ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
52°
Chance of Rain
H 61° L 42°
  • cloudy-day
    52°
    Current Conditions
    Chance of Rain. H 61° L 42°
  • heavy-rain-day
    61°
    Today
    Chance of Rain. H 61° L 42°
  • clear-day
    63°
    Tomorrow
    Sunny. H 63° L 39°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
Trump heads to see farmers with shutdown in fourth week
Close

Trump heads to see farmers with shutdown in fourth week

Trump heads to see farmers with shutdown in fourth week
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Trump heads to see farmers with shutdown in fourth week

With no solution in sight to a partial government shutdown which has denied scheduled paychecks to some 800,000 federal workers, and forced hundreds of thousands of those same employees to continue working without pay, President Donald Trump flies to New Orleans on Monday to address an agricultural group which is a very familiar with some of the impacts from the shuttering of certain federal agencies since the weekend before Christmas.

"Even though he's not directly trying to hurt our farmers, this shutdown is going to hurt our farmers," said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall at the 100th American Farm Bureau convention on Sunday.

Citing closed U.S. Department of Agriculture offices, delays on loans for farm operations, and other problems the shutdown has created for farmers, Duvall said it can't go on much longer.

"I mean, the clock is ticking, we all know that when Spring gets here, everybody is going to need to be moving," Duvall said.

"I know we're shut down now, and you don't like that, and I don't like that," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) told the Farm Bureau.

"We got to do something about that - but honest to God, I don't know what we're going to do," said Roberts, the retiring Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Other than the federal workers who have missed their paychecks in the dispute over President Trump's demand for $5.7 billion in money for his campaign pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border - farmers, and those involved in agriculture - may have felt the impact of the government funding impasse more than any group across the United States.

Asked at the Farm Bureau convention where his group stood on the President's border wall, Duvall hedged.

"As far as Farm Bureau policy, we really don't say what a secure border looks like," said Duvall, who led the Georgia Farm Bureau for nine years. "If you're looking for me to say, we support a wall or don't support a wall - we support border security."

The President's speech to the Farm Bureau convention on Monday comes at a tricky time for agricultural interests in the United States, as farmers big and small have encountered lost markets and other economic troubles because of President Trump's trade policies - and now, the shutdown.

The list of impacts on farm interests from the shutdown is long.

Peppered in every corner of the country, Farm Service Agency offices are shutdown, leaving farmers without familiar contacts and help. Loan applications by farmers are stuck in bureaucratic limbo, with no action possible until the shutdown ends.

Billions of dollars in farm bailout payments - authorized by President Trump after his trade policies resulted in lost export markets for American farmers - are on hold as well during the shutdown.

Disaster assistance in the wake of Hurricane Michael - for hard hit farmers in Florida and Georgia - remains in political limbo in the Congress during this dispute.

Important farm data reports aren't being issued, which hampers decisions by farmers on what they're going to plant, and what kind of subsidies will be available for them in 2019.

And the list goes on.

The President spent the weekend in Washington lobbing barbs on Twitter at Democrats, with no hint of any active negotiations to end the shutdown.

"I’m in the White House, waiting," Mr. Trump tweeted on Sunday morning, as snow hit the nation's capital. "The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay."

President Trump also again sent confusing signals about what he wants in the talks, saying in another tweet that Democrats had ruled out negotiations over DACA as part of the shutdown negotiations - even though he himself has said repeatedly in recent weeks that DACA should not be included, because the Supreme Court is likely to rule on it soon.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) - a close ally of who in the last few days has urged the President to everything from declare a national emergency to cut a border wall deal that includes DACA - went on 'Fox News Sunday' and called for the President to allow the government to re-open, to spur new negotiations.

But - that's an idea that the President has repeatedly rejected.

As for Democrats, a number from the House spent the weekend in Puerto Rico, which told some conservative commentators all they needed to know.

"New polling showing majority blames Trump/GOP for shutdown underscores how confident Dems are in this," tweeted Fox News contributor Byron York.

"They can vacation in Hawaii, take the sun in San Juan, mid-shutdown, without worry of blame. So they're doing it," York wrote.

"Trump now owns the longest shutdown in history," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), as Democrats said repeatedly that Senate Republicans simply need to approve bills passed by Democrats in the House to end the shutdown.

"Your move Senate Republicans," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). "Call a vote. Override the veto. Show some independence."

But for now, Republicans are refusing to vote on any funding bills approved by Democrats in the House over the last two weeks - as GOP leaders say nothing will go on the floor until there is an agreement with President Trump.

And as of now - there's no deal.

Read More

News

  • The price of vaping in Washington could soon skyrocket if a proposed 60 percent tax is passed by lawmakers. >> Read more trending news  'It's like being told, ‘We're going to put a new tax on your favorite pizza.’ No! Don't do that!” said Jim Music. Washington lawmakers introduced HB 1873. It would add a 60 percent tax to vapor products, which is similar to tobacco, KIRO-TV reported. Currently vape isn’t taxed. Vapor store owner Joshua Baba said vape is different than tobacco and the price hike would force many shops to close their doors. 'Sixty percent, we owe that to the state just all of a sudden? That's crazy. That does put me out of business,” he said. Standing in the rain, Monday afternoon a small group held signs and gathered to protest. “Those kind of numbers are scary to somebody. I go through a couple bottles of vapor juice a week and that's going to double my cost,” said Music. A new Washington State Health Youth survey shows e-cigarettes and vaping are on the rise. Thirty percent of high school seniors said they use vapor products, which is up from 20 percent in 2016. State Rep. Gerry Pollet proposed the House bill. He wants to see the numbers drop and believes a tax is the ticket. “E-cigarettes and vaping products are dirt cheap, you won't believe how cheap they are,' he said. “A pack of cigarettes in the state of Washington, on average, costs about a little more than $8. Vaping the same amount of nicotine will cost you about $2.' Lawmakers believe the tax will drop youth vaping by 25 percent. Others find that hard to believe.  “This tax isn't going to change where the kids are getting it or how they're getting it, but it is going to change, in a negative way, the lives of a lot of shop owners and a lot of product users that are fully in compliance with the law,” said Music. Pollet said the 60 percent tax would eventually raise as much $30 million per year. The money would be used to fund programs that work to prevent teens from vaping.
  • A Monday morning British Airways flight scheduled to fly from London, England, to Dusseldorf, Germany, accidentally went to Edinburgh, Scotland, instead. >> Read more trending news  The error has been attributed to an incorrect flight plan filed by WDL Aviation, which operated the flight on behalf of British Airways, USA Today reported. This led the pilot and cabin crew to believe the flight was bound for Edinburgh. Air traffic controllers followed the same flight plan and saw nothing amiss, British Airways officials told The Associated Press. Zsófia Szabó, a passenger on the flight, told CNN she noticed something may have been amiss when she saw mountains outside the cabin window instead of the “usual German landscape.” A coworker brought up Google Maps on their phone, she said, and noted the plane was in Scotland. 'When we landed there was a bit of a hilarious moment when the flight attendant asked for a show of hands for the people going to Dusseldorf, which turned out to be everyone,' Szabó said. The pilot apologized to passengers, then announced the plane would refuel and head to Dusseldorf. Most passengers didn’t seem mad about the situation and instead found it funny, Szabó said. Why an incorrect flight path was filed remains unclear. 'We are working with WDL Aviation, who operated this flight on behalf of British Airways, to establish why the incorrect flight plan was filed. We have apologized to customers for this interruption to their journey and will deal with them all individually. Customers are on route to Dusseldorf currently,” British Airways spokesman Chip Garner said in a statement. WDL Aviation said they’re also investigating the incident: “We are working closely with the authorities to investigate how the obviously unfortunate mix-up of flight schedules could occur,' said WDL spokesperson Joachim Schöttes. “At no time has the safety of passengers been compromised. We flew the passengers on the flight with number BA3271 to Dusseldorf after the involuntary stopover in Edinburgh.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • In a move that has surprised some, mixed martial arts fighter Conor “The Notorious” McGregor has announced his retirement from the sport via Twitter. >> Read more trending news  “Hey guys quick announcement,” McGregor tweeted late Monday. “I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as ‘Mixed Martial Art’ today. I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!” The 30-year-old fighter, originally from Dublin, Ireland, is a two division UFC world champion and two division Cage Warriors World Champion. He’s ranked No. 2 lightweight champion and No. 9 pound for pound champion in the UFC, according to Fox Sports. Yahoo Sports reported the announcement came as a surprise, and that McGregor may “just be trying to get an upper hand in a negotiation.” McGregor appeared Monday on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and made no mention of retiring, MMA Fighting reported. He talked of fighting this summer. “We’re in talks for July,” McGregor told Fallon. “So we’ll see what happens. A lot of politics going on. The fight game is a mad game. But again, like I said, and to my fans, I am in shape and I am ready.” Some fans on Twitter seemed unconvinced of the news. “Last time he said this he fought twice in the next 6 months,” tweeted @BishopSportsNet. UFC hasn’t yet commented on McGregor’s announcement.
  • Now that the Gronk's officially hanging up his cleats -- fans are left wondering what he'll do next. >> Read more trending news  Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced on Instagram that he is retiring from football following the team's Super Bowl LIII win, ending his historic nine-year NFL career, Boston 25 News reported. What he'll do after is up in the air, though some say he might go down the wrestling road. In fact, he has dabbled in it before with an appearance at WrestleMania 33 -- stepping in the ring to help his real-life friend Mojo Rawley during the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. And many fans were hoping to see Gronk at TD Garden on Monday night, where WWE Raw was taking place. He did not make an appearance, but fans in Boston are excited to see what he'll take on next regardless a cameo at the Garden.  'Oh yeah he’s an entertainer,' said Patriots fan, Josh Lima. 'He’s funny, you know he’s either gonna be an actor or wrestler.' Public relations executive and Emerson professor, David Gerzof Richard, thinks Gronk sure has the personality and brand for it in his post-NFL career. 'He has his own brand of being the happy-go-lucky tight end, it's really leveraging that and with various people he is interacting with on both Instagram and Twitter and leveraging into what comes next,' said Richard.  Richard says sports stars in previous decades didn't have the social media star power -- or social media at all -- to build off of like Gronk. 'The worst thing he could do is go silent... and that is something I don't think we are going to see from Rob Gronkowski,' adds Richard. And his fans certainly hope he'll find a way to stay successful in the public eye. 'I think he should go into movies because he's a pretty funny guy and people look up to him,' said Patriots fan, Donte Tyler from Stoughton. Another fan thinks so too, and she thinks comedy would be the only way to go.  'I don't know about a serious ... maybe in a comedy or something,' another fan said. 'What would it be called? Maybe Adam Sandler and Gronk go on vacation.' As for the wresting, a WWE spokesperson gave no comment on any potential deals or announcements.
  • A metro Atlanta family said an airline crew told their two sons they’d have to get off a plane after a dispute over one of the boys’ severe peanut allergies, WSB-TV reported. >> Read more trending news  The boys were traveling from Atlanta to Manila, where their father is based on a temporary job, according to the news station. Rakesh Patel said his 15-year-old and 16-year-old sons were traveling by themselves after visiting their sick grandfather. The family told WSB-TV they let Delta Air Lines know ahead of time that the teen had a peanut allergy. Delta made sure that on the first leg of the flight, from Atlanta to Seoul, no peanuts were served, WSB reported.  However, things were different on the second leg of their flight. When the boys went to board their flight from Seoul to Manila on Delta’s skyteam partner Korean Air, the boys were told there would be peanuts served on board, the news station reported.  According to the family, the crew said they were not going to deprive other guests of peanuts and presented the teens with two options: deal with the peanuts or get off the flight.  When the son with allergies asked for another option, the boys were forcibly removed from the plane and stranded in Seoul, their father confirmed. They took a return flight to Atlanta, the family told WSB. Patel said he filed a complaint with the airline and asked for a refund.  In a statement, Delta apologized to the Patel family for the ordeal, “particularly during what is already a difficult time for them.”  “Delta and our partner Korean Air are communicating with the family and examining the processes surrounding this incident; we will use our findings in our work to create a consistent experience for customers flying Delta and our partner airlines,” the statement said. >> Trending: Giant alligator sneaks up on golfers, lumbers across links, plops down near 17th hole  A statement from Korean Air read, in part: “Korean Air is aware that peanut and food allergies are an industry issue and no airline can guarantee a food allergy-free environment. But we are reviewing ways to deal with this issue in a safe and feasible way. We totally understand the risks faced by passengers with nut and food allergies and will certainly try to accommodate them better in the future.”
  • A giant 9-foot alligator surprised golfers Sunday at a course in Savannah, Georgia, when it suddenly appeared out of nearby brush and lumbered across the links.  The reptile stopped the game at the Savannah Harbor Club on Hutchinson Island as stunned players gawked and gave the gator plenty of room. >> Read more trending news  One of the golfers captured the encounter on video, including the moment the creature decided to take a rest at the 17th hole. Savannah resident Ed Vance told IslandPacket.com he was getting ready to take a shot onto the 17th green when he heard a loud noise from nearby brush. “We all looked at each other and were asking, ‘What is that noise?’” Vance said. “At first, I thought it was the maintenance crew on the other side of the brush cutting it back or something.”  Then, a huge alligator ambled onto the course, heading for a pond just beyond the 17th hole. Vance said the reptile was so enormous, the sound of its feet hitting the course could be heard as it moved. “I will always remember the sound of his feet when he was walking on the green,” Vance said. “The video doesn’t pick it up, but the ‘thud, thud, thud’ sound was what you would think a dinosaur sounds like. It was surreal.” >> Related: Emotional support alligator visits senior home, is just like a dog, owner says After taking a quick pitstop on the links, the gator made its way to the pond and slithered in. The golf club isn’t too far from a wildlife refuge, so residents in the area are accustomed to seeing alligators and other wild animals, but Vance said he never expected such a giant gator to suddenly interrupt his golf game and he won’t soon forget it.