate delegates that if they don’t want to vote for Trump, they don’t have to. It’s something the RNC disagrees with, saying that the delegates are bound under the current rules.

Waters pointed to Rule 37(b), which allows delegates to object if they believe their vote was not announced correctly by their state delegation’s leader.

“If a delegate feels that the state delegation chair has not properly represented their vote, then that individual has the right to object and demand that their vote be corrected,” Waters said.

“Most people are not going to sit around and say, ‘Okay, that’s okay,'” he said.

Despite this claim, the GOP convention’s current rules state that the secretary must record the vote in line with the delegation’s binding, regardless of the vote tally announced by the state’s delegation chair.

These comments come as another group that partners with Delegates Unbound tries to force a vote on the convention floor on a new rule that would unbind the delegates. They must win over 28 members of the powerful, 112-member convention rules committee to support their cause.

At a meeting today, the GOP’s top lawyer dismissed efforts to convince delegates at the party’s convention to “vote their conscience” on Wednesday, asserting emails from anti-Trump forces are “not true.”

“All of y’all have undoubtedly received emails that begin with the sentence, ‘No delegate is bound.’ That’s not true,” said general counsel John Ryder during a 5-minute address to RNC members this afternoon.

The address was a shorter version of remarks Ryder delivered at the RNC’s rules panel Tuesday, a sign that top Republicans are making serious efforts to nip any potential uprisings in the bud before they erupt on the floor during the nationally televised roll call. Ryder joked to the audience that “there’s an old hymn that some of you may be familiar with: ‘Blessed be the ties that bind.'”

“That may be the theme song of this convention,” Ryder said.

“The RNC rules permit and require the binding of delegates. Those rules are in effect in this convention, and as long as those rules remain the rules, the delegates remain bound,” Ryder added.

Despite these warnings, Waters said a victory for their effort isn’t merely the incredibly difficult task of getting Donald Trump off the GOP ticket. Instead saying “this is much bigger than just Donald Trump” and he actually sees three possible wins for these specific “Stop Trump” forces.

One, that “delegates do vote their conscience and not try to be manipulated or guided or pushed by the RNC and the Trump campaign.”

The second win for them would be if “delegates stand up and make it clear that not everyone is in lockstep with Donald Trump,” and that’s where Waters sees the floor could get rowdy.

The third and last “win” is the most difficult, if not impossible, but one the “Never Trump” supporters have pushed for months.

“No. 3 is that the delegates freely choose, if they are allowed to freely choose. Then, in my opinion, Donald Trump will not be the nominee,” Waters said.

ABC News’ Noah Fitzgerel contributed to this report.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at
Recommended article from Most Labour MPs in the UK Are Revolting.

Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Let there be healing after killing

Brooklyn: We who are left behind mourn the death of Alton Sterling, lying on the ground with no one to assist him. Diamond Reynolds, we cry for you not being able to hug the man you loved, Philando Castile, as his life was taken before your very eyes. Any movement to comfort him risked your life. Thank God you were able to live-stream the horror for all to see.

Only time can dull the memory of these heinous acts. To the Dallas Five assassinated in the line of duty, we thank you for your service. Heartfelt sympathy to all the families, friends and communities. Let us heal together and prevent these senseless deaths from furthering division. Dorothy Matthews

Whiting, N.J.: While I understand Shaun King’s point that the “time for us to be calm is long gone” and appreciate the fear and frustration of being black in America, I have to believe that the events in Dallas were not what he had in mind. Bill McConnell

Shame on the News

Springfield Gardens: I am incredibly perturbed and deeply alarmed by your use of Alton Sterling’s body on the cover of your July 7 newspaper. I am a black woman, a lifelong Queens resident and am vehemently disgusted by your choice to profit on black pain, suffering and death. We don’t need to see a body, gun wounds, blood and lifeless eyes. Sterling was a person, and that a newspaper like the Daily News chose to post his image for the mass consumption of millions, unwitting commuters, children and teenagers, families, passersby, etc., shows absolute disrespect and a cold indifference to black people and our humanity. Your desire to be an “in your face” news source is hinged on our further suffering. Janelle Marlena Edwards

Worth no words

Manhattan: As common as it is to show everything in a news story, out of respect for his family, friends and decency, could you please remove from your website the still photograph of Philando Castile as he lay bleeding with his eyes rolled into the back of his head and quite possibly dead? It isn’t necessary to the story. Caprice C. Corbett

Judge not

Rochester, Minn.: People nationwide are forming an opinion about what happened to Philando Castile based soley on the aftermath of the shooting. In the video, we don’t see what took place prior. We don’t see the shooting itself. We cannot justly judge anything in this video without knowing what took place beforehand. People are so quick to judge the after-effects of tragic situations. But the fact of the matter is, the only people who know the whole truth are the police, the woman, the man and God. The rest of us have no right to condemn or justify anything. If an officer of the law tells you to put your hands where they can see them, and after you inform them you are carrying a weapon, you reach into your pocket despite being told not to, the consequences of such actions are clear. They are not formed at a moment’s notice based on skin color. Amanda Jean Bradley

It goes both ways

Bayside: In Nicole Paultre Bell’s column on Alton Sterling (“Alton Sterling’s death should raise calls for justice against rotten cops,” July 6), she writes, “Every time an innocent man is killed, I’m right back to Nov. 25, 2006. Of course, there is anger and sadness. Seeing Sterling’s children at the news conference, I immediately thought about my own children who lost their dad Sean — Jada Bell, who is 13, and Jordyn Bell, who is 10.” Here’s my version of that quote: “Every time an innocent police Officer is killed, I’m right back to Dec. 28, 1974. Of course, there is anger and sadness. Seeing the police officer’s children at the news conference, I immediately thought about myself, who lost her, dad P.O. Kenneth Mahon. I was 3 years old at the time.” Melinda Mahon

No justice

Tampa: We expect police to protect the people, yet they are just as dangerous as anyone who commits a crime. I would be very suprised if these officers are found guilty because the judge and jury are predominantly Caucasian. Where is the justice for the African men? Bridgette Welch

No peace

Los Angeles: As a male of color, since I was a child I have lived by a code of conduct common to most of my peers. My goal since I can remember when dealing with the police was not to avoid being arrested; it was make it home alive. It upsets me that the rash of police shootings are being treated like they are a new phenomenon. People of color have been dying at the hands of the police since before I was born. So let me clarify the true meaning of the statement “black lives matter”: It means that black lives matter all the time and not just when other lives are affected. It means black lives are sufficient in and of themselves to justify public interest, action and outrage when they alone bear the brunt of injustice and denial of constitutional rights. When others pay attention to previously ignored problems and claim them as public domain, they do what I call a “Christopher Columbus”: asserting that what already existed did not exist until they became of aware of it and now claim it as their own. This is a condescending and contempt — eliciting behavior common in the American discourse, and as long as it exists and persists, racial relations in the country will be tumultuous at best. Anthony Rucker

Protect yourself

Brooklyn: If I am legally armed and you attack me in my car — as was the allegedly case in the road rage shooting — I would shoot you too. It’s called defending myself. If that had not been an armed off-duty cop Delrawn Smalls attacked, he simply would have done his damage, gotten back in his car and driven away. He made the choice to get out of his car. He chose wrong. Linda Calabrese

Swing and a miss

Fall River, Mass.: New York’s Hometown Newspaper aptly employed the word “rapturous” in its photo caption of Mets fans gleefully flocking with pens and baseballs outstretched for autographs from accused wife-beater Jose Reyes in the July 6 edition (“Amazin’ shame, fans”). The ecstatic image speaks volumes about our society’s mindless adulation of sports figures, alleged criminal history be damned. Charles Winokoor

Accentuate the positive

Walden, N.Y.: I have to agree with Voicers Scott Daly and Heather Whipple. I have never listened to a song and said, “I wonder what ethnicity takes credit for that song” — and I never thought the Red Cross poster was racist. Please, let’s stop looking for things to stir up controversy. Music is for all to enjoy, and the Red Cross poster was about pool safety. Life is way too short, and we are all here together. Let’s do our best to stop looking for things to start problems, but focus on the positives in life instead. Gail P. Ellis

Nothing to see here

Laguna Beach, Calif.: Thursday’s congressional hearing with FBI Director James Comey proved to be another partisan exercise in futility. I worked on Capitol Hill, so I know how the House works. This kind of sanctioned witchhunt, trying to find anything to hang former Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with, is an abuse of power. Instead of finding a smoking gun, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, and his colleagues barely uncovered a water pistol. In the best interests of the country, it’s time to move on. Denny Freidenrich

It’s IT

Bronxville, N.Y.: Hillary Clinton was as “exceedingly careless” of email communications as the CEO of Apple or any major corporate or government agency is careless. The information technology department is responsible for server and email security, not the user of the emails. When the CEO of Apple sends or receives emails containing trade secrets, he doesn’t concern himself that the communications are secure. It is the technical responsibility of IT to ensure the emails are encrypted and the email servers are secure from hackers. Clinton is not a Microsoft or Unix server certified IT professional. She did not set up the email servers or the security of the application running on the servers. This is a myth perpetrated by the media and GOP critics. I have worked in the IT field for over 30 years. Frank Mallia


Massapequa, L.I.: Hillary Clinton is a walking, talking human scandal. After Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, Benghazi and numerous other issues, I am thoroughly convinced this woman could commit a murder on live television and not be charged with a crime. Thomas Ascher

Join the Conversation:

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at
Recommended article from Most Labour MPs in the UK Are Revolting.

Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

GARLAND, Tex. — There was a time when he was known as a well-mannered young man — a regular at his church and a pleasant presence on a tree-lined, suburban, multicultural street in a neighborhood called Camelot. He grew up to serve his country in Afghanistan.

But on Thursday night, 25-year-old Micah Johnson, an African-American, drove his car to a rally against police violence and began killing officers in downtown Dallas, hoping to single out the white ones. In the process, he also managed to bring his war back home, killing at least one fellow military veteran and heightening fears that the nation he had been deployed to protect overseas was now failing to address its growing racial divide at home.

The Dallas police remained on edge Saturday. In the late afternoon, officers drew their weapons and cleared an area near the back of their headquarters after a report of a suspicious person in a department parking garage. The agency later said that no one had been found.

In the past several days, as demonstrators jammed the streets in a number of American cities, protesting police violence, new details emerged about Mr. Johnson’s life. They revealed a young man who had returned in disgrace from his stint abroad in the Army Reserve, but then continued a training regimen of his own devising, conducting military-style exercises in his backyard and reportedly joining a gym that offered martial arts and weapons classes.

A Dallas County official also revealed Saturday that Mr. Johnson — who killed five officers and wounded seven others, as well as two civilians, before the police killed him with a robot-delivered explosive device — had kept an extensive journal and described a method of attack in which a gunman fired on a target and then quickly moved to another location to confuse an enemy.

Although it did not seem to be a precise plan for Mr. Johnson’s ambush, it was strikingly similar to the tactics he used.

“It’s talking not only about how to kill but how to keep from being killed,” said Clay Jenkins, Dallas County’s chief executive and director of homeland security and emergency management, who said he had not read the original journal but had reviewed summaries of it. “It shows that he’s well prepared.”

Mr. Johnson showed an affinity for radical black-power organizations on his Facebook page. Organizers of the Black Lives Matter network and others have denounced Mr. Johnson’s shooting spree. In a news conference on Saturday in Warsaw, President Obama said it was “very hard to untangle the motives” behind the shooting.

“As we’ve seen in a whole range of incidents with mass shooters, they are, by definition, troubled,” Mr. Obama said. “By definition, if you shoot people who pose no threat to you — strangers — you have a troubled mind. What triggers that, what feeds it, what sets it off, I’ll leave that to psychologists and people who study these kinds of incidents.”

On Saturday, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said in a statement that Mr. Obama had called him to offer condolences. Mr. Abbott said he had thanked the president and reiterated the need for Americans to unite after the shooting.

Tensions remained high, however. In San Antonio, the police were investigating reports late Saturday that gunshots had been fired at their department’s headquarters, Chief William McManus said at a briefing.

Officers said that they heard gunshots hitting the building just before 10 p.m. and that “a number of shell casings” were recovered, Chief McManus said. There were no injuries.

Mr. Johnson spent some of his childhood at the home of his father and stepmother in Garland, about a half-hour drive north of downtown Dallas. Their neighborhood, Camelot, is a collection of one- and two-story ranch-style houses of late-20th-century vintage, and their house is set in the middle of a tree-lined block, where a number of neighboring homes this weekend still displayed American flags from the Fourth of July weekend. The neighbors walking by or working on their lawns were black, white, Hispanic and Asian.

Courtney Williams, 37, an electrician who lives in Forney, just east of Dallas, said he had known Mr. Johnson during his teenage days, when Mr. Johnson would stay with his mother in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas. The two young men attended the same church, and Mr. Williams recalled Mr. Johnson as a “well-mannered” youth who was active in church events and the typical pursuits of a teenager.

“Video games, the whole nine yards,” he said. Mr. Johnson showed no interest in weapons, Mr. Williams said.

“He was just a quiet kid,” Mr. Williams said. “No attitude, no trouble with school. Just a normal kid.”

Mr. Williams lost touch with Mr. Johnson after the younger man graduated from John Horn High School in Mesquite, Tex., where he had shown some interest in the military, going so far as to participate in the school’s Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program. He was not, it seemed on Saturday, a standout: Horn’s former J.R.O.T.C. instructor said he had little recollection of Mr. Johnson.

He enlisted in the Army Reserve in 2009 and was assigned to a unit — a component of the 420th Engineer Brigade — near Dallas. More than four years later, the unit deployed to Afghanistan. But before the soldiers left for the Afghan theater, they stood in formation not far from the streets where Mr. Johnson would someday stage a siege.

An officer urged them to take care of their families and cultivate their faith. He also emphasized the importance of adapting on the fly.

“Continue to build the flexibility to adjust to changing and unforeseen situations faster than the enemy can adapt,” the officer said, according to a video of the ceremony. “This is how we will succeed.”

But Mr. Johnson did not succeed. While overseas, a female soldier in Mr. Johnson’s unit accused him of sexual harassment. When the Army considered kicking him out, he waived his right to a hearing in exchange for a lesser charge.

Soon he was back in Texas, living with his mother. Ron Price, 49, a former president of the Dallas school board, lives in Mesquite, about four blocks away. He used to see Mr. Johnson in the neighborhood and exchange hellos. He said he had noticed nothing really remarkable about him.

“He was just another guy at the gas station,” he said.

But Mr. Jenkins said a neighbor had seen Mr. Johnson doing militarylike exercises in his backyard in Mesquite in the last couple of weeks.

Mr. Johnson’s preparations seemingly extended to visits to a “self-defense and personal protection” gym in the Dallas area.

The gym’s owner, Justin Everman, told The Daily Beast that it counted many police officers among its members, and he sought to distance himself and his business from Mr. Johnson.

“It’s disgusting, what he did,” Mr. Everman told The Daily Beast. “I’m disgusted.”

In addition to reading summaries of the journal, Mr. Jenkins said he had heard descriptions of its contents from other officials.

Some of it was given over to very specific combat and sniper tactics, including details, Mr. Jenkins said, of “what we call ‘shoot and move’ tactics — ways to fire on a target and then move quickly and get into position at another location to inflict more damage on targets without them being able to ascertain where the shots are coming from.” This tactic is used by the military’s special forces.

“When you couple ‘shoot and move’ and other tactics in his writings, his practice in the yard, his interest in weaponry, it seems to me that this was a well-prepared individual,” Mr. Jenkins said.

He added, “It appeared that he was an excellent marksman and was calmly shooting, as opposed to someone who’s just holding a gun up and aiming it and pulling the trigger in the direction of where they think people are.”

Mr. Jenkins said Mr. Johnson had used a semiautomatic SKS rifle and a high-capacity handgun. He drove his vehicle to the demonstration and parked it, Mr. Jenkins said, but was on foot at many points throughout the attack.

Mr. Johnson’s knowledge of “shoot and move” — and the fact that a few of the protesters in the crowd who were not involved in the shooting were armed and carrying rifles — has helped shed light on how a theory of multiple assailants emerged.

In Texas, gun owners can legally and openly carry what are known as long guns, including shotguns and rifles. The carrying of handguns is regulated in Texas and requires a state-issued permit, whether concealed or openly carried, but the carrying of rifles is largely unregulated and requires no permit. The so-called open carrying of rifles has become common at many demonstrations in Texas in recent years.

“When the shooting first happened, you had people in the crowd who were carrying long rifles and dressed in camouflage,” Mr. Jenkins said. “And then the shooting happens, and those people begin to disperse and move quickly, and they have guns and they’re not police officers and there’s a shooting, and so one of the things that people would investigate quickly is did they have anything to do with whatever is happening.”

Mr. Jenkins said that Mr. Johnson did not appear to have advance knowledge of the march route. Parts of the route were determined on the spot without planning, Mr. Jenkins said.

Throughout a sweltering Saturday, a section of downtown Dallas remained a closed-off crime scene as investigators faced a second day of piecing together the details of the attack, an inquiry that had included more than 200 interviews. More than 20 square blocks remained cordoned off.

Two squad cars outside Police Headquarters have become memorials, covered in flowers, balloons, posters and handwritten notes. On Friday evening, before the officers went on heightened alert, person after person slowly and quietly approached the cars to add tributes. A Dallas police sergeant wiped her eyes, and a handful of people gathered in a circle to pray.

Similar moments played out on Saturday. “I miss you already Brother, but you are home with the angels now,” said a note about Officer Brent Thompson. The authors wrote, “You were, are, and always will be our hero.”

As Mayor Mike Rawlings visited Police Headquarters on Saturday, he told reporters: “We’re all human here, and I think that people feel each other’s pain. And that’s what makes it great, that’s what makes you hopeful that we can do this, that we can move from senselessness, absurdity that’s like a Camus novel, to something that has redemption and hope in it. And that’s ultimately what we need to do.”

He stopped to speak with a woman kneeling by one police car and told her, “Pray hard, sister.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

There may be only a 1 in 258 million chance that someone will win tonight’s $454 million Mega Millions jackpot, but there is a 100% certainty that the winning $528.8 million Powerball ticket is still floating around in the world somewhere. 

The only question is: Who has the ticket?

State lottery officials say it’s not unheard of for ticket holders to intentionally wait months before claiming their prize, but some do it by accident.

The Jan. 12 Powerball jackpot was the biggest in U.S. lottery history at $1.6 billion. The prize was split among three ticket buyers, but only two have claimed their winnings.

Like all Powerball winners, the third ticket holder was given a year to claim the jackpot. With half of that grace period now gone, some lottery officials are wondering whether the winner even realizes he or she has — or had — the winning ticket.

“It’s really 50-50 in my mind now,” said California State Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso. “It’s slightly leaning toward the person may be unaware.”

Some lottery winners take their time to claim a payout so they can get their financial ducks in a row, Traverso said. Lottery winners in the past have spent months with financial planners and attorneys preparing for the onslaught of media, as well as relatives who come out of the woodwork looking for a handout.

Other times, a group of people share the ticket, such as a work pool, and everyone struggles to reach a unanimous decision on how to claim the prize, Traverso said.

“Who knows. Maybe they have their financial house in order, and maybe they decided they’re going to move and the last step is going to be coming in with the ticket. It’s all speculation,” Traverso said.

According to lottery rules, winners of the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots have up to a year to claim the prize and under most circumstances, need to have the ticket to prove ownership.

Read the latest Essential California newsletter »

However there are exceptions, Traverso said. Some winners who have lost their ticket may be able to substantiate their right to a jackpot by answering questions that only a winner would know, such as when and where they purchased the ticket.

“There’s a laundry list of questions. It’s not easy. You’re going to feel like you’re getting the third degree,” he said. “It’s not a dimly lit room with a light bulb and steel table, but you’ll be subject to an investigation, need to answer questions. We have all the answers. So you have to be able to provide those answers.”

The winning ticket purchased in California on Jan. 12 was bought at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills.

The state may have images of the possible winner based on the time the sale was recorded with the state and security camera footage, but the rush to buy tickets was so big that day, there’s no way to pinpoint the specific person who bought the ticket, Traverso said.

The state could release photos of potential winners or send out occasional media notices pleading with tips to find the winner, but neither is likely to happen for the record Powerball ticket, he said. That’s because earlier this year, about three dozen people all claimed to be the winners of a $63-million SuperLotto Plus ticket in Chatsworth in February.

So far, none of the claimants for the Chatsworth ticket have been found credible.

“Because that experience went down the way it did, we’ve had to reevaluate the way we did it,” Traverso said.

Discussing the Chino Hills Powerball ticket, Traverso concluded, “We don’t have any more details to share. It’s not like we have more information we can offer up.”

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.


Cloning great schools is latest in long line of L.A. reform plans

Beverly Hills accused of driving homeless man out of town with private security

Samosas, sambusas and pizza: How Californians end their Ramadan fasts

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

By ,

CINCINNATI — If there were any doubt that Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are the “it” couple of the moment in Democratic politics, it was silenced here Monday when they took the stage together for the first time.

The two nerdy wonks and feisty grandmothers, who built rival power centers on the political left but this spring gradually became allies, together electrified a crowd of thousands by locking their arms, punching the air and excoriating Donald Trump.

Clinton may be the one running for president, but Warren, her new surrogate and possibly future running mate, stole the show with her eviscerating takedown of Trump — and her enthusiastic endorsement of Clinton.

The Massachusetts senator labeled the presumptive Republican presidential nominee “a small, insecure money-grubber,” “a thin-skinned bully” and “a nasty man” who would “crush you into the dirt to get whatever he wants.” Then she critiqued his fashion choices.

“Donald Trump says he will ‘make America great again.’ It is right there — it’s stamped on the front of his goofy hat,” Warren said, knowingly using the same adjective Trump uses to taunt her on Twitter. “You want to see goofy? Look at him in that hat.”

Clinton smiled, chuckled, nodded and clapped — and by the time she swapped places with Warren at the microphone, she didn’t bother trying to emulate the senator with raw jabs. Rather, she congratulated her.

“I do just love to see how she gets under Donald Trump’s thin skin,” Clinton said, laughing.

As if on cue, Trump quickly responded to Warren, telling NBC News that she is “a total fraud,” “very racist” and “easy” to compete against. He again called her “Pocahontas,” a slur alluding to controversy about Warren’s claim of partial Native American heritage.

[Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ attack leaves fellow Republicans squirming (again)]

Monday’s joint appearance at the historic Cincinnati Union Terminal — a grand Art Deco-style train station-turned-museum, adorned with colorful murals depicting steel and railroad workers, farmers and pioneers — amounted to a vice-presidential try-out for Warren, who is being formally vetted for the job by Clinton’s lawyers and advisers.

The late-morning rally was a long time in the making, as Warren became one of the last Democratic leaders — and the very last female Democratic senator — to endorse Clinton; she did so only after Clinton’s victory in California four weeks ago against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) all but ended primary season.

Clinton and Warren are not natural partners. Warren has publicly assailed the centrist domestic policies of Bill Clinton’s presidency and has portrayed Hillary Clinton as too close to Wall Street.

Trump’s campaign issued a statement calling Warren “a turncoat for the causes she supposedly supports,” highlighting their differences on issues like trade and Clinton’s coziness with the financial industry that Warren fights against.

But there was no visible tension between Clinton and Warren as they shared the stage for 47 minutes. The two women, born 20 months apart, apparently have bonded over being grandmothers. Clinton warmly recalled a recent phone conversation with Warren in which Warren told her she was on her way to buy her granddaughter “some sparkly shoes.”

[Hillary Clinton has a new weapon against Trump: Elizabeth Warren]

The coming-together extends to the policy realm as well. As Clinton outlined liberal planks of her domestic agenda — college affordability, Wall Street regulations, infrastructure spending — Warren held onto Clinton’s every line. She stood over Clinton’s shoulder mouthing the word “yes” or punching her fist in the air or throwing her hands up.

In her remarks, Warren testified to Clinton’s progressive credentials and cast her as a fearless fighter for working people.

“Hillary has brains, she has guts, she has thick skin and steady hands, but most of all, she has a good heart, and that is what America needs and that is why I’m with her,” Warren said.

A ticket led by two women would be a historic first; someone in the crowd stoked the possibility by holding up a large sign that read “Girl Power.” Warren has some big-name boosters, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), but many senior Democrats predict Clinton is more likely to opt for a politically safer choice in a running mate, such as Sen. Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia.

“They’re both good on the campaign trail — very good — but I’m not sure the country can take two women. I’m just not sure,” said Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a leader of the civil rights movement.

Clinton fans at Monday’s rally echoed that concern.

“She’s fabulous,” Lana Gallop, 47, a travel agent, said of Warren. “But I don’t think Hillary will pick her. I really think America is not ready for two women on the ticket. I’m ready — hell, yeah, I am — but I don’t think the country is there.”

Clinton has campaigned alongside several possible running mates, including Housing Secretary Julián Castro and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. But her rally with Warren had a different feel. It easily was one of the most electric events of Clinton’s campaign.

[Clinton is vetting three for vice president — and is still studying a longer list]

When Warren said Clinton “knows what it takes to beat a thin-skinned bully“ and “doesn’t run to Twitter to call her opponents ‘fat pigs’ or ‘dummies,’ ” the crowd erupted with chants of “Hill-a-ry! Hill-a-ry! Hill-a-ry!”

At that point, one of Clinton’s advisers who had been carefully watching Warren’s performance whispered to a reporter, “We’ve got to do something about this enthusiasm gap” — a sardonic reference to the media narrative that Clinton’s campaign lacks energy.

In the crowd, Jamie Stocker, 25, a teacher, said, “When they walked out on stage, it was such a heavy moment. I had goose bumps. I was almost going to cry. It’s history, right here.”

Watching on television, Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh said Clinton and Warren were “the most effective one-two punch there is against Donald Trump. It was like spontaneous combustion.”

Marsh, who for months now has advocated a Clinton-Warren ticket, said it was clear that both women were primed for the fall campaign. “That performance today, you can’t teach that,” she said. “You can’t rehearse that. That was both of them at their best, in their own way.”

Warren appeared to relish her role as Trump attack dog. About 15 minutes into her remarks, she said, “You know, I could do this all day,” before pleading with the audience to let her get in one more swipe — this one about Trump’s incendiary commentary about blacks, Muslims, Latinos and women. The crowd ate it up.

“She makes me more excited about Hillary,” Pamela Rees, 54, who owns a manufacturing company, said about Warren. “Elizabeth is an inherently more vivacious campaigner. Hillary is presidential, and that’s different.”

Watching Warren go after Trump, she added, “You’ve got to love that. She doesn’t mince words and she gives it back to him, punch for punch.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

There is a revolutionary strain in the American DNA – Great Britain knows all about that – so on the other side of the Atlantic there is an understanding of the statement the British people made with the Brexit vote.

At the same time, as the most powerful country in the world, the United States values the status quo and the leadership Great Britain has exercised within the European Union and beyond.

The vote is the beginning of a lengthy transition as Britain reconstructs its regional and global role.

Notwithstanding admonitions by the Leave campaign that the vote was none of the Yanks’ business, given the important alliance between the two countries, America has a significant stake in what happens now.

So how will Brexit affect the special relationship?

The US and UK are bound by history, culture, trade, democratic values and shared interests. There is every reason to believe Washington and London will work through all bilateral issues that arise, including new trade arrangements.

New deal?

Wading into the controversy in April, President Barack Obama warned that in the event of a Leave victory, Great Britain would be at the “back of the queue” regarding a new trade agreement. The Obama administration will be devoting its energy to ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Since Prime Minister David Cameron signalled it will be some time before Article 50 is triggered, a new deal will fall to new governments on both sides.

Given the depth of US-UK bilateral investment, a new deal will get done, although the politics on both sides will be tricky. To some extent, the US presidential and Leave campaigns are mirror images.

Substantial numbers of voters in both countries believe they have been short-changed. It will take heavy political lifting in Washington and London to convince their sceptical electorates that the end result is a better deal for both.

Less clear is what happens to Great Britain and the European Union as they go through this process. For London and Brussels, how do the new UK government and reduced EU alliance interpret the mandate or message from the Brexit vote?

And is there a capacity and political will for determined action when the dust settles?

Here in the United States, there is an enduring myth that politics should stop at the water’s edge. It never has and never will. In this case, the Brexit vote has fundamentally altered British foreign policy and the western international structure, which indirectly affects American foreign policy as well.

This is a political earthquake and there could be further aftershocks.

England and Wales voted to Leave and Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain. The fissures in British society exposed by the Scottish independence referendum will only deepen in light of the Brexit vote.

The US will always value Great Britain, but its composition is once again up for discussion.

Great Britain is likely to enter a period of political retrenchment as it negotiates its unprecedented divorce from the EU while it works to preserve its marriage with two units that see value in a European identity.

Speed dial

When Europe embarked on its remarkable integration project, Henry Kissinger famously questioned whom Washington should call.

While Brussels has become a key hub for American diplomacy, particularly with the renewed relevance of Nato (and greater emphasis on its traditional mission in light of the crisis in Ukraine) and evolution of the European Defence Agency, Washington always had London, Paris and Berlin on speed dial.

Brexit doesn’t change the importance of American collaboration with key European allies, but gaining a consensus for determined action – always a challenge with the EU at 28 – will become more complex with Europe at 28 minus one.

The Brexit vote will surely exacerbate the existing anti-establishment and anti-immigration sentiment in various corners of the continent.

The risk is that a Europe preoccupied with redefining its internal and external relationships will be less able to deal coherently with the ongoing migration crisis, its support for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.

Key European allies, to borrow a favourite Obama phrase, will be inclined to devote more resources to “nation-building at home.” Nato has encouraged its members to devote 2% of their gross domestic product to defence. Most have fallen short.

Brexit will make that an even greater challenge, particularly for Great Britain, which will experience significant near and mid-term costs as it rewires its economy.

There are good reasons to believe that both the United Kingdom and European Union will make the new arrangement work.

The unanswerable question in Washington is what challenges lurk as they shift from the region that is to the one that will be. At the end of that journey, we know that key relationships will endure. What we don’t know is whether they will be more effective.

P.J. Crowley is a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, a distinguished fellow at The George Washington University Institute for Public Diplomacy & Global Communication and author of the forthcoming book, Red Line: American Foreign Policy in a Time of Fractured Politics and Failing States.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

The FBI said today that there wasn’t enough information to conduct a “meaningful investigative follow up” on an individual who employees of a Florida gun store thought was “suspicious” and later believed they recognized as Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.

The bureau said FBI agents had made a visit to Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Florida in May on an “unrelated investigative matter” when employees told them about a man who had come in asking about high-end body armor. The FBI said employees had turned the man away, but didn’t collect any personal information about him.

“Unfortunately, given the lack of information about this individual, FBI agents were unable to conduct any meaningful investigative followup,” a statement from the bureau said.

The statement confirms most of, but is at odds with part of an account from Robert Abell, co-owner of Lotus, who said Thursday the man later identified as Mateen had come into his store five or six weeks ago.

Abell said the man asked about the body armor, and when he learned the store didn’t carry, made a phone call in a “foreign” language before asking about bulk ammunition. Abell said his employees were put off by the “odd” questions and turned the man away. His employees then decided to call the local FBI office in West Palm Beach and report the “very suspicious” man.

Abell said there were follow up conversations with the FBI, but agents didn’t visit the store to examine what he called grainy security footage.

After Sunday morning’s shooting at Orlando’s popular gay nightclub Pulse, Abell said his employees recognized the shooter as the suspicious man from more than a month before. The security footage has since been taped over, he said.

The FBI has been facing sharp questions since it emerged earlier this week that they had directly investigated Mateen in 2013 and questioned him again in 2014 related to another matter about purported links to extremists. In both cases agents determined Mateen was not a threat. FBI Director James Comey said Monday that in a review of those cases, he didn’t see anything his agents should’ve done differently.

Mateen killed 49 people at Pulse in the early morning hours on Sunday before being gunned down by police.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

The FBI said today that there wasn’t enough information to conduct a “meaningful investigative follow up” on an individual who employees of a Florida gun store thought was “suspicious” and later believed they recognized as Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.

The bureau said FBI agents had made a visit to Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Florida in May on an “unrelated investigative matter” when employees told them about a man who had come in asking about high-end body armor. The FBI said employees had turned the man away, but didn’t collect any personal information about him.

“Unfortunately, given the lack of information about this individual, FBI agents were unable to conduct any meaningful investigative followup,” a statement from the bureau said.

The statement confirms most of, but is at odds with part of an account from Robert Abell, co-owner of Lotus, who said Thursday the man later identified as Mateen had come into his store five or six weeks ago.

Abell said the man asked about the body armor, and when he learned the store didn’t carry, made a phone call in a “foreign” language before asking about bulk ammunition. Abell said his employees were put off by the “odd” questions and turned the man away. His employees then decided to call the local FBI office in West Palm Beach and report the “very suspicious” man.

Abell said there were follow up conversations with the FBI, but agents didn’t visit the store to examine what he called grainy security footage.

After Sunday morning’s shooting at Orlando’s popular gay nightclub Pulse, Abell said his employees recognized the shooter as the suspicious man from more than a month before. The security footage has since been taped over, he said.

The FBI has been facing sharp questions since it emerged earlier this week that they had directly investigated Mateen in 2013 and questioned him again in 2014 related to another matter about purported links to extremists. In both cases agents determined Mateen was not a threat. FBI Director James Comey said Monday that in a review of those cases, he didn’t see anything his agents should’ve done differently.

Mateen killed 49 people at Pulse in the early morning hours on Sunday before being gunned down by police.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

If there was any doubt that Paul Ryan’s endorsement of Donald Trump was less than full-throated, he crushed it on Friday.

Less than 24 hours after Ryan announced that his “not ready” had become a “ready,” the House speaker ripped into the presumptive Republican nominee, making it clear he will not be Trump’s defender in chief.

Story Continued Below

Unprompted by WISN radio host Vicki McKenna, Ryan scolded Trump for his racially-based attacks against the federal judge in California overseeing a civil fraud lawsuit against Trump University.

“Look, the comment about the judge the other day just was out of left field for my mind,” Ryan said, after Trump argued that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Mexican heritage creates “an inherent conflict of interest.”

“It’s reasoning I don’t relate to. I completely disagree with the thinking behind that. And so, he clearly says and does things I don’t agree with, and I’ve had to speak up from time to time when that has occurred, and I’ll continue to do that if it’s necessary. I hope it’s not.”

This is Ryan’s new fate — one day embracing the man taking a blowtorch to the Republican Party, the next day denouncing him.

Ryan’s ambivalence practically leapt off the page of The Janesville Gazette on Thursday. He offered only tepid compliments to Trump and chose not to explain exactly what had changed since May 5, when Ryan went on CNN to declare that he was “just not ready” to endorse Trump.

His aides also refused to answer whether Ryan will fundraise alongside Trump or appear on the campaign trail for him.

And Ryan’s eagerness to distance himself from Trump’s rhetoric on Friday spoke volumes, especially because his counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, passed up a chance to rebuke Trump.

“Well, what I am willing to say is that Donald Trump is certainly a different kind of candidate,” McConnell told MSNBC on Friday when asked about Trump’s repeated tirades against Curiel.

Ryan for months has been walking a tightrope when it comes to Trump. During the winter and spring, the speaker chided Trump after he refused to immediately disavow the backing of white supremacist David Duke and when the real-estate tycoon proposed temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States.

The tension came to a head when Ryan refused to fall in line once the Republican National Committee declared Trump the presumptive nominee.

Still, the House speaker could hold out for only so long. After a high-profile meeting in Washington brokered by the RNC on May 12 and repeated phone calls, Ryan on Thursday declared that Trump offered the best chance of enacting conservative change after eight years of the GOP being blocked by President Barack Obama.

“For me, it’s a question of how to move ahead on the ideas that I — and my House colleagues — have invested so much in through the years. It’s not just a choice of two people, but of two visions for America. And House Republicans are helping shape that Republican vision by offering a bold policy agenda, by offering a better way ahead,” Ryan wrote.

“Donald Trump can help us make it a reality.”

On Friday, he made sure to mix his rebuke of Trump with more optimistic notes, saying that Trump has offered him assurances that he would be a “partner” in implementing a set of conservative policy proposals that Ryan will start rolling out next Tuesday.

“We believe we in the House can add a keel and a rudder to this ship, and give it substance and give it direction, from the Constitution, to national security, to reforming welfare, to cleaning up the tax code, to replacing Obamacare. These are the kinds of things that we’re going to be rolling out in the next few weeks,” Ryan said in the radio interview. “My point in basically not supporting him from the get-go was to make sure that we had someone working with us on this agenda and not against us.”

“He’s agreed to let you be the rudder is what you’re saying?” McKenna asked in response. “He’s agreed to let the House Republican agenda, you know, that you guys be the keel of the ship?”

“That is the role we see ourselves playing,” Ryan said. “We can’t just blow another election. The Supreme Court, everything’s up for grabs. We can’t afford to blow another election.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Powered by WPeMatico