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    President Donald Trump has made airlines' longtime goal of privatizing air traffic control a key part of his agenda to boost America's infrastructure. But his prospects for closing the deal with Congress appear slim. A House bill that would put the aviation industry in charge of air traffic control has repeatedly stalled and prospects appear even worse in the Senate, where there has been no effort to take up the issue. While the White House and airline lobbyists have pushed for privatization, there has been fierce opposition from private pilots, corporate aircraft owners and others who fear they will have to pay more to use the system and would lose access to busy airports. Airlines have pushed for getting the government out of air traffic operations for decades and seemed to have the brightest prospects after meeting with Trump early this year. Trump embraced the idea as part of his overall plan to boost infrastructure — a big part of his campaign promise to create jobs. While Trump has offered few other specifics about his overall infrastructure plans, he put the spotlight on air-traffic privatization at a White House infrastructure event in June. Three weeks later, the House transportation committee approved a bill by its chairman, Pennsylvania Republican Bill Shuster, to spin off air traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration and place it under the authority of a private, non-profit corporation run by aviation interests, including airlines. But the bill still hasn't come to the House floor. Trump's special assistant for infrastructure policy, D.J. Gribbin, told an airline industry conference last week that House leaders are planning a vote in early October. But the bill's supporters acknowledge the vote would have already happened if there was enough support to pass it. 'We're working on it,' Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Michigan, told reporters. 'We don't have all the votes yet.' Lawmakers in both parties have expressed concern about Congress losing oversight of such an important, traditionally government-run function. The handover of about 300 airport towers and other flight tracking centers would be one of the largest transfers of U.S. government assets ever. About 35,000 workers would be affected. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the senior Democrat on the Commerce Committee, which oversees the FAA, called the House plan 'a classic case of a costly solution looking for a problem.' 'It's an idea that went nowhere in the Senate last year and is destined to meet the same fate this year,' he said. Airlines say the FAA has shown itself incapable of executing its plan to use technology to transform America's air traffic system, saving time, fuel and money and increasing the system's capacity to handle more planes as air travel grows. Part of the FAA's problem is that the vagaries of the government's budget process have limited the agency's ability to commit to long-term contracts and raise money for major expenditures. Placing the system under a corporation that can borrow money against future revenue would lead to greater efficiency and more reliable funding, airlines say. Many countries have separated air-traffic operations from their safety regulator in recent years, with most creating government-owned corporations, independent government agencies or quasi-governmental entities. The House bill is modeled after Canada's air traffic corporation, Nav Canada, the only clearly private nonprofit air-traffic corporation. Privatization supporters say Nav Canada has made smart decisions that have enabled it to adopt more advanced technology while reducing fees to airlines and other users. But opponents fear privatization will give airlines too much power over the aviation system. 'This is a monopolization bill,' said Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Louisiana. The corporation's 13-member board, as outlined in the bill, 'is definitely stacked to favor the big airlines,' he said. The airline industry has faced the lobbying muscle of private pilots and other 'general aviation' users in the past, and lost. People who can afford their own plane tend to be well-heeled and know how to get lawmakers' attention. They are an especially important constituency in rural districts and states, where people depend more on small aircraft. Opponents also have enlisted the support of several aviation heroes, including astronaut Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13. Retired Capt. Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, the pilot who landed an airliner in the Hudson River without the loss of a single life made a commercial for opponents, saying not to trust 'the keys to the kingdom' to 'the people who make your airline seats smaller.' White House and airline officials have pushed hard, but say offers to adjust the bill to address opponents' concerns have been rebuffed. General aviation groups have told bill proponents they fear that any protections in the legislation would be inadequate. 'We could literally never get past that concept,' said the White House's Gribbin.
  • The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating two female Navy hospital corpsmen in Florida who posted Snapchat photos making a newborn dance to rap music and giving the middle finger to another baby with a caption that said, 'How I currently feel about these mini Satans.' Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison, the Navy's Surgeon General, has also ordered an immediate stand-down at all Navy medical commands to review policies, standards and 'our oaths, our pledges, our reasons for serving.' Faison said the review must be done within 48 hours. The 'highly offensive photos and videos,' said Faison, were 'shared on various platforms and ... viewed by hundreds of thousands of individuals.' That behavior, he said, is inconsistent with the Navy's core values, medical ethics and the oaths the corpsmen took for their profession. 'In an age where information can be shared instantly, what we say and post online must reflect the highest standards of character and conduct, in both our personal and professional lives,' Faison said in a message posted to the force. Faison also ordered an immediate prohibition on any personal cellphones in patient care areas, and told commanders to ensure no patient photos exist on social media. He also told commanders to personally contact all the current and expectant mothers planning to deliver children in Navy facilities, talk to them about what has been done and address their concerns. Navy Capt. Brenda Malone, spokeswoman for the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, said the corpsmen were removed from any jobs involving direct patient care and appropriate action will be taken once the NCIS investigation is finished. She said NCIS would forward the results of the investigation to the appropriate command to determine if criminal prosecution is warranted.
  • The United States ramped up pressure Wednesday on Iraq's Kurds to abandon a planned referendum on independence, threatening to withdraw international support for negotiations with Baghdad if the vote isn't scrapped. In a forceful warning, the Trump administration said the costs of holding the Sept. 25 vote would be high 'for all Iraqis, including Kurds.' State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. was urging the Kurds to 'accept the alternative' — talks between the northern Kurdish region and Iraq's central government that the U.S. and United Nations would facilitate. 'If this referendum is conducted, it is highly unlikely that there will be negotiations with Baghdad, and the above international offer of support for negotiations will be foreclosed,' Nauert said. The Iraqi Kurds intend to hold the vote in three governorates that form their self-ruled region, and also in disputed areas controlled by Kurdish forces but claimed by Iraq's government. That includes Kirkuk, an oil-rich but ethnically mixed province that the Kurds helped liberate from the Islamic State group. The U.S. has previously voiced opposition to the vote, out of concern an expected 'yes' vote would fracture Iraq and destabilize the broader region. But Wednesday's warning was the strongest to date from the U.S., reflecting growing concerns that the vote could imperil hard-fought progress in the country where the U.S. has been fighting since 2003. Naeurt said the planned referendum has already impeded the U.S.-led campaign to defeat the Islamic State group in its remaining strongholds in Iraq. She said IS and other extremist groups would exploit the tensions that would result from the referendum. 'All of Iraq's neighbors, and virtually the entire international community, also oppose this referendum,' Nauert said. One key U.S. ally — Israel — supports Kurdish independence in Iraq. Iraq's top court has temporarily suspended the vote, and the country's parliament has also voted to reject it. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has even said he's prepared to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence. But Kurdish officials have continued to say the vote will be held nonetheless. The Kurds are an ethnic group with populations in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey. In Iraq, the Kurds have long aspired to statehood, and were harshly oppressed under Saddam Hussein. ___ Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP
  • President Donald Trump is considering a further reduction in the number of refugees allowed into the United States as the administration works to re-shape American immigration policy, officials said Wednesday. Trump, who has already slashed refugee admissions once since taking office, is now weighing limiting even further the number of refugees allowed into the country in the next fiscal year. But as is often the case with the Trump administration, Cabinet officials are divided as they weigh the costs and potential security risks associated with the program. The Department of Homeland Security has been pushing for a reduction beyond the 50,000 mark set by Trump earlier this year as part of his travel ban executive orders — a number that is already the lowest in modern American history. In a proposal submitted late last week, the department called for a reduction to 40,000 refugees in the next fiscal year, citing concerns about its workload and ability to adequately vet those seeking entry. The State Department, which oversees the program, has formally recommended that the number be kept at 50,000, according to Trump administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations. Agencies had been given until the close of business Wednesday to submit formal recommendations for consideration. State Department officials would have been inclined to set their recommendation higher, several of the people said, but were taking their cues from the president's executive order and felt that 50,000 was the highest number that would be palatable to him. Trump has until Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year, to determine how many refugees to admit under the Refugee Act of 1980. Trump is expected to consider the issue over the weekend, after he finishes up at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, one White House official said. The U.S. welcomed 84,995 refugees in fiscal year 2016, and former President Barack Obama had wanted to raise that number to 110,000 in 2017. Trump has made limiting immigration the centerpiece of his agenda. He temporarily banned visitors from a handful of Muslim-majority nations, has revoked an Obama-era executive action protecting young immigrants from deportation and insists he'll build a wall along the southern border. During his campaign, Trump pledged to 'stop the massive inflow of refugees' and warned that terrorists were smuggling themselves into naive countries by posing as refugees fleeing war-torn Syria. 'Thousands of refugees are being admitted with no way to screen them and are instantly made eligible for welfare and free health care, even as our own veterans, our great, great veterans, die while they're waiting online for medical care that they desperately need,' Trump said last October. Instead, Trump has advocated keeping refugees closer to their homes. In a speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, Trump thanked Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for taking in hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Syrian conflict, and described the United States as a 'compassionate nation' that has spent 'billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort.' 'We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people, and which enables their eventual return to their home countries to be part of the rebuilding process,' he said, arguing that, for the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, the U.S. can assist more than 10 migrants in their home regions. Advocates say that misses the point. 'I think that these comments show a basic misunderstanding of the refugee crisis,' said Jen Smyers, who helps run the immigration and refugee program at Church World Service, one of nine organizations that work to resettle refugees in the U.S. She said the safe re-integration of refugees into their home countries is always the preferred outcome, followed by integration in a nearby country that shares a refugee's language and culture. Resettlement is a last resort when those options are impossible. Refugees already face an extensive backlog and waiting periods that can take years. Smyers said that after Trump's executive order, she had to tell refugees in the pipeline they'd be waiting even longer. 'It's devastating for refugees who are overseas,' she said. Stacie Blake, of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, said the proposed cutbacks were especially concerning given the migrant crises affecting so many parts of the word, including the Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing Myanmar. She said Trump's move could prompt other nations to 'back out' as well. White House spokeswoman Kelly Love said in a statement that the administration's approach to refugee resettlement 'is unwavering' and would be 'guided by the safety and security of the American people, the protection of U.S. taxpayers, and the application of U.S. resources in a manner that stretches our dollars to help the most people.' DHS spokesman David Lapan said that in setting the admissions ceiling, the agency would take into account the 'workload capacity of all program partners, including the vetting agencies' as well as national security interests. Simon Henshaw, the top State Department official for refugees, said the decision was ultimately Trump's. __ Associated Press writer Josh Lederman contributed from New York.
  • Congressional Democrats on Wednesday chastised Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, saying he wasted taxpayer money by chartering five private flights last week for official business when other cheaper travel options were available. 'Taxpayer funds are not meant to be used as a jet-setting slush fund,' said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. Pallone said Democrats would seek a 'full accounting' of Price's travel from his department's inspector general. Price, a former Republican House member from Georgia, chartered flights to a resort in Maine where he was part of a discussion with a health care industry CEO, according to a report in Politico. He also chartered flights to community health centers in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. One leg was from Dulles International Airport to Philadelphia International Airport, a distance of 135 miles. Charmaine Yoest, Price's assistant secretary for public affairs, did not dispute the report. She said Price tries to fly commercial whenever possible, but that option 'is not always feasible.' She said the department's travel department checks 'every possible source for travel needs.' To Democrats, Price's expensive travel smacked of hypocrisy given Trump's campaign pledge to drain 'the swamp' of money and influence in Washington and Price's long-standing criticism of government waste. 'Belt tightening seems to be for the little guy...not for @SecPriceMD,' Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., tweeted, using Price's Twitter handle. Other members of the Cabinet contacted by The Associated Press said they personally foot the bill for chartered travel or reimburse taxpayers the difference between commercial and chartered travel. The exceptions are when they are traveling with the president or vice president, who fly aboard government planes. Department of Education spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill said by email that Secretary Betsy DeVos 'pays for all of her travel expenses including flights, hotels, etc. out of pocket and at no expense to taxpayers.' Hill said the only charge to the department was one roundtrip Amtrak ticket from Washington to Philadelphia for $184. Terrence Sutherland, a spokesman for Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, said in an email: 'On the rare occasion that the administrator has utilized private air services, she had covered the difference in cost between private and commercial air services out of her own pocket.' Agriculture Department spokesman Tim Murtaugh said Secretary Sonny Perdue has taken no private flights and flies mostly commercial. Spokespeople for Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the men travel commercial when not in government planes. Travel by some other Trump Cabinet secretaries has raised questions lately about whether any come at taxpayer expense. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that the initial request for use of a government plane for his European trip last month was about national security and not his own personal convenience on his honeymoon. Mnuchin said as a member of the president's National Security Council he needed a secure communication link with Washington and his staff put in a request for use of an Air Force jet for his honeymoon trip with his wife, Louise Linton, to Scotland, France and Italy. But he said it was just an option being explored and once it became clear he could obtain secure communications links without a government plane, the request was withdrawn. 'The government never paid for any of my personal travel,' Mnuchin said. 'This had nothing to do with convenience. This was purely about national security.' Mnuchin also denied reports that he and his wife used a government plane to travel to Kentucky so they could view last month's solar eclipse. ___ Associated Press Writers Maria Danilova, Jennifer Kerr and Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.
  • President Donald Trump will award the Medal of Honor to a retired Army medic from Alabama who risked his life several times to provide medical care to his comrades during the Vietnam War, the White House announced Wednesday. Trump will award retired Army Capt. Gary M. Rose of Huntsville, Alabama, the nation's highest military honor for his actions in combat. Trump will honor Rose for his conspicuous gallantry during a White House ceremony on Oct. 23. The White House said Rose, 69, will be recognized for risking his life while serving as a medic with the 5th Special Force Group during combat operations in Vietnam in September 1970. Rose repeatedly ran into the line of enemy fire to provide medical care, and used his own body on one occasion to shield a wounded American from harm. On the final day of the mission, Rose was wounded but put himself in the line of enemy fire while moving wounded personnel to an extraction point, loading them into helicopters and helping to repel an enemy assault on the American position. As he boarded the final extraction helicopter, the aircraft was hit with intense enemy fire and crashed shortly after takeoff. The White House said Rose ignored his own injuries and pulled the helicopter crew and members of his unit from the burning wreckage and provided medical care until another extraction helicopter arrived. Rose is a 20-year veteran of the Army. He will be the second person to be awarded the Medal of Honor by Trump. The president honored James McCloughan of South Haven, Michigan, in July for his actions to save wounded soldiers in a Vietnam kill zone.
  • In an overheard phone call Wednesday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham leaned on a fellow senator to back his GOP health care bill despite 'all its imperfections.' Graham called the 'Obamacare' repeal bill he co-authored a 'historic opportunity' and asserted: 'We're going to vote. Everyone will be held accountable.' Graham made his comments in a cellphone call in front of a passenger at Reagan National Airport before he boarded a flight. A reference to working 'for Arizona' suggests Graham was talking to his good friend John McCain. Graham's office did not dispute the quotes, nor confirm who was on the call. McCain is a key holdout on the legislation that may come to a vote in the Senate next week. He was the deciding 'no' vote on the last GOP health care bill, in July. 'Always believed it's the replacement part that's tripped us up,' Graham said on the call, referring to the 'repeal and replace' mantra that Republicans used for years against President Barack Obama's health care law. Seeking support for his own legislation, he said: 'With all its imperfections, I hope you can.' Graham and President Donald Trump have a history of bad blood, dating back to 2015 when the South Carolina senator called Trump a 'jackass' for challenging his friend McCain's heroism in the Vietnam War. Trump responded by giving out the senator's private cellphone number and later branded him a 'poor, poor, pathetic man.' But in the last-ditch GOP attempt to upend Obamacare, Graham is counting on help from the president. 'I talk with President Trump three times a day,' he said on the call.
  • Ivanka Trump says she experienced postpartum depression after the births of each of her three children. Trump, in an interview for 'The Dr. Oz Show,' called it a 'very challenging, emotional time for me.' 'I felt like I was not living up to my potential as a parent, or as an entrepreneur, or as an executive,' she added. Trump said that because she had enjoyed easy pregnancies, 'the juxtaposition hit me even harder.' She said she decided to reveal her struggle because postpartum depression was an 'incredibly important' issue. 'I consider myself a very hard-charging person,' she added. 'I am ambitious, I'm passionate, I'm driven, but this is something that affects parents all over the country.' Excerpts from the interview, set to air Thursday, were released Wednesday and shown on ABC's 'Good Morning America.' Trump has three children with husband Jared Kushner, also a White House adviser. Arabella is six, Joseph is three and Theodore is one. Trump has been in New York this week, conducting meetings with foreign officials on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. She has focused on a targeted set of issues, including family leave and workforce development. .
  • As Hurricane Maria was ravaging the island of Puerto Rico, House Speaker Paul Ryan said during a Wednesday visit to Florida that he expects the Congress will vote on more disaster relief money next month, as federal agencies deal with the aftermath from three major hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria. “I’m sure that we’re going to do another, what we call a supplemental, sometime in October, once we have a full assessment of what is needed,” the Speaker said, after spending the day looking at storm damage across Florida. Earlier this month, lawmakers approved $15.3 billion in extra aid for Hurricane Harvey; while that money was expected to allow for initial aid for victims of both Harvey and on Hurricane Irma relief, the expected damage from Hurricane Maria will mean an even bigger drain on federal emergency budget accounts. The Speaker’s comments came after Ryan toured damaged areas in south Florida, which included a flight from the U.S. Coast Guard over the Florida Keys. Thank you @SpeakerRyan for taking the time to visit South Florida & the #FLKeys to assess the damage left behind by #Irma #KeysRecovery pic.twitter.com/qNb105UJid — Rep. Carlos Curbelo (@RepCurbelo) September 20, 2017 “From Marathon to Key West, it was really pretty extensive damage,” Ryan said, noting that he was familiar with the area from fishing trips he has made to Florida in the past. “It was really astounding, the kind of damage that is done, not just to the ecosystem, but also to the homes and the structures,” the Speaker added. Ryan was accompanied not only by local lawmakers from Florida, but also by the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), who would be in charge of any extra aid package in the House. . @SpeakerRyan says he expects Congress will have to pass another hurricane aid package in October. — Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) September 20, 2017 “We will work together to make sure that the necessary federal resources are in place for the rebuilding,” the Speaker said. “We will be there every step of the way.” No estimates have been given on how much the Congress will have to pony up in terms of federal aid for Harvey, Irma and Maria; the Governor of Texas at one point said he thought his state might need over $100 billion from Uncle Sam, and the costs will certainly climb with damage to Puerto Rico from Maria.
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller's team of investigators is seeking information from the White House related to Michael Flynn's stint as national security adviser and about the response to a meeting with a Russian lawyer that was attended by President Donald Trump's oldest son, The Associated Press has learned. Mueller's office has requested a large batch of documents from the White House and is expected to interview at least a half-dozen current and former aides in the coming weeks. Lawyers for the White House are in the process of trying to cooperate with the document requests. Though the full scope of the investigation is not clear, the information requests make evident at least some of the areas that Mueller and his team of prosecutors intend to look into and also reveal a strong interest in certain of Trump's actions as president. A person familiar with the investigation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation said investigators want information on, among other topics, a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that Donald Trump Jr. attended with a Russian lawyer as well as on the administration's response to it. A statement provided to journalists in July, which the White House has said Trump had a hand in drafting, said the meeting was primarily to discuss a disbanded program that used to allow American adoptions of Russian children, but emails released days later by Trump Jr. show that he arranged the encounter with the expectation of receiving damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Investigators also are interested in White House actions involving Flynn, such as what officials knew about an FBI investigation into him and how they responded to word that his Russian contacts had been scrutinized. Flynn was forced out as national security adviser in February after White House officials concluded he had misled them about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates has said she warned White House counsel Don McGahn in January that that deception left Flynn and the White House in a compromised position, and that she expected McGahn to take action. That conversation took place two days after FBI agents had interviewed Flynn. But Flynn was not asked to resign until several weeks later, following news reports that said he had discussed sanctions during the transition period with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. Former FBI Director James Comey has said that Flynn was facing an FBI criminal investigation 'of his statements in connection with the Russian contacts and the contacts themselves. And so that was my assessment at the time.' Comey has also said that Trump, in a private Oval Office encounter in February, told him that he hoped he would end the FBI investigation into Flynn. Trump has denied that. Comey's own firing in May is also under investigation for potential obstruction of justice, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel and oversees his work, has been questioned by investigators about the circumstances of that event, according to people familiar with the matter. A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment. Mueller was appointed in May to investigate potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, and potential crimes arising from that probe. Investigators in July raided the home of Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in a search of tax and banking records and in recent months have served subpoenas related both to Manafort's business dealings and those of Flynn. Mueller's team of investigators includes prosecutors with experience in organized crime, national security and complex financial fraud cases. The primary prosecutor on the White House investigation is James Quarles, who came with Mueller from the WilmerHale law firm and was involved in Watergate prosecutions. Among the aides expected to be interviewed in coming weeks are McGahn, former press secretary Sean Spicer and former chief of staff Reince Priebus. ___ Follow Eric Tucker on http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

News

  • As more information becomes available about the Equifax breach scandal, U.S. consumers are still searching for answers on whether they are vulnerable to identity fraud.  So that is why WSB Radio, Channel 2 Action News, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Consumer Adviser Clark Howard teamed up Monday morning to answer your questions.   Clark Howard was joined by Channel 2 Action News anchor Craig Lucie LIVE in Team Clark Howard's Consumer Action Center. They fielded questions and talked about the breach for over an hour.   The Facebook Live of the event reached more than 400,000 people worldwide:
  • A sweet -- and very large -- feline could be classified as a Hurricane Irma victim, but instead she’ll probably become famous as she goes viral.  Faye, weighing in at a whopping 24 pounds, was dropped off at the Jacksonville Humane Society in Jacksonville, Florida, and is up for adoption Wednesday. >> Read more trending news A Facebook post about the cat went up Tuesday night and had already been shared more than 600 times by Wednesday.  According to the shelter, the 12-year-old cat is an attention hound and needs a loving home where someone will help her cut back on food and treats.  “Faye loves attention and likes when you scratch right above her nubby tail,” the post said. “She will need a loving home to help her lose weight at a slow and steady pace outlined by our veterinarian.” Faye was brought in after Hurricane Irma, but her owner contacted them before the storm for help, so shelter officials aren’t totally blaming the storm. Those interested in adopting Faye or other pets at the North Florida shelter can visit the Jacksonville Humane Society website. 
  • Want to request a credit from Comcast for missed Xfinity cable, internet and phone service due to Hurricane Irma? The company has set up two ways to ask for it. Customers can either call its customer service line at 1-800-391-3000 or fill out a short online form at xfinity.com/florida-form. The online way is likely faster, since it doesn’t require customers to log in. >> Read more trending news Those without internet at home may be able to use their smartphone or find a place with available Wi-Fi.  A Comcast employee will respond, and credits may take one to two billing cycles to be posted to your account, according to the company. As of Monday, there were nearly 900,000 cable customers without service in Florida. That number includes a number of internet provider, not just Comcast. A Comcast spokeswoman said Tuesday that 97 percent of its customers have had their service restored. AT&T’s U-verse cable service has also been hit hard by outages, but the company has been mum about whether they will offer credits. It’s not mentioned on AT&T’s Irma support page. When reached for comment about the issue last week, a spokeswoman never responded to Palm Beach Post. “Unfortunately our equipment that services internet and TV took a hit,” a post on the AT&T support forum said. Due to the nature of the equipment, it can take time to replace or repair depending on the damaged caused by the water. Also power may not have been restored to our equipment as residential areas take priority. Just because you have power at your home, does not mean power has been restored in other areas that push the signal to your home. “We do have many crews out there trying to restore service to get everyone back up. I know this is a stressful time for everyone out there. Please know that AT&T is doing what we can to help. “ U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., asked the CEOs of America’s largest cell service and cable providers last week to waive late fees and issue rebates for victims of Irma. Hardly any of the companies responded. Comcast is also waiving a variety of fees, including late payment fees, early termination fees and fees for requipment that has not been returned.
  • President Donald Trump has made airlines' longtime goal of privatizing air traffic control a key part of his agenda to boost America's infrastructure. But his prospects for closing the deal with Congress appear slim. A House bill that would put the aviation industry in charge of air traffic control has repeatedly stalled and prospects appear even worse in the Senate, where there has been no effort to take up the issue. While the White House and airline lobbyists have pushed for privatization, there has been fierce opposition from private pilots, corporate aircraft owners and others who fear they will have to pay more to use the system and would lose access to busy airports. Airlines have pushed for getting the government out of air traffic operations for decades and seemed to have the brightest prospects after meeting with Trump early this year. Trump embraced the idea as part of his overall plan to boost infrastructure — a big part of his campaign promise to create jobs. While Trump has offered few other specifics about his overall infrastructure plans, he put the spotlight on air-traffic privatization at a White House infrastructure event in June. Three weeks later, the House transportation committee approved a bill by its chairman, Pennsylvania Republican Bill Shuster, to spin off air traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration and place it under the authority of a private, non-profit corporation run by aviation interests, including airlines. But the bill still hasn't come to the House floor. Trump's special assistant for infrastructure policy, D.J. Gribbin, told an airline industry conference last week that House leaders are planning a vote in early October. But the bill's supporters acknowledge the vote would have already happened if there was enough support to pass it. 'We're working on it,' Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Michigan, told reporters. 'We don't have all the votes yet.' Lawmakers in both parties have expressed concern about Congress losing oversight of such an important, traditionally government-run function. The handover of about 300 airport towers and other flight tracking centers would be one of the largest transfers of U.S. government assets ever. About 35,000 workers would be affected. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the senior Democrat on the Commerce Committee, which oversees the FAA, called the House plan 'a classic case of a costly solution looking for a problem.' 'It's an idea that went nowhere in the Senate last year and is destined to meet the same fate this year,' he said. Airlines say the FAA has shown itself incapable of executing its plan to use technology to transform America's air traffic system, saving time, fuel and money and increasing the system's capacity to handle more planes as air travel grows. Part of the FAA's problem is that the vagaries of the government's budget process have limited the agency's ability to commit to long-term contracts and raise money for major expenditures. Placing the system under a corporation that can borrow money against future revenue would lead to greater efficiency and more reliable funding, airlines say. Many countries have separated air-traffic operations from their safety regulator in recent years, with most creating government-owned corporations, independent government agencies or quasi-governmental entities. The House bill is modeled after Canada's air traffic corporation, Nav Canada, the only clearly private nonprofit air-traffic corporation. Privatization supporters say Nav Canada has made smart decisions that have enabled it to adopt more advanced technology while reducing fees to airlines and other users. But opponents fear privatization will give airlines too much power over the aviation system. 'This is a monopolization bill,' said Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Louisiana. The corporation's 13-member board, as outlined in the bill, 'is definitely stacked to favor the big airlines,' he said. The airline industry has faced the lobbying muscle of private pilots and other 'general aviation' users in the past, and lost. People who can afford their own plane tend to be well-heeled and know how to get lawmakers' attention. They are an especially important constituency in rural districts and states, where people depend more on small aircraft. Opponents also have enlisted the support of several aviation heroes, including astronaut Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13. Retired Capt. Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, the pilot who landed an airliner in the Hudson River without the loss of a single life made a commercial for opponents, saying not to trust 'the keys to the kingdom' to 'the people who make your airline seats smaller.' White House and airline officials have pushed hard, but say offers to adjust the bill to address opponents' concerns have been rebuffed. General aviation groups have told bill proponents they fear that any protections in the legislation would be inadequate. 'We could literally never get past that concept,' said the White House's Gribbin.
  •   It’s one of a woman’s worst fears, to attend a party or event and run into someone else wearing the same thing. >> Read more trending news That not only happened at a wedding on Saturday, it happened to six women, who all showed up at the reception wearing the same dress.  One of the women, Debbie Speranza, posted a photo of the women on Facebook saying, “Imagine the odds.”  'My cousin and I walked into the reception and saw each other [in the same dress] and started laughing, but then another walked in … then another one … and another one,” Speranza told the Telegraph. The group was photographed with the bride at one point and actually looked like they could be her bridesmaids. The dress was sold by Forever New for $160, and Speranza had some advice for the company. “You really should start a bridal registry so that your customers can inquire whether anyone else has purchased one of your dresses for the same event,” she said on Facebook.  
  • When it comes to scary things in the Upside Down, it turns out that a Demogorgun is no match for intellectual property lawyers. >> Read more trending news “The Upside Down,” A “Stranger Things”-themed pop-up bar in Chicago, has been hit with a cease-and-desist letter from Netflix after it was found in violation of intellectual property laws because it never received Netflix’s blessing. But Netflix didn’t sent just any cease-and-desist letter. No, they got in on the spirit of the show with a nerdy, yet firm, directive for the bar’s owners: The bar, designed by the same folks that created the Windy City’s Emporium Arcade Bar, debuted on Aug. 18 in Logan Square. According to Eater Chicago, patrons of “The Upside Down” can order show-themed drinks, such as “Eleven’s Eggo’s,” served with a waffle wedge; and a drink named for the Demogorgun, the show’s big monster. Fans of the show’s theme music from Austin band S U R V I V E can indulge in a few kegs of Goose Island’s GI5-5538, a red ale that was brewed specifically for the band.  The bar is also decorated with a ton of “Stranger Things” memorabillia, including a huge mural of Eleven, the Byers family couch, Christmas lights (complete with the alphabet), an A/V rig and some props designed to look like the Hawkins Energy Department. Check out photos of the bar here. As one might guess, having all of this out in the open without permission would be cause for some concern from Netflix. The bar was originally scheduled to close after a six-week run, with plans for an extension if it was profitable. As it stands now, the bar will close on Oct. 1. Nevertheless, this looks like a win-win for the bar and the streaming service. The second season of “Stranger Things” debuts next month, and the letter does leave future pop-ups open to consideration, so both groups get publicity. So, Chicago, start pedaling your bikes over to the bar before the portal to the Upside Down closes. And Austinites, you’ve got 10 days to get yourself a flight to Chicago.