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Privacy Policy
Last Updated: August 4, 2014

Thank you for visiting this website, which is operated by an Affiliate of Cox Media Group, LLC (“CMG”). This site is one of a network of ad-supported sites operated by Affiliates of CMG each of which also operates a local newspaper, a local television station or a local radio station (each a “CMG Affiliate Site” and, collectively, the “CMG Network of Sites”). Each CMG Affiliate Site has adopted this privacy statement to the extent applicable. “Affiliate” means a company controlling, controlled by or under common control with another company.

This privacy statement is provided by the CMG Affiliate that operates this website (“we,” “us” or “our”) to explain the ways in which we collect information from you through your use of this site and any services offered through this website and any of our applications or mobile applications (collectively, the “Service”), and the ways that we and the other CMG Affiliate Sites may use that information. This privacy statement does not apply to any information you may provide to us through other means; for example, at a live event, via mail, or via telephone. Please read this privacy statement carefully so that you understand our online privacy practices. By using our Service, you agree that your use, and any dispute over our online privacy practices, is governed by this privacy statement and our visitor agreement. If you have questions regarding privacy issues, please contact us at privacy@coxinc.com.

YOUR CALIFORNIA PRIVACY RIGHTS

California law allows California residents, once a year and free of charge, to request information about certain types of personal information (if any) that a business has disclosed to third parties for their direct marketing purposes in the prior calendar year. However, under the law, we are not required to provide this information as long as we: (1) notify you of that you have the right to prevent disclosure of personal information, and (2) provide you with a cost-free means to exercise that right. As noted in this Privacy Statement, we require California residents to opt-in to activities where we would share their personal information with third parties for those third parties’ direct marketing purposes. If you are a California resident and you would like to prevent disclosure of your personal information for use in direct marketing by a third party, do not opt-in to participate in these activities. If you are a California resident, and you have opted in to one of these activities, but you later decide that you would like to prevent our disclosure of your personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes, please contact us.

TYPES OF INFORMATION WE COLLECT

Overview. The information we gather generally falls into one of two categories: (1) information (for example, your name and address) that you voluntarily supply when you register with our Service, initiate transactions on or through the Service (such as buying products or services through the Service), or when you participate in the features we offer through the Service (such as comments posted on a blog, discussion group, or other social networking features on the Service), and (2) information gathered on usage patterns and preferences as visitors navigate through our Service. In some cases, one of our agents or Affiliates may collect the information on our behalf. Third party Service Providers (as defined below) that provide all or some of the services available through this Service also may be gathering the same kinds of information.

Registration Information. To make use of certain features available through this Service (such as to receive email newsletters, to post a classified ad, or to participate in some social networking features) you may need to register and to provide certain information as part of the registration process. (If permitted by this Service, you may be able to bypass some of the steps within the registration process by using your user name and password associated with your account on certain specified social networking sites when you register for our Service, but you will still have to complete the registration process after entering that information.) We or our Service Providers may also ask for information from you if you buy products or services or conduct other transactions via our Service. (We may ask, for example, for your name, email address, sex, age, zip code or credit card number, and we might request information on your interest in sports, personal finance, the performing arts, and the like.) The information you supply will help us to offer you more personalized features, to tailor our Service to your interests and make them more useful to you, and also may be used in the processing of e-commerce transactions. In addition, our Service Providers may provide us with additional personal information about you that you provide to them through your separate accounts with them as described in their own privacy statements.

The more you tell us about yourself, the more value we can offer you. Supplying such information is entirely voluntary. But if you don't supply the information we request, we may be unable to provide you with services we make available to other users of our Service. For instance, we can't send you email alerting you to a new service we're offering, or breaking news that may interest you, if you don't tell us what you're interested in and give us your email address.

Contests and Other Promotions. From time to time, we may offer contests, sweepstakes or other promotions via our Service. If you enter one of these contests, sweepstakes or promotions, you'll have to provide information about yourself (such as your name, address, telephone number and email address) so that we can administer and operate the contest, sweepstakes, or promotion (including contacting you if you win, fulfilling a prize, and publishing a winners’ list). If you don't want us to collect the information requested in the registration form or to provide it to any of our Affiliates, Service Providers and co-sponsor(s) as described below, please do not enter the contest, sweepstakes or promotion.

Email Newsletters. We may also offer you the opportunity to subscribe to email newsletters that we make available through the Service. If you have opted to receive a particular newsletter, you may always unsubscribe later if you decide not to receive further mailings of the newsletter from us. See "Opting In/Opting Out" below.

Cookies. To help make our sites more responsive to the needs and interests of our visitors, we keep track of the pages visited by our users by placing a cookie, a small entry in a text file, on your hard drive. Our advertisers and Service Providers may also assign their own cookies to your browser, which is a process that we don't control.

We use cookies to help us tailor our site to your needs and to deliver a better, more personalized service. For example, we may use cookies to personalize the ads you see on our Service or to avoid showing you the same ad repeatedly during a single visit. In addition, we may use cookies to track the pages on our Service, the CMG Network of Sites, or other sites visited by our users. We may also use cookies to measure site performance and/or advertising performance. We can build a better Service if we know which pages our users are visiting and how often. You can manage your browser’s cookie setting through the “options” menu on most commercially available web browsers, including options to set your browser to notify you before accepting a cookie or to disable cookies entirely. Of course, if you set your browser not to accept cookies, you may not be able to take advantage of the personalized features enjoyed by other users of our Service.

Web Beacons. Our Service may contain electronic images (called "single-pixel GIFs" or "web beacons") or other tools that allow us and our Affiliates, Service Providers, vendors and, where necessary, our advertisers to count users who have visited particular pages of this Service, the CMG Network of Sites, or other sites or applications, or to access certain cookies. We may use these tools and other technologies to recognize which the links visitors click and to track how users respond to ads we place on third-party sites or applications. These features may also be included in our email newsletters so that we can learn which messages have been opened and acted upon. In combination with cookies, these web beacons allow us (and/or our Affiliates, Service Providers, vendors, or advertisers) to track the number of users who view particular pages and to fine tune the advertising messages delivered to users of this Service and other websites and applications. We may use "clickstream" data collected using web beacons and cookies to help us tailor promotional content, including such content in email messages and on landing pages, to the perceived interests of our users. Advertising networks with which we are affiliated and third-party advertising services that we use may also use web beacons on our Service to gather similar anonymous "clickstream" information, which is used to fine tune advertising messages delivered to our visitors and visitors to other websites.

Browser Level Information and IP Addresses. Our web servers automatically collect limited information about your computer configuration or your mobile device when you use our Service, including the type of browser software you use, the operating system you're running, the resolution of your computer monitor or mobile device, the website that referred you, the type of device you’re using, and your IP address. (Your IP address is a numerical address that is used by computers and mobile devices connected to the Internet to identify your computer or mobile device so that data (such as the web pages you want to view) can be transmitted to you. We also use IP address information for systems administration and troubleshooting purposes. Your IP address alone does not tell us who you are.) We use this information to deliver our web pages to you upon request, to tailor our Service (including ads distributed through our Service) to the interests of our users, and to measure traffic within our Service.

Social Networks. When you use the social networking features on our Service, you may be asked to log in to a social network using your social network credentials (for example, your Facebook user ID). When you log in, we may collect information about you (including personal information) from that social network. In addition, when you use one of the social network sharing tools available on our Service, the social network operating the tool may collect information about you based on such use. The social network’s use of that information will be subject to its own privacy policy, which may be different from ours.

Non-Personally Identifying Information. This website uses Google Analytics to help analyze how users use the site. Google Analytics is a web analysis service provided by Google. Google utilizes the data collected to track and examine the use of our site, to prepare reports on its activities and share them with other Google services. Google may use the data collected to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network. Google Analytics features implemented on this site include Display Advertising (Demographics and Interest Reporting).  We use data from Google's Interest-based advertising or 3rd-party audience data (such as age, gender and interests) with Google Analytics only to maintain this site’s functionality, responsiveness and improve content.  CMG uses the Google Analytics Demographics and Interest Reporting feature to identify trends in the usage of its website which may be published in reports for internal use.  Google’s ability to use and share information collected by Google Analytics regarding your visits to this site is restricted by the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.  You may opt-out of Google Analytics for Display Advertising and customer Display Network ads using Ads Settings.

The Google Analytics tool uses “cookies” which are text files placed on your computer, to collect standard internet log information and visitor behavior information in an anonymous form. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including IP address) is transmitted to Google. This information is then used to evaluate visitors’ use of the website and to compile statistical reports on website activity. At any time, you may choose to opt-out of Google Analytics tracking with the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. 

Information You Post. Please remember that anything you post to any message boards, discussion or comment areas, or social networking services on our Service can be seen, collected, and used by anyone who has access to that board, area, or social networking service. We cannot control how your postings may be used by third parties with such access.

Statistical Information. Much of the information we collect is in the form of aggregated statistics, such as the traffic that visits various pages within our Service, and the habits and preferences of our audience. Such aggregated information does not include any information that would identify you personally. We may use such aggregated information and disclose it to any third parties as we see fit.

Mobile Applications and Location-Based Information. Our Service may have the ability to use your geographic location to deliver content, services, and advertising tailored to your location. If you choose to enable our Service to use your location information, then that information will be stored and used to deliver content, services, and advertising tailored to your location. Also, when you use a mobile device or browser to access our Service, then your device and/or your browser may automatically collect and/or transmit your device’s unique identifier, IP address, location information, device make/model, wireless provider, and related information to us and our Service Providers. We and our Service Providers may use this information to deliver content, services, and advertising tailored to your location.

 

Data Collected in Connection with Ad Serving and Targeting. We use third-party Service Providers, such as ad networks, to serve advertising to you when you use our Service or use other sites or applications. These Service Providers may use information about your activities while you navigate through and use this Service and other web sites and applications (and that the Service Providers collect through cookies) to provide you with advertisements about products and services that they think may be of interest to you. The information used by these Service Providers for these purposes generally does not identify you personally (in other words, the Service Providers are not usually using your name, address, email address, or phone number for these purposes, although they may use your IP address, your geographic location, or your device’s unique identifier). You can learn more about such data collection practices, and/or opt out of any use by our Service Providers’ of cookies to tailor advertising to your interests, by visiting aboutads.info.

CMG’s Adherence to Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising. CMG adheres to the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising of the Digital Advertising Alliance. To learn more about the Principles and your choices when it comes to the use of online behavioral advertising data by advertisers and ad servers across the Internet, visit aboutads.info.

DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

Why We Collect Information From You. Like any business, it's important for us to know our customers -- their needs, their likes, what they want and expect from us. Unlike most businesses, however, we deliver a valuable product to our customers without asking for anything in return. Since we make most of this Service available without charge to you, we rely heavily on advertisers to produce the income necessary to operate our Service. Advertisers are like most people: They expect something in return for the money they spend. They want to know how many people will see their ad and how often our users are looking at their ads on our Service -- in other words, how effective their ad is likely to be. So it's important that we be able to tell advertisers who our audience is. Except as expressly set forth in this privacy statement, we will not provide, sell or rent to any third party any personally identifying information that we collect from you through your use of this Service.

Advertisers. Without your permission, we will not share the personally-identifying information you provide when registering on our Service with advertisers. We may, however, take the information you provide and aggregate it with data from all the other people that use this Service and associated services. Then we will use that pool of information to inform our advertisers about our audience without identifying you personally.

Service Providers. All or portions of our Service may be provided or supported by our third-party service providers ("Service Providers"), and we may share any of the information that we collect from you through our Service (e.g., anonymous information collected through cookies on your browser, information you submit to us to enter a contest, sweepstakes or promotion offered through the Service, etc.) with such Service Providers. In the event we offer services through this Service such as chat, email newsletters, email services, online classifieds and/or similar services, such services may be made available through cooperative arrangements with providers that specialize in operating such services. In some instances, our Service Providers will have the same access to your information as we do. Their use of the information will be subject to the terms of their respective privacy policies.

Contest Co-Sponsors. If you enter any contest, sweepstakes or other promotion that we make available through this Service, we may share the information you submit to us with the co-sponsor(s) of the contest, sweepstakes, or promotion. We will identify any co-sponsor(s) in the official rules for the promotion.

Our Affiliates. We may share any of the information that we collect from you (including anonymous information and personally identifying information that you may provide) with the other CMG Affiliate Sites within the CMG Network of Sites so that we and they can provide you with products and services that may be of interest to you.

Sites to Which We Link. Our Service includes links to plenty of other websites, and provides access to products and services offered by third parties, whose privacy policies we don't control. When you access another site or purchase products or services or conduct other transactions through their sites, use of any information you provide is governed by the privacy statement of the operator of the site you're visiting or the provider of such products or services.

Other Disclosures. We reserve the right to release information about users of our Service when release is necessary or appropriate to comply with law, to enforce this privacy statement or our visitor agreement, or to protect the rights, property or safety of users of our Service, the public, our customers, or our company and its employees, agents, partners and Affiliates. As our business grows, we may buy or sell various assets. In the unlikely event that we merge with another entity or otherwise transfer substantially all of our assets to another entity (including, without limitation, to one of our Affiliates as part of an internal reorganization), information collected from this Service would be among the transferred assets.

SHOPPING

When you purchase products and/or services through our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain information, including your contact details (such as your name, address, telephone and email), and your billing information (such as your credit card number and the date that your card expires). We may also ask you to provide additional information such as unique identifiers (such as your date of birth), and registration information (login name and password).

We will use the information you provide us to process your transaction and to contact you regarding your purchase if necessary. We will share this information with our Service Providers to the extent necessary to facilitate your purchase (for purposes such as customer service, verification, fulfillment and billing purposes). We will not sell or rent your personal billing information to any third party. We may share non-financial information with our Service Providers in accordance with this privacy statement.

OPTING IN/OPTING OUT

In certain places on this Service (for example, when registering as a user of this Service, managing your account, shopping, or participating in activities like promotional contests), we may ask you to consent to the sharing of your information with third parties with which we have business relationships. If you provide such consent (for example, by checking a box or by some other means), we will make your information available to such third parties as described in the consent form so that they, we, or both may contact you directly regarding special offers, promotions, products or services that may be of interest to you.

If you register with this Service, you will have the opportunity to review or update the information you have provided us at any time. You also have the option of deleting all information except for your email address. If you would like to completely deactivate your account, please contact us. Please note, however, that if you deactivate your account, you will not receive any newsletters from us and you will not be able to participate in any of our sweepstakes or contests. Also, even if you deactivate your account, you still need to go through a separate process to unsubscribe from any SMS alerts you previously signed up to receive. You can unsubscribe from these alerts by using the “STOP” function within those messages. You agree that, subject to applicable law, we may use your information to contact you for customer service, to inform you of important changes or additions to our Service or the services offered over our Service and to send you administrative notices or any communications relevant to your use of our Service.

If you have subscribed to one of our email newsletters, you will always have the opportunity to unsubscribe from future mailings (for example, by clicking on an unsubscribe link in an email newsletter or by modifying your account settings on our Service).

If you have submitted your information on a page provided in conjunction with one of our Service Providers, the information you submit may be jointly maintained by us and the Service Provider. If you decide to opt out of our Service, you may also need to contact the Service Provider separately to request the Service Provider to remove your information from its database.

DATA SECURITY

All information gathered through our Service is stored within database(s) operated by us or by a Service Provider on our behalf. We and/or our Service Providers secure the personally identifying information you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. For e-commerce transactions where you provide sensitive financial data (e.g., credit card information) to us via this Service, we transmit your billing information using encryption. Encryption scrambles your credit card number and personal information. However, no security system is impenetrable. We cannot guarantee the security of our database, nor can we guarantee that information you supply won't be intercepted while being transmitted to us over the Internet.

A NOTE ABOUT CHILDREN'S PRIVACY

This Service is not directed at children under the age of 13, and we won't knowingly allow anyone under age 13 to register with our Service or to provide any other personally identifying information. If you’re under 13, please do not provide us with any personally identifying information about yourself (such as your name, your email address or your phone number). If we become aware that we have collected any personally identifying information from a user under the age of 13, we will remove such information from our records as soon as possible.

CHANGES TO THIS PRIVACY STATEMENT

We may change the terms of this privacy statement or introduce new terms and conditions from time to time, in which case we will post an updated version of this privacy statement on this Service and will update the “Last Updated” date above to reflect the date the changes take effect. By continuing to use this Service after we post any such changes, you accept this privacy statement, as modified.

  • 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.