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  1. Jennifer Rousseau will drive more than 1,600 miles out of Bay County, Florida — away from her hurricane-ravaged mobile home and the tent she lived in for weeks — until she reaches her new life in land-locked Durango, Colorado, this week. Rousseau, 34, didn’t have enough money to evacuate when Hurricane Michael, the Florida Panhandle region’s worst storm on record, made landfall in early October. But now she’s willing to do whatever she can to move away from the coast in hopes of ensuring she doesn’t end up in the middle of another superstorm. “I feel like I survived Michael, and I’m trying to get away. I don’t want no part of the storms that are coming through,” said Rousseau, who’s unemployed and disabled. “I believe it’s going to get a lot worse around here. I’m moving way, way away from hurricanes.” Rousseau’s circumstances aren’t unusual for a recovering storm survivor; natural disasters often force people from their homes, at least temporarily. But residents of the Panhandle who spoke to VICE News said the prospect of even more intense storms, and the subsequently difficult recoveries, made them want to leave. Their fears aren’t unfounded. Over the next century, landfalling hurricanes will grow more intense due to warming ocean waters, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a government-commissioned report compiled by more than 300 scientists. (Separately, some scientists have hypothesized that climate change played a role in Hurricane Michael’s rapid intensification, although it’s not certain.) In just the last two Atlantic hurricane seasons, for example, eight major hurricanes — slightly more than average — have made landfall in the U.S. If such devastating storms become more frequent, they’ll bring with them a cascade of economic, infrastructure, and social burdens that could cause more people to move from coastal cities, according to the report. For those in places like Panama City, sticking around and risking another Michael — or even a potentially worse storm — already didn’t make sense. Jennifer Rousseau's mobile home after Hurricane Michael. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rousseau) Hurricane Michael hit Panama City, a community of about 36,000 nestled between resort destinations, on Oct. 10 with 155 mph winds. The storm’s sheer force decimated more than 60 percent of the area’s homes, which drove up remaining rental prices, according to the Tampa Bay Times. With many local businesses still closed seven weeks later, some newly unemployed survivors don’t have a reliable income to adequately meet the challenges of the aftermath. Tent cities have sprung up in church parking lots. Damaged schools have left students re-enrolling in other districts in the middle of the academic year. One large hospital now provides emergency services only and plans to re-open at a quarter of its original size next year. In general, recovery could take years, especially factoring in other extreme weather events. “We don’t have unlimited funds to spend on disaster recovery,” said Miyuki Hino, a Stanford University researcher studying coastal climate change adaptation. “One concern is the frequency of the events that we’re seeing is making it harder and harder for these resources to get to the places that need it.” TO STAY OR GO? Andrea Shoemaker wrestled with the idea of staying in her hometown of Lynn Haven, just outside Panama City, to deal with the storm’s aftermath. Luckily, Hurricane Michael left her family’s rental home intact — but destroyed the water and sewer lines, which rendered the property temporarily unlivable. The neighborhood’s destruction shocked her 9-year-old son so much that he laughed hysterically the first time they drove back into town after the storm. After weeks of debating, Shoemaker, 38, finally decided that she couldn’t stomach the same sort of chaos — or worse — twice. “We had to go. I know that the storms are getting stronger,” Shoemaker said. “I don’t want to put my family through that again. Even though my dream is to have my kid grow up where I grew up, I know that for his childhood it might be feasible, but after that it’s not going to be.” Shoemaker arrived in Houston, her husband’s hometown, on Monday, and she’s hoping they can both get back to work sometime soon. (He’s a police officer and she works in the legal profession.) Already, Bay County wasn’t a “great place to live, financially,” she said. "We had to go. I know that the storms are getting stronger." Extreme weather events like Hurricane Michael can put more stress on an already-strained local economy. If local businesses shut down and jobs are lost, for example, people might struggle to scrounge up enough money to rebuild. If someone like Shoemaker doesn’t feel they can feasibly move back into their home anytime soon, they might take their money or services to another town. Hurricane Michael, for instance, slammed the Gulf Coast with $30 billion in combined economic losses, including storm damage, according to early estimates. The Haas Center at the University of West Florida also estimated the storm resulted in the loss of nearly 9,300 jobs. And that still pales in comparison to Puerto Rico, which will lose an estimated 14 percent of its population — nearly half a million people — before 2019 due to Hurricane Maria, the Category 4 storm that slammed into the island in September 2017 and pushed many of the island’s poor into extreme poverty. Population and rates of affordable housing in New Orleans, for example, still haven’t returnedto pre-Katrina levels. “This is going to take time, and it’s not going to be easy to come to solutions here,” said Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “Slowly but surely Mother Nature is going to remind us that our entire economy is on the line.” Jennifer Rousseau's mobile home after Hurricane Michael. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rousseau) When President Donald Trump visited the states most impacted by Hurricane Michael in October, however, he declined to acknowledge any impact of climate change. Last week, he more plainly rejected the findings of the government-commissioned climate assessment in comments to reporters. The state’s outgoing and incoming governors, Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis, respectively, have largely avoided any mention of climate change as well. With all the politicking, Mellisa Shields, 32, felt compelled to research climate change herself for the first time a few weeks ago. Before Hurricane Michael, she didn’t pay much mind to headlines about climate change. But now, she’s worried her kids won’t “grow up and have a full life.” The storm smashed in all the windows of her mobile home, and she estimates fixing the damage will cost about $15,000, especially now that the black mold has set in. “I don’t got that,” she said. But Shields isn’t planning to leave Panama City. Her mobile home is still somewhat livable, and she’s near her support system and family. Her kids, for example, are staying with her mother while Shields guards her mobile home from looting. But to her, everyone else seems to be leaving town. “They’re moving everywhere,” she said. “My kid’s class had 22 kids in it, and now, it’s got 10.”
  2. CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A 61-year-old woman is accused of pouring hot grease on another person during a dispute. Charlene Thompson was embroiled in an argument when she dumped the grease on the victim Sunday at a residence on Hawaiian Terrace in Mt. Airy, court records show. The victim suffered severe burns to their back and arm, court records show. Cincinnati police officers said the injuries were visible when they arrived on scene. Thompson was arrested on a charge of felonious assault and booked into the Hamilton County jail. At the time of her arrest, Thompson was wanted on two outstanding warrants for criminal damaging or endangering, court records show. Charlene Thompson 1997 (Levy, Audra She is accused twice between November 2016 and March 2017 of throwing rocks at a male neighbor’s windows, breaking them in the most recent offense, police wrote in criminal complaints. Thompson also was charged with assault and criminal damaging or endangerment and criminal trespass in 2008, court records show. Cincinnati police wrote in a criminal complaint she punched a victim in the face, “causing physical harm" on March 11, 2008. The charge was dismissed on Aug. 6, 2008., according to court records that do not indicate why. A 2008 charge of disorderly conduct while intoxicated also was dismissed shortly after it was filed. Cincinnati police accused her of kicking an officer and spitting several times in the back of a police car and on an officer on July 21, 2008, criminal complaint shows. And she was charged with domestic violence for allegedly striking her daughter in the mouth and back of the head, injuring her daughter’s hand while the daughter was protecting herself, on Christmas Eve Dec. 24 2006, police wrote in an affidavit. That charge also was later dismissed, on Feb. 21, 2007, court records show. Thompson was convicted of criminal trespass in August 2007 following a June 2007 arrest on accusations she entered an assisted living facility without permission and hit a resident, records state. She also was charged with assault at that time, but the charge was dropped when she was convicted in a plea on Aug. 13, 2007, according to court records. View image on Twitter 61 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy Copyright 2018 WXIX. All rights reserved.
  3. Robot cars are now officially a real business. Waymo on Wednesday launched a commercial robot ride-hailing service in Arizona called Waymo One. Like Uber or Lyft, customers will summon a ride with a smartphone app. But in this case, the car will be driving itself. “This is a game changer. It’s historical in nature,” said Grayson Brulte, who heads driverless car consulting firm Brulte & Co. Only “a few hundred customers” will have access to the app and participate in the early stages, according to Waymo, which is an arm of Google parent Alphabet Inc. Although the cars will drive themselves, a Waymo engineer will sit behind the wheel in case anything goes wrong. Waymo did not say when the cars will start arriving without a human minder or when the program will be expanded. Waymo’s cars, Chrysler Pacifica minivans bristling with autonomous driving technology, are available in several eastern and southeastern Phoenix suburbs, including Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert. The fares are similar to those charged by Uber and Lyft. Waymo One robotaxi start screen (Waymo) Waymo has ferried Phoenix-area passengers in robot cars since April 2017 in what the company calls its Early Rider program. Unlike Early Rider — which Waymo will continue — Waymo One customers won’t be required to sign nondisclosure agreements and won’t be expected to continually provide feedback about their experience. Waymo One represents the beginnings of a business that could be worth a lot of money. How much, no one yet knows: Wall Street estimates of Waymo’s market value, should it be spun off, range from $50 billion to $175 billion. Waymo began driverless-car development in 2009. Although dozens of companies, from small start-ups to major motor vehicle manufacturers, are developing driverless systems, Waymo is considered the emerging industry’s leader — in large part because of Google’s expertise in mapping and machine learning combined with the rich ample investment dollars churned out by Google’s search advertising money machine. There appears to be far more demand for the service than Waymo is able or willing to provide at present. The Early Rider program attracted 20,000 applicants, the company said, but only about 400 were chosen. A big reason for the slo-mo nature of commercial rollout, according to Waymo, is safety. “Self-driving technology is new to many, so we’re proceeding carefully with the comfort and convenience of our riders in mind,” Waymo Chief Executive John Krafcik said in a statement. The emerging driverless car industry suffered a blow in March when an Uber robot car hit and killed a pedestrian in Arizona. The experimental vehicle, with an apparently inattentive Uber employee behind the wheel, plowed into a woman walking a bicycle across a highway at night. Although the pedestrian wasn’t in a crosswalk, neither the human driver nor the driverless system applied the brakes until after the woman was hit. Deaths involving Tesla’s Autopilot system have also drawn headlines, although Autopilot is not intended to be used as an autonomous system. Practically every company developing driverless cars uses a combination of radar, optical, ultrasound and lidar sensors — except Tesla, which has said expensive lidar, which uses laser light to detect objects, will not be necessary for the driverless cars it plans to deploy. Even if robot cars prove safer than human drivers — one of the intended aims — bad publicity from freak accidents or manufacturer missteps could slow the technology’s acceptance by the general public and political representatives. The Phoenix area was chosen deliberately for its friendliness to driverless cars — and not just because of the support of Arizona’s governor and local officials. (Regulations on driverless cars are less stringent in Arizona than in California.) The flat, snow-free desert terrain, the well-kept and well-marked roads, the scarcity of trees to block street signs, and sun-blasted sidewalks on which few pedestrians tread all lend themselves to early robot car deployment. Other companies are planning to take on more challenging environments. GM-Cruise announced plans to offer a commercial robotaxi service on the streets of San Francisco by the end of this year, but according to Reuters technical problems have delayed the rollout.
  4. Representatives Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins campaigned this fall while out on bail for felony charges. Representative Greg Gianforte had been convicted of misdemeanor assault. Senator Bob Menendez’s trial on bribery and fraud charges had resulted in a hung jury. How did voters respond? All four were re-elected last month, Mr. Menendez by 10 percentage points. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi wasn’t burdened with legal problems in her runoff election last week, but she did face an uproar after saying she would attend “a public hanging” if a key supporter asked her to — a controversial comment in a state that holds the historical record for the highest number of lynchings. Ms. Hyde-Smith won, too. Now, as dozens of Democrats consider running for president, the recent success of candidates with varying degrees of baggage has revived interest in a question that has absorbed politicians and strategists since President Trump’s surprise victory two years ago: What, if anything, matters? Could the plagiarism allegation that Joseph R. Biden Jr. faced in 1988 still be a problem? Mr. Biden dismissed complaints that he lifted passages for his speeches as “much ado about nothing,” but ended his presidential campaign six days later. What about “T-Bone,” a figure in Cory Booker’s stump speeches in 2007, who the senator from New Jersey was accused of making up? At the time Mr. Booker insisted T-Bone was “1,000 percent a real person,” but has never mentioned him again. “The rise of Donald Trump was a game changer. We are living in a stage of new normalcy,” said Michael Avenatti, the liberal lawyer who rose to fame representing the pornographic star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Mr. Trump, and who had been talking himself up as a 2020 contender. Mr. Avenatti was arrested last month on suspicion of domestic violence. Addressing the issue in an interview last week, he said, “I don’t think that any of it is disqualifying, but it depends on how it plays out.” Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Republican of Mississippi, prevailed in a runoff election last week, despite remarks that she would attend “a public hanging” if a key supporter asked her to.CreditJonathan Bachman/Reuters Image Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Republican of Mississippi, prevailed in a runoff election last week, despite remarks that she would attend “a public hanging” if a key supporter asked her to.CreditJonathan Bachman/Reuters But on Tuesday, hours after this article was published online, Mr. Avenatti announced that he would not pursue a presidential bid “out of respect” for his family. “But for their concerns, I would run,” he said in a statement. Strategists from both parties agree that once-controversial issues like divorce, sexuality, moderate drug use and the evergreen mistake of cursing on a hot mic are no longer fatal for political careers. Character issues still pose a threat, yet Mr. Trump faced an array of them — from honesty and extramarital behavior to alleged abuse of women — and he won the presidency. “It used to be you couldn’t run if you had an affair. Well, that’s certainly not true anymore,” said former Representative Tom Davis, who took over their chairmanship of the National Republican Congressional Committee at the end of the Clinton administration. “The voters have made their decisions on those types of issues.” While many American politicians have weathered controversy so long as their supporters stuck by them, candidates and strategists say Mr. Trump has offered a new playbook for moving past even the most serious charges, one successfully deployed by both Mr. Hunter and Mr. Collins during their midterm races: Never apologize, always play offense, attack the “fake news,” and, finally, distract from the issue by kick-starting a new controversy. It’s a tactic that the president has used to combat a long list of problems, from the special counsel investigation to his personal finances. The crowded Democratic primary contest will offer the highest-profile test yet of whether the Trump era’s reality show rules about controversy apply beyond the protagonist-in-chief. The question now facing the potential contenders and their campaigns is not whether they have baggage, but what problems are likely to stick. The flood of money into politics after the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case may mean that a pay-for-play scandal now must come with a far higher price tag to affect voters, for instance. Joseph R. Biden Jr. has faced questions about his role leading the 1991 Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, which included harsh questioning of Anita Hill.CreditGreg Gibson/Associated Press Image Joseph R. Biden Jr. has faced questions about his role leading the 1991 Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, which included harsh questioning of Anita Hill.CreditGreg Gibson/Associated Press “Because people are so accustomed to money in politics, they just don’t think $10,000 buys a member of Congress,” says Steven D’Amico, a Democratic opposition researcher. “You need to be able to show they’ve taken millions, or at least hundreds of thousands.” While some political bars have fallen, the rise of the activist progressive wing of the Democratic Party may impose a new set of purity tests for primary candidates. Already, Mr. Biden has struggled to address his role leading the 1991 Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, which featured harshly prosecutorial questioning of Anita Hill. Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, raised eyebrows when he questioned elements of the #MeToo movement. Last year, nearly a dozen high-profile members of Congress from both parties accused of sexual assault and harassment retired rather than face re-election in the #MeToo era. Their ranks included former Senator Al Franken, who resigned under pressure from his female colleagues after multiple reports of sexual misconduct. Since Mr. Franken’s resignation last January, some Democratic donors have grumbled that the #MeToo movement went too far in his case, and blamed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for forcing out Mr. Franken to further her own career. The divide over Mr. Franken’s decision within the party underscores the uncertainty around how significant the politics of #MeToo would be in the primary race. (Ms. Gillibrand is weighing a 2020 run.) “It’s more unpredictable, what people latch on to,” said Mr. D’Amico, who ran opposition research on Mr. Trump for American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC. “There’s going to be instances where some people in the base think breaking with them on one small issue means that candidate isn’t with them on everything.” Perhaps no one recognizes the changed environment more than former politicians like Jeff Smith, a ex-Missouri state senator who served a year in jail for violating federal election law by approving — and later lying about — anonymous mailers that attacked his primary opponent in a 2004 congressional race. Supporters for Senator Bob Menendez at a victory party in November, when he won re-election. His trial on bribery and fraud charges resulted in a hung jury.CreditBryan Anselm for The New York Times Image Supporters for Senator Bob Menendez at a victory party in November, when he won re-election. His trial on bribery and fraud charges resulted in a hung jury.CreditBryan Anselm for The New York Times “Sometimes I do find myself wishing I’d signed a false affidavit about a campaign postcard in 2018 rather than 2004,” said Mr. Smith, a Democrat. “It’s like a different world now.” While some strategists argue that Mr. Trump’s election shows voters are craving authenticity, even when that means a record that includes some past mistakes, others argue the president has polarized the country so much that refusing to admit any missteps may be the best path to rally support. “If Richard Nixon had Twitter and Fox News, would he ever have resigned?” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who worked for the former House majority leader Tom DeLay as a spokesman during Mr. DeLay’s indictment for illegal campaign donations. “I don’t think he would have, and I think he would have survived.” During his recent Senate race in Texas, Representative Beto O’Rourke apologized for several years-old incidents, including writing demeaning commentary about women in a review for his university’s student newspaper and a 1998 arrest for drunken driving. Mr. O’Rourke, a Democrat who is now weighing a presidential bid, said he was “ashamed” of his comments and described the arrest as “serious mistake for which there is no excuse.” He used that incident, along with another, earlier arrest for jumping a fence, to issue a broad call for criminal justice reform in a Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express-News op-ed piece. In Ohio, Senator Sherrod Brown, another Democrat eyeing 2020, took a far different approach when Republicans seized on court records from his 1986 divorce, which included allegations that Mr. Brown “bullied” and shoved his ex-wife, Larke Recchie. A video posted on a site linked to a Republican political firm accused Mr. Brown of having his “own #MeToo moment from his past.” His opponent, Representative Jim Renacci, said he found the “well-documented history of domestic violence deeply troubling.” Mr. Brown, Ms. Recchie and his current wife slammed Mr. Renacci for attacking their families, saying the issue was a private matter that had long been settled. “Disparaging my family for political gain is disgusting,” said Ms. Recchie, a supporter and fund-raiser for her ex-husband, in a statement. Mr. Hunter and Mr. Collins also embraced the playbook of uncompromising defiance, echoing the president’s language by attacking the investigations into their personal finances as meritless, partisan “witch hunts” pursued by a politically driven Justice Department. Both Republicans won re-election by narrow margins for their deep red districts, an indication that the charges against them had some impact on voters. But in the end, it appeared that partisanship beat out possible corruption. “Party supersedes everything else,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster who worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2008 and a super PAC supporting her bid eight years later. “The whole issue of truth has become a more elastic idea for voters.”
  5. TAYLORSVILLE, Utah -- Police say a man held another man at gunpoint, bound him to a chair and then told him he could choose between death in the desert or having a nail hammered through his genitals. According to charging documents filed September 5, the assault occurred on August 30 in Salt Lake County. Jason Dee Maughn got into a fight that night with a man who was living in the home with him, according to a statement of probable cause. During the argument, Maughn held a shotgun to the other man's head and made him sit in a chair before handcuffing him to the arm rests. Maughn then told the victim he could, "either be taken to the desert to be killed or Maughn could drive a nail into [victim's] penis," the document states. The man also told the victim he would shoot him if he tried to fight back. The victim chose the latter of the two options, and the PC statement indicates Maughn used a rusty hammer to drive a tool resembling an ice pick through the victim's penis and into a board Maughn had placed under the victim. Maughn then released the man, who sought medical attention the next morning. Maughn was charged with aggravated kidnapping—domestic violence, aggravated sexual assault—domestic violence, mayhem—domestic violence, and aggravated assault—domestic violence. Maughn was arrested Monday and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail.
  6. The Fort Worth Police Department has launched "Operation Grinch Pinch" in an effort to stop people from stealing packages. Police are planting GPS trackers in random packages, then ensuring the boxes are in view of people on the street. They are working with residents who have a 24/7 surveillance video system installed. When the tracker senses motion, it alerts nearby officers, who can then track the person who took it and take them into custody. The department announced the plan to curb the number of package thefts in the city in a Grinch-themed Facebook video. "We want people to know that we're doing this," Sgt. Chris Britt told WFAA. "We'd rather give people the opportunity to not commit a crime." "Operation Grinch Pinch" will continue until the end of the year. Officials did not say if they plan to continue the program in 2019.
  7. Burger King is trying to get people to buy their burgers by telling them to go to McDonald's. Bold strategy, fellas, let's see how it pays off. Burger King just started a new promotion yesterday where you can get a Whopper for just ONE CENT. The only catch is . . . you have to order it while you're AT McDonald's. If you want to get in on this deal, download the Burger King app, then go within 600 feet of a McDonald's and order a Whopper on the app. And then it'll give you directions to the nearest BK where you can pick it up. The offer is good now through next Wednesday. And let's hope for Burger King's sake that this plan to troll McDonald's really does lead to a lot of Whopper sales . . . and not just a bunch of people going to McDonald's with the PLAN to order a Whopper, but then just deciding to eat there instead.
  8. There was CHAOS online earlier this week, when someone noticed that "Friends" was due to leave Netflix at the start of the New Year. Netflix quickly assured subscribers that the show would be around through 2019. But as we're finding out now, they had to seriously shell out to make that happen. The "New York Times" claims that Netflix paid $100 MILLION to keep the show for another year. Other estimates have it around $70 million to $80 million. Either way, it's a huge jump. Netflix had been paying $30 million a year for "Friends".
  9. I fully expect to see a Hallmark Channel movie about this kid next Christmas . . . Nine-year-old Dane Best lives in Severance, Colorado. It's a small town outside Fort Collins, about 60 miles north of Denver. And for the past 98 years, they've had an active ban on SNOWBALL FIGHTS. The law stated that you couldn't throw objects at people, animals, or property. So it was more about throwing rocks and stuff that might hurt someone. No one had ever been arrested for throwing a snowball. But technically, it was illegal. So on Monday, Dane showed up to a city council meeting in a bowtie. And he gave an impassioned three-minute speech on why the law was unjust. And in the end, the city council voted UNANIMOUSLY to overturn the law. A bunch of other kids were there with their parents and CHEERED when the law passed. Then the mayor presented Dane with two snowballs outside. And he and his four-year-old brother Dax got to throw the first LEGAL snowballs in the town's history. Now that he's got one win under his belt, Dane is already onto his next cause. It turns out the town also has a weird law that says you can have a maximum of three PETS. Which means he's currently fostering an illegal guinea pig.
  10. More than 7-in-10 households headed by immigrants in the state of California are on taxpayer-funded welfare, a new study reveals. The latest Census Bureau data analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) finds that about 72 percent of households headed by noncitizens and immigrants use one or more forms of taxpayer-funded welfare programs in California — the number one immigrant-receiving state in the U.S. Meanwhile, only about 35 percent of households headed by native-born Americans use welfare in California. All four states with the largest foreign-born populations, including California, have extremely high use of welfare by immigrant households. In Texas, for example, nearly 70 percent of households headed by immigrants use taxpayer-funded welfare. Meanwhile, only about 35 percent of native-born households in Texas are on welfare. In New York and Florida, a majority of households headed by immigrants and noncitizens are on welfare. Overall, about 63 percent of immigrant households use welfare while only 35 percent of native-born households use welfare. President Trump’s administration is looking to soon implement a policy that protects American taxpayers’ dollars from funding the mass importation of welfare-dependent foreign nationals by enforcing a “public charge” rule whereby legal immigrants would be less likely to secure a permanent residency in the U.S. if they have used any forms of welfare in the past, including using Obamacare, food stamps, and public housing. The immigration controls would be a boon for American taxpayers in the form of an annual $57.4 billion tax cut — the amount taxpayers spend every year on paying for the welfare, crime, and schooling costs of the country’s mass importation of 1.5 million new, mostly low-skilled legal immigrants. As Breitbart News reported, the majority of the more than 1.5 million foreign nationals entering the country every year use about 57 percent more food stamps than the average native-born American household. Overall, immigrant households consume 33 percent more cash welfare than American citizen households and 44 percent more in Medicaid dollars. This straining of public services by a booming 44 million foreign-born population translates to the average immigrant household costing American taxpayers $6,234 in federal welfare.
  11. Green Lantern

    Sunday

    Why are we here? *) My Thanksgiving. Your Thanksgiving. *) We got a fake tree for the first time, and it kinda sucks. *) Do you have festive burnout? Here. *) Best black Friday deals that are already going. Here. *) Progress is slow after the storm. Here. *) Scott Magur will be joining us on the show at some point. Here. *) The FEMA trailers are arriving. There is ONE here. Here. *) Have you been gouged or has someone tried to gouge you? *) SEARS: Panama City Mall Sears Closed Permanently In the chaos following Hurricane Michael, one Panama City store will not be coming back. The Sears at the Panama City mall is closed for good. Not only did the store suffer heavy damage to the roof, but the company also announced days after the hurricane that they were declaring bankruptcy. They will be closing 142 stores nationwide by the end of the year. 6 of those stores are in Florida, including the Panama City mall location and the Sears off Mary Esther Boulevard in Fort Walton Beach. *) SBA loans update. Here. *) Who in Panama City has internet? *) Chain saws and turkey dinners. Here. *) Contractor arrested for not having a license. Here. *) Can FEMA help? Here. *) Local businesses having a hard time filling open positions. Here. *) Clearing up debris questions. Here. *) People living with mold have no options. Here. *) Impaled on fence trying to come over boarder. Here. *) Fire in California contained. Here. *) Elevator HORROR story. Here.
  12. One in three Americans is set to endure ‘Festive Burnout’ before December 25th, according to new research. A study examining the impacts of festive stress saw a third of respondents (35 percent) say they’re burnt out on the holiday season BEFORE Christmas even comes. The fascinating new statistic emerged in a study of 2,000 Americans, which also revealed that 68 percent of Americans also consider the holiday season, that special time including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas, to be a “stressful” time. The new survey, conducted by Slumber Cloud, also found that the average American will spend 38 hours — nearly two full days — getting ready or preparing for the holiday season in some fashion. The biggest chunk of that time is spent shopping, which takes up a little more than 13 hours of the average American’s time, whether it be picking out the perfect gift for a loved one or simply getting food for cooking. BLACK FRIDAY FREEBIES AND GIVEAWAYS TO CHECK OUT THIS YEAR And speaking of cooking, the average American will spend nine hours and 17 minutes in the kitchen cooking up grub, as well, over the holiday season — clocking in over a day of full-time work. Another nine hours are spent planning for the holidays, with an additional seven hours devoted to simply decorating. According to the results, festive burnout will set in for 36 percent of Americans before mid-December, with a further 17 percent saying it sets in before December even starts. Crowds and shopping were the biggest contributors to festive burnout, with long lines and constantly hearing holiday music also receiving high marks. Continually being subjected to holiday TV ads is also enough to burn out 36 percent of Americans. The survey also showed that the average American will endure three awkward jokes from family members, will get asked three personal questions about their love lives by family members, will get into four arguments with family members and eat “too much” six times. The festive burnout was shown to have a profound effect on our sleeping habits, with 57 percent saying they sacrifice sleep over the holiday season. In fact, according to the results, Americans lose an hour of sleep every night on average. “Losing an hour of sleep at night is not sustainable, especially during the high-stress holiday season,” says Willy Madison, a sleep enthusiast at Slumber Cloud. “That’s why it’s so important to create a bedroom environment designed to keep you from tossing and turning at night and instead enjoying the limited time you do have set aside actually sleeping.” Over half of Americans (56 percent) also admit to wanting to take a break from the holidays while they’re in full swing, with the average American saying they feel they need a break ten times throughout the season. If the festive burnout is real for you, the study also went on to find some popular ways people try to remedy it. A world-famous nap was the most popular solution. Fifty-one percent of respondents consider it a go-to remedy, with Americans fitting in four on average during the season. Relaxing in your bedroom away from all the festivities was another high-scorer (45 percent), along with listening to music (41 percent) and just taking a walk (39 percent). TOP 10 CONTRIBUTORS TO “FESTIVE BURNOUT” Shopping 65% Crowds 63% Long lines 58% Buying presents 51% Cooking 48% Knowing what gifts to buy people 46% Constantly hearing holiday music 45% The pressure of making Christmas day special 44% Constantly seeing holiday commercials on TV 36% Wrapping presents 34% TOP 10 REMEDIES FOR “FESTIVE BURNOUT” A nap 51% Relaxing in my bedroom 45% Break from family 44% Listen to music 41% Getting out of the house 40% Take a walk 39% Reading 33% Taking time for hobbies 26% Watching favorite festive movie 25% Seeing friends 24%
  13. Teddy's Bigger Burgers has closed the Mapunapuna location and fired two employees who appeared in the Snapchat video. "We are horrified that a former teenage employee would conduct themselves in that way and make such a video of which we are investigating its authenticity," said Richard Stula, the president of Teddy's Bigger Burgers. The company initiated a "complete sanitization" and is replacing equipment and utensils at the fast-food restaurant after the video was shared with them several days ago, Stula said in the statement. "We will then send a corporate team in to inspect and complete a thorough audit of the location before it is allowed to re-open," Stula said. The state Department of Health is scheduled to inspect the restaurant on Mapunapuna Street on Friday. The company is also contacting a licensed pest control operator to examine the restaurant for rodents, said Peter Oshiro, the state's environmental health program manager. "DOH appreciates the remedial and proactive efforts undertaken by the restaurant owner to protect public health," Oshiro said in a statement. The restaurant received a passing green placard following its last state inspection in June. The company is consulting with its attorneys about potential legal action against the former employees, Stula said. "We are horrified a former employee would create something like this trying to destroy our reputation without regard for our 20-plus years of quality and aloha," he said.
  14. The mother and father of the man shot and killed by police at an Alabama mall on Friday are calling for "equal justice" after they say authorities shot someone who was simply a good Samaritan. Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 21, was killed by police at Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Alabama, on Thanksgiving Day after an altercation between multiple people outside a Footaction store. Police said he "may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation," which led to an 18-year-old man and 12-year-old girl being struck by gunfire, but he did not fire any shots. One of two officers responding to the fight shot Bradford, who they said was "brandishing a handgun." Through tears, his mother, April Pipkins, said no one should be treated how she has been by Hoover police. Initially, police said they believed Bradford fired the shots that injured both people, but later said he had not fired any shots and another man, still at-large, was likely responsible. "I'm outraged as a mother because I carried him for nine months," Pipkins told ABC News. "As a mother, no one understands how I feel. It's like someone ripped my heart out." ABC News An emotional April Pipkins discusses the death of her son, Emantic Bradford Jr., in a shooting at a mall in Hoover, Ala., on Thanksgiving.more + The family said they have not been contacted by the Hoover Police Department over the accidental shooting, and only learned about details through the media. "That is no way to learn of your child's death," Pipkins said. "How would you want to be treated? Nobody should have to go through this, to see their son on TV, on social media." Ben Crump, a lawyer for the family, told ABC News he wants authorities to release video of the shooting, saying it exonerates Bradford and shows the mistake made by police. (MORE: 1 injured, gunman still at-large after shooting at New Jersey mall) "The police calling him a killer, when they had the video there," Crump said. "They wanted to justify the killing and that's why they were so quick to assassinate his character. "When the police saw him, all they saw was the worst, when the young man was trying to help the situation," he added. Crump said Bradford was standing over the 18-year-old, trying to defuse the situation when "they shot first, they asked questions later, because he was a black man." "The video is unbiased, it is completely objective," the lawyer said. "It tells the whole story." James Spann/WBMA A teenager died in a mall shooting in Alabama the night of Nov. 22, 2018. ABC News Mother April Pipkins and father Emantic Bradford Sr. discuss the death of their son, Emantic Bradford Jr., in a shooting at a mall in Hoover, Ala., on Thanksgiving.more + Crump said Bradford was carrying a handgun, but was licensed to do so. Alabama is an "open carry" state, meaning he did not require a permit to openly carry the handgun, as long as it was holstered. Bradford was honorably discharged from the Army due to an injury, according to his parents, who clutched a photo of him in uniform during an interview with ABC News Saturday. An Army spokesman said only that he "never completed individual training" and was not considered to have served. Bradford had returned home to Alabama to work full-time. (MORE: US service member killed in Afghanistan for 2nd time this month) The 18-year-old victim remains in a hospital in serious condition, while the 12-year-old girl, an innocent bystander, was stable. Protesters gathered at the mall on Saturday, some carrying a black and red banner reading "Justice for EJ." Crump said the family was looking into legal action over the shooting. ABC News April Pipkins, the mother of Emantic Bradford, holds a photo of her son during an interview following the death of her son in a shooting at a mall in Hoover, Ala., on Thanksgiving.more + "Equal justice, we plan to get it under the law, because of what they've had to endure," Crump said, referring to Bradford's parents. "You can't bring back my child; you can't clean it up," Bradford's father, Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Sr., told ABC News. He called for the police officer who killed Bradford to be punished, saying, "They need to be locked up."
  15. Green Lantern

    THE MAN WHO FATHERED 200 CHILDREN...

    Louis used to cycle to the sperm bank, his deposit in a bag. He needed to make it in good time to preserve the contents of each specimen jar, which he placed in a warmed cabinet when he arrived. In the evenings, when men arrived after work, there would sometimes be social events at the sperm bank, with tea and cake. Other sperm banks – he was a regular donor at three – were more perfunctory, with small rooms for donations and the usual magazines. Like most of the donors, Louis preferred not to linger, but to pedal back to his modest flat in northern Holland and a life he felt was so ordinary that it almost blurred into the background. He was in his early 30s and lived alone, working as a bank clerk. He had no girlfriend, nor any close friends or family. But Louis was on a secret mission, motivated by a deep anxiety that had built as he drifted through early adulthood. Profound questions of mortality were keeping him awake at night. “I had started to think, ‘Who will remember me when I’m gone? Who will talk about me? Who will be my heir?’” he says. “I think our biggest fear in life is not to die, but to be forgotten.” So Louis made an audacious plan. If he wasn’t going to have children of his own in the normal way, maybe he could donate sperm in such quantity that – eventually – a child might try to find him. To pull it off, Louis would need to play a biological numbers game. “If I had 10 children this way, there would be a very slim chance of success,” he says. “But what if I had 100… or even more?” *** Talking publicly for the first time via a video call, Louis, now 68, wears a denim shirt and occasionally waves his arms at the screen, which is propped up on a pile of books. “Louis” is an alias he has asked to use because, among the other consequences of his actions, he has been threatened. Speaking deliberately, with the fluency of a man who has had a lot of explaining to do, he describes how his mission has transformed hundreds of lives, but also raised questions about family secrecy, identity and the ethics of artificial insemination. Louis was born in the Netherlands but spent his earliest years in Suriname in South America, where his father, a doctor, was born. Louis barely saw him and he and his mother, a Dutch missionary nurse, returned to Holland when Louis was six. His father later also settled there. Louis and his father were largely estranged, but the boy felt a pressure to seize opportunities his Surinamese family never had in the former Dutch colony. Even so, he struggled at school and dropped out of university. “When I was 21, I got a job at the bank and I sat behind a typewriter, which then became a computer, for 39 years,” he recalls. “My father was never able to understand that. He felt like he had given me a chance and I hadn’t taken it.” A broken home turned Louis against the idea of marriage. Had his parents been happy, he wonders if he might now have siblings and closer ties to his extended family. Perhaps he would have a family of his own. He also believes he has a form of autism, which has made relationships and emotions difficult. He says he doesn’t feel things like other people. Romances have died on the vine. He was happy in his own company, but an existential angst still consumed him – until he decided on his unique mission. I was pregnant with twins when I found I had 15 siblings and that my father was not my father Regulation of Dutch sperm banks was lax in the early 80s, but Louis knew that donating at the level he needed would be discouraged. (Laws still vary. In Britain today, the same donor sperm may be used in no more than 10 families. In Holland, the limit is now 25. Any more, and the risk of accidental incest is thought too great.) To avoid raising suspicion, Louis used three sperm banks, the farthest one a short train ride away, logging his donations in a notebook he still keeps on a shelf. For 20 years, from 1982, Louis donated as often as three times a week, generally before work. He says the banks must have known he was visiting too often, but demand for reliable donors was high: Louis was an asset. The clinic he cycled to, it would later transpire, had also exaggerated his credentials in the anonymous profile for prospective mothers. “It said I was university-educated, that I was a boss at a bank and that I had no interest in being contacted by future children,” he says. It also failed to mention his ethnicity; Louis describes his father as “black and white – we descend from African slaves and their owners”. While the sperm banks turned a blind eye, Louis never lost sight of his goal. He describes it as a train that was hard to stop. Eventually, in 2002, he felt as if he had done enough. By then, Louis was in his 50s and his oldest children – wherever they were – would be adults. He returned to his quiet life and waited. *** As she grew up, Joyce Curiere, now 34, became aware that she did not look much like her blond, blue-eyed father. She has freckles and thick brown, curly hair. “My parents would say things like, ‘Well, you look just like your grandad’s grandad,’” says the former nurse, who now works in sales in Amsterdam. When a grandparent let slip the truth – that her parents used donor sperm – Joyce, then 16, confronted them. They refused to admit it. She wanted to know more, but had no idea where to begin. In Britain, donor children born since 2005 have the right to find out the identity of their biological parents when they reach 18; Holland has introduced a similar law. Children born before 2005 do not get the same right to know, but what has changed for them is the rise of consumer DNA testing. Services such as AncestryDNA and 23andMe offer low-cost reports in weeks, including genetic matches to other people who have submitted samples to their growing databases. In Holland, several family reunion TV shows have emerged in this era of genetic accessibility. In 2015, 14 years after she confronted her parents, Joyce sat down one night to watch Familie Gezocht (Family Search). It featured a woman called Amanda. FacebookTwitterPinterest Jordy Willekens, who made Louis his legal father. Photograph: courtesy of Jordy Willekens “She was a nurse, too, and had curly, brown hair and the same voice as me,” Joyce says. “They showed pictures of her as a baby and I was like, ‘Well, that’s me. Those are my pictures.’” Amanda even wore similar earrings, and had a tattoo on the same shoulder. Two weeks later, Joyce sent off a DNA sample to a Dutch foundation that helps unite donor families. “I was pregnant with twins when I found I had 15 siblings and that my father was not my father,” she says. Those 15 people had already started their searches, and submitted samples. So had Louis. The children matched each other – and him – and the number quickly grew. Louis has calculated his donations have resulted in 200 births, “give or take a dozen”. He doubts another estimate, which he says came from the foundation, that he may have as many as 1,000 children. Confidentiality and use of unlicensed donors means records are hard to keep, but a figure anywhere near this high would make Louis one of the world’s most prolific fathers. For Joyce, the revelation was overwhelming. Yet her parents refused to accept the DNA evidence. “Their doctor said never to tell their child she’s from a donor because it would get them in trouble,” Joyce says. She is now estranged from them. After a difficult pregnancy, followed by postnatal depression, she did not have the time or emotional strength to meet her biological father. Not yet. *** Four years before Joyce’s discovery, Louis happened to see a TV show called Wie Is Mijn Vader? (Who Is My Father?). “They had a couple of twins and a sister, and at first I didn’t react,” he says. “Then they said the names of the boys who wanted to meet their father. They were Maaike and Matthijs. I thought, ‘Shit, those two are mine! It is really happening.’” These names had meant something to Louis since the autumn of 1989, when he had spotted a document he should not have seen at one of the sperm banks. It had the names of two children – Maaike and Matthijs – and some basic information about their donor: dark hair, dark eyes, A+ blood type. “I thought, that’s me, those must be my children,” Louis says. He made a note of the names. “I call it divine intervention that made me look at the right place at the right time,” he adds. “Just as it was in 2011, when I watched that TV programme.” Ivo worries about his children having romantic meetings with relatives. ‘What if they party in the same city centre?’ On the show, the twins talked about hoping to meet their father one day. “I looked more closely, and they looked like me,” Louis says. “I don’t feel feelings, but I can say that this was like an explosion.” He contacted the TV company, and submitted a DNA sample. He got a call to say eight children were, at that stage, looking for the same father. The first meeting came later in 2011, when Louis arranged, through the foundation, to see a brother and sister. “There was no crying, but they did find it very intense,” Louis says. “It was difficult, because I thought they would want to know everything about me, so I gave them everything, and it was a lot. I had to learn to listen. But they were mine. They really existed.” In the seven years since, Louis has met more than 40 of the 57 children to whom he has now been matched. Joyce emails me a list of their dates of birth and initials. Joyce is among the oldest, and was born in March 1984. The frequency of the dates suggests a village school, rather than a family. Children known as I, B, M, K, H and G were also born in 1984. H and J arrive in 1985, and six more in 1986. A few months after her own twins were born, Joyce decided to meet up with Louis. She remembers being struck by how alike they looked. Louis talked and talked. “All the things I had wanted to know about myself – all the answers I had been searching for since I was 16 – he gave me in 90 minutes,” she says, sitting next to Louis (he has travelled to her home for the interview). He had a dark sense of humour she immediately recognised as her own: “Sometimes I still sit with a cup of tea and ask, ‘How did this happen?’” she says. FacebookTwitterPinterest Watching a TV documentary featuring some of Louis’ children, Ivo van Halen realised he must be one of them. Photograph: courtesy of Ivo van Halen She also got to meet Amanda, the sister with the same tattoo she’d seen on TV. All the siblings describe an instant, reassuring recognition when they first met – an immediate ease; a shared sense of humour. This is captured in a striking clip from a documentary they contributed to in 2015. When Joyce answers her door to Amanda, they are wearing very similar floral dresses. They have the same stature, hair, eyes. They head to the park and toast each other with a glass of wine. “To being sisters and finding each other because the universe wants it that way,” Joyce says. “It’s as if we’ve known each other for years.” *** With each documentary and news report about Louis’ children, awareness of his story has grown. So have the Facebook and WhatsApp groups the siblings use to communicate. The web got more tangled still when one mother was angered to learn her donor was mixed race. She talked to a Belgian newspaper and, Joyce says, a neo-Nazi group threatened to “come for Louis”. Some siblings were against even an anonymous interview, partly out of concern for his safety: “But I think he should tell his story now,” Joyce says, “and not just be talked about.” Louis is matter-of-fact about the ethics of his endeavour. He feels no remorse, but for some the experience has been fraught. Each child arrives with their own story – and questions. Ivo van Halen, 34, learned only recently that his parents had been preparing to tell him the truth about his parentage, until his mother died in a car crash. Ivo was 11, and his father lost the courage; he couldn’t risk losing his sons. They had his hair colour and never suspected he was not their father (Ivo’s brother is from another donor). But five years ago, Ivo’s father called his sons together and told them. “We said it changed nothing,” says Ivo, who works in IT. “I felt sad for him, that he’d had so much difficulty with it.” Ivo felt little need to find his biological father until he, too, saw a documentary featuring some of Louis’ children. The story had now become part of a bigger scandal in Holland, after it was revealed that the doctor who ran one sperm bank Louis used had secretly donated his own sperm, and mixed it with other donations to increase the chances of conception (the doctor has since died). Watching it, Ivo says, “I thought, ‘Wow, these people even move like me. OK, now I want to know.’” He did a DNA test, and joined the Facebook group. Ivo has not yet met Louis, though they have exchanged emails. He struggles to explain the delay; he appreciates knowing the truth about his identity, and has enjoyed meeting his siblings, but not for the same reasons as Louis: he has young children now, and wants to protect the next generation from the risk of romantic meetings with distant relatives. “What if they all go and party in the same city centre?” he asks. “I want to prevent accidents from happening.” FacebookTwitterPinterest Joyce is one of the three children to whom Louis has grown closest. Photograph: Judith Jockel for the Guardian “There are bigger threats in this world,” Louis says in an email when I press him on these risks. “But if Ivo’s concerns bring new sheep to the flock, who am I to protest?” There is some ego in his mission. He is only half joking, during the video call, when he reaches to ancient Egypt for a metaphor. “The pharaohs built pyramids,” he says. “These children are my pyramids.” Louis, whose own parents died in 1988 and 1990, is close to only a handful of the children he has discovered so far. On the day I talk to Ivo, the group of siblings receives a message from Jordy Willekens, who is 28 and has been a member for three years. He has news to share: he has decided to make Louis his legal father. Jordy always knew he had a father out there, because he grew up with two mothers. He thinks their honesty partly explains why he felt little need to find his father. He also assumed it would be too much effort. “If I had realised it would be this easy, I would have done it 10 years ago,” he says. Three years ago, Jordy’s then girlfriend alerted him to a documentary about the group of siblings. “It was madness to think I could deny it,” he says of the physical likeness he saw in them. He got the test, joined the group and, in 2016, met Louis in a restaurant. “He stared at me for 10 minutes,” Jordy recalls. “But it wasn’t awkward. It felt like I had found half of me.” Jordy, who also works in IT, grew fond of Louis. He gets him. “We’re all afraid eventually to turn up alone without anyone to love us,” he says. “I wouldn’t go to those lengths, but he never had anyone to tell him it wasn’t ethical or that he wasn’t alone.” Six months ago, in the shower, he decided to make the legal change. The paperwork came through last week. As we talk, Jordy gets an email from Louis asking if he has shared the news with the group. “He has addressed it to ‘My dear son’,” Jordy says, laughing a little. Louis says Joyce and Maaike, the other two children to whom he has grown closest, are also now in his will. He is not a rich man, but says he always hated the idea that strangers would one day come to clear out his apartment and arrange his funeral. “Now I have three heirs,” he says after Jordy’s news breaks. “Perhaps there will be others. Mission accomplished.” If Jordy now sees Louis as a father, for some it’s not quite as clear. Joyce, who sees him only occasionally (they live in different cities), describes him more as a good friend she can phone for advice. She has lost contact with the father who raised her, but says she isn’t looking for a replacement. Seventeen of the siblings are members of the WhatsApp group. They talk about work and share memes in the usual way. “You can discuss sperm only so much,” Jordy says. “But there’s always a buzz when new blood is added to the mix.” Not that everyone wants to be part of this strange new family. For some, the shock of discovery is too much. “When I met one daughter, it was as if all the energy in the room blew away,” Louis says. “I didn’t know what to say, she didn’t know what to say, and later she told me she didn’t want to meet again.” Jordy’s biological mother, who separated from her partner years ago, had no idea who had helped her have a child, or why. She was initially concerned about her son’s search, but approved once he reassured her it could never change their relationship. Last summer, she and Jordy met Louis together. “I was walking behind them at one point and I was like, is this really happening?” Jordy recalls. He sees Louis as a real father now – just not a straightforward one. What did his mother think of Louis? “She liked him,” he says. “She said to him, ‘We created something really nice.’ And he agreed with her.” • Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure the discussion remains on the topics raised by the article. If you would like a comment on this piece to be considered for inclusion on Weekend magazine’s letters page in print, please email weekend@theguardian.com, including your name and address (not for publication). You may have noticed … … the free press is under attack. President Trump refuses to condemn those responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. He revoked a CNN reporter’s White House press pass and attacks mainstream media at his mass rallies. The president recently praised a Congressmen for attacking a Guardian reporter. He has accused the American press of being ‘the enemy of the people’. In 2018, The Guardian broke the story of Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook data breach; we recorded the human fallout from family separations; we charted the rise of the far right, and documented the growing impact of gun violence on Americans’ lives. We reported daily on climate change as a matter of urgent priority. The Guardian is editorially independent – our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by shareholders or politicians. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This matters because it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. And we don’t have a paywall, meaning The Guardian’s journalism is open and accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. At a time when journalists are under attack, we need your ongoing support to continue bringing The Guardian’s independent journalism to the world.
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