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►  As senators defect, GOP concedes health bill’s fate bleak

Republican Senator Susan Collins’ decision to oppose the GOP push to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul leaves the effort all but dead, with even party leaders conceding that their prospects are dismal.

“It’s going to be a heavy lift,” South Dakota Senator John Thune, the No. 3 GOP Senate leader, said Monday, after Collins joined a small but pivotal cluster of Republicans saying they’re against the measure. He called the prospects “bleak.”

“We don’t have the support for it,” said Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

The collapse marks a replay of the embarrassing loss Donald trump and party leaders suffered in July, when the Senate rejected three attempts to pass legislation erasing Obama’s 2010 statute. The GOP has made promises to scrap the law a high-profile vow for years, and its failure to deliver despite controlling the White House and Congress has infuriated conservatives whose votes Republican candidates need.

To resuscitate their push, Republicans would need to change opposing senators’ minds, which they’ve tried unsuccessfully to do for months. Collins told reporters that she made her decision despite a phone call from Trump, who’s been futilely trying to press unhappy GOP senators to back the measure.

Barring a reversal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., must decide whether to hold a roll call at all.

Three GOP “no” votes would doom the bill. GOP Senators John McCain of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Texas’ Ted Cruz have said they oppose the measure, though Cruz aides said he was seeking changes that would let him vote yes.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, remains undecided. Murkowski, who voted against the failed GOP bills in July, has said she’s analyzing the measure’s impact on her state, where medical costs are high.

This was the last week Republicans had any chance of prevailing with their narrow 52-48 Senate margin. Next Sunday, protections expire against a Democratic filibuster, bill-killing delays that Republicans lack the votes to overcome.

Republicans had pinned their last hopes on a measure by GOP Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham. It would end Obama’s Medicaid expansion and subsidies for consumers and ship the money — $1.2 trillion through 2026 — to states to use on health services with few constraints.

Collins announced her decision shortly after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said “millions” of Americans would lose coverage under the bill and projected it would impose $1 trillion in Medicaid cuts through 2026.

The Maine moderate said in a statement that the legislation would make “devastating” cuts in the Medicaid program for poor and disabled people, drive up premiums for millions and weaken protections Obama’s law gives people with pre-existing medical conditions. She said the legislation is “deeply flawed,” despite eleventh-hour changes its sponsors have made in search of support.

Desperate to win over reluctant senators, GOP leaders revised the measure several times, adding money late Sunday for Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Kentucky and Texas in a clear pitch for Republican holdouts. They also gave states the ability — without federal permission — to permit insurers to charge people with serious illnesses higher premiums and to sell low-premium policies with big coverage gaps and high deductibles.

Loud protesters forced the Senate Finance Committee to briefly delay the chamber’s first and only hearing on the charged issue. Police lugged some demonstrators out of the hearing room and trundled out others in wheelchairs as scores chanted, “No cuts to Medicaid, save our liberty.”

On Monday, Trump took on McCain, who’d returned to the Senate after a brain cancer diagnosis in July to cast the key vote that wrecked this summer’s effort. Trump called that “a tremendous slap in the face of the Republican Party” in a call to the “Rick & Bubba Show,” an Alabama-based talk radio program.

Cassidy and Graham defended their bill before the Finance committee.

“I don’t need a lecture from anybody about health care,” Graham told the panel’s Democrats. Referring to Obama’s overhaul, he added, “What you have created isn’t working.”

Also testifying was Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who learned earlier this year that she has kidney cancer.

She said colleagues and others have helped her battle the disease with compassion, saying, “Sadly, this is not in this bill.”


►  ‘The people run this country’: LeBron James doesn’t regret calling Trump a ‘bum’

The Free Press WV

“That guy.“

No, LeBron James is not backing down from his criticism of Donald trump, preferring not to utter his name during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ media day.

“The people run this country,“ he said, “not one individual and damn sure not him.“

That echoes a tweet he published Saturday morning, one that has been liked nearly 1.5 million times and retweeted nearly 653,000 times. You know, the one in which he called the president “U bum” for pulling a White House invitation for Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors:

“U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!“

James saw the protests across the country at NFL games and was amazed.

“I salute the NFL, the players, the coaches, the owners and the fans . . . it was unbelievable. There was solidarity. There was no divide, no divide even from that guy that continues to try to divide us as people,“ he told reporters (transcription via SI.com). “Like I said on one of my social media platforms a couple days ago, the thing that kind of frustrated me and ###### me off a little bit, he used the sports platform to try to divide us.

“Sport and sports is so amazing, what sports can do for everyone, no matter the shape or size or race or ethnicity or religion or whatever. People finds teams, people find players, people find colors because of sport. And they just gravitate toward that, and it just makes them so happy. And it brings people together like none other. We’re not - I’m not - gonna let, while I have this platform, to let one individual, no matter the power, no matter the impact that he should have or she should have, ever use sports as a platform to divide us.

“And then you go to the other side and you don’t talk about sports, and they try to divide us from that side as well, and the one thing that I can say and just think about is how can we personally, throughout everything that that guy is doing, no matter if you voted for him or not. You may have made a mistake, and that’s okay. If you voted for him, it’s okay . . . Can we sit up here and say that I’m trying to make a difference, and can we sit up here and say I can look at myself in the mirror and say I want the best for the American people, no matter the skin color, no matter the race, no matter how tall or athletic you are, whatever the case may be. Can we sit up here and say we are trying to make a difference?

“Because we know this is the greatest country in the world. This is the land of the free, but we still have problems just like everybody else.“

James, who said he had no regrets about his tweet, couldn’t say whether there would be similar protests by NBA players when the season starts next month and promised to keep speaking out.

“. . . I will lend my voice, I will lend passion, I will lend my money, I will lend my resources to my youth and my inner city and outside my inner city to let these kids know that there is hope, there is greater walks of life, and not one individual, no matter if it’s the president of the United States or if it’s someone in your household, can stop your dreams from becoming a reality,“ James said.

James was one of several NBA stars to speak out against Trump on Monday, as 22 of the league’s 30 teams held media days.

In Washington, Wizards guard Bradley Beal called Trump a “clown.“

“There’s a lot of issues going on in the world, like Puerto Rico doesn’t have water and power and they’re still part of the U.S., but you’re worried about guys kneeling during the national anthem,“ Beal said.

Wizards guard John Wall echoed Beal’s comments about Trump.

“I don’t like anything he’s been saying,“ Wall said. “I don’t respect him, I feel like you can’t control what people want to do, and we have bigger issues in this world that you need to be focusing on instead of focusing on all these people taking a knee. It means something more important, they’re doing it for a reason, and you can’t do nothing but respect their decision. But you’re coming out and saying what people are and what they do, you’re not being respectful, you’re not being mindful. . . . I don’t respect him.“

Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich decried the recent comments from legendary former NASCAR driver Richard Petty, who said “anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem ought to be out of the country.“ Popovich, who has been highly critical of Trump since he was elected, described the United States as “an embarrassment in the world” and suggested that Americans have a choice to make.

“We can continue to bounce our heads off the wall with [Trump’s] conduct, or we can decide that the institutions of our country are more important, that people are more important, that the decent American that we all thought we had and want is more important and get down to business at the grass roots level and do what we have to do,“ he said.

Popovich said Trump’s decision to rescind the Warriors’ invitation was “disgusting,“ but also “comical” because “they weren’t going anyway,“ and he also spoke at length about white privilege.

“Obviously, race is the elephant in the room, and we all understand that, but unless it is talked about, constantly, it’s not going to get better if people get bored,“ he said. “‘Oh, is it that again? They’re pulling the race card again. Why do we have to talk about that?‘ Well, because it’s uncomfortable, and there has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change. Whether it’s the LGBT movement, women’s suffrage, race, it doesn’t matter. People have to be made to feel uncomfortable, and especially white people because we’re comfortable. We still have no clue of what being born white means. If you read some of the recent literature, you’ll realize there really is no such thing as whiteness, but we kind of made that up. That’s not my original thought, but it’s true.

“It’s hard to sit down and decide that, yes, it’s like you’re at the 50-meter mark in a 100-meter dash. You’ve got that kind of a lead, yes, because you were born white. You have advantages that are systemically, culturally, psychologically there. And they’ve been built up and cemented for hundreds of years. But many people can’t look at it, because it’s too difficult. It can’t be something that is on their plate on a daily basis. People want to hold their position, people want the status quo, people don’t want to give that up. And until it’s given up, it’s not going to be fixed.“

Memphis Grizzlies Coach David Fizdale said he hadn’t discussed Trump’s latest comments with his team, but he was impressed with the show of solidarity he saw among NFL players on Sunday. Fizdale also added that if his players decided to take a knee during the national anthem, he would join them.

“So many comments are made so often now that it’s like, you can’t meet with your team every single time that he decides to make outlandish statements like that,“ Fizdale said. “The great part about it is that what you saw was a community come together against what he said. That brought me great pride, whether they stood for the national anthem and locked arms, whether they had a hand on a brother or whether they were kneeling, I just thought it showed real togetherness, and that’s what we’ve got to continue to do when so many things right now are trying to divide us.“

On Sunday, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan issued a statement in response to a question from the Charlotte Observer about Trump rescinding the Warriors’ invitation to the White House.

“One of the fundamental rights this country is founded on was freedom of speech, and we have a long tradition of nonviolent, peaceful protest,“ Jordan wrote. “Those who exercise the right to peacefully express themselves should not be demonized or ostracized. At a time of increasing divisiveness and hate in this country, we should be looking for ways to work together and support each other and not create more division. I support Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA, its players and all those who wish to exercise their right to free speech.“


►  Family kicked off Delta flight because of head lice

The Free Press WV

You may want to think twice before itching your head in the middle of a flight, especially if you’re flying Delta.

This piece of advice would have served Fox sports analyst Clay Travis and his family well on their recent flight home from Paris. While on the plane, their 6-year-old son began to scratch his head and that’s when his mother and a flight attendant found head lice on his head.

Travis wrote about the whole incident on his website saying “So my wife tells me that the flight attendants have instructed us that when we land in Minneapolis we aren’t allowed to leave the plane because my six year old has lice.”

This seemed strange to Travis so he grabbed his laptop and tried to look up policies about traveling with head lice. There was no information about that but he found what the CDC has to say about head lice. This is the direct quote he found on their website:

“Students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice.

Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) advocate that “no-nit” policies should be discontinued. “No-nit” policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to schools should be discontinued for the following reasons:

Many nits are more than a quarter-inch from the scalp. Such nits are usually not viable and very unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice, or may in fact be empty shells, also known as ‘casings.‘ Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred successfully to other people. The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.

Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks conducted by nonmedical personnel.”

“The schools here in Arlington, Virginia, have adopted what you might call a live-and-let-lice policy. No child will be sent home for lice or for nits. If a child has lice in her hair, the nurse will contact parents but send the child back to the classroom for the rest of the day. Parents are expected to treat the lice, but no one is checking in to enforce this expectation. No classes or groups will be screened for bugs. “No healthy child,” the policy reads, “should be excluded from or miss school because of head lice.”

So, parents are encouraged to keep their children at school if they have head lice because it isn’t a big enough threat, yet the Travis family was kicked off a plane for head lice.

The Travis family wound up not being able to board their flight home to Nashville. You can read about the whole incident via Clay Travis’ website. We encourage you to get your child’s head checked before traveling. We wouldn’t wish this stressful situation on anyone.


►  Equifax’s breach is not its first brush with concerns over handling of personal data

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After working largely out of the spotlight for decades, America’s thousands of credit reporting companies found themselves in trouble in the late 1960s as lawmakers grew concerned about the massive troves of sensitive information the firms had collected on private citizens.

The target of many of these complaints was one company, Atlanta-based Retail Credit Co. - now known as Equifax.

Among the company’s critics was an insurance executive named James Baker, who told a Senate committee in 1968 that he was having trouble finding a job after the company put a derogatory note in his file, alleging he had been fired for breaking the rules at his former employer. The note was incorrect, but the company refused to change it, Baker told the committee, according to media reports at the time.

The backlash against the industry led to landmark legislation, the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, that now governs the way credit rating agencies operate. But it did little to restrain Equifax’s ambition.

Nearly 50 years later, the company has grown into a data mining behemoth that uses artificial intelligence and other sophisticated tools to help companies determine whether to extend credit to nearly 1 billion people around the world. It is a leader among a number of information giants that play a critical role in financial markets, operating largely behind the scenes.

“Look at them as sleeping giants. They make the financial industry tick,“ said Keith Snyder, an industry analyst at CFRA Research. “They’re the rails that the financial train runs on. Without them everything would grind to a halt.“

That role is suddenly in question again over the company’s handling of personal data. Earlier this month, Equifax announced that a massive data breach had exposed to hackers sensitive information, including Social Securitity numbers, of 143 million people to hackers, setting off complaints it has grown too big and waited too long to alert consumers.

Equifax has apologized and said it moved as quickly as it could once it understood the severity of the problem. But the scrutiny comes at a time when credit rating companies had hoped the Trump administration would roll back regulations, including limiting the powers one of its major watchdogs, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Instead, the industry is facing its biggest challenge in decades.

—-

Equifax traces its roots to 1899 when two Atlanta grocery store owners, Cator and Guy Woolford, started what was then known as Retail Credit Co. by going door-to-door to collect information about people in their community. Their $25 book, “The Merchant’s Guide,“ noted who in the neighborhood typically paid promptly or who shouldn’t be trusted with credit.

The book served as a key reference to local businesses that were grappling with rapid urbanization, said Josh Lauer, associate professor media studies at the University of New Hampshire. Traditionally, local owners knew their customers, but as people flooded into the city that had become more difficult, he said. “They were providing a service, trying to make lending safer,“ he said.

But it also set up an adversarial relationship with consumers that survives even today. “Their whole history is about skepticism toward consumers, believing that consumers are trying to get over on the local businesses,“ argued Lauer, author of “Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America.“

Over time, credit bureaus, such as Retail Credit, would often align themselves with law enforcement, Lauer said. Some had desks set aside in their offices for the Internal Revenue Service or Federal Bureau of Investigation, he said. “There was no firewall, no protection for consumers at all.“

By the late 1960s, the country’s thousands of credit bureaus were under scrutiny by Congress. The public was beginning to become aware of the massive amounts of data they housed and many questioned the accuracy of the information.

Retail Credit drew particular scrutiny because of its history of working with health and life insurance companies. When building reports about whether someone should be extended policies, the company would collect information from neighbors and family members about their person’s health, reputation, and even sometimes note if they were homosexual, Lauer said.

“Credit worthiness was tied to character,“ he said. “To determine whether you were a good insurance risk, they wanted to know if they took care of themselves, were upright citizens.“

After a series of congressional hearings, lawmakers adopted the Fair Credit Reporting Act, giving consumers access to their reports for the first time and requiring the companies to change incorrect data.

But even after the legislation, Retail Credit continued to see itself portrayed as a villain on Capitol Hill and in the media. In 1974, four former employees of the company told a Senate subcommittee that they were forced to falsify credit reports and meet unrealistic goals to keep their jobs, including ensuring there was adverse information about 6 percent to 10 percent of consumers to prove to their business customers they were being thorough. The same year, a woman sued for invasion of privacy after her auto insurance company canceled her policy because Retail Credit reported that she was living with a man “without benefit of wedlock.“

In 1976, in the wake of the controversy, the company changed its name to Equifax.

“They changed their name because they needed a fresh start and Equifax sounds equitable and factual,“ Lauer said.

—-

Fifty years later, Equifax is one of the world’s largest data providers. Instead of simply selling credit reports to the business community it has branched into new markets, using artificial intelligence, machine learning and other tactics to unearth information, even sweeping up Facebook, Twitter data on consumers to help companies decide who to lend money to.

“We manage massive amounts of unique data, we have data on approaching a billion people. We have data on approaching 100 million companies around the world. the data assets are so large, so unique,“ Richard Smith, the company’s longtime chief executive, said at speech at the University of Georgia business school in August.

“You think about the largest library in the world . . . the Library of Congress, we manage almost 1,200 times that amount of content every day, around the world.“

The hard-charging CEO took over the company in 2005 after spending 22 years at General Electric under Jack Welch. In his time at the helm of Equifax, the company’s stock price has soared 200 percent. It’s market value has jumped from $3 billion to about $20 billion. Instead of focusing solely on the United States, Smith has pushed Equifax into 24 countries.

Smith “has done a lot of great things with Equifax. He took the company and made it the leader it is today,“ said Snyder of CFRA Research.

That has included collecting a lot more data on people. Early in this tenure, Smith made a risky bet to jump into a new market, buying Talx, which housed the world’s largest repository of employment data.

“Every time an employee was paid, it creates 50 data attributes,“ including how much a person earns and how much was comprised of a bonus, Smith said in an August talk. The company could combine that information with data it already had on customers to create new products, he said.

Equifax looked at the billions pieces of information it was collecting and decided it could use it to make money in other ways, said Snyder. “They said, hey, we have all this great data on consumers how else can we slice and dice it and make more money from the data we already have.“

As part of expansion – the company creates 50 to 75 products a year – Equifax also pitches itself to companies concerned about becoming the victim of a data breach, offering services of the “Equifax Data Breach Response Team.“

“In addition to extensive experience, Equifax has the most comprehensive set of identity theft products and customer service coverage in the market,“ the company says on its website. “You’ll feel safer with Equifax.“

And Smith has set some ambitious new goals for the company: Doubling its revenue from $4 billion to $8 billion within five years.

Those ambitions may be derailed by the company’s handling of a massive data breach that exposed to sensitive information of millions of people. On September 07, Equifax announced that hackers had gained access to sensitive personal data - Social Security numbers, birth dates and home addresses - for up to 143 million Americans by exploiting a “website application vulnerability.“

The disclosure has sparked reviews by the company’s regulators, the Consumer Financial Protrection Bureau and Federal Trade Commission, as well as the FBI. “We apologize to everyone affected. This is the most humbling moment in our 118-year history,“ Smith said in a USA Today column after the breach.

Still, the company has outraged consumers by bungling key parts of its response. For several days, the company’s Twitter account directed consumers in search of help to a fake site pretending to be Equifax. It initially required companies to agree not to join a class-action lawsuit to get some forms of help.

“Their game plan is fairly aggressive, so obviously this might put a damper on their aspirations,“ Snyder said.

Now, Smith is facing potentially the biggest challenge of his career when he testifies before a House committee next week. Lawmakers have criticized the company for waiting six weeks after learning of the breach to tell the public and some have called for a shake up of the company’s management.

“It is the company’s best chance to change the narrative and steal momentum from” its critics, Jaret Seiberg, an analyst with Cowen and Co.‘s Washington Research Group, said in a recent report. “If the company underperforms, the risk is high that it will . . . be constantly dragged back into the spotlight in the coming years.“


►  Violent crime increased in 2016 for a second consecutive year, FBI says

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Violent crime increased in the United States for a second consecutive year in 2016, remaining near historically low levels but pushed upward in part by an uptick in killings in some major cities, according to FBI statistics made public Monday.

The FBI’s release of the figures comes as the Trump administration has warned ominously of a dangerous crime wave. In his inaugural address, Donald trump described “American carnage” in U.S. cities, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions said earlier this year he worried the crime uptick was “the beginning of a trend.“

Some experts and analysts have disputed that suggestion, noting that crime levels were much higher a quarter-century ago. In some major cities, violence has surged, while in others it has declined. Chicago, a much-cited example, saw a spike in murders last year, as did Las Vegas and Louisville; killings dropped, meanwhile, in New York, Cincinnati and Newark.

The FBI statistics for 2016 show that the estimated number of violent crimes nationwide increased 4.1 percent over the previous year. The violent crime rate was 386.3 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, up from 373.7 a year earlier, and the highest figure since 2012. Murder and non-negligent manslaughter was up 8.6 percent over 2015, the FBI data show, and the murder rate increased to 5.3 per 100,000 people, the highest that figure has been since 2008.

In the violent crime and murder rates alike, these numbers are well below figures seen during previous decades. Going back to the mid-1980s, the violent crime and murder rates were both consistently higher, particularly in the early 1990s. In 1991, for instance, the violent crime rate was 758.2 per 100,000 people, and the murder rate was 9.8 per 100,000 people, after which both numbers began to fall, albeit with some year-over-year increases.

The FBI considers four crimes - murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault - to be violent crimes involving force or the threat of force.

Looking more recently, the statistics released Monday show that the violent crime rate in 2016 was down 18 percent from 2007, while the murder rate was down 6 percent over the same period.

Sessions, who has tied some of his policy pushes to the increase in crime, said Monday that the Justice Department would fight what he described as a “rising tide of violent crime” nationwide.

“For the sake of all Americans, we must confront and turn back the rising tide of violent crime. And we must do it together,“ Sessions said in a statement. “The Department of Justice is committed to working with our state, local, and tribal partners across the country to deter violent crime, dismantle criminal organizations and gangs, stop the scourge of drug trafficking, and send a strong message to criminals that we will not surrender our communities to lawlessness and violence.“

In a news release containing Sessions’s statement, the Justice Department said that the data released Monday “reaffirms that the worrying violent crime increase that began in 2015 after many years of decline was not an isolated incident.“

The Brennan Center for Justice, a New York-based law and policy institute, said Monday that the murder rate increase was fueled by an uptick in killings in some of the country’s largest cities - with Chicago accounting for more than a fifth of the nationwide murder increase last year.

“The FBI’s data show trends similar to what we’ve found for crime, murder, and violence in 2016,“ Ames Grawert, a counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, said in a statement Monday. “Crime remains near historic lows, with an uptick in murder and violence driven in part by problems in some of our nation’s largest cities. At the same time, other cities like New York are keeping crime down.“

In 2015, the Brennan Center said the surge in killings was fueled by just three cities - Chicago, Baltimore and Washington. Last year, the center reported that the increased homicide rate for the country’s 30 biggest cities was in large part due Chicago, finding that it was responsible for nearly half of this increase.

Homicides went up last year in more than three dozen of the country’s biggest cities or counties, according to data collected by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the group of law enforcement leaders.

The group’s data included cities with dramatic increases, such as Chicago, which had 762 homicides in 2016, up from 482 homicides a year earlier; Phoenix, which saw 146 homicides, up from 113 the year before; and Louisville, which had 117 homicides, up from 80 in 2015. Some other cities included in the group’s data had smaller increases, including Nashville, which reported 83 homicides, up from 79 the year before, and El Paso, which reported 21 killings, up from 19 the year before.

In other cities, there were declines, including New York, the country’s largest city, which reported 335 murders last year, down from 352 a year earlier and less than half the 673 murders reported in 2000. The city is continuing that this year, with 192 murders reported through September 17, down from 250 at the same point a year earlier. Cities including Portland and Minneapolis reported fewer homicides last year as well.

In a message accompanying the statistics, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray focused largely on increasing transparency, particularly when it comes to how police use force, an issue that has roiled the country in recent years. He noted that the FBI had created a database to collect use-of-force statistics for law enforcement, which will include any encounter that ends with a person killed, seriously injured or when a gun is fired at them.

“Our goal is that this data will lead to more informed and accurate discussions within our communities and the media and that these discussions will foster more transparency and improve communications between law enforcement and the communities they serve,“ Wray wrote.

The FBI’s statistics on deadly uses of force by police have long been known to be incomplete. The FBI reported that last year, 435 people were killed in justifiable homicides by law enforcement officers. The Washington Post’s database tracks all deadly police shootings and was launched in part due to the lack of any federal system logging such killings, found at least 963 fatal shootings carried out by police officers last year.

Sessions has tied the increase in violent crime to “undermined” respect for police officers and, in a recent speech, connected Chicago’s crime rates to the city’s policies on undocumented immigrants, a contention disputed by the police there.

In other categories, the FBI statistics showed positive signs. Property crimes dropped by 1.3 percent, the data show, the 14th consecutive year that figure fell. Burglary and larcenies fell, the FBI reported. But along with murder and non-negligent manslaughter, the FBI reported that rape and aggravated assault both increased in 2016.

The FBI’s data was compiled in an annual report called “Crime in the United States,“ which collects information reported voluntarily by law enforcement agencies to the bureau’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.


►  Survey finds strong support for ‘dreamers’

The Free Press WV

Majorities of Americans strongly support two potential components of immigration legislation this fall, including deportation protections for younger undocumented immigrants and requiring employers to verify workers are in the United States legally, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The findings suggest that Donald trump and Congress might have a path to a major deal on immigration reform that has eluded Washington for three decades. Trump has said he is open to compromise with Democrats on a bill that would provide legal status for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, known as “dreamers,“ combined with tougher border security measures.

The Post-ABC survey finds 86 percent support for dreamers who had been eligible for renewable two-year work permits under a deferred action program started by President Barack Obama to remain in the country. Trump’s administration announced this month that it will end the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and begin to phase out work permits in March if lawmakers do not act.

About 690,000 immigrants are covered by DACA status, according to the Department of Homeland Security, although Democrats are likely to seek protections for a significantly higher number.

More than two-thirds of adults - 69 percent - support the DACA program “strongly,“ which was described as allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States if they had arrived as a child, had completed high school or served in the military and had not committed a serious crime. In a follow-up question, 65 percent back a law that would both allow dreamers to remain in the country and increase funding for border security. The poll did not measure public opinion about whether the dreamers should be offered a path to citizenship, a prospect GOP immigration hawks have called amnesty.

Trump and his aides have offered mixed signals on a deal. The president met with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., this month and agreed to pursue a deal for the dreamers. Democratic aides said the deal would be based on the “Dream Act,“ a bipartisan proposal that offers a path to citizenship.

But Trump said two weeks ago on a trip to Florida that “we’re not looking at citizenship. We’re not looking at amnesty. We’re looking at allowing people to stay here. . . . We’re talking about taking care of people, people who were brought here, people who’ve done a good job.“

The president added that any deal is contingent on including “extreme security” measures in terms of immigration enforcement, suggesting he envisioned at a minimum increased “surveillance” along the border. He also pledged to continue pushing for funding for a costly wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which Democratic lawmakers and some moderate Republicans oppose.

Trump has said he will not demand that money for the wall is included in a dreamer bill but insisted the wall would have to be funded somehow. “If there’s not a wall, we’re doing nothing,“ he said.

The Post-ABC poll shows significant opposition to a wall. Roughly 6 in 10 continue to oppose the building of a barrier, which Trump made a centerpiece of his campaign, with attitudes little changed over the past year.

Trump also has suggested he would seek cuts to legal immigration in pursuing a deal for the dreamers. Republican Senators Tom Cotton, Ark., and David Perdue, Ga., have proposed legislation called the Raise Act, which Trump has endorsed, that would slash the rate of legal immigration by half over a decade. Currently, more than 1 million foreigners each year receive green cards allowing them permanent legal status in the United States.

The survey finds that 55 percent oppose massive immigration cuts, which also are strongly opposed by business leaders.

An alternative border security concept draws higher marks from the public. A lopsided 79 percent supports requiring employers to verify that all new hires are living in the United States legally, including 61 percent who support such a requirement strongly.

The concept of using a computer database to force employers to vet the immigration status of their workers, under a program called E-Verify offered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has been included in previous immigration reform bills. But the program has not been universally implemented.

Conservative Republicans and immigration hawks, including conservative talk show hosts and restrictionist groups, support the expansion of the E-Verify program.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates stricter immigration limits, has proposed coupling legal status for dreamers with cuts to legal immigration and the mandatory use of E-Verify by businesses.

“E-Verify already exists; last year, around half of new hires were screened through it,“ he wrote last month in National Review. “Rolling it out for the other half is something that would happen at the same time as the amnesty.“

Trump’s willingness to bargain with Democrats over his signature campaign issue has alarmed immigration hard-liners, who fear he is softening in hopes of scoring a legislative victory in a first year marked by stumbles and defeats on Capitol Hill.

At the same time, liberals and moderates believe Trump has been too draconian in his travel ban on immigrants and refugees from some majority-Muslim countries and his executive actions that have expanded the pool of undocumented immigrants who are targets for removal.

In all, 62 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of immigration matters. When asked about immigration enforcement, 49 percent of Americans believe enforcement was not tough enough under Obama, while 44 percent said it was just right and 6 percent say it was too tough.

Under Trump, 30 percent say enforcement levels are about right and 45 percent say they are too tough, seven times higher than before he entered office. Just about half of that - 22 percent - say immigration enforcement is still not tough enough under Trump.

Though Trump has railed against the dangers of illegal immigration, and has met with victims of crimes in the Oval Office and at campaign events, most Americans have not embraced Trump’s association of immigration with increased crime. Some 12 percent of the public say undocumented immigrants commit more crimes than other people in the country, while 19 percent say they commit fewer crimes. Sixty-four percent say there is no difference, while the rest have no opinion.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted September 18-21 among a random national sample of 1,002 adults reached on cellular and landline phones. Overall results carrying a plus or minus 3.5-point margin of sampling error.


►  After 66 million years, creature wins state dinosaur honor

The Free Press WV

It took about 66 million years, but a duck-billed creature has finally won recognition as California’s state dinosaur.

Governor Jerry Brown announced Saturday the signing of a bill making Augustynolophus (Aw-gus-tin-o-lo-fus) morrisi the official dinosaur of the Golden State.

Fossilized remains of the duckbilled creature that lived anywhere from 100 million to 66 million years ago have been found only in California.

Several other states and Washington, D.C., also have official dinosaurs.

California has more than 30 state insignia including a state lichen — lace lichen — and a state fabric, denim.


►  New Mexico college bake sale charged prices based on race

A bake sale at the University of New Mexico set up by a nonprofit group to charge students based on race and ethnicity ended after outraged opponents disrupted it.

The group, Turning Point USA, set up what it called an “Affirmative Action Bake Sale” on campus Thursday with a sign advertising higher prices for Asians and Caucasians and cheaper prices for African Americans and Hispanics.

William Witt, a Turning Point regional director, said the bake sale was aimed at generating a conversation about affirmative action programs. “Certain groups get different opportunities than other groups, and we believe it doesn’t give equal opportunity,” he said.

But protesters outnumbered the people who set up the bake sale, and the members of Turning Point ended up leaving.

“We had tons of people who wanted to have great conversations. But once people start yelling, destroying our stuff and breaking everything on the table, it makes it tough to have good discussions,” Witt said.

Some students encouraged a dialogue and asked angry students to calm down.

Bake sale opponent and student Ryan Sindon said the group’s departure came after “we exercised our free speech to the point where they felt they needed to leave.”

The university said the group is not recognized as an official student group but has applied for recognition. Turning Point bills itself as a student movement for free markets and limited government.

Where are all the Obama and Clinton haters now? Why aren’t they comment about the state of the country and the world now?

Comment by wondering  on  09.27.2017
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