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    Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills objected Monday to recent comments from rapper Jay-Z about social activism by current and former NFL players, including Colin Kaepernick. Jay-Z and the league last week announced a partnership he characterized as a progressive step to carry on the campaign that Kaepernick began by kneeling during the national anthem to bring attention to police brutality and racial division. Stills said he isn't so sure the Jay-Z partnership represents progress. 'I felt like he really discredited Colin and myself and the work that's being done,' Stills said. 'I'm going to try and give this man the benefit of the doubt for now, but it doesn't sit right with me. It's not something that I agree with. It's not something that I respect.' While Kaepernick is out of the NFL, Stills continues to kneel during the anthem to protest social injustice. Last week Jay-Z said kneeling has served its purpose. 'I think everyone knows what the issue is — we're done with that,' Jay-Z said. 'We all know the issue now. OK, next.' Stills said Jay-Z could have reached out to him or to Kaepernick before announcing the partnership. 'He's talking about, 'We're moving past kneeling,' like he ever protested,' Stills said. 'He's not an NFL player. He's never been on a knee. ... To say that we're moving past something, it didn't seem very informed.' ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL ___ Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve_Wine.
  • Twitter said Monday it has suspended more than 200,000 accounts that it believes were part of a Chinese government influence campaign targeting the protest movement in Hong Kong. The company also said it will ban ads from state-backed media companies, expanding a prohibition it first applied in 2017 to two Russian entities. Both measures are part of what a senior company official portrayed in an interview as a broader effort to curb malicious political activity on a popular platform that has been criticized for enabling election interference around the world and for accepting money for ads that amount to propaganda by state-run media organizations. The accounts were suspended for violating the social networking platform's terms of service and 'because we think this is not how people can come to Twitter to get informed,' the official said in an interview with The Associated Press. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns, said the Chinese activity was reported to the FBI, which investigated Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election through social media. After being notified by Twitter and conducting its own investigation, Facebook said Monday that it has also removed seven pages, three groups and five accounts, including some portraying protesters as cockroaches and terrorists. Facebook, which is more widely used in Hong Kong, does not release the data on such state-backed influence operations. The company also does not ban ads from state-owned media companies. 'We continue to look at our policies as they relate to state-owned media,' a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. 'We're also taking a closer look at ads that have been raised to us to determine if they violate our policies.' Twitter traced the Hong Kong campaign to two fake Chinese and English Twitter accounts that pretended to be news organizations based in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy demonstrators have taken to the streets since early June calling for full democracy and an inquiry into what they say is police violence against protesters. Though Twitter is banned in China, it is available in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region. The Chinese language account, @HKpoliticalnew, and the English account, @ctcc507, pushed tweets depicting protesters as violent criminals in a campaign aimed at influencing public opinion around the world. One of those accounts was tied to a suspended Facebook account that went by the same moniker: HKpoliticalnew. An additional 936 core accounts Twitter believes originated from within China attempted to sow political discord in Hong Kong by undermining the protest movement's legitimacy and political positions. About 200,000 more automated Twitter accounts amplified the messages, engaging with the core accounts in the network. Few tweeted more than once, the official said, mostly because Twitter quickly caught many of them. The Twitter official said the investigation remains ongoing and there could be further disclosures. The Twitter campaign reflects the fact that the Chinese government has studied the role of social media in mass movements and fears the Hong Kong protests could spark wider unrest, said James Lewis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 'This is standard Chinese practice domestically, and we know that after 2016 they studied what the Russians did in the U.S. carefully,' Lewis said. 'So it sounds like this is the first time they're deploying their new toy.' Twitter has sought to more aggressively monitor its network for malicious political activity since the 2016 presidential election and to be more transparent about its investigations, publicly releasing such data about state-backed influence operations since October so others can evaluate it, the official said. 'We're not only telling the public this happened, we're also putting the data out there so people can study it for themselves,' the official said. As for state-backed media organizations, they are still allowed to use Twitter, but are no longer allowed to pay for ads, which show up regardless of whether you have elected to follow the group's tweet. Twitter declined to provide a list of what it considers state-backed media organizations, but a representative said it may consider doing so in the future. In 2017, Twitter specifically announced it would ban Russia-based RT and Sputnik from advertising on its platform. ___ Follow Tami Abdollah on Twitter at https://twitter.com/latams
  • A group of musicians has begun performing impromptu concerts at crime scenes around Milwaukee in hopes of helping the community heal from tragedy. >> Read more trending news  The Black String Triage Ensemble has performed at more than a dozen crime scenes since the beginning of the summer, WISN-TV reported. The seven members range in age from 11 to 75, and play instruments that include the violin, the cello and the upright bass. Dayvin Hallmon is the group's founder and conductor. He arranged songs for the group to represent the five stages of grief: a spiritual for denial; classical music for anger; jazz for bargaining; then blues and soul music for depression and acceptance, according to CNN. All of the music is by African-American composers. 'There is someone who gets shot every other day, whether fatal or not. This is a habitual thing. With so many people being killed ... people are always having memorials, they're always having vigils, they're always having funerals,' Hallmon told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 'We are always in some form of grieving. There is nothing that addresses what happens in the immediate aftermath directly.' The music is meant to help the community grieve and 'move forward,' Hallmon said. The group's musicians are on-call during designated Saturday nights, when they must be ready to assemble anywhere in the city. Feedback has so far been positive, Hallmon said. The first time the ensemble performed after a shooting, a woman introduced herself to Hallmon as the mother of the shooting victim. 'I will sleep better tonight knowing you are here,' she said, according to Hallmon. The group tweets the time and location of upcoming shows on its Twitter page.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. says his family is 'truly blessed' that nobody was seriously injured when his plane crash-landed last week in Tennessee. The retired NASCAR driver, now a television analyst, issued a statement Monday on social media praising the 'quick response of my pilots, local law enforcement, emergency personnel and hospital staff.' He thanked people for their phone calls, messages of support and prayers. Investigators say the plane carrying Earnhardt and his family bounced multiple times during a crash-landing Thursday in Elizabethton and veered off the runway before ending up on a highway. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause. Earnhardt was with wife Amy, 15-month-old daughter Isla, two pilots and the family dog. He was to have been part of NBC's broadcast team for Saturday night's Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Earnhardt says he and his wife appreciate the privacy extended to them as they process what happened. ___ More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Andrew Hooper's wife had warned him about getting too close to an Alaska glacier. She wasn't pleased, he said, when he returned from a kayaking trip earlier this month soaked to the bone but with incredible footage of part of the giant glacier's sudden and dramatic collapse. 'It was absolutely gorgeous watching the raw power of the glacier as it fell in,' he said Monday. 'It was a beautiful event that we were lucky to have survived.' Hooper and his friend set off on a kayaking trip off the Kenai Peninsula to get a glimpse at the Spencer Glacier. The drop-off point to get to the glacier is only accessible via train, he said. After paddling around for a while, Hooper said he heard a cracking noise near the glacier. They turned on their GoPro cameras and began filming. 'When it fell, it was cracking small pieces here and there then a big chunk came, another big chunk, and then it just collapsed in on itself,' he said. A wave of ice and water sprayed over them. At one point, Hooper said, he let go of his camera to shield himself from the ice. 'We were way too close,' he said. The incident came during a stretch of unusually warm weather in Alaska and just days after July became Alaska's warmest month ever, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Alaska's average temperature in July was 58.1 degrees (14.5 Celsius), or 5.4 degrees (3 Celsius) above average, NOAA said. It beat the previous warmest month of July 2004 by 0.8 degrees (0.4 Celsius). Spencer Glacier is about 60 miles (97 kilometers) southeast of Anchorage, which on July 4 hit 90 degrees (32 Celsius) for the first time ever. Last month, a German couple and their Austrian recreational guide were found dead in the water near the toe of the Valdez Glacier, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) east of Anchorage. City spokeswoman Sheri Pierce said the glacier was calving, or shedding ice. She said if the glacier released, it could cause significant trauma. The bodies were transported to the state medical examiner's office to determine the cause of death. Hooper didn't want to comment on global warming, saying 'that's not my area of expertise,' but noted that while traveling around Alaska for the summer, locals have told him and his family it's been a lot warmer than usual. In 2017, the Hoopers sold their home in Katy, Texas, and have been traveling the U.S. mainland and Canada in an RV. The couple's two sons, 4 and 6, are home-schooled. 'We call it road-schooling,' Hooper said. Hooper and his buddy compiled their videos and posted them online, which captured a lot of attention. They've been giving interviews about the experience. Hooper said he hopes to gain some followers to his family's Instagram account. The Hoopers have been in Alaska since July and don't know yet what their next destination will be.
  • A judge ordered jurors to restart deliberations Monday in the trial of two men charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of 36 partygoers who died in a fire inside a cluttered San Francisco Bay Area warehouse. The order to begin again came after the judge dismissed three female jurors for an undisclosed reason on the 10th day of deliberations. Superior Judge Trina Thompson excused the jurors and replaced them with alternates at the trial of Derick Almena and Max Harris following a three-month trial that has drawn family and friends of the victims to the packed courtroom. Thompson replaced the three women with a woman and two men, telling them they should disregard all past deliberations and reminding the full jury that they cannot talk to others about the case or seek outside information about it. She also imposed a gag order preventing attorneys from discussing the case with reporters. The Dec. 2, 2016, fire broke out during an electronic music party at the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland. The building was packed with pianos, furniture, tangled electrical cords and other flammable material but had only two exits and no smoke detectors, fire alarms or sprinklers, prosecutors say. The blaze killed 36 people — most of them on the building's illegally constructed second floor. Prosecutors said the victims had received no warning and had little chance to escape down a narrow, ramshackle staircase. Monday's restart is the latest prosecutorial setback in the case. Almena and Harris were set to be sentenced to nine and six years in prison, respectively, after pleading no contest to manslaughter last year. But a judge threw out their pleas after many of the victims' families objected, saying their proposed sentences were too lenient. About a dozen family members and friends of the victims came to court for Tuesday's announcement but declined to speak as they left. In closing arguments during the trial, Deputy District Attorney Autrey James said the men didn't obtain permits because they wanted to avoid inspections and they violated the fire code by refusing to install safety devices. Almena, 49, was the master tenant and Harris, 29, acted like a manager by collecting rent and settling household disputes, the prosecutor said. James told jurors that to find the men guilty of involuntary manslaughter, they must agree that their actions were criminally negligent. 'Is failure to get a permit criminally negligent? Absolutely,' he said. The defendants argued that city workers were to blame for not raising concerns about fire hazards and said the fire was arson. Investigators have never found what caused the fire, so arson cannot be ruled out. Almena and Harris face up to 39 years in prison if convicted. ___ Associated Press writer Samantha Maldonado also contributed to this report.
  • Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale is receiving treatment for inflammation in his elbow that will shut him down for the rest of the regular season. Orthopedist Dr. James Andrews gave Sale an injection of platelet-rich plasma on Monday and said he will be re-evaluated in six weeks. The treatment could be good news for the ballclub, who feared that Sale might need Tommy John surgery. That would likely have cost him all of the 2020 season. But losing Sale deals a blow to the defending World Series champions' already slim hopes for a repeat. Sale went on the injured list on Saturday, four days after facing the Cleveland Indians. If he does not pitch again this season, he will finish with a 6-11 record and 4.40 ERA — both by far the worst in his career. Sale signed a six-year, $160 million contract in March that includes $50 million in deferred money. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Since 1965, Up With People has performed before well more than a billion people in venues large and small, ranging from community theaters to the Super Bowl halftime show. But song and dance is only part of what the group does. [Hear the KRMG In-Depth Report on Up With People by clicking HERE, or use the audio player below] In each city they visit around the world, they spend several days doing community service. In Tulsa, they'll participate in the United Way Day of Caring, help build a Habitat for Humanity house, work with a local YMCA, assist Up With Trees, and other non-profits. The current cast members, ranging from 17 to 29 years old, come from 14 different countries. Their five-month international tour is pricey, so the non-profit relies on donations - including the vital help of host families willing to provide for a cast member for a week. Promotion Manager Sergio Campos tells KRMG the requirements for a host family are simple: Their guest will need a place to sleep (even the floor's okay, he said), a light breakfast and a dinner (which some of them will offer to cook), and rides to and from their projects. “If you live 24 hours with them,” Campos said, “you'll be prone to learn very quickly about not only themselves, but also your own culture and what you really appreciate.” To learn more about hosting an Up With People cast member, CLICK HERE. The show is September 7th at 7:00 p.m. at the Kirkland Theatre in Broken Arrow. Tickets start at $10 dollars, CLICK HERE to purchase.
  • A felony battery charge has been dropped against singer Chris Brown, who had been accused of attacking a nightclub photographer in Florida two years ago. Hillsborough County prosecutors filed a notice Friday to drop the charge. The State Attorney's Office released a statement saying there was insufficient evidence. Tampa police say Brown was at the former AJA Channelside club following a concert in April 2017 when he punched a photographer working for the club. Brown was gone when police arrived. Brown was arrested more than a year later in Palm Beach County. He was met by officers with a warrant while walking off stage after a July 2018 show. Brown's attorney, Kevin Napper, told the Tampa Bay Times Brown had been wrongfully accused and that prosecutors made the right decision.
  • Since 1965, Up With People has performed before well more than a billion people in venues large and small, ranging from community theaters to the Super Bowl halftime show. But song and dance is only part of what the group does. [Hear the KRMG In-Depth Report on Up With People by clicking HERE, or use the audio player below] In each city they visit around the world, they spend several days doing community service. In Tulsa, they'll participate in the United Way Day of Caring, help build a Habitat for Humanity house, work with a local YMCA, assist Up With Trees, and other non-profits. The current cast members, ranging from 17 to 29 years old, come from 14 different countries. Their five-month international tour is pricey, so the non-profit relies on donations - including the vital help of host families willing to provide for a cast member for a week. Promotion Manager Sergio Campos tells KRMG the requirements for a host family are simple: Their guest will need a place to sleep (even the floor's okay, he said), a light breakfast and a dinner (which some of them will offer to cook), and rides to and from their projects. “If you live 24 hours with them,” Campos said, “you'll be prone to learn very quickly about not only themselves, but also your own culture and what you really appreciate.” To learn more about hosting an Up With People cast member, CLICK HERE. The show is September 7th at 7:00 p.m. at the Kirkland Theatre in Broken Arrow. Tickets start at $10 dollars, CLICK HERE to purchase.
  • Tulsa police arrested Reginald Lewis Monday for the August 6th shooting death of Adrian Thornton. Thornton was found shot to death in a car at an apartment complex near Apache and Peoria. Police got a tip that a homicide suspect was in the house with his girlfriend and her three children. Lewis ran away, but was caught in a nearby yard. Detectives are still looking to talk to Brandon Gundy in connection to the shooting. 
  • Echoing the campaign trail warnings of President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence told the Detroit Economic Club on Monday that if Democrats succeed in winning the White House in 2020, it would mean an economic catastrophe for many Americans. 'I honestly believe if any one of the Democrats on that debate stage wins the Presidency, the gains of the last two and a half years would be wiped out,' the Vice President said in a speech. 'Taxes would skyrocket. The stock market would tank. Jobs would vanish and we would get this recession that naysayers are talking about,' Pence added. Pence's message - part excitement about the Trump economy, and part gloom and doom about the Democrats - was much like that of President Trump's campaign stop last week in Manchester, New Hampshire, when he said the bottom line is simple: 'You have no choice but to vote for me because your 401(k)s go down the tubes, everything is gonna be down the tubes,' the President said about a Democratic victory in 2020. On Monday morning, Mr. Trump went on Twitter to rail against Democrats - charging they were rooting for a recession to drive him from office - and again jawboning the Chairman of the Federal Reserve - arguing once more for interest rate cuts to spur economic growth. In his Detroit speech, the Vice President gave no hints of any second-guessing about the current trade fight between the U.S. and China. which has spurred some volatility on Wall Street. 'At the President's direction, we've put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods,' Pence said, making clear the Trump Administration is not going to back down - specifically tying the trade talks to the current unrest in Hong Kong. 'As the President said yesterday, it will be much harder for us to make a deal if something violent happens in Hong Kong,' Pence added.
  • A Tulsa police officer has bonded out of jail after his arrest on a complaint of carrying a weapon where alcohol is sold, a felony.  The charge was filed against Jeffrey Shane Statum Friday. A probable cause affidavit filed in the case indicates that Statum appeared intoxicated and had a loaded firearm in his pocket when officers responded to a call from Club Majestic downtown on August 3rd. They were told Statum had flashed a badge, claiming to be an undercover officer named “Jason Brown.” Witnesses also told officers Statum had inappropriately grabbed some women at the bar.  Statum denied the accusations, and according to the affidavit, denied having a gun.  However, officers reportedly found one when they patted him down, and he was arrested.  He was released after posting a $10,000 bond.  TPD issued a brief statement, saying he was suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation, and that he'd been with the department since May of 2017. 
  • Officials say they seized $2.3 million worth of marijuana mixed in with a shipment of jalapeño peppers at a Southern California port. A Customs and Border Protection K-9 unit alerted officers to a shipment of peppers Thursday at the Otay Mesa cargo facility in San Diego. A CBP news release says officers discovered more than 7,500 pounds of marijuana in the peppers’ pallets. Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan congratulated the officers on Twitter and noted it was the second large seizure of marijuana there within days. Authorities seized more than 10,600 lbs of marijuana in a shipment of plastic auto parts at the port Tuesday.

Washington Insider

  • Echoing the campaign trail warnings of President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence told the Detroit Economic Club on Monday that if Democrats succeed in winning the White House in 2020, it would mean an economic catastrophe for many Americans. 'I honestly believe if any one of the Democrats on that debate stage wins the Presidency, the gains of the last two and a half years would be wiped out,' the Vice President said in a speech. 'Taxes would skyrocket. The stock market would tank. Jobs would vanish and we would get this recession that naysayers are talking about,' Pence added. Pence's message - part excitement about the Trump economy, and part gloom and doom about the Democrats - was much like that of President Trump's campaign stop last week in Manchester, New Hampshire, when he said the bottom line is simple: 'You have no choice but to vote for me because your 401(k)s go down the tubes, everything is gonna be down the tubes,' the President said about a Democratic victory in 2020. On Monday morning, Mr. Trump went on Twitter to rail against Democrats - charging they were rooting for a recession to drive him from office - and again jawboning the Chairman of the Federal Reserve - arguing once more for interest rate cuts to spur economic growth. In his Detroit speech, the Vice President gave no hints of any second-guessing about the current trade fight between the U.S. and China. which has spurred some volatility on Wall Street. 'At the President's direction, we've put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods,' Pence said, making clear the Trump Administration is not going to back down - specifically tying the trade talks to the current unrest in Hong Kong. 'As the President said yesterday, it will be much harder for us to make a deal if something violent happens in Hong Kong,' Pence added.
  • As President Donald Trump returned to the White House following a summer break at his golf retreat in New Jersey, the President teed off on Fox News, expressing aggravation again with Fox News polls that showed him trailing some of the top Democrats running for President. 'My worst polls have always been from Fox,' the President told reporters on Sunday. 'There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now.' 'Fox is a lot different than it used to be,' Mr. Trump added, taking aim at their news division, but not the stable of conservative talk show hosts who have stood by him over the last three years. Asked about the most recent poll from Fox News - which showed him trailing the top tier of 2020 candidates for President - Mr. Trump was succinct. 'I don't believe it,' he said. 'Despite all of the Fake News, my Poll Numbers are great,' the President tweeted on Monday morning, as he blasted one of his former aides, Anthony Scaramucci, who had just been on CNN talking about finding someone to challenge Mr. Trump.  The President hasn't always been sour on polls from Fox News - as when the Fox polls have good numbers, then they are fine, and absolutely correct. 'Fox Poll say best Economy in DECADES!' the President tweeted in July. 'New Fox Poll: 58% of people say that the FBI broke the law in investigating Donald J. Trump,' Mr. Trump tweeted back in May. But sometimes the numbers just aren't good enough. 'President Trump’s Approval Rating on Economy is at 52%, a 4 point jump,' Mr. Trump tweeted about a Fox Poll in July. 'Shouldn’t this be at 100%?' he added. The latest Fox News poll also had some challenging findings for the President and Republicans on the issue of guns. 'In the wake of two mass shootings, overwhelming and bipartisan majorities of voters favor background checks on gun buyers and taking guns from people who are a danger to themselves or others, according to the latest Fox News Poll,' the network wrote in describing the poll's findings. On Sunday, the President appeared to threaten Fox News over their poll findings, and the network's place in any 2020 Presidential debates. 'I think Fox is making a big mistake. Because, you know, I'm the one that calls the shots on that -- on the really big debates,' Mr. Trump said.
  • A senior White House official on Sunday confirmed that President Donald Trump has raised the issue of the United States possibly trying to buy the island of Greenland from Denmark, even though Danish officials say the North Atlantic outpost is not for sale. 'Greenland is a strategic place,' top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said at the end of an interview with Fox News Sunday, acknowledging that the President is interested. 'The President - who knows a thing or two about buying real estate - wants to take a look,' Kudlow added. The comments came even as officials in Denmark and Greenland said the island was not for sale. Kudlow noted that President Harry Truman had raised the same possibility when he was in office, but the idea went nowhere. 'We're open for business, not for sale,' said Greenland's official representative to the U.S. in a tweet. Reaction from Congress to the news reports about the idea of buying Greenland was muted. GOP Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee said on Twitter that he wouldn't support such an idea during a time of budget deficits. “I think it's Trump's Folly,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). The New York Daily News may have had the most fun with the story, printing a headline on Saturday which echoed one of the tabloid's most famous headlines ever.
  • In the aftermath of the mass shootings this month in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will meet in early September to act on a series of gun control measures, including ten round limits on ammunition magazines, red flag laws, and adding new reasons for blocking someone from buying a firearm. 'For far too long, politicians in Washington have only offered thoughts and prayers in the wake of gun violence tragedies,' said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. 'Democrats in the House will continue to make good on our promise to work to keep our communities safe,' Nadler added, trying to put more pressure on Senate Republicans to act on gun bills approved by the House. 'House Democrats are serious about protecting our communities from the epidemic of gun violence,' said Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV). 'All of these gun violence prevention bills would save lives, and it’s really important that the House is taking action,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). 'We must act now to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country and keep our kids safe,' said freshman Rep. Joe Negeuse (D-CO). Democrats also tried to turn up the heat on GOP leaders in the Senate, where a bill to expand background checks to all private gun sales has been languishing for months. 'The Majority Leader should call the Senate back to Washington to debate and vote on gun violence legislation,' said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). Some Democrats also want to force a vote on banning certain assault weapons - Congress approved such a measure back in 1994, but the expired after ten years. While the Congress isn't back for votes until the week of September 9, the announcement by the House Judiciary Committee will bring lawmakers back just after Labor Day for committee work - with the goal of votes on the various gun bills in the House later that month. 'Our community is relying on us to pass gun safety legislation, which is why we need a federal red flag policy to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,' said Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA). Some Republicans quickly made clear their opposition to some of the gun plans from Democrats. 'The problem with Red Flag laws is you’re guilty until proven innocent,' said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). President Donald Trump has held talks with some Democrats on the issue of expanding background checks, but his language at a campaign rally on Thursday night in Manchester, New Hampshire did not signal any compromise on guns, as he focused more on the issue of mental health. “It's not the gun that pulls the trigger. It's the person holding the gun,” the President said. The bills on the schedule in September before the House Judiciary Committee include: + H.R. 1186, the Keep Americans Safe Act. This bill would ban high capacity ammunition magazines. + H.R. 1236, the Extreme Risk Protector Order Act, designed to help states formulate 'Red Flag' laws. + H.R. 3076, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which would allow people to go into federal court to take a firearm away from a mentally unstable person. H.R. 2708, the Disarm Hate Act, which would add misdemeanor hate crimes to the list of items disqualifying someone from buying a weapon, under the current background check system. H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, which stems from the mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. In that case, the shooter was able to buy his firearms - even though he would have failed the background check - because the feds did not conduct a check within three business days. = Click here to read more stories from Jamie Dupree.
  • A day after the Israeli government refused to allow two Democrats in Congress to visit that nation this weekend, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) rejected a separate offer to visit her 90 year old grandmother on the West Bank, because Israeli officials would not allow her to speak out against the policies of the Netanyahu government during that trip. 'I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in - fighting against racism, oppression & injustice,' Tlaib wrote Friday morning on Twitter. 'Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me,' Tlaib said. The decision by the Michigan Democrat came a day after Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) had been blocked by Israel from an official visit - but then, the Israeli government allowed Tlaib to visit, only if she did not voice her support for efforts to boycott Israel. In the end, Tlaib backed out. In order to visit the West Bank, Tlaib had to promise not to engage in criticism of the Israeli government. 'I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my vist,' Tlaib wrote in a letter to the Israeli Interior Minister on Thursday. But in the end, Tlaib could not stomach those restrictions, even as she said, 'This could be my last opportunity' to see her aging grandmother. - Click here to read more stories from Jamie Dupree.