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    I'm outraged, and you should be too. This entire nation should be outraged,' said El Paso, Sheriff Richard Wiles in the wake of a mass shooting at a Walmart ending more than 20 lives.  I suspect like many Americans, I am still a bit numb with the horrific news of the latest two back to back mass shootings, still ringing in the ears of local law enforcement in the border town of El Paso, Texas as well as in the heart of Ohio, Dayton. And as advocates on both sides of the gun control debate line up and open fire on each other across online spaces...I sit and wonder if this too isn't part of the division these shooters want to foment? A race war? A new civil war?  Another young white male, another 'manifesto,' more than 30 innocent lives lost, dozens more injured...and where/when does it end? No one really has an answer for that, so perhaps we should try harder to determine where this is all beginning.  I have spent in my volunteer life, much of the past few decades remaining engaged with college students, both through my alma mater, the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, as well as through my college fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, at both the local and national levels. Where much of college life remains the same, as campus culture and society evolve, I've noted a significantly general softening among my younger male counter-parts on most college campuses today, which has at times caused me both pause and concern.  Alienation, non-socialization and remaining a virgin against one's will or life plans are powerful seeds planted towards building resentment and hatred. Who is to blame? How to reassert or change one's status? It's not difficult to see a pattern to fame and glory and even some degree of notoriety playing out an afternoon of Fortnite in the real world. For those unfamiliar, Fortnite (created in 2017) is an online video gaming platform with three separate games, each played by millions. Fortnite Battle Royale, which can be played simultaneously by as many as 100, pits player against player in a battle of survival of the fittest, ending when all but one player has been eliminated or killed. I have walked in on a few groups playing this game with great passion and enthusiasm, the gun play and swearing might only be louder at a convention among mercenaries of war.  There will again be talk of gun control reform. However, Chicago, Illinois, with some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation, and also one of the world's highest rates of murder and violent crime, experienced dozens of separate shootings and nearly 40 deaths the same horrific weekend. Yes, we can revisit the law, but isn't it time we also re-visit how we raise our young men?  I did not walk six miles to school, through the snow each day, barefooted...but household chores, mowing our lawn and part-time jobs became routine during what would have then been middle school years. Real life lessons of adversity, work ethic, dues paying, conflict resolution and accepting constructive criticism had all been learned well before the middle of high school.  As a late Baby Boomer, we were also towards the end of the Selective Service and potential draft, which I'm not suggesting be re-instated, however I can see great benefit in renewing discussions of a year or two of national service work just after high school. As with serving in our nation's military, the common duty, common mission and shared surroundings might help serve as a great equalizer.  We are yet entering fall of this year, and 125 Americans have already lost their lives in mass shootings. As schools start back, how many children are heading to their classrooms in fear, and how many parents are wondering if they have done enough to prepare their offspring for sudden attack?  Whether or not you agree with it taking the whole village to raise a child, I'll wager a majority of you can well remember when your neighbors almost all knew one and other, and at times came to assist without ever being asked. Conflict is a part of life, and building coping skills for such challenges are as important as developing coordination, balance and muscle strength for sport.  It is time for a national conversation and determining the root causes of this plague. If the Ebola virus or some other virulent strain attacked and killed a few hundred Americans in a period of months, we would fight back with all of our national will and unlimited resources. Finding this cure may take a bit longer, but certainly there are steps we can begin to take as soon as today to move us in a better and safer direction. Our sympathies and condolences to those grieving the lives lost. And prayers do matter as well.
  • It wasn't a single attempt. They're doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign. ...I hope this is not the new normal. I fear it is,' former Special Counsel and FBI Director, Robert Mueller, regarding Russian election interference attempts, during his U.S. House testimony on 7/24/2019.Robert Mueller wrapped up his nearly four decades of service to our nation with a less than glorious farewell appearance on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, before two U.S. House committees, answering their queries about his Special Counsel Report on Russian interference attempts throughout the 2016 Presidential Election.Some view Robert Mueller as a patriot and war hero, with two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart among many honors from his Vietnam era service in the Marines, or his later work as a U.S. Attorney, Deputy Attorney General and F.B.I. Director, appointed and then re-appointed by three very different Presidents, from both major political parties. Others see a biased partisan tool of Congressional Democrats and/or the Democratic Party, and still others...something in between.
  • A little healthy fear is a good thing.' Anonymous.For many, summertime means more time spent outdoors, recreating and on occasion taking risks which we might not normally consider. A lesson I learned early, though it admittedly took longer than it should have to sink in is, “Large risk, small reward…don’t take the risk.”Two recent tragedies hit close to home, impacting many friends and families we know well, and in both cases potentially avoidable, reminded me of the importance of reminding others of two very simple words which can mean a great deal in your lives as well as the lives of others...take care.Georgia’s Lake Lanier has already had 12 fatalities this summer, either due to drowning or watercraft accidents.
  • Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do,' said global football legend Pele prior to his retirement from the game.I have loved the game of soccer (north American football) nearly as long as I remember. My parents entered my brother and I in YMCA league play in early elementary school We played together for years, and I continued with the sport through high school. We were early devotees of the Atlanta Chiefs, actually the first national league sports franchise to win and bring a national championship title to Loserville, and perhaps ironically, the second team to do so was the Atlanta United, our capital city's newest sports franchise, during the team's sophomore year of existence. And I was there in the stands.
  • Like, love or loathe him, it is clear that President Donald J. Trump's brand of politics is scorched earth. If you take a swing, he will swing back and probably harder. His blows don't always connect of course, and he often ends up damaging himself. A reasonably well-respected United Nations Ambassador, Nikki Haley, announces her own pending departure. Before this became an almost weekly event in the Trump White House, there was a significant amount of punditry around who might replace her, or become the 'face of America' on the floor of the U.N. Assembly Hall. Trumpster fire distraction...'I might appoint my daughter Ivanka.'  White House Chief of Staff, Defense Secretary and Director of Homeland Security depart in successive order, leaving a series of 'acting' Secretaries in place without Senate confirmation. Trumpster fire... 'I might appoint my son-in-law Jared.' I think I'm noting a pattern here.  The U.S. economy continues to perform as if on steroids. The month of June and second quarter, when many economists were forecasting a slowdown and 'cooling,' produced nearly a quarter million new jobs. President Trump and his trade representatives have negotiated the U.S./Mexico/Canada, Trade Agreement to replace NAFTA, however the new treaty has not begun the confirmation process required in the U.S. Senate...and though brinksmanship and threatening massive tariffs may de-stabilize the financial markets, it has, so far, been a successful brokering tool for getting China back to the negotiating table.  As with President Trump's recent desire for a massive spectacle and salute to the military on the Fourth of July, the devil is in the details. His speech was reasonably high-minded and patriotic, without devolving into jingoism or becoming a campaign platform. The President stuck largely to script and teleprompter, and he stayed until the end despite some pretty heavy rainfall (which he despises) and which somewhat made he and his First Lady appear a bit wilted before they were able to make a speedy exit.  And yet this platform also provided the perfect stage for another missed opportunity.  For nearing a quarter century, during Democratic and Republican administrations alike, Congress and the White House have been wrestling with a gaffe and glitch in federal law which has diminished survivor death benefits for widows of service personnel. This glitch is known as “The Widow’s Tax.” A long standing V.A. death benefit is a roughly $15,000 annual payment, paid monthly, to the survivors of uniformed service personnel killed in the line of duty.  A second program, offered by the Department of Defense, the Survivor Benefits plan, is funded out of potential retirement benefits of the enlisted, via payroll deduction and subsidized by the DOD, providing survivors up to 55% of the salary of the departed soldier. As a cost-saving measure, post-Vietnam and prior to the first Persian Gulf conflict, the DOD introduced a funding cut offset. For every dollar paid out by the V.A. death benefit, up to $15,000 per year, the pay-out from the DOD survivor benefits plan is REDUCED by matching dollar amount paid to widows. Many families figured this out and changed the beneficiary on the second policy to their children, versus the widowed parent. This saved families suffering great loss more than $1,000 a month. Until the 2018 Tax Law went into effect...the new law ended the benefit of passing this benefit through to surviving children, and subjects that income to an income tax of up to 35%.  The latest Congressional bill to 'fix' this mess has 324 U.S. House and 72 U.S. Senate co-sponsors. Bi-partisan with greased skids anyone? The President should have challenged Congress to have this bill on his desk, ready for signature prior to Labor Day, while celebrating the Fourth with veteran families at the same time.  This would have been wedding the President's stated priorities with his actions, and not just symbolism, Tweets or commanding attention. The cost of this change is estimated to be about $5.6 billion, and will immediately impact roughly 65,000 survivor families. And with that type of substantive 'real news' in his remarks, several attending members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, might have appeared a bit happier to be there.  So Mr. President, though I know you are not one greatly prone to taking advice and counsel from others...more action, less distraction. Communicate, complete and deliver more of your agenda...less million shots a day, more laser beam, less shotgun style. Fewer Trumpster fires, more solutions that matter. You'll be glad you did.
  • Among the many benefits of somewhat late in life, re-boot parenting, I was 46 when my youngest was born, are the extended opportunities to experience the joys and wonderment often still found in this world of ours, seen through the eyes of a child. My first born is now 26, and will be teaching 4th graders this fall in Gwinnett county, her half-sister and my youngest, Olivia, will be entering 5th grade in DeKalb county schools this fall. Heading out on summer vacation, Olivia, her best friend Alexus and I headed south and west to LaGrange, Georgia and the new Great Wolf Lodge and Water Park. Great Wolf is part of a mid-western chain of now 12 family resorts, based in Chicago, but with locations all across the country. The Great Wolf Lodge, Atlanta/LaGrange opened Memorial Day weekend of 2018. Just off I-85 south, the Lodge sits freshly painted and nestled, baying at the moon one exit north of the Kia Sorrento manufacturing plant.  At roughly half the cost of a Disney or Universal stay and much lower costs of travel, a family suite or similar large room, with fridge and microwave (including the water park and a large number of other free kid-friendly amenities) is offered in a much more protected, secluded and safe family setting, seemingly most ideal from the toddler to pre-teen sets.  This Great Wolf Lodge smartly operates at least three to four business lines and revenue streams simultaneously...a summer camp (day-side), a conference center, season passes for nearby area residents and the full-service family lodge and resort. There are ten restaurants on property from a Dunkin Donuts and Ben & Jerry's to a sit down dining room with linens and a full-service menu.  The center-piece of the resort is an enclosed 100,000 square foot water park, with the water temperature at a surprisingly constant 74 degrees. The outdoor resort pool, with cabanas and a huge jacuzzi is even warmer. Kids who can swim at most any level are as a result safer and trained life-guards are omni-present at all times. The pool and water park close at 8 p.m., minimizing noise and late night teen or older high-jinks, sometimes a challenge for other family resorts. The clean-cut, well trained staff were another highlight, and judging from the accents highly dependent on the local labor pool, but all also apparently graduates of the Chick Fil A school of guest courtesy and deference.  Olivia has blossomed into a strong swimmer, but that took some patience and a few years of instruction by a gifted swim teacher, Miss Amanda. Conquering fears can take some time, and though this was far from our first water park or rodeo, Olivia was still largely clinging to the kiddie slides, or the almost ubiquitous Lazy River nearby. This trip was complicated by a blister tear under the big toe after one too many trips around the Lazy River sans swim shoes on day one.   Thank God for good friends with big smiles and some prior experience at the resort. By day two, there was no water slide we were unwilling to conquer. Triple Thunder, Otter Run racing and the River Canyon Run were each another conquest to be had. From clinging hands and slow steps of trepidation up the four floors of stairs to, '...Can we do that again?' followed by a dead sprint up the same staircase. Ol' dad's legs were going to give out long before the enthusiasm to climb every mountain. And we did.  The last two challenges were single rides, flume style. The more visually intimidating is called The Wolf Tail. Though the font and visual of this ride name looks more like Wolf Pile, my youngest calls it the 'Green Pooper,' as the rider appears to get flushed. You load in what appears to be a glass casket, in a standing position. The ride operator instructs you to fold your arms across your chest, or perhaps to pinch your nose if water shooting up same bothers you in any way. Further instructions to cross your legs at the ankle and lock your knees straight. Listen well and take heed.  After a brief count-down of 3-2-1, the bottom of the casket drops away and the rider takes a direct vertical plunge of 75-100 feet, before exiting the building into a loop to slow your descent, and soon after depositing you into a long shoot flume at the bottom of this slide. IF not for the leg cross and knees lock, you might also exit the ride with another memory, reminiscent of the Great Wolf out front baying at the moon...with a certain Ow-Ow--ow-woohoo sensation from all that water paying a call reminiscent of a high colonic. Great memories, Great Wolf, great fun. We'll be back.
  • By now, corporate medicine has milked about all the 'efficiency' it can out of the system. With mergers and streamlining, it has pushed the productivity numbers about as far as they can go. But one resource that seems endless-and free-is the professional ethic of medical staff members,' said Dr. Danielle Ofri, an author and physician at Bellevue Hospital and New York University, from a New York Times guest editorial on June 9, 2019, 'Is Exploiting Doctors the Business Plan?' We are fortunate, within my immediate and extended family, to have the benefit of several medical professionals. My sister, Tanya, is a Nurse Practitioner, my god-daughter, Dr. Martha Cohen-Slade is an ObGyn and a close family cousin has not only been a career long operating room nurse, but also served as Chair of its global professional association, the Association of peri-Operative Registered Nurses, AORN. Their career experience and insights have helped form my opinions on the status of the industry.  My god-daughter, herself also recently a new mother, delivered five babies the same day her own labor was later induced before giving birth to her first son. My sister, who has worked all over the country, while continuing her own medical studies as well as serving as an educator and nursing faculty member, routinely works through holiday weekends, continuous 30-hour shifts and in both private and hospital based practices, always delivering beyond the call and assigned 'hours' of her paycheck.  As I have also often seen these behaviors in many of my own medical advisers and professionals, I can only assume it to be part of the work ethic and 'patient needs first' ingrained during years of study and preparation for a career in health care. Hopefully, this aspect of the profession will continue forward, but not to the long term detriment of the practitioners.  Patients, particularly in an in-patient setting, are generally sicker these days. Greater severity and complexity of chronic conditions, more over-lapping illnesses or infections to treat, as well as more medications to handle, manage and assess for side-effects or treating at cross-purposes. And yet the average length of time treatment spent with each patient is expected to be shrinking, or remain the same, aided by technology and that particularly vexing plus/minus of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR). The EMR is now omni-present and 'tunneled-in' to nearly every aspect of the medical system, and though few would wish a return to the pounds-heavy paper charts and copies, the EMR is now remotely accessible 24/7, awaiting updates, notes and provider input, and many providers are now doing just that, using evening, weekend and sleep-hours, off the clock, to update and re-check EMR charts. The average provider/physician spends roughly two-hours of EMR maintenance/updates time per each hour of actual face to face patient care.  Hospitals and provider employers also know this, and in effect consider this a benefit of employing well-paid and ethically driven professionals. But all of this 'no-down time' doesn't add up to everything remaining just fine. Health care professional burn-out is an increasingly real threat to their own health as well as ongoing performance. And despite doctor and nursing shortages nationwide, which increasingly require HB1 Visas and U.S. health care employers to recruit and import medical professionals from other nations, domestic medical and nursing school slots remain in tight supply, while a significant number of Baby Boomer era providers are fast approaching retirement. In addition to the higher error levels one might associate with long-term fatigue, clinical depression and suicide rates among physicians and nurses are now also significantly surpassing those of the general population they care for.  I am no fan of a single payer, government-based health care system. I don't have to look any further than our troubled Veteran's Administration system to see what happens when a bureaucracy manages all the keys to the kingdom, but with all the great minds and innovation present in American health care, still considered the world leader in numerous arenas, there simply has to be a better way.  From 1975 to 2010, the number of health care 'administrators' within both the for profit and non-profit medical sectors, has increased by 3200 percent. If we considered converting back less than half that personnel hike towards clinical care and more direct patient support, we might be well on our way to closing the provider service gap, as well as better recognizing that the priority should remain getting and keeping patients well, versus processing piles and piles of electronic records and yes, still more paperwork. Hospitals...heal thyself.
  • Speaking recently to Reuters, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger said, 'It would be very difficult for the company to do business in Georgia if the new abortion law takes effect.'Like or loathe the entertainment industry, in less than a decade they have become a significant player in and contributor to Georgia's economy. The last year for which data is available, 2017, puts that impact at $9.25 billion, with direct and indirect employment exceeding 100,000. Iger was not the first, nor will he be the last prominent industry voice to warn Georgia leaders about the potential impact of the new fetal heartbeat law, HB 481, signed into law on May 7, 2018, and intended to take effect on January 1, 2020 if not delayed or overturned by the courts.Many of the industry’s major players have each issued statements indicating production halts, draw downs or departures...if the law goes into full effect, including Warner Media, NBCUniversal, Viacom, Sony, CBS and AMC thus far. That said, as of this writing, Georgia remains exceeded only by the entire nation of Canada, in current motion picture and television film productions.
  • Today the president acknowledged he was going to fulfill his promise to these disaster victims and have their backs, and I think today, in a bipartisan way, Congress backed him up on that,' said U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), in announcing the long-delayed Senate vote on a $19.1 billion disaster recovery bill which passed 85-8 on May 23, 2019.Hurricane Michael crashed ashore in Mexico Beach, Florida on October 10, 2018, with winds estimated at 160 miles per hour. Michael is one of only four known Category 5 hurricanes to make U.S. landfall. Within hours the charming vacation, retirement, and beachfront residential community was all but obliterated. That was seven months ago, and with thousands of residents having left their homes and business behind, there are still families, seniors and longtime area residents living in tents, houses without fully functioning utilities or tarped roofs and businesses unable to return to their prior locations.
  • The man had a penchant for martyrdom. This allowed him to cling to his belief that he was cruelly beset, deeply under-appreciated, wholly persecuted and denied the respect that he rightfully deserved,' said historian and author Brenda Wineapple speaking of President Andrew Johnson in her new book, 'The Impeachers.'Congress had twice previously impeached a sitting President. President Andrew Johnson, a Democrat who ran on a unity ticket with President Abraham Lincoln during his re-election campaign, and then nearly 150 years later, President Bill Clinton. Neither Impeachment was successful, both did not receive the required votes for removal from office in the U.S. Senate. And in both of those cases, the party NOT in control of the White House held majorities in both chambers of Congress. That is not currently the case in Washington, D.C. Democrats have control of the U.S. House, where impeachment proceedings might be considered or begin.

News

  • In a series of tweets Friday, President Donald Trump announced new retaliatory tariffs against China, bumping up taxes by 5 percentage points.  >> MORE: China, Trump ratchet up tensions with new tariffs >> Read more trending news  Here’s a look at trade tariffs and what they do. What is a tariff? A tariff is a tax on imports or exports that increases their prices. Tariffs are used by governments to make foreign products less attractive to consumers in order to protect domestic industries from competition. Money collected under a tariff is called a duty or customs duty. What types of tariffs are there? There are two types of tariffs – an ad valorem tariff and a specific tariff. An ad valorem tariff is a tariff that is a fixed percentage of the value of an imported good. If the price of the imported good goes up, the ad valorem tariff goes up. If it goes down, the tariff goes down. For instance, if a company exports an item to the United States costing $50 and the ad valorem tariff on that product is 20 percent, the company would have to pay the tariff -- $10 in this case -- to export the product to the U.S. If the price of the item goes up to $75, the company will have to pay a tariff of $15 to sell the item in the US. A specific tariff is a fixed amount of money placed on the item no matter the cost. Say there is a $20 specific tariff on that $50 item. The company exporting the item to the US would have to pay $20 to sell the item in the U.S. If the item goes up in cost to $75, the company will still have to pay $20 to export the item. Why should I care if the US government puts a tariff on items? The manufacturer pays for that, right? Sure, manufacturers pay the tariff upfront, but the cost of the tariff will be passed along to the consumer. Or, if the cost of the tariff is too high for those exporting goods, then they stop exporting goods. Tariffs affect the cost of goods you buy, and the U.S. buys many more products than it sells. In April, the U.S. sold $211.2 billion in goods to other countries, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and purchased $257.4 billion worth of goods from other countries. So, why slap tariffs on goods if it will hurt the US consumer? The theory is that as goods made by people outside the U.S. get more expensive, manufacturers within the country will either increase their production of the product  or other companies will begin to produce the product, thus strengthening the U.S. economy. What happened with tariffs surrounding the G-7 summit in Canada, and why are U.S. allies angry at Trump? Trump left the G-7 summit early on the way to his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jung-un. He tweeted from Air Force One that he was withdrawing his support for a communique (or agreement) crafted during the summit. The agreement referenced shared priorities among the seven allies, such as their standing on trade, sustainability and national security. Where do the hard feelings about tariffs come in?  In the days prior to the meeting, the United States imposed a 25 percent tariff for steel and 10 percent tariff for aluminum on imports from Canada, the European Union (EU) and Mexico. Trump claimed the move was made to protect US security. Trump also complained about Canada’s tariffs on dairy products. Canada levies a tariff of 270 percent on milk, 245 percent on cheese and 298 percent on butter. The tariffs are in place to protect the Canadian dairy industry, effectively eliminating any foreign competition. In his tweet about withdrawing support for the communique, Trump criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling him “weak and dishonest” for his comments about the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. Trudeau responded by announcing that Canada will impose retaliatory tariffs on $12.8 billion worth of US goods including yogurt, beer kegs, non-decaffeinated coffee, steel rods, sleeping bags, toilet paper, plywood, bobbins, “Combined refrigerator-freezers, fitted with separate external doors” and scores of other items. The EU has promised similar tariffs against the United States.
  • A man who survived five days lost in the wilderness on the Montana-Idaho border said he pulled through, in part, because he promised his pregnant wife he'd return home safe. >> Read more trending news  Kaden Laga, 25, of Utah, was backpacking with his family when one of their horses went lame, Laga told KPAX-TV. Laga volunteered to hike ahead of the group to the trailhead. But he took a wrong turn and wasn't able to find the trail. After a few hours, Laga realized he was lost. Hours turned into days. On his first night alone, Laga was wet and cold, and didn't think he'd survive. He wrote a text to his wife, Arden, on his phone. “I wrote a little text in case they found my body cold,” he told KSTU-TV. “I just said, ‘In case I don’t make it out of here, I love you. I loved my life with you and I’m so sorry I left you to be a single mom.’” But Laga said he was determined to be reunited with his family. Before he had left on the trip, Arden had told him, 'You better promise me that you come home safe,'' Laga told KSTU-TV. Laga drank water from streams and ate berries and crickets. One day, he noticed helicopters flying overhead. “I’m like, 'This is it, they’re going to get me,' and they just take off into the other direction,” he said. Laga realized the searchers couldn't see him, so he continued hiking to try to find a way out. Finally, around 1 a.m. on Aug. 16, he stumbled upon a campsite. Volunteers helped Laga down the mountain, and he was reunited with his family the next day. Laga kept his promise to his wife. The couple told KPAX-TV they plan to name their baby boy after one of the rescuers.
  • An irate customer was arrested Tuesday after pounding on a fast-food restaurant’s drive-thru window while threatening employees and yelling obscenities, police said. >> Read more trending news Jonathan Gullett, 31, was upset about an order around 10 p.m. and was asked to leave a fast-food restaurant at Nitro Marketplace, WSAZ reported. Police said Gullett placed a drive-thru order, pulled around and paid. As he was waiting, he started yelling and hitting the drive-thru window.  When the manager opened it, Gullett told her he was upset about items missing from an order earlier in the day. The manager asked to see a receipt. He did not have one, so she told him there was nothing she could do.  This made Gullet more upset, investigators said. The manager shut the window, called 911 and showed Gullet the phone. Gullett drove off, parked at a nearby restaurant and walked back, police said. The manager locked the restaurant doors before Gullett returned.  When investigators arrived, Gullett was pounding on the drive-thru window, blocking customers, shouting obscenities and yelling about how he wanted to kill the restaurant employees, WSAZ reported.  Gullett was arrested and charged with threats of terrorist acts. He is being held on $5,000 bail. 
  • The nation's first death possibly linked to vaping has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Illinois Department of Public Health says an adult person who recently vaped died after being hospitalized with 'severe respiratory illness.' The agency didn't give any other information about the patient, including a name or where the person lived. The CDC says there are currently 193 potential cases in 22 states, including Georgia. Patients reported similar symptoms – shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and vomiting in some cases – and some were admitted to the intensive care unit.
  • An 8-year-old boy was bitten on the head Wednesday night by a mountain lion, Colorado wildlife officials said. >> Read more trending news The boy was jumping on a trampoline with his brother around 7:30 p.m. when a friend called to him from a nearby house, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a release. When the boy ran to visit the friend, he was attacked by the mountain lion. “The kid was running, and it probably triggered the lion’s natural response to a prey animal running,” Mark Lamb, wildlife manager, said in a release. “We all hope that the child will be alright, and you just hate to see this occur.' The boy’s brother ran inside and told their father something was wrong. The father came out, found the animal on top of his son and scared off the mountain lion.  “He did what a father would do, run out and protect his son knowing that he was in trouble,” Jason Clay, parks spokesman, told KCNC. “The father saved his son’s life.” The boy was taken to a hospital, where he was in serious but stable condition, KCNC reported.  Because the animal attacked a human, it must be euthanized, wildlife officials said. They set traps and used dogs to try and track the mountain lion.  On Thursday, a homeowner realized one of his goats was missing, saw two mountain lions and called wildlife officials. Officers were already in the area, which was about a mile from where the boy was attacked. They captured and euthanized the animals, which were about 12 months old and 65 pounds. A necropsy will be conducted to determine if they are the same lions involved in the boy’s attack. “That is how we would be able to confirm with absolute certainty that we got the mountain lion from the attack,” wildlife officials said. Because the mountain lions were feeding on livestock, they can be euthanized. If a mountain lion is captured alive in a trap, it will be kept alive until DNA samples are tested. If the results are negative, the lion will be relocated, officials said.  Officials are still monitoring mountain lion activity in the area but do not have plans to actively search for them. Mountain lions have attacked humans 22 times since 1990, with three attacks coming this year, officials said. A trail runner was attacked Feb. 4 and there was another attack Aug. 10. The last year there had been a mountain lion attack was 2016. The last time there were three attacks in a year was 1998. “We don’t want people to panic, they are very aware of all the wildlife that lives around them, but the proper precautions need to be taken,” Lamb said in a statement. “There are obligations that people must be committed to for living responsibly with wildlife.” Three more mountain lions were seen on the property where the goats went missing Friday, but no more goats have gone missing since.
  • According to many polls, Americans – especially those who say they are Democrats -- are not that fond of the Electoral College. Neither are many of the Democratic candidates for president. >> Read more trending news  With just over 14 months until the 2020 presidential election, a movement to change the way electoral votes are awarded and who will be elected president has gained some steam. The National Popular Vote Compact (NPV), which has its roots in the most contested presidential election in U.S. history, sets in state law a policy that awards all a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. Under the Electoral College system used today, 48 states have a “winner-take-all” system that awards all the state’s electoral votes to the person who gets a majority of votes in that state. The Electoral College does not take into consideration that national popular vote. Sixteen states, along with the District of Columbia, have passed the NPV agreement. They are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island. While legislation has been passed in the 16 states and the District of Columbia, the agreement would not go into effect until states with a collective 270 electoral votes — the number needed to win the presidency — agree to join. Currently, the District of Columbia and the 16 states in the agreement hold a combined total of 196 electoral votes, meaning the pact would need enough new state members to get 74 electoral votes.Supporters say the system would give the person who got the most votes country-wide the presidency he or she deserves. Opponents say states would be forced to hand over electoral votes to a candidate who did not win that state. For instance, in the 2016 election, a state such as Florida, in which President Donald Trump earned more votes, would have had to pledge its 29 electoral votes to Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, who won the national popular vote in the 2016 election. The Electoral College of today was established by the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution which replaced the method for electing the president and vice president provided in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3. Under the system, when voters cast a ballot for president, they are actually choosing members of the Electoral College, called electors, who are pledged to that presidential candidate. Following the election for president, electors then meet to choose the president. Electors almost always vote for their state’s popular vote winner, and some states have laws requiring them to do so. However, electors are not bound by federal law to vote for a specific candidate – for instance, the one who won the popular vote in their state. In 29 states and the District of Columbia, electors are bound by state law or by a pledge they sign to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote of the state they represent. Five men have won the presidency in the Electoral College while not winning the country’s popular vote: John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016. The National Popular Vote campaign goes back to Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore's loss to Bush in 2000, according to The Associated Press. Gore won the popular vote but lost the election over a vote count in Florida.