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  • WATCH: President Trump’s speech on Afghanistan

    Going against his own gut feeling that he should pull military forces out of Afghanistan, President Donald Trump on Monday night vowed to intensify American actions against terrorists based in the region, though he gave few details on how U.S. policy would change or on how many more soldiers would be sent in, as the American presence in Afghanistan seems likely to continue, almost 16 years since the September 11 attacks that led to a lengthy U.S. intervention.

    “My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts, but all of my life I heard that decisions [More]

  • How times have changed – Reagan vs Trump on major tax reform

    As Republicans talk about the need to act on major tax reform, the preparation for that mammoth undertaking pales in comparison to the last effort during the Reagan Administration, an exercise that took time to first develop legislative proposals, and then to wind their way through the House and Senate, as the bill went through several near-death experiences before finally achieving victory in the fall of 1986.

    Here are some thoughts on the differences between 1986 and 2017.

    1. Reagan vs Trump – 489 pages vs 1. The White House efforts on tax reform were much different when you look at President [More]

  • Trump issues fresh warning to North Korea, says U.S. military is “locked and loaded”

    President Donald Trump on Friday again warned North Korea not to attack American interests or allies, as Mr. Trump tweeted out photos of U.S. military forces on the Pacific island of Guam, aiming his remarks directly at the leader of the Pyongyang regime, Kim Jong Un, again saying that any military action by North Korea will meet with a swift and serious U.S. response.

    “If he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that is an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it, and regret it fast,” the President said in a Friday afternoon [More]

  • What if Trump pushed out McConnell? It might not change anything

    President Donald Trump raised a lot of eyebrows on Capitol Hill this week by repeatedly going after Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, demanding that the top Republican do more to push ahead with plans to overhaul the Obama health law, and also to spur action on other top Trump priorities, like bills on tax reform, and new money for roads and bridges.

    Let’s imagine for a moment that President Trump could wave a magic wand and get rid of McConnell – would anything really change in the Senate?

    1. If McConnell disappears, the music stays the same. Sure, get rid of McConnell. For [More]

  • Trump renews warning to Pyongyang, tells North Korea to ‘get their act together’

    Not backing off one bit from his threat earlier this week to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea, President Donald Trump on Thursday again warned the Pyongyang regime against any direct threats to American interests or allies, saying the U.S. will not stand for any North Korean aggression.

    “North Korea better get their act together, or they’re going to be in trouble, like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world,” the President told reporters outside of his New Jersey golf retreat.

    “Let’s see what he does with Guam. He does something in Guam, it will be an event [More]

  • Trump again jabs at McConnell over failure of GOP health care bill

    For a second straight day, President Donald Trump expressed his public frustration with the top Republican in the U.S. Senate, chiding Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the failure to get a bill approved that would overhaul the Obama health law, as the White House reinforced Mr. Trump’s displeasure.

    “I’m very disappointed in Mitch,” Mr. Trump said.

    “All I hear is ‘repeal and replace,'” the President said of the GOP push to do away with Obamacare, as he blasted his own party’s leadership in the Senate for failing to get a bill over the finish line in late July.

    “I said, Mitch get [More]

  • Top officials offer conflicting message on Trump ‘fire and fury remarks’

    There were conflicting explanations offered Wednesday to news organizations by the Trump Administration on why President Donald Trump had threatened a vigorous military attack against North Korea, when he vowed Tuesday to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on the Pyongyang regime of Kim Jong Un.

    In a series of leaks to major news organizations, top White House officials portrayed the statement as one that was off the cuff by the President.

    Politico quoted one White House official who called the Trump remarks, “impromptu,” while the New York Times said the warning “was [More]

  • Trump says U.S. nuclear arsenal “far stronger” than ever before

    A day after threatening to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” on North Korea for that nation’s threats to attack U.S. targets, President Donald Trump kept up the public pressure on the Pyongyang Regime on Wednesday, expressing confidence in the power and capability of the U.S. military’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

    “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal,” the President said on Twitter.

    “It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” Mr. Trump added, seemingly sending a message for a second straight day to the North Korean leader Kim Jong [More]

  • Lawmakers urge caution as Trump threatens North Korea with “fire and fury”

    Spread around the country during a summer legislative recess, lawmakers in Congress mainly urged caution after President Donald Trump on Tuesday publicly threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” in response to growing threats by the Pyongyang regime to possibly attack the United States.

    “We need to be firm and deliberate with North Korea, but reckless rhetoric is not a strategy to keep America safe,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.

    “Bluster and saber-rattling will only exacerbate an already difficult situation,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

    “The situation on the Korean peninsula is already volatile enough,” [More]

  • Trump vows to meet threats from North Korea with “fire and fury”

    With new reports that North Korea has figured out how to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on a missile, President Donald Trump warned the Pyongyang regime on Tuesday that any effort to threaten or attack the United States would be met with a decisive U.S. military response.

    “As I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly, power – the likes of which the world has never seen before,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a photo op at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course.

    “He has been very threatening,” the President said of North Korean leader Kim Jong [More]


  • Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner sidestepped comment on a political cartoon critics have called racist, saying Tuesday he doesn't have anything to add to the discussion 'as a white male.' The first-term Republican has previously said he hadn't seen the image, which depicts a black Chicago schoolchild begging for money from a suit-clad white man who has cash stuffed in one pocket. The cartoon was circulated online last week by the Chicago-based Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank Rauner has links to. However, lawmakers widely criticized the image, with Republicans and Democrats standing up in opposition on the Illinois House floor last week. The image, meant to illustrate inequity in school funding, was removed hours later. Rauner's spokeswoman, Laurel Patrick, said Tuesday that the governor has respect for lawmakers who have concerns, but he's also heard from black residents 'who found truth in the imagery and do not find the cartoon offensive.' 'The cartoon was removed days ago. And the governor — as a white male — does not have anything more to add to the discussion,' Patrick said in a statement first sent to Chicago's WMAQ-TV. 'The fixation on this cartoon and the governor's opinion of it has been disappointing.' Reaction to Rauner's statement was swift, with some saying it raised more questions. 'It is both a display of cowardice and a stunning abdication of moral leadership by the governor,' said Rep. Christian Mitchell, a black Chicago Democrat. 'Is he saying his being a white male is more important than his role as governor? Is he saying he will no longer comment on issues because he's a white male?' Critics said the cartoon was reminiscent of racist stereotypes found in imagery of past decades, with many calling it insensitive in the wake of the deadly attack at a white nationalist rally in Virginia. Patrick said Rauner 'would never try to talk anyone out of their reaction to any piece of art, political or nonpolitical, right or left, good or bad.' Rauner, a wealthy businessman, donated to the Illinois Policy Institute before he became governor. In recent weeks, he's also hired top aides who worked there, including the former president as his chief of staff. Rauner is running for re-election next year. ___ Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sophiatareen. Sign up for the AP's weekly newsletter showcasing our best reporting from the Midwest and Texas at http://apne.ws/2u1RMfv.
  • Visitors to the University of Southern California might well be muttering, 'What fools these mortals be' as they stroll past a statue of the legendary queen of Troy and notice William Shakespeare's name seemingly misspelled at its base. To USC officials, it's much ado about nothing. 'To E, or not to E, that is the question,' the school responded in a statement Tuesday when asked why Shakespeare's name is missing the last letter E in a quotation attributed to him. The school noted Shakespeare has been spelled nearly two dozen different ways over the years. Officials say they settled on Shakespear, a spelling popular in the 18th century, because of the 'ancient feel' sculptor Christopher Slatoff brought to his larger-than-life bronze work of Queen Hecuba. The bard himself was known to switch up the spelling of his last name during his lifetime, although he did spell it Shakespeare on the last page of his will, filed shortly before his death in 1616. He referenced Hecuba in several of his works, most prominently in 'Hamlet,' in which Hamlet asks how the legendary queen of Troy grieved over the death of her husband, King Priam. Her statue was unveiled to great fanfare at Thursday's opening of the school's new USC Village. The $700 million project brings new restaurants, retail stores and other amenities to both students and the general public, as well as 2,500 new units of student housing. It represents the largest expansion in USC's history. Hecuba was commissioned as a female counterpart to Tommy Trojan, the popular life-size bronze of a Trojan warrior that stands in the center of campus. Unveiled in 1930, Tommy Trojan has become a mascot of sorts to a school whose sports teams are the Trojans. 'This is our commitment to all of the women of the Trojan family,' USC President C. L. Max Nikias said at Hecuba's unveiling.
  • Republican Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens stayed the execution of Marcellus Williams, 48, following public outcry to do so. Williams was previously granted a stay of execution in 2015 only to have it denied again earlier in August despite DNA evidence exonerating him of the 1998 stabbing death of former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Lisha Gayle, 42. >> Read more trending news Greitens announced the decision only hours before Williams was scheduled to die via lethal injection on Tuesday at 6 p.m. “A sentence of death is the ultimate, permanent punishment. To carry out the death penalty, the people of Missouri must have confidence in the judgment of guilt. In light of new information, I am appointing a Board of Inquiry in this case,” Greitens announced in a statement. The statement also announced that Greitens will choose the five members of the board. Prior to the decision, many on the internet spent part of Monday and much of Tuesday spreading awareness of Williams’ story using #MarcellusWilliams.
  • A former lottery computer programmer who admitted to rigging computers to enable him to pick winning numbers and cheat four states out of $2.2 million in several lottery games over six years was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison in Iowa on Tuesday. 'I regret my actions and I'm sorry for the people I hurt,' said Eddie Tipton, 54, the former information technology manager for the Multi-State Lottery Association, a central Iowa organization that provides number-picking computers for lotteries in 33 states the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tipton's voice quivered when asked by Judge Brad McCall to speak during the sentencing hearing. After McCall issued the sentence, Tipton was handcuffed and taken away by sheriff's deputies. Under Iowa law, Tipton is likely to serve far less than 25 years — probably between three and five years, said Iowa Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand, who prosecuted the case. The Iowa Board of Parole will ultimately determine how long he's behind bars. 'I think when you're an insider who abuses your position of trust and privilege you should expect to see the inside of a jail cell,' Sand said. Tipton's attorney asked McCall to give Tipton probation in Iowa, arguing his client was unfairly being treated far more harshly than other people involved in the scheme. As part of his plea deal, Tipton also admitted to committing theft by fraud and a computer crime in Wisconsin, where he'll be sentenced Sept. 18. The agreement allows him to serve his Wisconsin sentence — likely to be three to four years — at the same time he serves the Iowa prison sentence. Tipton also agreed to repay the $2.2 million to the four states from which he rigged games and jackpots were paid, but he told McCall it's unclear how he will get the money. He said he hopes to study ministry and get a job in that field after prison. 'Hopefully you're going to get rid of that greed and gain a little common sense during your prison stay,' McCall said. Tipton helped write the computer code behind several U.S. lottery games, including some of its biggest including Powerball, Mega Millions and Hot Lotto. He worked for the lottery association from 2003 until 2015 and was its computer information security director for his last two years there. Tipton admitted in June to installing code that prompted the computers to produce predictable numbers only on certain days. Tipton said he gave the numbers to his brother, Tommy Tipton, and longtime friend Robert Rhodes and others to play and often split the winnings with them. Tommy Tipton is serving a 75-day jail sentence in Texas after pleading guilty to a theft charge. Rhodes is expected to get probation when he's sentenced on Aug. 25 for a computer crime charge. The games Eddie Tipton fixed included Colorado Lotto in November 2005, Megabucks in Wisconsin in December 2007, 2by2 in Kansas and Hot Lotto in Iowa in December 2010, and Hot Lotto in Oklahoma in November 2011. Iowa Lottery officials became suspicious and never paid the jackpot when Tipton and Rhodes tried to cash a $14 million Iowa Hot Lotto ticket bought in 2010. 'Eddie Tipton had the keys to the kingdom and those are the things we changed immediately to make sure any equipment he touched was removed and we continue to look ahead and make sure we have those checks and balances as we proceed,' Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said. ___ Follow David Pitt on Twitter at https://twitter.com/davepitt ___ Sign up for the AP's weekly newsletter showcasing our best reporting from the Midwest and Texas: http://apne.ws/2u1RMfv
  • Two Georgia police officers were arrested Tuesday on charges related to child abuse. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, 47-year-old Tracy Jones and 36-year-old Rosemary Jones were arrested in Sylvester and booked into the Worth County Jail. The GBI says it was asked to investigate allegations of the couple mistreating their adopted children. Tracey Jones, an officer with the Jacksonville Police Department, was charged with two felony counts of cruelty to children in the first degree. Rosemary Jones, an officer with the Poulan Police Department, was charged with two counts of cruelty to children in the first degree, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of false imprisonment.
  • Peachtree City Little Leaguer Jayce Blalock, whose grand slam during a game made headlines earlier this month, is back at it again – this time at SunTrust Park. Video of the 13-year-old’s 375-foot shot into the trees during a game against a South Carolina team was viewed more than 1 million times. The Atlanta Braves tweeted videos Tuesday of Blalock hitting another 375-foot shot at SunTrust Park.  You've seen Peachtree City Little Leaguer Jayce Blalock hit a 375 foot shot in the trees. Now, he's conquered @SunTrustPark! pic.twitter.com/uTPjlu0oT6 — Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 22, 2017 Upon further review, 13-year-old Jayce Blalock went mammo! Yes, 13. pic.twitter.com/oOPJfbnVLp — Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 22, 2017 Here's Blalock's grand slam from earlier this month:  'They said he could hit it into the trees ...' You were saying? #LLWS pic.twitter.com/QcWJnimLnV — Little League (@LittleLeague) August 6, 2017