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May 6, 2016

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Posted by Ken at 4:06 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Obama assesses Flint water crisis up close
Obama assesses Flint water crisis up close
May 6, 2016

President Barack Obama witnessed first-hand Wednesday how residents of Flint, Michigan, have endured their city's public health crisis, drinking sips of filtered water in front of cameras as he insisted politicians resolve the man-made disaster.
But even as he demanded more resources for the city, and decried anti-government politics, Obama dismissed suggestions that Flint's children would be forever stunted after exposure to lead-contaminated water.

"You should be angry," he told parents crammed into a high school gym in Flint. "But channel that anger. You should be hurt, but don't sink into despair. And most of all, do not somehow communicate to our children here in this city that they're going to be saddled with problems for the rest of their lives, because they will not. They'll do just fine."
"Kids rise to the expectations that we set for them," he added later.
Obama traveled to Flint months after the city's water crisis came to light, initially resisting calls to assess the crisis up close. When officials switched the water supply from the Detroit system to the Flint River in 2014, the water wasn't treated properly and lead from old pipes leached into system.
Residents weren't initially informed about the dangers, despite tests showing high levels of lead. The presidential visit Wednesday came amid multiple investigations into how poisoned water was allowed to flow into Flint's homes for months before either the state or federal government raised any alarm.
Obama on Wednesday repeatedly referred to the situation as a "screw up" but said he wasn't in the city to assign blame.
"I do not believe that anybody consciously wanted to hurt the people in Flint," he said. "But I do think there's a larger issue that we have to acknowledge, because I do think that part of what contributed to this crisis was a broader mindset, a bigger attitude, a corrosive attitude that exists in our politics and exists in too many levels of our government. And it's a mindset that believes that less government is the highest good no matter what."
"That attitude is as corrosive to our democracy as the stuff that resulted in lead in your water," he continued. "It leads to systemic neglect. It leads to carelessness and callousness. It leads to a lot of hidden disasters you don't always read about and aren't as flashy, but over time diminish the life of a community and make it harder for young people to succeed."

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Posted by Ken at 1:00 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

FBI Interviews Top Clinton Aides In Email Investigation
FBI Interviews Top Clinton Aides In Email Investigation
May 6, 2016

Federal agents have interviewed top aides to Hillary Clinton, including her long-time adviser Huma Abedin, about the candidate's use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state, sources said Thursday.

Unnamed government sources confirmed to the Los Angeles Times, CNN and other outlets that the interviews had taken place.

According to the the Times, the interview with Abedin took place on April 5 and lasted for roughly two hours. CNN reported that "aides," plural, were interviewed, including Abedin and Bryan Pagliano, who spoke with investigators earlier this year.

Once investigators complete their investigation, the Justice Department will determine if anyone should face criminal charges. The unnamed officials said Thursday that the investigation has so far not revealed evidence that Clinton intentionally broke the law. Officials have not said when the investigation might be finished.

The FBI and the Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News requests for comment Thursday.

Clinton - the Democratic frontrunner for president - has earned considerable criticism for her use of a private email server, particularly from Republican rivals such as Donald Trump, who often refers to her as "crooked Hillary." Last year, the State Department also began publicly releasing thousands of pages of Clinton's emails.

Investigators have yet to interview Clinton herself. However, in a statement distributed to media Thursday her campaign said she "has offered to answer any questions that would help the Justice Department complete its review, and we hope and expect that anyone else who is asked would do the same."

"We are confident the review will conclude that nothing inappropriate took place," the statement added.

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Posted by Ken at 1:00 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Paul Ryan Says He Is 'Not Ready' To Endorse Donald Trump Yet
Paul Ryan Says He Is 'Not Ready' To Endorse Donald Trump Yet
May 6, 2016

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday he cannot at this time support or endorse Donald Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee of his own party.

"I'm just not ready to do that at this point. I'm not there yet," Ryan said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper. "I hope to and want to. What's required is that we unify the party."

The speaker said he wants to endorse his party's nominee, but that more needs to be done to unify the GOP before he can do so. He added that the GOP needs a "standard-bearer that bears our standards" before he can make an endorsement.

Nearly all previous GOP presidential nominees are sitting out the party's convention in Cleveland - including President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who mounted a fierce but ultimately unsuccessful campaign against Trump earlier this year.

"I think it's possible but we're not there right now," Ryan added of the prospect of uniting his party.

Trump responded to the speaker's comments in a statement Thursday afternoon.

"I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda," the presumptive nominee said. "Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!"

Eager to seize on the dramatic fissure between two of the GOP's top leaders, the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton emailed Ryan's remarks to reporters immediately after he made them, adding his name to a "growing list of conservatives rebuking Trump."

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Posted by Ken at 1:00 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Wildfire in Canada Causes Oil Prices to Surge
Wildfire in Canada Causes Oil Prices to Surge
May 6, 2016

Crude oil prices rose Thursday following a wildfire that has led than more than 80,000 to evacuate a Canadian oil town. Brent crude futures rose 2.6% on the disruption, topping $45 a barrel, according to a Reuters report.

The fire in Canada's oil sand region has not reached facilities used to extract crude, but some oil pipelines have been shut down just in case. Many of the displaced residents from the town of Fort McMurray work in the oil industry and the dislocation threatens to disrupt normal operations. The Canadian oil sands in the province of Alberta contain the world's third-largest oil reserve after reservoirs in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

The jump due to wildfire may only be fleeting, with some analysts saying oil may soon dip below $40 again.

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Posted by Ken at 1:00 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Super Beets!
Super Beets!
May 5, 2016

Nitric oxide (N-O) is the master regulator of the cardiovascular system that signals arteries to relax and dilate, improving circulation and blood flow. Dietary nitrates, like those found in SuperBeets, can help the body:

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Posted by Ken at 4:50 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

DEA And U.S. Attorney's Office Join Investigation Into Prince's Death
DEA And U.S. Attorney's Office Join Investigation Into Prince's Death
May 5, 2016

The Drug Enforcement Agency and federal prosecutors are joining the investigation of Prince's death, authorities announced on Wednesday.

An attorney earlier in the day had said a prominent expert in opioid addiction had visited the musician's Minnesota home, but arrived too late to provide emergency treatment to the artist - instead finding him dead. Media reports have said Prince had for several years been addicted to prescription pain killers, but his official cause of death is yet to be determined.

Prescription pain pills were found on his body at the time of his death as well as in his home, according to reports. On Wednesday, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota said federal authorities including the DEA would be assisting in the investigation of Prince's death by providing resources and expertise related to prescription drug diversion.

Prescription drug diversion is the transfer of legal drugs into illegal distribution or use. Subjects of DEA investigations can include doctors who sell prescriptions to dealers or directly to users, prescription forgers, and those who steal from pharmacies or other legal drug distributors.

Authorities have declined to comment more while the investigation is pending. Results of toxicology reports that could formally determine Prince's cause of death are not expected for several weeks.

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Posted by Ken at 1:00 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Trump makes history and changes politics, GOP
Trump makes history and changes politics, GOP
May 5, 2016

Once a joke, then a phenomenon and now something else: presumptive Republican Party nominee for president of the United States.

Donald Trump's rise is a history-making event that will change American politics and the Republican Party, according to analysts - and the story isn't over yet.

To his critics, Trump is the ultimate triumph of celebrity politics, the beneficiary of free TV time and a campaign style that values insults over facts - the inevitable product of a party and conservative movement that has disdained government for decades, and the harbinger of celebrity candidates to come.

To his backers, Trump is the tribune of voters who have been failed by politicians, by immigration policies that undermine the nation's identity, by trade deals that have sent American jobs to other countries and by political elites who do not understand or care about their problems.

"We've been losing all the time," Trump said in declaring victory Tuesday night. He added that "we're going to start winning again and we're going to win big league, believe me."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the Republicans defeated by the New York businessman, said, "if we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed ... and we will deserve it."Others don't believe that theory will apply to the fall election. They fear Trump - who alienated women, Hispanics and African-American voters throughout his Republican primary campaign - will wind up costing the party control of the Senate and perhaps the House as well.

In the meantime, Trump will now try to unify the Republican Party behind him - no easy task, as he looks for a running mate, builds up a campaign-ready staff and determines how to raise money for himself and GOP congressional candidates.

One thing in his favor: He has the nomination in hand, after an easy win in Tuesday's Indiana primary and the withdrawals of remaining rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich. It becomes official at the Republican convention July 18-21 in Cleveland.

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Posted by Ken at 1:00 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Who was really photographed at Iwo Jima?
Who was really photographed at Iwo Jima?
May 5, 2016

The Marine Corps says it has begun investigating whether it mistakenly identified one of the men shown raising the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima in one of the iconic images of World War II after two amateur history buffs began raising questions about the picture.

The Marines announced its inquiry more than a year after Eric Krelle, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Stephen Foley, of Wexford, Ireland, began raising doubts about the identity of one man. In November 2014, the Omaha World-Herald published an extensive story about their claims and Saturday was the first to report the Marines were looking into the matter.

Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal shot the photo on Feb. 23, 1945, on Mount Suribachi, amid an intense battle with the Japanese. Rosenthal didn't get the names of the men, but the photo immediately was celebrated in the U.S. and President Franklin Roosevelt told the military to identify the men.

After some confusion, the Marines identified the men as John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Harlon Block, Michael Strank and Franklin Sousley. All were Marines except Bradley, who was a Navy corpsman.

Block, Strank and Sousley were killed in fighting at Iwo Jima before the photo was distributed in the U.S.

On Monday, the Marines issued a statement saying, "The Marine Corps is examining information provided by a private organization related (to) Joe Rosenthal's Associated Press photograph of the second flag raising on Iwo Jima.

"Rosenthal's photo captured a single moment in the 36-day battle during which more than 6,500 US servicemen made the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation and it is representative of the more than 70,000 US Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Coast Guardsmen that took part in the battle. We are humbled by the service and sacrifice of all who fought on Iwo Jima."

Iwo Jima, a tiny island 660 miles south of Tokyo, was the site of an intense 36-day battle that began Feb. 19, 1945, between about 70,000 Marines and 18,000 Japanese soldiers. Capturing Iwo Jima was deemed essential to the U.S. war effort because Japanese fighter planes were taking off from the island and intercepting American bomber planes.

Hal Buell, a retired AP executive news photo editor, had long discussions with Rosenthal about the flag-raising picture and in 2006 wrote a book about the famous image. It's hard to understand the photo's power in 1945 to Americans, who were weary of the war and horrified by the incredible number of deaths by servicemen, especially in locations of Asia most had never heard of, Buell said.

During a month of fighting, from February-March 1945, almost 7,000 U.S. Marines lost their lives. Nearly 20,000 Japanese soldiers are thought to have died, as well.

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Posted by Ken at 1:00 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

New
New "Ghostbusters" is officially the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history
May 5, 2016

If the YouTube thumbs-down reactions are to be believed, the new "Ghostbusters" film isn't going to do very well.

That's because the clip -- released in March and featuring the first glimpses of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones in action as Ghostbusters -- has earned the dubious title of the most disliked trailer in YouTube history. As of this writing, the video has been viewed 30.7 million times and has received 696,368 dislike votes, which tower over its 227,455 like votes.

But the trailer still has a long way to go before being the most disliked video in general. That distinction goes to Justin Bieber's "Baby" music video, with 6.04 million dislikes, followed by viral sensation "Friday" from Rebecca Black, which has so far earned 2.05 million down-votes. The "Ghostbusters" trailer, by comparison, comes in 18th.

So what makes this trailer so much more objectionable than others, like the critically panned "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" (16,495 dislikes) or last year's "Fantastic Four" reboot (7,391 down-votes)? The rebooting of a beloved 1980s franchise with an all-female cast may have something to do with that, as director Paul Feig and his cast have been facing angry comments online since the project was first announced.

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Posted by Ken at 1:00 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

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