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Latest from Dan Potter

    LISTEN HERE It's a KRMG Morning News 8am In-Depth Hour on an Autumn Friday.  A day during which campuses across Green Country are awash in school colors. The football teams are wearing their jerseys to class, the cheerleaders are in their uniforms too and the entire school anticipates what's coming later.  It's a football Friday in Oklahoma. The second most holy day of the week between the beginning of September and early December. Tonight, tens of thousands of Oklahomans will watch their sons and grand-sons play a game that their dads and grandpas played.  Some will play with dreams of going on to play college ball and even in the NFL. Others will play knowing that this is just for now, just for fun. Either way, they will play hard, throwing their bodies and their heads into the game and onto their opponent and without a doubt, some of them will suffer concussions or even multiple concussions.  It used to be that you could chalk that up to being just part of the game. You got you 'bell rung'...you recovered...or, at least, you thought you did....and you got back in the game.  Now though, we know that those concussions, especially the repeated concussions suffered by many football players, take a horrible toll on the players' brains. They are prone to develop dark, dead splotches throughout the interior of their brains, and the resulting symptoms increase in severity until dementia sets in. It sets in way earlier in life than it ever should.  That condition has a name: CTE - Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.  That's the name given to the disease by the man who discovered it: Dr. Bennet Omalu...the Nigerian-American Neuropathologist who discovered CTE while performing an autopsy on former Pittsburgh Steelers Center Mike Webster in 2002.  That was 15 years ago. It's taken this long for Dr. Omalu's discovery to really sink in with players, their families and with organized football, both at the professional and scholastic level.
  • KRMG Morning News Host Dan Potter has perfected his barbecue ribs recipe. Plan to spend several hours cooking, but the results will be well worth it. Dan uses a Hasty-Bake, but you can use your favorite charcoal grill. Yes, charcoal. Ingredients Dry Rub, combine the following: 1 T. ground black pepper 2 t. cayenne pepper 2 T. chili powder 2 T. cumin 2 T. brown sugar 1 T. white sugar 1 T. ground oregano 4 T. paprika 2 T. salt 1 T. ground white pepper 3 T. celery salt 3 T. garlic powder Barbecued Ribs: 2 slabs of pork spare ribs Dry rub (see above) Your favorite BBQ sauce Heavy-duty aluminum foil large, brown paper grocery bag. (This is a key piece of equipment!) Instructions Trim an excess fat from the ribs. At least an hour before cooking, rub generous amounts of your dry rub onto each side of the ribs. You can leave the ribs at room temperature for an hour (plenty of time for the seasonings to mascerate)..any longer and you'll need to wrap them in plastic and refrigerate them. Start with a Hasty Bake grill that's free of any leftover ashes or coals. You'll need 40-50 charcoal briquettes. Push all of the coals to one side of the fire bed, Light the coals. While the grill is warming up, wrap two large handfuls of hickory chips in heavy duty aluminum foil. (You really don't need to soak the wood chips, but if it makes you feel better, go right ahead). Poke several holes in the top of the foil packet. Once the coals are ready, lay the foil-wrapped chips on top of the charcoal. Position the ribs on the grill, OPPOSITE the fire. Set the Hasty Bake fire bed in the “smoke” position and close the lid and side vents. After smoking the ribs for 30 minutes, open the side vents. By controlling air flow and adding coal from time-to-time, try to maintain a temperature around 200 degrees (F). Turn the ribs every half-hour for a total cooking time of about 4-6 hours. Signs of doneness include the meat starting to pull away from the bone. Grab a bone and twist it. If it almost turns in the meat...the ribs are done. Using your grill tongs, lift the slab of ribs. If they bend easily until they’re almost perpendicular to the grill, they’re done. KEY: IMMEDIATELY AFTER TAKING THE RIBS OFF THE GRILL, COMPLETELY WRAP THEM IN HEAVY DUTY FOIL. PUT THE FOIL-WRAPPED RIBS IN THE BROWN PAPER SACK AND FOLD THE SACK TIGHTLY AROUND THE RIBS. ALLOW TO REST AT ROOM TEMPERATURE FOR AN HOUR OR MORE. Unwrap the ribs...swab 'em with the sauce of your choice and enjoy! Dan also makes his own barbecue sauce. Here’s the recipe. Ingredients 4 T. butter 1 small onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 t. paprika 1 T. ground black pepper 2 T. fresh lemon juice 1 t. dry mustard 1/2 t. Cayenne pepper sauce (Tabasco or your favorite) 1/2 t. salt 1/4 C. cider vinegar 1 can (16 oz.) tomato sauce ½ C. brown sugar Instructions Heat butter in a medium sauce pan. Add onions and garlic. Saute until onions soften. Stir in next 6 ingredients. Cook over medium heat to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and simmer uncovered until sauce thickens slightly...about 15-minutes. Stir in brown sugar, taste and adjust salt/pepper and brown sugar to taste.
  • A man calls 911 early Thursday morning, when he hears his neighbor firing a gun.Deputies arrived at a home near West 7th and South Denver, and confronted Michael Pointer.  They spoke with him and then left the property.A short time later, the victim was on Facebook and received a threatening message from Pointer. 'Because TCSO IS A BUNCH OF COWARDS...YOU SHOULD mind your (cuss word) business.'Pointer then went on to dare the victim to call for help again.Deputies say the suspect went back outside and started firing his rifle again.The neighbor took Pointer up on his dare and called 911.This time, he was taken into custody. Pointer's grandmother told deputies he was staying at her place, and was upset with his spouse.
  • You've most likely heard people refer to Tulsa as the 'meth capital of the world.' This week we got a look at new numbers that prove it The CNN Money map published this week tracks the number of contaminated meth labs found in each county in the US from 2004 to last year. Tulsa County had 949 labs. That's more than any other county in the country. Now, the narcotics agents tell us that we have made progress. The number of labs they're finding is actually slowly dropping because of new laws making it hard to get pseudoephedrine, one of the key ingredients in crank. But, even as they say it's improving, they will tell you we won't beat this problem until Sudafed is restricted to prescription-only.
  • According to Reuters, US Airways has made a formal merger proposal to American Airlines parent AMR Corp and its creditors that could value the combined airline at around $8.5 billion. Reuters quotes two sources close to the negotiations. Details of the merger proposal emerged as American Airlines pilots voted to ratify a new union contract on Friday. The new labor contract, approved by nearly three-quarters of the AMR pilots who voted, gives the Allied Pilots' Association a 13.5 percent equity stake in AMR.  
  • When you vote on November 6th, you’ll find more than just the names of candidates on the ballot. There are also six amendments to the state constitution to consider. See the ballot language for all 6 state questions on the Oklahoma Secretary of State's website. This week, KRMG is looking at what each of those ‘state questions’ proposes. Our guide is Heather Hope-Hernandez of the Tulsa Chapter of the League of Women Voters.   We begin with two questions which both deal with capping or eliminating certain kinds of property tax. State Questions 758 and 766: Limitations on property taxes State Question 758 would limit how much property taxes can be raised in any given year. 'Right now,' says Hope-Hernandez, 'increases are limited to 5% of fair cash value in  any taxable year. (SQ 758) will cap the increase to 3% for some property.' Specifically, homestead-exempted property and agricultural land. Hope-Hernandez tells KRMG the League of Women Voters hasn‘t taken a position for or against SQ 758. 'What we are saying is that people need to understand that our property taxes generally go to support common education and that's something to think about when they go to the polls.' State Question 766 also deals with property taxes. It would ban taxes on so-called intangible property, things like patents, inventions, trade secrets, brand names and custom computer software. Read more about State Question 758 and State Question 766 on Ballotpedia.org. State Question 759: Banning Affirmative Action SQ 759 would ban Affirmative Action in state hiring, college scholarships and state business, meaning it would prohibit special treatment based on race or sex in public employment, education and contracts.  The League of Women Voters is strictly non-partisan on candidates and political parties, but Hope-Hernandez says they do take positions on some public policy issues and this is one of them. 'That is a state question the League of Women Voters is opposing,' says Hope-Hernandez, 'The League of Women Voters has a long history of non-discrimination and we feel that Affirmative Action is still an important part of our society to help level the playing field.' Of course, many feel that Affirmative Action is a form of discrimination. 'And,' counters Hope-Hernandez, 'we would disagree with that.' Read more about State Question 759 on Ballotpedia.org Read why the League of Women Voters has taken a position against SQ 759. Read why the American Civil Rights Institute supports SQ 759. State Question 762: Removing the Governor from the parole process for non-violent offenders SQ 762 would take the Governor’s office out of the process of deciding which non-violent state prison inmates get parole. The Tulsa Chapter of the League of Women Voters has only taken a position on two of the state questions, this one included. 'The League of Women Voters supports passage of this one,' says Hope-Hernandez. 'By passing this, the State of Oklahoma will join all of the other states in the nation by removing the Governor and therefore politics, from the parole process.' This question has no organized opposition. Read more about State Question 762 on Ballotpedia.org Read the League of Women Voters position on SQ 762 State Question 764: Allows Oklahoma Water Resources Board to issue bonds Hope-Hernandez says the League of Women Voters has not taken a position on SQ 764. 'Proponents say that this is going to help increase the (board's) leveraging capacity by providing low-interest loans to local governments for water and sewer improvements. We're seeing that there are infrastructure issues all across the state and proponents are saying that this is going to help with those issues. 'Opponents are saying, bottomline, Oklahoma doesn't need to incur any additional debt.' The bonds issued by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board could not exceed $300 million. Read more about State Question 764 on Ballotpedia.org State Question 765: Public Welfare Department amendment 'It abolishes the Department of Human Services.' At least, as it currently exists. Hope-Hernandez says this amendment would move authority for the Human Services Department from the executive to the legislative branch. She says the legislature would then have to 'create a new entity to oversee state care of our neediest children and the aged. 'People who are for this say DHS is out of date and there have been scandals that show that it's not working. 'The opponents of this say that, despite these recent events, the system is not so broken as to require such drastic measures.' Read more about State Question 765 on Ballotpedia.org Additional resources: Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs: State ballot questions at a glance
  • The little ghosts and goblins won't be getting any tricks from Mother Nature this evening. News on 6 Meteorologist Travis Meyer says temperatures should be around 60 when the sun sets. Trav says the winds will be light and there's no chance of rain in the forecast. Temps will fall into the mid 50's by 10 o'clock. The unseasonably warm autumn weather will continue into the weekend with sunshine and daytime highs in the mid 70s. We have a slight chance for showers Saturday night into Sunday. Sunday will be cooler with a high of 66.
  • A young girl was home alone yesterday in Bryan County, Oklahoma when a stranger kicked in  the door of the house. This morning, the young girl is okay and the intruder is nursing a bullet wound. The 12-year-old first called her mom at work. Debra St. Clair told her daughter to get the family gun, go hide in a closet and call 911. The child did as she was told. 'What we understand right now, he was turning the doorknob when she fired through the door,' said the Bryan County Undersheriff Ken Golden. Deputies found the suspect at the end of the block, bleeding. 32-year-old Stacy Jones was treated at a hospital and is now in the Bryan County jail.
  • KRMG SCAM ALERT: If you're on Facebook a lot, you'll recognize this: A message from a friend warning that Facebook soon will no longer be free, unless you act now. Even Rick Brinkley with Tulsa's Better Business Bureau gets them from his friends. 'When I look at it, I know that they've clicked on something that has installed a virus that is now sending that to all of their friends.' Now, there's a new twist on this scam that's as old as Facebook. 'What is happening now,' says the BBB's Brinkley, 'is they're coming back with a second wave of  'join this organization, click here to sign-up to portest that you're not going to pay for Facebook and at that point it begins downloading viruses onto your computer.' He adds, that potentially is lifting private information off your computer. If you get one of these messages, the B-B-B says tell your friend and refer them to Facebook's common myths page. If you believe the message is spam, report it to Facebook. Here's the scam alert from the BBB: How the Scam Works: You spot a friend's post in your newsfeed saying that Facebook will start charging users a monthly fee. The latest version claims a new pricing structure will have different membership tiers, including a 'gold' level for $9.99 per month. However, the post says, you can avoid any fees by just sharing the message. Post it on your wall, and your 'icon will turn blue.' This color change will exempt you from the new charges. Of course, that won't happen, and neither will these new fees. The posts above are really more of an annoying hoax than an actual scam. The scam comes in when users, infuriated by the rumors, visit and/or join Facebook 'protest' groups. These pages have been known to contain viruses. Be extra careful of any links, Facebook applications or requests to download files/software on such pages. I've Found a Fake Facebook Post. What Should I Do?     Tell your friend! These posts circulate because users think they are doing their friends a favor by sharing them. Refer your friends to Facebook's common myths page for confirmation. If the message looks like spam, report it to Facebook. Check out Facebook Help Center's scam page for details.
  • The storms this weekend carry threats like large hail, damaging winds and even the potential for tornadoes. But, you are much more likely to be injured or killed by the threat that seems to get mentioned the least: lightning. On average, lightning kills 58 people a year in the U.S. and injures more than 300. 'Lightning just decided to find my umbrella.' It happened to Lynda Eubanks in 2004. She remembers a big blue flash. 'And, I remember, the hand that was holding my umbrella felt like it exploded. National Weather Service meteorologist Nicole McGavock says lightning can strike at least 10 miles ahead of a thunderstorm. McGavock says, 'No place outdoors is safe when there is lightning in the area.' So, if you can hear it, fear it. Eight years later, Lynda Eubanks still has lingering neurological effects. But, the most lasting effect is a respect for the power of lightning. 'You know, you just always have to be watching and you always have to be careful.' The National Severe Storms Laboratory offers these tips for surviving a lightning storm: While it is difficult to quantify lightning losses, it is estimated that $4-5 billion damage occurs each year. Likewise, the cost of lightning protection to safeguard critical equipment and facilities from lightning strikes during severe weather is enormous. According to the National Weather Service, during the past 30 years (1979-2008) lightning killed an average of 58 people each year. Documented injuries average about 300 per year, although undocumented injuries are likely to be much higher. Most casualties result from inappropriate behavior during thunderstorms, particularly when people are caught outdoors during recreation or organized sports. Being aware of - and following - proven lightning safety guidelines can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death. Cloud-to-ground lightning can kill and injure people by direct or indirect means. It is not known if all people are killed who are directly struck by the flash itself. The lightning current can branch off to a person from a tree, fence, pole, or other tall object. In addition, flashes may conduct their current through the ground to a person after the flash strikes a nearby tree, antenna, or other tall object. The current also may travel through power or telephone lines to a person who is in contact with electric appliances, tools, electronics, or a corded telephone. Lightning can also travel through plumbing pipes and water to a person in contact either with a plumbing fixture or a person in water, including bathtubs, pools, and the running water of a shower. Damage to the human body: Lightning affects the many electrochemical systems in the body. People struck by lightning can suffer from nerve damage, memory loss, personality change, and emotional problems. There is a national support group for lightning and electric shock survivors. An example is some single nerve cells, such as those extending from the brain to the foot, can be as long as 6 feet or more. These types of cells are most prone to lightning damage due to the instantaneous potential difference across the length of the cell as lightning begins to enter the body. The intense heat of the lightning stroke can turn sweat instantly to steam and the tremendous pressure of the steam has been known to blow people's boots, shoes, and clothing off them. In places where metal is in contact with or close proximity to the body, such as jewelry or belt buckles, burn marks are found. Likewise, burn marks are found in places where the body had been sweaty, such as the feet, underarms, and chest. The best defense is plan ahead and avoid exposure to lightning when a thunderstorm occurs. Know where safe shelter is located and leave enough time to reach safe shelter before your danger level is high. Don't be an isolated tall object, and don't be connected to anything that may be an isolated tall object.
  • Dan Potter

    Dan Potter came to KRMG as news director and morning news anchor in 2008. 

    In 2012, Dan was named host of the KRMG Morning News. Three years later, in 2015, he won the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for Best Medium Market Radio Personality in the U.S. In fact, Dan is the recipient of dozens of honors from several broadcast news organizations. Most recently, he was honored as the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Personality of the Year.

    The Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and the Press Club of Dallas awarded him Best Newscast honors a total of 6 times. He was also elected to two consecutive terms as chairman of the Texas AP Broadcasters. 

    In Oklahoma, Dan has been honored with multiple awards from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, including two awards for Best Newscast. In 2013, the Tulsa Press Club awarded The KRMG Morning News top honors for Favorite News-Talk Morning Show while Dan was recognized for the Favorite Radio News-Talk Personality. Dan earned the national Edward R. Murrow Award for best large-market radio newscast from the Radio-Television News Directors Association in 2000. He was also part of the reporting team which won broadcast journalism’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, the DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton, in 2003-2004.

    In his radio journalism career, Dan has witnessed history. He anchored continuous coverage of the 9-11 attacks, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and others, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Branch Davidian siege and the demise of the space shuttle Columbia over North Texas. He also reported live from the inauguration of President George W. Bush in 2001. He’s interviewed everyone from presidential candidates to Senators, from the First Lady to chefs and celebrities. 

    Away from the studio, Dan is celebrity in the world of competitive marching bands and world class drum corps as a stadium announcer and media personality for Drum Corps International and Bands of America. 

    Dan and his wife Martha live in midtown Tulsa with two spoiled dogs and lots of pictures of their 4 kids and one grandchild.

    Read More
  • A head injury, stroke or brain tumor could cause dementia. But did you know your prescribed medication could put you at risk, too? >> Read more trending news Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom recently conduced a study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, to explore the link between a certain class of drugs and the memory loss condition.  To do so, they used QResearch, a large database of anonymized health records, to examine nearly 285,000 adults in the U.K., aged 55 and older, between 2004 and 2016.  The team then reviewed each subject’s prescription records to determine their exposure to anticholinergics, which can include antidepressants, bladder antimuscarinics, antipsychotics and antiepileptic drugs.  >> Related: Common painkillers triple side effects of dementia, study says  After analyzing the results, they found those on anticholinergic medications had almost a 50% increased chance of developing dementia, compared to those who didn’t have prescriptions for anticholinergic drugs. The risk was only associated with 1,095 daily doses within a 10-year period, which is equivalent to an older adult taking a strong anticholinergic medication daily for at least three years. “The study is important because it strengthens a growing body of evidence showing that strong anticholinergic drugs have long term associations with dementia risk,” coauthor Carol Coupland told CNN. “It also highlights which types of anticholinergic drugs have the strongest associations. This is important information for physicians to know when considering whether to prescribe these drugs.” Although the authors said “no firm conclusions can be drawn about whether these anticholinergic drugs cause dementia,” they hope their findings can help professionals better understand the disease. They also advised patients to not stop taking their medications until consulting with their doctor. >> Related: Rate of dementia deaths in US has more than doubled, CDC says As for antihistamines, skeletal muscle relaxants, gastrointestinal antispasmodics, antiarrhythmics, or antimuscarinic bronchodilators, the scientists noted there were no significant dementia risks associated with them.
  • Scientists at the University of St. Andrews taught three young gray seals to sing, literally. >> Read more trending news Seals, which generally bark, and other marine mammals are known for some of the sounds they make. Whales sing, dolphins click, penguins peep and walruses bellow. Researchers, though, were able to train the three young seals to bark out the notes to the opening bars of the theme from “Star Wars” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” The research is published in the journal Current Biology. It’s not just that teaching a seal to sing is an interesting project, St. Andrews scientists said they wanted to learn more about how seals communicate with each other, according to Smithsonian magazine. Knowing how seals communicate in the wild could become important in the future to conservation efforts.  
  • Climate change in the Western U.S. means more intense and frequent wildfires churning out waves of smoke that scientists say will sweep across the continent to affect tens of millions of people and cause a spike in premature deaths. That emerging reality is prompting people in cities and rural areas alike to gird themselves for another summer of sooty skies along the West Coast and in the Rocky Mountains — the regions widely expected to suffer most from blazes tied to dryer, warmer conditions. “There’s so little we can do. We have air purifiers and masks — otherwise we’re just like ‘Please don’t burn,’” said Sarah Rochelle Montoya of San Francisco, who fled her home with her husband and children last fall to escape thick smoke enveloping the city from a disastrous fire roughly 150 miles away. Other sources of air pollution are in decline in the U.S. as coal-fired power plants close and fewer older cars roll down highways. But those air quality gains are being erased in some areas by the ill effects of massive clouds of smoke that can spread hundreds and even thousands of miles on cross-country winds, according to researchers. With the 2019 fire season already heating up with fires from southern California to Canada, authorities are scrambling to better protect the public before smoke again blankets cities and towns. Officials in Seattle recently announced plans to retrofit five public buildings as smoke-free shelters.
  • First lady Melania Trump announced Tuesday that her director of communications, Stephanie Grisham, has been named as the new White House press secretary. >> Read more trending news  'I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country,' Trump said in a statement posted on Twitter. The first lady said Grisham will also serve as White House director of communications, a position that's been vacant since former Fox News executive Bill Shine left the role in March. Grisham will replace the current press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. President Donald Trump announced two weeks ago that Sanders, plans to step down at the end of June. '(Grisham) will be an incredible asset to the President and the country,' Sanders said in a statement posted on Twitter. 'I’m sad to leave the WH, but so happy our team will be in such great hands. Stephanie will do a phenomenal job.' Axios reported President Trump wanted Grisham in the position and that he's said he likes and trusts her. The news site noted she's one of the few officials who has been with President Trump since his campaign. She will continue to serve as the first lady's spokeswoman as well, CNN reported. Grisham will become the fourth woman to serve as White House press secretary. Before serving as the first lady's spokeswoman, Grisham worked under Trump's first press secretary, Sean Spicer, The Washington Post reported. She also previously worked on Republican Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, according to the newspaper. “During the campaign, she developed a good relationship with the president, and that’s carried through,” Sanders said of Grisham in an interview late last year, according to the Post. “She has developed a great amount of trust from both the president and the first lady, which is a pretty high commodity here. There aren’t a lot of people who have a lot of regular interaction with both of them.”
  • The Forsyth County, Georgia sheriff's office has released body camera footage of the moments deputies rescued an abandoned newborn found in a plastic shopping bag. >> Read more trending news  Neighbors heard a baby crying and discovered 'Baby India' tied up in the bag earlier this month, WSB-TV reported.  The new video shows deputies tearing open the bag to find the newborn with her umbilical cord still attached. The video shows officers frantically wrapping the crying baby in a jacket. She has since been taken into the custody of the Division of Family and Children services' care and is in good health.  Deputies hope releasing the body camera footage will generate more leads and help find the infant's mother. WARNING: Graphic video below. Police are asking anyone with information to call the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office at 770-888-7308. Callers can remain anonymous. 

Washington Insider

  • On the eve of the first major gathering of Democratic Party candidates in the 2020 race for President, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) drew over a thousand interested Democrats to a town hall gathering at Florida International University on Monday, pressing the case for the federal government to do more to help working Americans find economic security in the future. 'I don't want a government that works for big corporations, I want one that works for families,' Warren said to applause, making the case for a higher minimum wage for workers, major ethics reforms for government officials, voting reforms, major tax changes, and more. 'Let's start with a wealth tax in America,' said Sanders, as she called for 'big structural change in this country,' rattling off a number of her policy ideas, getting big cheers for new limits on lobbying, action on climate change, and better wages for all workers. “A full time minimum wage job in America will not get a momma and a baby out of poverty,” Warren said.  “That is wrong, and that is why I am in this fight.” Of the ten Democrats on the debate stage Wednesday night, Warren is by far the strongest candidate in the first group, as she has been gaining momentum in recent weeks in a variety of polls. The four other top Democrats in the race will be on stage together on Thursday - Biden, Buttigieg, Harris and Sanders. Along with Warren, two other Democrats attracted press attention in south Florida before the Wednesday debate, as Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State talked about his signature issue of climate change, and ex-Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas rallied with teachers in Miami. 'It's a great opportunity for me to listen to you, to have the chance to introduce myself,' said O'Rourke, who is one of the better known names on the first night of the Democratic debate. The first debate night in Miami features three Democratic Senators (Booker, Klobuchar, Warren), two House members (Gabbard, Ryan), two former House members (Delaney, O'Rourke), one current mayor (DeBlasio), one former mayor and Cabinet member (Castro), and one Governor (Inslee). While some like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) arrived in Florida on Tuesday afternoon - getting unsolicited advice along the way from fellow passengers on her flight to Miami - Inslee was for a second day hammering away at his main issue of climate change. 'Today we're announcing a new freedom in America, and that's freedom from fossil fuels,' Inslee said at an event in the Everglades. Inslee followed up his Everglades visit with a Tuesday evening event where he took shots at Big Oil. For most of the Democrats over the next two nights, there is a simple game plan.  'Our goal,' a memo to reporters from Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said, 'Introduce Cory to Democrats tuning in for the first time,' noting that when you do the math, each candidate is only going to get between seven and eleven minutes of total speaking time. 'I can’t wait to share with you my vision for a more just and fair nation,' Booker said. Meanwhile, Warren was making plans for an impromptu visit on Wednesday to a facility south of Miami, where immigrant children detained by border authorities are being held. “I'm going to Homestead,” Warren said to cheers after being urged to focus on the issue by an activist at a town hall meeting in Miami. “If you can come, come and join us,” Warren urged the crowd, as her campaign set a 10:45 am visit on Wednesday, which seems all but certain to draw extra news media attention, just hours before the first night of the Democratic debates. While Warren was on the move, her colleague Sen. Booker was doing more mundane things at the same time back in Washington, D.C. - helping people put their suitcases in the overhead bin on his flight to Miami.
  • Pressing ahead with work on government funding bills for 2020, Democrats in the House approved a package of five measures worth $383.3 billion on Tuesday, funding an array of programs from the Justice Department to NASA, military construction projects and the VA, while also including a series of policy riders designed to rein in efforts by the Trump Administration to expand offshore oil and gas exploration. 'Offshore drilling anywhere near Florida represents an existential threat to our economy that we cannot risk taking,' said Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL), as all but one Republican from the Sunshine State supported an amendment to block new oil and gas leasing off Florida, especially in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. 'I saw the tar balls wash up on Florida beaches,' said Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), and he invoked the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico when he was Governor of Florida in 2010. 'I hope to never see that again.' But it wasn't only Florida lawmakers of both parties making the case against expanded drilling, as the bill also added amendments to block seismic blasting to check for oil and gas deposits in offshore waters along the entire Atlantic coast, along with a full moratorium on new oil and gas exploration on the Eastern seaboard, plus a plan to block any new oil and gas leasing off the Pacific Coast of the United States. 'The Central Coast has endured the devastating impacts of oil spills,' said California Democrat Salud Carbajal. 'I'll do everything in my power to make sure our community doesn't go through that again.' Supporters of expanded offshore oil and gas exploration accused opponents of using 'fear tactics.' 'I believe the ones who don’t want to see the areas mentioned in this amendment opened up for offshore leasing really just don’t want fossil fuel development,' said Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC). But Duncan's home state colleague - from the Atlantic coast - had a much different view. 'Far too much is at stake in our State,' said Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), who argued for plans to squelch new offshore exploration. 'South Carolina’s tourism economy is worth $22.6 billion a year, and two-thirds of that comes from the coast.' 'This is an issue that has been supported by Republican Governor (Henry) McMaster, who has made it clear that he opposes offshore drilling,' Cunningham added. The approval of the underlying 'minibus' funding package means that nine of the twelve yearly funding bills have made it through the House of Representatives; one more could be voted on this week before lawmakers leave for a scheduled break. Those spending bills are supposed to be done by October 1 - but the House only has 25 scheduled work days between the July Fourth break and the end of the fiscal year. The Senate has one more week of work scheduled than the House - but there is little reason to think that Congress will finish its on time - by September 30 - for the first time since 1996. 'The current funding process is designed to fail. It doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked. It will never work,' said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who has been pressing for a full overhaul of the budget process.  'Since the Budget Act of 1974 was put in place, Congress has only funded the federal government on time four times, and the last time was 23 years ago,' Perdue added. The three funding bills not yet voted on by the House include the spending measure for Congress and the Legislative Branch, a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, and a measure funding federal financial agencies. The Senate has yet to bring any of the 2020 funding bills to the floor for action.
  • In a flurry of motions by prosecutors and lawyers for indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), government attorneys submitted to a federal judge a number of examples of how Hunter allegedly used money contributed to his campaign to instead pay for romantic outings with a series of women who were not his wife. 'Shortly after he arrived in Washington, Hunter began to use funds contributed to the Duncan D. Hunter for Congress Campaign to carry out a series of intimate relationships,' a new document filed on Monday detailed for a federal judge. 'At trial, the evidence will demonstrate that Hunter improperly used campaign funds to pursue these romances wholly unrelated to either his congressional campaigns or his official duties as a member of Congress,' prosecutors said in a 'statement of facts.' Stating there was a 'voluminous nature' of evidence against Hunter, the document set out an image of a Congressman who had affairs with lobbyists and Congressional staffers, paying for their meals, trips, and nights on the town with campaign funds. 'In March 2010, for example, the couple took a weekend “double date” road trip to Virginia Beach with their friends, one of whom was also a congressman. Hunter spent $905 in campaign funds to pay for the hotel bar tab and room he shared with (Individual-14) that weekend,' the documents related. The documents listed evidence about Hunter's relationships with: + Individual 14 - a lobbyist,  + Individual 15 - a staffer who worked in the office of a member of the House leadership,  + Individual 16 - a staffer in his Congressional office,  + Individual 17 - a lobbyist,  + Individual 18 - a lobbyist. The court submission sometimes left little to the imagination, as it noted Hunter engaging in 'intimate personal activities' with these individuals, which was not related to his campaign or duties as a lawmaker. The release of the information by prosecutors came as lawyers for Rep. Hunter asked the judge in the case to exclude a number of pieces of evidence, as Hunter has alleged he is the victim of a political persecution. 'The investigation of Congressman Hunter by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California began shortly after his public endorsement of candidate Trump,' Hunter's lawyers wrote in one of a series of evidence challenges, alleging that two prosecutors involved in the case were supporters of Hillary Clinton. 'Any explanation the Government gives now for initiating the investigation of Congressman Hunter should be viewed with total skepticism through the lens of their attempts to cover up the partisan political activities of the prosecutors that initiated the investigation,' lawyers for Hunter added.
  • Flanked by several progressive Democrats from the U.S. House, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) unveiled plans on Monday to zero out well over $1 trillion in college student loan debt held by Americans, part of a broader call by some lawmakers to make tuition much more affordable for students at public colleges and universities. 'If you can bail out Wall Street, you can bail out the middle class of this country,' Sanders said at a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol. 'We have a generation of people who are drowning in debt,' said Sanders, as he urged older Americans to realize that times have dramatically changed since they were able to use Pell Grants or a part time job to help pay their college tuition. 'It was literally easier for me to become the youngest woman in American history elected to Congress than it is to pay off my student loan debt,' said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). There were different pieces of legislation released today on the issue - one from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is titled the 'Student Debt Cancellation Act of 2019' - and focuses just on the issue of erasing student debt. Omar's bill would also prevent the loan forgiveness from being considered taxable income for an individual, and does not allow any refunds of payments already made. 'Corporations and the wealthiest Americans have repeatedly gotten tax breaks and bailouts,' said Omar. 'It’s time for a bailout for the 45 million Americans who are shackled with student debt.' The immediate reaction among Republicans and conservatives was skeptical - to say the least. 'Universities will be able to increase tuition at will if they know the gov’t is just going to forgive the debt anyway,' tweeted Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH). The plan from Sanders and others would apply to all with student loan debt - no matter their current income levels. His bill would also aim to drastically reduce the cost of tuition at public colleges and universities - with a total cost estimate of $2.2 trillion. 'The estimated $2.2 trillion cost of the bill would be paid for by a tax on Wall Street speculation,' Sanders said in a release about the legislation. The plan would institute a transaction tax of 0.5 percent on stock trades, as well as a 0.1 percent fee on bonds, and a .0005 percent fee on derivatives.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that a government ban on the registration of what federal officials believe are 'immoral or scandalous' trademarks violates the First Amendment, saying it was not right that free speech would protect 'good morals,' but not trademarks which 'denigrate those concepts.' 'The registration of such marks serves only to further coarsen our popular culture,' Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the Court. 'But we are not legislators and cannot substitute a new statute for the one now in force.' The case involved artist and entrepreneur Erik Brunetti, who wanted a trademark for his clothing like 'FUCT' - which he says is pronounced not as a word, but with the individual letters, F-U-C-T.  'But you might read it differently and, if so, you would hardly be alone,' Kagan wrote for the Court, as patent and trademark officials refused to approve Brunetti's request, labeling it a 'total vulgar.' This ruling overturned those decisions. While agreeing with the basics of the decision, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a concurring opinion that while the decision protects free speech, the results might offend many people. 'The Court’s decision today will beget unfortunate results,' Sotomayor wrote in a concurrence with Justice Stephen Breyer. “Everyone can think of a small number of words (including the apparent homonym of Brunetti’s mark) that would, however, plainly qualify,” Sotomayor added. The decision could have implications past trademarks, as states routinely reject vanity license plate applications because of certain words which would be used. You can read the full ruling here.