Sunday, April 22, 2018

Man bitten by shark, bear, snake in less than 4 years

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A Colorado man achieved a distinction last week that few people would probably want to match.

When Dylan McWilliams was bitten by a shark Thursday in Hawaii, it meant he had been bitten by a shark, a bear and a rattlesnake – all in less than four years.

“I don’t know,” McWilliams told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Friday. “I’m either really lucky or really unlucky.”

Not surprisingly, the 20-year-old from Grand Junction says he spends a lot of time outdoors.

In Thursday’s attack, about 50 yards from Shipwreck’s Beach off Poipu, McWilliams suffered deep cuts to one of his legs, but the injury wasn’t life-threatening, Hawaii News Now reported.

“The scariest part was swimming back,” he told the news outlet, adding that he was hoping the shark wouldn’t continue following the trail of blood from his leg.

The leg wound required seven stitches, the Star-Advertiser reported.

Last July, McWilliams told the paper, he received nine staples in his scalp after a nearly 300-pound bear invaded his Colorado campsite.

“The bear grabbed the back of my head and started pulling me and I was fighting back as best as I could,” he told Hawaii News Now. “It dropped me and stomped on me a little bit, and I was able to get back to the group and they scared it away.”

As for the rattlesnake, that encounter occurred about three and a half years ago in Utah, McWilliams told the Star-Advertiser.

Luckily, he took in only a small amount of venom, so he was only briefly ill afterward, he told the newspaper.

“My parents are grateful I’m still alive,” he said.

Starbucks restroom's hidden camera prompts investigation

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Police have launched an investigation after a camera was discovered last week inside a restroom at a Starbucks store in an Atlanta suburb.

A 25-year-old customer reportedly found the device Tuesday, taped under a baby changing station.

According to a police report, the woman removed the camera and alerted the manager. The manager then notified Starbucks’ corporate office.

“We were quite concerned to learn this and are grateful to our customers and partners who took action to involve local authorities,” a Starbucks spokesperson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The manager gave the camera to police for inspection. Authorities reportedly found 25 videos stored on the camera, including several that reportedly showed people using the restroom.  

“We’ve learned that the device had about an hour’s worth of recorded video on it and detectives found 8 to 10 men and women videotaped while in that restroom,” one officer told Atlanta’s FOX 5. He added that the video quality was poor and no “private parts” were seen.

No suspects have been identified. Police say whoever is responsible faces a charge of eavesdropping, which is a felony.

Tuesday’s discovery comes less than a week after the coffee giant faced a national backlash over an incident at a Philadelphia location in which two black men were arrested for allegedly trespassing.

The arrests drew apologies from the company and from Philadelphia’s police commissioner. The company announced that it would close 8,000 locations on May 29 to conduct “racial bias” training.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

Kaepernick blasts 'lawful lynchings,' defends anthem protests while accepting Amnesty award

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Free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick accepted the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday, as the human rights organization acknowledged his kneeling protests of racial injustice that launched a sports movement.

Amnesty grants its highest honor each year to a person or organization, “dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others.”

In his acceptance speech at the ceremony in Amsterdam, Kaepernick — who has been criticized by President Donald Trump, members of the U.S. military and many NFL fans for staging his protests during the playing of the national anthem before games — described police killings of African-Americans and Latinos in the U.S. as “lawful lynchings.”

“Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex,” Kaepernick said.

He also defended his decision to stage his protests during the playing of the national anthem.

“How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, ‘freedom and justice for all,’ that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?” he said in the Dutch capital.

“How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, ‘freedom and justice for all,’ that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?”

– Colin Kaepernick, free agent quarterback

Since parting ways with the San Francisco 49ers after the 2016 NFL season, Kaepernick, 30, has been unable to reach a contract deal with another NFL club. He missed the entire 2017 NFL season.

Since then, other NFL players, as well as athletes in other sports, have replicated Kaepernick’s protest, in part because they believe the quarterback has been blackballed by the NFL.

Those protests drew the ire of President Trump, who called on team owners to fire such players.

“Can you believe that the disrespect for our Country, our Flag, our Anthem continues without penalty to the players,” Trump tweeted last November. “The Commissioner has lost control of the hemorrhaging league. Players are the boss!”

A recent negotiation between Kaepernick and the Seattle Seahawks fell through, reportedly because Kaepernick would not agree to end his protest, Fox News reported.

TRUMP TACKLES THE NFL AND NATIONAL ANTHEM: A TIMELINE

But in response to the player demonstrations, the NFL agreed to commit $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes.

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called Kaepernick “an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination.”

In his remarks, Kaepernick also cited Malcolm X’s words of willingness to “join in with anyone – I don’t care what color you are – as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth,” the Washington Post reported.  

“In truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force,” Kaepernick said.

“This is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force.”

– Colin Kaepernick, Amnesty International award winner

Eric Reid, a 49ers teammate who protested alongside Kaepernick, presented the Amnesty award to him Saturday night.

Reid, a safety who also is now a free agent, continued Kaepernick’s protests by kneeling during the anthem last season.

Kaepernick paid tribute to his friend for his own role in the protest movement.

“Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy,” Kaepernick said. “But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career.”

Reid has said he will take a different approach in 2018.

Previous recipients of the Amnesty award have included anti-apartheid campaigner and South African President Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigned for girls’ right to education even after being shot by Taliban militants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar 'stable but critical' after brain hemorrhage in dugout

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Chicago White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar was in stable but critical condition late Saturday after collapsing from a brain hemorrhage in the team’s dugout during Friday night’s game.

Doctors at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center said Farquhar’s hemorrhage was caused by a ruptured aneurysm, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Visiting Houston Astros players said they spotted Farquhar vomiting in the dugout during the sixth inning. Farquhar lost consciousness and was carried out by an ambulance.

Farquhar regained consciousness just before leaving Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said.

Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria, right, talks with pitching coach Don Cooper in the dugout during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria, right, talks with pitching coach Don Cooper in the dugout during Saturday night’s game against the Houston Astros.  (Associated Press)

Renteria said none of the White Sox players noticed any signs that Farquhar might have been sick, Chicago’s FOX 32 reported.

The White Sox went on to lose Friday night’s game 10-0, and perhaps with Farquhar heavily on their minds, they lost again Saturday night, 10-1.

“When you see one of your brothers go down like that, it’s not very fun to watch,” pitcher James Shields said of Farquhar. “He’s such a resilient human being and we’re praying for him.”

“When you see one of your brothers go down like that, it’s not very fun to watch. He’s such a resilient human being and we’re praying for him.”

– James Shields, Chicago White Sox

The 31-year-old Farquhar — who grew up in Florida and played college ball in Louisiana — is married with three children. He signed with the White Sox in mid-2017 and has pitched 23 games. He previously played for the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays.

“We’re more worried about what’s going on with him and his family than worrying about this game right now,” White Sox pitcher Hector Santiago said. “Tonight’s game we’re definitely playing for him and trying to support him and his family, but we can’t do too much out here at the baseball field for him.”

Farquhar’s teammates hung his white No. 43 jersey during the Chicago’s game Saturday night against Houston. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

Oakland A's pitcher Sean Manaea tosses no-hitter vs. Boston Red Sox

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Oakland Athletics left-handed pitcher Sean Manaea pitched a no-hitter Saturday night – and became the first pitcher in 25 years to achieve the feat against the Boston Red Sox.

An overturned umpire’s call helped preserve the pitching gem in Oakland’s 3-0 win over the Sox, who have been baseball’s hottest team this season.

Manaea struck out 10, walked two and threw 108 pitches.

It was Oakland’s first no-no since Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010.

The last no-hitter against Boston was by Seattle’s Chris Bosio in 1993.

Boston looked as if it had a hit with two outs in the sixth at the Oakland Coliseum. Andrew Benintendi hit a grounder to the right side, slid around first baseman Matt Olson and was ruled safe.

After the umpires conferred, Benintendi was ruled out for going wide of the baseline.

Sandy Leon reached on an error in the Red Sox fifth when A’s shortstop Marcus Semien dropped a popup.

Manaea (3-2) had been battered by Boston in three previous starts. But the 26-year-old cooled off a hard-hitting Red Sox team that had won eight in a row and 17 of 18.

This was the first no-hitter in the majors since Miami’s Edinson Volquez pitched the only one of the 2017 season against Arizona on June 3.

The no-hitter was the 12th all-time by an Athletics pitcher and the seventh since the club moved to Oakland 50 years ago, the East Bay Times reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Mitt Romney faces Senate primary in Utah after state GOP convention setback

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Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney ran into an obstacle Saturday in his bid to succeed Utah’s retiring U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch.

At the state’s Republican Party convention in West Valley City, Romney finished second in votes from party delegates, behind state lawmaker Mike Kennedy.

That means Kennedy, who captured 50.18 percent of the delegate vote, and Romney (49.12 percent) will face each other in a GOP primary election June 26.

In comments after the vote, Romney kept an upbeat tone.

“I’m delighted with the outcome. Did very, very well,” Romney told Salt Lake City’s FOX 13. “On to a good, important primary ahead. This is terrific for the people of Utah.”

Kennedy, too, was pleased with the results, the station reported.

“I’m a candidate with a compelling life story and a unique set of life circumstances I’d like to use to serve the people of Utah,” he told FOX 13.

Saturday’s convention lasted more than eight hours, mostly because of bickering over rules, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The delegates at the convention tend to be more conservative than Utah’s general electorate, the newspaper noted.

Romney, 71, who ran against Barack Obama for president in 2012, went up against 11 other candidates seeking the Utah’s GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Most of them were political newcomers who questioned Romney’s criticism of President Donald Trump and the depth of his ties to Utah. (Romney is a former governor of Massachusetts, and his late father, George Romney, was a former governor of Michigan.)

Romney is perhaps best known in Utah for his chairmanship of the 2002 Winter Olympics, which were held in the state, and also because he was the first Mormon to be the presidential nominee of a major party. He moved to Utah after his 2012 campaign failed.

In launching his U.S. Senate bid, Romney has tried to keep the focus on state issues rather than his history of well-documented feuds with President Donald Trump, whom he called a “con man” and a phony during the 2016 race.

Trump fired back that Romney “choked like a dog” during his own White House run. But the two men have shown fresh signs of burying the hatchet, and Romney has accepted Trump’s endorsement.

Hatch, 83, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, announced his retirement plans several months ago, despite efforts by President Trump to convince him to stay in Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Mitt Romney faces Senate runoff in Utah after state GOP convention setback

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Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney ran into an obstacle Saturday in his bid to succeed Utah’s retiring U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch.

At the state’s Republican Party convention in West Valley City, Romney finished second in votes from party delegates, behind state lawmaker Mike Kennedy.

That means Kennedy, who captured 50.18 percent of the delegate vote, and Romney (49.12 percent) will face each other in a GOP primary election June 26.

In comments after the vote, Romney kept an upbeat tone.

“I’m delighted with the outcome. Did very, very well,” Romney told Salt Lake City’s FOX 13. “On to a good, important primary ahead. This is terrific for the people of Utah.”

Kennedy, too, was pleased with the results, the station reported.

“I’m a candidate with a compelling life story and a unique set of life circumstances I’d like to use to serve the people of Utah,” he told FOX 13.

Saturday’s convention lasted more than eight hours, mostly because of bickering over rules, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The delegates at the convention tend to be more conservative than Utah’s general electorate, the newspaper noted.

Romney, 71, who ran against Barack Obama for president in 2012, went up against 11 other candidates seeking the Utah’s GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Most of them were political newcomers who questioned Romney’s criticism of President Donald Trump and the depth of his ties to Utah. (Romney is a former governor of Massachusetts, and his late father, George Romney, was a former governor of Michigan.)

Romney is perhaps best known in Utah for his chairmanship of the 2002 Winter Olympics, which were held in the state, and also because he was the first Mormon to be the presidential nominee of a major party. He moved to Utah after his 2012 campaign failed.

In launching his U.S. Senate bid, Romney has tried to keep the focus on state issues rather than his history of well-documented feuds with President Donald Trump, whom he called a “con man” and a phony during the 2016 race.

Trump fired back that Romney “choked like a dog” during his own White House run. But the two men have shown fresh signs of burying the hatchet, and Romney has accepted Trump’s endorsement.

Hatch, 83, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, announced his retirement plans several months ago, despite efforts by President Trump to convince him to stay in Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Nabi Tajima, world's oldest person, dies in Japan at 117

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The world’s oldest person, a 117-year-old Japanese woman, has died.

Nabi Tajima died of old age in a hospital Saturday evening in the town of Kikai in southern Japan, town official Susumu Yoshiyuki confirmed. She had been hospitalized since January.

Tajima, born on Aug. 4, 1900, was the last known person born in the 19th century. She reportedly had more than 160 descendants, including great-great-great grandchildren. Her town of Kikai is in Kagoshima prefecture on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands.

She became the world’s oldest person seven months ago after the death in September of Violet Brown in Jamaica, also at the age of 117. Video shown on Japanese television showed Tajima moving her hands to the beat of music played on traditional Japanese instruments at a ceremony to mark the achievement.

The U.S.-based Gerontology Research Group says that another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, is now the world’s oldest person in its records. Miyako lives south of Tokyo in Kanagawa prefecture, and is due to turn 117 in 10 days.

Guinness World Records certified 112-year-old Masazo Nonaka of northern Japan as the world’s oldest man earlier this month, and was planning to recognize Tajima as the world’s oldest person.

Chemical weapons inspectors in Douma, Syria, gather samples from site, OPCW says

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Chemical weapons inspectors reportedly visited the Syrian city of Douma to gather samples on Saturday following a suspected chemical attack in the area earlier this month.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in a statement said their team went to one of the sites in the city to collect samples related to the alleged used of chemical weapons on April 7.

The samples are to be sent to OPCW labs to be analyzed, the statement said, and the organization “will evaluate the situation and consider future steps including another possible visit to Douma.”

RUSSIA, SYRIA WORKED TO ‘SANITIZE,’ ‘REMOVE INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE’ FROM CHEMICAL ATTACK SITE, US SAYS

The team will build a report based on the test results, in addition to “other information and materials collected by the team,” the statement said.

The visit would allow the agency to move forward with an independent investigation to find out what chemicals, if any, were used. The OPCW mission is not required to lay blame for the attack.

The alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma left at least 40 people dead and more than 500 people, mostly women and children, injured. The city is about 10 miles east of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The incident prompted the United States, Britain and France, who blamed Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government for the attack, to launch precision military strikes in the country. President Trump announced the strikes in an address to the nation on April 14.

US STRIKES SYRIA AFTER SUSPECTED CHEMICAL ATTACK BY ASSAD REGIME

Pentagon officials said the attacks targeted the heart of Assad’s programs to develop and produce chemical weapons.

The Syrian government and its ally Russia denied responsibility for the attack. Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the strikes, calling them an “act of aggression,” that had the “destructive influence on the entire system of international relations and will exacerbate humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.”

OPCW inspectors arrived in Damascus just hours before the April 15 strikes but were delayed from visiting the site until Saturday, leading Western officials and Syrian activists to accuse Russia and the Syrian government of staging a cover-up.

Fox News’ Tariq Khan, Kathleen Joyce and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Former first lady Barbara Bush laid to rest in Houston

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Former first Lady Barbara Bush was remembered as the “first lady of the greatest generation” and “greatest role model” during a funeral service Saturday in Houston.

Former President George H.W. Bush was helped into St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in a wheelchair behind his sons, former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and other Bush relatives to remember his wife of 73 years. Barbara Bush died at their home in Houston on Tuesday at age 92.

Jeb Bush, who delivered one of the eulogies, said it was a blessing to have a teacher like his mother.

“We learned not to take ourselves too seriously and that humor should be enjoyed and shared,” he said during his eulogy.

He choked up at one point, saying his mother — who was known for her self-deprecating remarks about her wrinkles and gray hair — was “beautiful” until the very end.

Jenna Bush Hager speaks during a funeral service for her grandmother, former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip , Pool)

Jenna Bush speaks at her grandmother’s funeral on Saturday, April 21, 2018.  (AP)

“The last time Mom went into the hospital I think Dad got sick on purpose just to be with her,” he recalled.

Jeb Bush said his father appeared a bit disheveled but sat by his mother’s bed and held her hand.

“My mom opened her eyes and said, ‘My God, George, you are devastatingly handsome!'” he said.

Former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush arrive as they pass by former first lady Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Barack Obama and first lady Melania Trump at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )

Former President George W. Bush pushes his father former President George H.W. Bush at former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral.  (AP)

“I asked her about dying and she said ‘Jeb, I believe in Jesus and I believe in his savior and I don’t want to leave your dad but I’m going to a beautiful place,’” he concluded.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — along with their wives and current first lady Melania Trump — joined ambassadors, sports stars and hundreds of other mourners at the nation’s largest Episcopal church.

Other guests included former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, professional golfer Phil Mickelson, Karl Rove, and other former White House staff. Many were seen embracing in the church before the service.

President Trump excused himself from attending, tweeting Saturday: ‘Heading to the Southern White House to watch the Funeral Service of Barbara Bush. First Lady Melania has arrived in Houston to pay our respects. Will be a beautiful day!”

The White House said in a statement that Trump will not attend the service “to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush Family and friends attending the service.

”The president has offered his sympathies, praising Barbara Bush as ‘a titan in American life.’”

Flags were flown at half-mast for the wife of the nation’s 41st president and mother of the nation’s 43rd as the service began. The church was adorned with sprays of yellow garden roses, yellow snap dragons, antique hydrangeas and other flowers.

The casket is brought into the church by pallbearers during the funeral for former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, in Houston, Saturday, April 21, 2018. Former presidents joined ambassadors, sports stars and hundreds of other mourners Saturday at the private funeral for Bush, filling the nation’s largest Episcopal church a day after thousands paid their respects to the woman known by many as “America’s matriarch.†(Jack Gruber/USA Today via AP, Pool)

Barbara Bush’s casket is brought to the altar on Saturday, April 21, 2018.  (AP)

The ceremony began with songs before the former first lady’s granddaughters each read a proverb. Rev. Russell Levenson Jr. led the service. The priest is a longtime friend of the Bush family. He also gave a eulogy speaking about the former first lady being a child of God. 

Presidential historian Jon Meacham delivered the first eulogy speaking about Bush’s life and sharing funny encounters he had with the former first lady.

Barbara Bush’s longtime friend Susan Garrett Baker, the wife of former Secretary of State James Baker, called the former first lady “feisty” and hardworking.

First Lady Melania Trump arrives at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )

First lady Melania Trump attended former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral.  (AP)

“Barbara, the tough but loving enforcer was the secret sauce to this family,” Baker said. 

Baker spoke about their friendship and how Bush helped her when she moved to the area. 

“What the world may have not have seen was the amazing, caring and beautiful friend Barbara was to many of us,” she continued. “She was the gold standard of what it meant to be a friend.”

Following the service, the family gathered outside the church as Bush’s grandsons carried out her casket. 

First lady Melania Trump tweeted, “It was my honor to travel to Houston to give my respects to Barbara Bush and the remarkable life she led as a mother, wife, and fearless First Lady. My sincerest thoughts and prayers continue to be with George H.W., and the entire Bush family.”

A burial followed at the Bush Library at Texas A&M University, about 100 miles northwest of Houston. The burial site is in a gated plot surrounded by trees and near a creek where the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953, is buried.

The ceremony was “a very brief but poignant and beautiful ending to a very moving and incredible day,” family spokesman Jim McGrath told The Associated Press. “It would have been exactly what Barbara Bush wanted.”

Thousands of people on Friday paid respects to Bush during a public viewing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Former first lady Barbara Bush guarded by Secret Service after death, report says

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Even after the passing of former first lady Barbara Bush, agents with the Secret Service reportedly remained by her side.

As Bush’s casket lay in St. Martins Episcopal Church in Texas, she was consistently flanked by agents who were among the members of her personal detail, local outlet KTRK reported.

This, as thousands of people paid their respects Friday to the wife of former President George H.W. Bush during a public viewing. A funeral was held for her on Saturday.

Mourners pause as former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose during the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )

U.S. Secret Service agents reportedly seen flanking Bush’s casket on Friday.  (AP)

Secret Service agents apparently stayed with her until she was buried.

A former Secret Service agent and member of Bush’s detail, Thom Bolsch, spoke to the outlet and described her as “one of the most gracious people we’ve ever protected.”

“She went out of her way to make us feel like part of the Bush family,” he continued. “It was just a wonderful relationship we had.”

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH HONORS LATE WIFE’S COMMITMENT TO LITERACY BY WEARING SOCKS WITH BOOKS

Bolsch explained that Bush spent a lot of time with the Secret Service agents, saying “They are family to her.”

“Agents on her detail, they’re the ones posted around her house all of the time,” he told KTRK. “They’re the ones who bring her shopping. They’re the ones who bring her to events.”

The former first lady died at age 92 on Tuesday.

Following her death, the agency tweeted a photo of Bush and said she was “the epitome of class and grace during and after her service to our country as First Lady of the United States.”

FORMER FIRST LADY BARBARA BUSH TO BE LAID TO REST IN HOUSTON

It shared a second post on Saturday to honor her:  “Rest in Peace Tranquility.”

The elder Bush, who’d been married to Barbara for 73 years, was assisted into the church in a wheelchair on Saturday behind his sons, former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and other Bush relatives.

Jeb gave a eulogy during the service and said he was blessed to have a teacher like his mother.

“We learned not to take ourselves too seriously and that humor should be enjoyed and shared,” he said.

Former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush arrive as they pass by former first lady Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Barack Obama and first lady Melania Trump at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for a funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )

Former President George W. Bush pushes his father former President George H.W. Bush at former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral.  (AP)

POWERFUL PHOTO SHOWS FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH LOOKING AT WIFE’S CASKET

In an emotional moment, he said his mother was “beautiful” until the very end.

Among the service attendees was the current  first lady, Melania Trump, and former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who were accompanied by their wives. Other guests included former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, professional golfer Phil Mickelson, Karl Rove and other former White House staff. 

President Trump was not present – the White House previously said in a statement that he would not attend “to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service.”

On Saturday he tweeted, “Heading to the Southern White House to watch the Funeral Service of Barbara Bush. First Lady Melania has arrived in Houston to pay our respects. Will be a beautiful day!”

Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce, Lucia I Suarez Sang and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Body of deported veteran buried in California

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For years, Marine Corps. veteran Enrique Salas sought to return to the United States after he was deported from Mexico.

On Friday, he finally made it back when he was laid to rest in a California cemetery.

Salas, 47, was buried with military honors in the San Joaquin Valley city of Reedley, where he attended high school before enlisting in the Marines, the Fresno Bee reported .

He died on April 12 after suffering serious injuries in a car accident in Tijuana, Mexico, where he had been living. Salas was transported across the border for treatment at a San Diego hospital but had a heart attack on the way there.

“This is a bad way to get back to the states,” said Fred Martinez, Salas’ cousin.

Salas came to the United States with his family when he was 6. He served in the Marines and was honorably discharged after serving four years active duty and in the Persian Gulf War.

He became subject to deportation after a 2004 drug conviction and was arrested at a border checkpoint while returning to the U.S. from a family trip to Mexico in 2006.

He re-entered the country and was deported two more times. He was also prosecuted on a federal charge of illegal re-entry and sentenced to 18 months in prison, the newspaper reported.

Ricardo Franco, chairman of the Committee on Deported Veterans under the Veterans Caucus of the California Democratic Party, said roughly 200 to 300 deported U.S. veterans are alive and known to the committee.

Hector Barajas, a former U.S. Army paratrooper who was deported in Mexico in 2010 but became a U.S. citizen this month, was among the 150 people who attended a funeral Mass for Salas on Friday.

Barajas founded the Deported Veterans Support Home in Tijuana and received a pardon last year from California Gov. Jerry Brown for a 2002 conviction for shooting at an occupied vehicle. He had long hoped a similar scenario would one day happen for Salas.

“He was one of the guys who was going to be able to come home,” Barajas said.

___

Information from: The Fresno Bee, http://www.fresnobee.com

Verne Troyer, Mini-Me in 'Austin Powers' movies, is dead at 49, spokesperson confirms

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Verne Troyer, known for his role as Mini-Me in the “Austin Powers” movie series, died on Saturday, a spokesperson for the actor and his social media pages confirmed.

The actor, who was born with achondroplasia dwarfism, was 49, E News reported.

“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” the statement read. “Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh.”

“Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible,” it continued. “Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday.”

The post went on to describe how Troyer inspired people and exceeded expectations. “Even though his stature was small and his parents often wondered if he’d be able to reach up and open doors on his own in his life, he went on to open more doors for himself and others than anyone could have imagined,” the post said. “He also touched more peoples hearts than he will ever know.”

‘AUSTIN POWERS’ MINI ME ACTOR VERNE TROYER HOSPITALIZED

It also said he was “a fighter” and had his share of “battles” during his life, “but unfortunately this time was too much.”

“Depression and Suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help,” the post said.

Actor Verne Troyer arrives at the world premiere of the film "Zookeeper" in Los Angeles July 6, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) - GM1E7770YP201

The social media post confirming his death said he was “a fighter” and had his share of “battles” during his life, “but unfortunately this time was too much.”  (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

In early April, Troyer was hospitalized after a “reported poisoning,” People Magazine said.

A statement later posted to the actor’s Instagram page on April 3 read, “Asking you to keep Verne in your thoughts and prayers. He’s getting the best care possible and is resting comfortably. Appreciate the support from family, friends, and fans around the world. We will keep you updated here.”

AVICII’S EX-GIRLFRIEND RESPONDS TO THE DJ’S SUDDEN DEATH

About a year ago, the actor was admitted to the hospital for alcohol addiction, People magazine reported. The actor took to Instagram on April 6, 2017 to tell fans that he’d “been receiving treatment” and added, “With your support, I got this.”

“As you know, I’ve battled alcohol addiction in the past and while it’s not always been an easy fight, I’m willing to continue my fight day by day,” he wrote.

Troyer took on the role as Dr. Evil’s diminutive clone, Mini-Me, in the Austin Powers movies, which starred Mike Myers as the British spy, Powers, and Dr. Evil, his archnemesis.

Verne Troyer, Mini Me in 'Austin Powers' movies, is dead at 49, spokesperson confirms

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Verne Troyer, known for his role as Mini-Me in the “Austin Powers” movie series, died on Saturday, a spokesperson for the actor and his social media pages confirmed.

The actor, who was born with achondroplasia dwarfism, was 49, E News reported.

“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” the statement read. “Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh.”

“Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible,” it continued. “Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday.”

The post went on to describe how Troyer inspired people and exceeded expectations. “Even though his stature was small and his parents often wondered if he’d be able to reach up and open doors on his own in his life, he went on to open more doors for himself and others than anyone could have imagined,” the post said. “He also touched more peoples hearts than he will ever know.”

‘AUSTIN POWERS’ MINI ME ACTOR VERNE TROYER HOSPITALIZED

It also said he was “a fighter” and had his share of “battles” during his life, “but unfortunately this time was too much.”

“Depression and Suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help,” the post said.

Actor Verne Troyer arrives at the world premiere of the film "Zookeeper" in Los Angeles July 6, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) - GM1E7770YP201

The social media post confirming his death said he was “a fighter” and had his share of “battles” during his life, “but unfortunately this time was too much.”  (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

In early April, Troyer was hospitalized after a “reported poisoning,” People Magazine said.

A statement later posted to the actor’s Instagram page on April 3 read, “Asking you to keep Verne in your thoughts and prayers. He’s getting the best care possible and is resting comfortably. Appreciate the support from family, friends, and fans around the world. We will keep you updated here.”

AVICII’S EX-GIRLFRIEND RESPONDS TO THE DJ’S SUDDEN DEATH

About a year ago, the actor was admitted to the hospital for alcohol addiction, People magazine reported. The actor took to Instagram on April 6, 2017 to tell fans that he’d “been receiving treatment” and added, “With your support, I got this.”

“As you know, I’ve battled alcohol addiction in the past and while it’s not always been an easy fight, I’m willing to continue my fight day by day,” he wrote.

Troyer took on the role as Dr. Evil’s diminutive clone, Mini-Me, in the Austin Powers movies, which starred Mike Myers as the British spy, Powers, and Dr. Evil, his archnemesis.

Paris Jackson's relatives are fearing for her life

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When Paris Jackson posted an Instagram video of herself in March walking along the ledge of a skyscraper, it gave her family flashbacks.

One relative compared it to the infamous 2002 incident in which Paris’ father, Michael, dangled his then-infant son, Blanket, over a fourth-floor balcony of the Hotel Adlon in Berlin.

“But this is worse than that because I still think Michael had control of Blanket and they weren’t nearly as high up as Paris is in this video,” the relative told Page Six. “She’s lost it. She really has.”

In the clip, the wild-child 20-year-old daughter of Michael Jackson can be seen hanging out with her rumored girlfriend, model-actress Cara Delevingne, 25, and some friends at a restaurant. The video shows Paris and Delevingne talking loudly to one another, failing to complete sentences and staggering about.

It then cuts to Paris walking on a ledge as vehicles and pedestrians could barely be seen seemingly dozens of stories below.

She momentarily loses her balance, before slipping back into Delevingne’s arms.

“I almost died!” Paris captioned the video which is no longer on the platform.

“Everyone saw that video, and even though we all knew that she’s now OK, watching it was so traumatic that nobody wants to show it to either Katherine or Joe,” the relative said of Paris’ paternal grandparents.

Jackson insiders reveal a shared fear that Paris is out of control and, per a family source, heading for a “serious meltdown.”

Right now, there are no plans for an intervention, according to the family source. “It’s not happening, but everyone will regret it if she dies out there.”

The worries are compounded by the young woman’s troubled past, which has, by her own accounts, included three suicide attempts and a history that includes self-harming, being cyber bullied and sexually assaulted, and struggling with sobriety and self-esteem issues.

Read more on the New York Post.

Bus driver fired for watching YouTube videos while driving passengers

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A bus driver was caught on camera watching more than the road — viewing clips of classics like “Mrs. Doubtfire” and browsing YouTube while barreling down a New York highway earlier this week.

The unidentified driver for Tour America was spotted by passenger Barry Fisk after the bus left Manhattan around 8:30 a.m. Monday. Fisk, who was headed to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets with his wife, said the driver started watching videos on his phone immediately after shoving off.

“Honestly, I wanted to get up and kill him,” Fisk, of London, told The Post Friday during a phone interview. “He was putting my life, my wife’s life and the lives of 52 other people on the bus at risk. I was so, so angry.”

BRITISH TOURIST FINDS VENOMOUS SCORPION STOWING AWAY IN HIS LUGGAGE

Fisk said he bought the ticket through GetYourGuide, a booking platform for bus tours and other attractions. The company has since been temporarily suspended from the website, a spokesman confirmed Friday to The Post.

“In this case, the driver in question was in breach of local law and our own safety standards, and we regret that our customer Barry Fisk was put in an unsafe situation as a result,” spokesman Will Gluckin said in a statement. “We’ve reached out personally to Mr. Fisk with a full refund and our sincere apologies.”

Fisk said he considered telling the driver to stop, but was convinced by his wife to leave the situation alone out of fear of the driver’s reaction.

“My wife is not a very good traveler,” Fisk said. “She said it’ll make it worse. I said, ‘It can’t be worse, the guy’s not in control of the vehicle.’ It was so blatant.”

ACAPULCO, MEXICO’S ‘MURDER CAPITAL,’ SEES STEADY TOURISM DESPITE INCREASING DANGER

Fisk said the driver was just as distracted by his phone on the return trip home, even putting in an earpiece.

“My wife almost had a panic attack,” Fisk said. “When we took the return trip back, she asked me if it was the same driver and I lied to her to get her back on the bus. She’s not a good traveler, but this guy was going all over the road, too. It was a bad journey.”

Sharon Kowalska, director of Tour America, said she contacted the bus company, New York Bus Charter, after receiving Fisk’s complaint. The driver was “immediately” fired by the company after managers saw the video, she said.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

Messages seeking additional comment from the Brooklyn-based bus company were not immediately returned, but a man who answered the phone confirmed that the driver seen in the video had been fired.

Under state law, it’s illegal to use a handheld phone or electronic device while driving, including talking, sending or viewing or taking images and playing games.

Philippines' 'Inflatable Island' goes viral on social media

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Travelers are going wild for an inflatable “Unicorn Island” that has been unveiled in the Philippines.

Complete with waterslides, rainbows, and of course — giant unicorns, the inflatable island is an explosion of color straight out of your wildest dreams. And a whole lot of fun.

ALASKA AIRLINES TIGHTENS EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL POLICY

At a whopping 4,100 square meters, it’s the biggest inflatable waterpark in Asia and is located in Subic Bay, nearly 130 kilometers west of Manila. It features giant swings, towers, slides, a trampoline, rock climbing, a “human launcher” and more. There’s even a giant blow-up horse called Baba.

MARY BERRY DISCUSSES AIRPORT ARREST AFTER SECURITY MISTOOK HER FLOUR FOR DRUGS

The inflatable island has attracted a lot of attention on social media, with more than 150,000 Facebook followers.

Entry fees start at just $12.30. So are you ready to party?

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

This story originally appeared in News.com.au.

Sessions reportedly says he may quit if Rosenstein is sacked; what is Trump saying?

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly told the White House that he may quit should President Trump fire Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein — the latest in a tense standoff between the White House and the Justice Department.

Trump has repeatedly attacked both Sessions and Rosenstein and renewed that criticism after the April 9 raid this month on the office and hotel room of his personal attorney Michael Cohen — a move signed off on by Rosenstein, who is now overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Sources told Fox News that Rosenstein told Trump he is not a target of the investigation into Cohen.

Immediately after the raid, Trump described Sessions’ decision in early 2017 to recuse himself from investigations related to Russia and the Trump campaign as a “terrible mistake for the country.” He also blasted Rosenstein for signing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant that extended surveillance on former Trump aide Carter Page. 

The Washington Post reported late Friday that Trump was furious at Rosenstein’s approval of the Cohen raid and that Sessions called White House counsel Donald McGahn and requested details of an April 12 meeting between Trump and Rosenstein at the White House. 

Sessions was reportedly relieved to learn that the meeting was cordial and told McGahn that he would have had to consider resigning if Trump fired Rosenstein. Another source told the Post that Sessions did not want to threaten the White House so much as explain that it would make his position untenable.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

Trump took to Twitter Saturday afternoon to challenge a claim in The Post’s reporting that Trump had nicknamed Sessions and Rosenstein “Mr. Magoo” and “Mr. Peepers,” respectively — after two television characters.

“This is ‘according to people with whom the president has spoken,'” he tweeted. “There are no such people and don’t know these characters…just more Fake & Disgusting News to create ill will!”

While Trump has made Sessions a regular public punching bag, attacking him on multiple occasions, such a resignation would risk plunging the White House into crisis.

Yet, despite Sessions’ reported warning, other reports suggest that Trump has still not ruled out firing Rosenstein — with Axios reporting that Trump “hasn’t cooled off on” the deputy AG and that he is still looking at possibly firing him.

“Trump doesn’t know exactly what to do with [Rosenstein],” a source close to the president told the outlet. “They don’t have a clean way to get rid of him. That’s the problem.”

Trump has sparred repeatedly with Sessions though the punches have been thrown almost exclusively by the president. Sessions was one of Trump’s earliest supporters and is closely aligned with Trump on issues such as illegal immigration and law and order.

On policy, Trump has embraced a great deal of what Sessions is doing at the Justice Department. He has repeatedly cited the lawsuit filed by the DOJ against California over its “sanctuary policies.” The lawsuit claims such policies prevent federal immigration authorities from enforcing immigration law. Since that lawsuit was filed, Trump has repeatedly blasted California Gov. Jerry Brown in particular over the state’s policies on illegal immigration. 

Yet even that alignment has not prevented Trump from not only attacking Sessions, but also stating that he regrets hiring him in the first place, telling reporters on multiple occasions that he would not have appointed Sessions if he had known he would recuse himself.

But while the threat of firing has been long held over Sessions’ head, it has not come to pass — even as numerous Cabinet officials and White House staff have either resigned or been ousted.

Rosenstein, too, has faced a similar grilling from Trump. In June of last year, Trump complained that he was “being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director.” In February, when asked by reporters if he would fire Rosenstein over his involvement in the warrant on Page, Trump responded: You figure that one out.” 

Fox News’ John Roberts contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for FoxNews.com. He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

Florida teacher's calm conversation holds shooter's attention until cop arrives: 'I am no hero'

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A teacher at Forest High School in Ocala, Fla., where one student was injured during a shooting Friday, said she spoke to the suspected gunman in the hallway, and listened patiently to him, before help arrived and he was arrested.

“I am no hero,” the teacher, Kelly McManis-Panasuk, told The Gainesville Sun. “I was just a good listener, that’s all.”

sky bouche

Authorities identified the suspect as 19-year-old Sky Bouche.  (Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

At roughly 8:40 a.m., McManis-Panasuk was taking attendance in her classroom when she heard “what sounded like a large metal garbage can being smashed in the hallway just outside,” The Gainesville Sun reported.

McManis-Panasuk, who teaches digital information technology, e-commerce and entrepreneurship, went out into the hallway and saw an unidentified “hysterical” woman coming toward her, claiming that she’d heard gunshots.  McManis-Panasuk quickly let the woman into her classroom and then peered back out into the hallway, according to the newspaper.

That’s when she saw the suspected gunman, 19-year-old Sky Bouche. The teen is one of the teacher’s former students, who dropped out, The Sun reported.

The 56-year-old then began to speak with Bouche, who was allegedly holding his  hands up in surrender. McManis-Panasuk claimed that Bouche said he wanted to be arrested and that he is “mentally ill.” When McManis-Panasuk asked if he had shot a gun, he replied yes. When she asked where the gun was fired, Bouche allegedly told her that he “shot a door.”

RELATED: RECENT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS IN THE US

“He said, ’I didn’t think it [the gun] would work,” McManis-Panasuk recalled.

Authorities later said that the gunman shot through a classroom door, shooting a 17-year-old student in the ankle. The student was taken to a local hospital with a non-life-threatening injury.

Bouche had already dropped the gun in the hallway when McManis-Panasuk said she told him to stand still. She then called the school’s front desk and informed them of the situation.

Shortly after, school resource officer Jimmy Long, along with principal Brent Carson, arrived at the scene. Long was later hailed as a hero because he arrested the suspected gunman just minutes after he opened fire.

Marion County Sheriff's Detectives John Lightle, left, and Dan Pinder, right, escort a handcuffed and shackled Sky Bouche, 19, center, to a waiting patrol car, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Ocala, Fla. Bouche is the suspect in a shooting that occurred at Forest High School Friday morning. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Sky Bouche is a former student of Forest High School.  (Doug Engle)

Just before Long and Carson arrived, however, McManis-Panasuk told The Gainesville Sun, Bouche allegedly reached into his pocket and removed gun shells and a folding knife. “I’m not going to hurt anyone,” he  reportedly said as he discarded the items.

McManis-Panasuk, a 10-veteran of Forest High School, said that when Bouche was still enrolled at the high school he “did not attend much” and “struggled.”

When she saw Bouche in the hallway, he “said he had been abused by his family his whole life,  and he was done,” she added.

McManis-Panasuk, who has a teaching certificate in business education, according to her profile on the school’s website, is also the adviser of Future Business Leaders of America at the school. She was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fox News on Saturday.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Steve Hilton: Drain The Swamp — Trump should fire Scott Pruitt and throw out lobbyists

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It became one of the best-known chants on the 2016 campaign trail, and a powerful symbol of Donald Trump’s insurgent, anti-establishment campaign: “Drain The Swamp!”

The chant caught on because it captured something that everyone feels, even if they’re not familiar with specific examples: that for decades now, public policy in America has been distorted to favor the interests of the rich, the well-connected and the insiders.

This is elitism and it has been America’s ruling ideology regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats have held power in the White House, Congress or state capitols.

What a betrayal of the world’s oldest democracy, founded on that most beautiful political principle: people power. Despite the Constitution and the institutions it underpins, who would claim that American democracy today serves “we the people?”

Instead, our democracy serves The Swamp. Political legitimacy comes not from votes, but from money and influence.

As I wrote in my book “More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First”: “America, where the rich and powerful literally buy the outcomes they want from the political system, is no longer in any proper sense of the word a democracy, it is a donocracy.”

But The Swamp is about more than corrupt politicians and their donors. Much of the policy that affects our lives is not made in Congress or state legislatures but in the dreary offices of administrative agencies without even the pretense of democratic accountability.

Anonymous bureaucrats make countless decisions that seem dispassionately technocratic to them, but are make or break for those directly affected.

But these very different agents of the elite – the politicians and the bureaucrats – do have one thing in common. They in turn are the agents of lobbyists, who generously offer their time, research, and policy “advice.”

In many cases, the lobbyists literally write the laws or regulations that their paymasters benefit from. And who are the paymasters, the people really in charge? Big businesses and public sector unions that have the money and the political muscle to make their voices heard.

The mechanism that makes all this work – apart from money, of course – is The Swamp’s famous “revolving door” between special interests and government.

You slum it for a while in Congress or the executive branch on a public sector salary, then cash in by working as a lobbyist when you leave. And then it’s back for another stint in government, and so on around the revolving door.

The purpose of our regular “Swamp Watch” series on “The Next Revolution” on Fox News Channel is to document all this, to bring the hidden ecosystem of The Swamp out into the open. And as regular viewers know, we do it without political fear or favor.

Swampiness is nonpartisan: our targets are not Democrats or Republicans, corporations or unions – but elitists.

We champion the interests of working Americans who are left out of the cozy spoils-sharing of The Swamp. That’s what we mean by Positive Populism, the theme of our show.

And that’s why it’s so important for us to call out swampiness wherever we see it, including in this administration.

To be fair, President Trump has followed through on a number of important Drain The Swamp pledges: for example, a lifetime ban on government officials lobbying for foreign governments, and a ban on officials lobbying agencies where they worked.

And do not underestimate the impact of the president’s spectacularly successful deregulation agenda. That’s not just good for economic dynamism, jobs and incomes, as we are already seeing. It means that there’s simply less government for the corrupt special interests to bend towards their ends.

But there are far too many examples in this administration of exactly the kind of business-as-usual Washington swampiness that the president was elected to root out.

In department after department, agency after agency, you see lobbyists for special interests now in positions of power to regulate those self-same interests. We will detail them for you in “Swamp Watch” on Sunday. They should all be fired.

The most visible examples of swampiness, however, have come in the personal conduct of some of the president’s senior Cabinet appointees, who seem to have interpreted their public duties as an opportunity to cash in.

Thankfully, some of the worst offenders have already been fired by President Trump: Tom Price, the former Health and Human Services secretary, who had a penchant for costly and unnecessary private flights at public expense; and Veterans’ Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, who enjoyed a lavish taxpayer-funded trip to Europe with his wife that somehow included Wimbledon tennis tickets.

One serial offender remains in place, however – and his presence in this administration is now a daily setback for the President’s Drain The Swamp mission.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has not only spent taxpayer money in a cavalier fashion, insisted on preposterous personal perks and pushed for outrageous pay rises for his flunkeys. He entered into a dodgy deal with the wife of an energy lobbyist.

If a Democratic official had done this in the Obama administration, we would be calling for his head. The fact that it’s happening in this administration, elected on an explicit promise to clamp down on this kind of behavior, makes it even more important that we don’t tolerate it.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has announced he is investigating Pruitt, and that’s good. But not enough.

For the sake of his Drain The Swamp agenda, President Trump must fire Scott Pruitt and throw out the lobbyists from his administration.

We’ll be debating all this on Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT on “The Next Revolution” – hope you can join us!

Trump has the constitutional authority to fire Mueller — Here's why

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It would be unconstitutional for Congress to prevent President Trump from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

I’m not saying that firing Mueller would be a wise move politically, nor am I urging the president to do so. That’s another issue.

But under the Constitution, it is beyond the power of Congress to limit or impose conditions on any president’s authority to remove a political appointee within the Justice Department or any other department in the executive branch.

Whether you think Donald Trump is an absolutely wonderful president or an absolutely awful one, this holds true, as it does for all other presidents, regardless of political party.

Senators Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Chris Coons, D-Del., are nevertheless pressing ahead to seek passage of legislation they are sponsoring called the Special Counsel Integrity Act. Under this bill, only the attorney general could discipline or remove a special counsel.

If the attorney general has been recused from the case (as Attorney General Jeff Sessions is with the Russia probe), then the “most senior Department of Justice official who has been confirmed by the Senate” could exercise this authority under the bill.

The bill further provides that a special counsel can be removed only for “misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause.” The special counsel has to be notified in writing of the “specific reason” for his removal, and the special counsel is given the right to file a lawsuit contesting his removal.

But despite denials by its proponents, this bill violates basic constitutional principles. Under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, the president is given the authority to appoint – with the approval of the Senate – “Ambassadors, other public Ministers, and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States.”

Congress is also allowed, by law, to “vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.”

What this means is that the president staffs the executive branch with more than 4,000 political appointees. Only about a quarter of these have to be approved by the Senate. The rest are “inferior” officers who can be appointed directly by the president or other top executive branch officials, such as Cabinet secretaries.

All of these officials – with the exception of judges and certain other officers (for example, the heads of federal agencies such as the Federal Election Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission) serve at the pleasure of the president. That means they can be removed by the president for any reason or no reason.

The fact that a Cabinet official may appoint political subordinates – such as a special counsel – does not take away the authority of the president to remove those subordinates.

In 1926 in Myers v. U.S., the U.S Supreme Court held that the grant of executive power to the president in Article II to make appointments carries “with it the power of removal.”

The reason for this recognized constitutional “principle is that those in charge of and responsible for administering functions of government, who select their executive subordinates, need in meeting their responsibility to have the power to remove those whom they appoint.”

This is particularly relevant to the Justice Department. Under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president is charged with ensuring that “the Laws be faithfully executed.” That presidential authority has been delegated to the Justice Department under the president’s direction, guidance and control.

However, that delegation does not void the power of the president to remove either the attorney general or any of the other political appointees within the Justice Department. And Robert Mueller is a political appointee – not a civil service career employee protected by merit system protection rules.

The Supreme Court has held that Congress can limit the ability of the president to remove the heads of certain independent agencies. In 1935, in Humphrey’s Executor v. U.S., the court held that Congress can set the period of time that the heads of such agencies – in that case the Federal Trade Commission – hold office and limit the president’s authority to remove them except for cause.

The Supreme Court said this is because independent agencies such as the FTC have “quasi legislative or quasi judicial functions.” The FTC “is an administrative body created by Congress to carry into effect legislative policies embodied in the statute … and to perform other specified duties as a legislative or as a judicial aid.” It is not “an arm or an eye of the executive.”

Neither the Justice Department nor the special counsel fall within this exception. The Justice Department is, in fact, “an arm” and “an eye” of the president in his constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

The bill that Senators Tillis and Coons are pushing is similar to a provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley law that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional in 2010 in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

That law set up a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, with governing members appointed by the commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The board members could be removed only “for cause” by the SEC, and the SEC commissioners themselves could also be removed only for cause by the president.

As a result, there were two layers of “protected tenure” between the president and the Oversight Board.

The Supreme Court held that this double layer violated the president’s executive appointment power. Without the ability to oversee the Oversight Board’s conduct, the president cannot carry out his duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed.

The president has to “have some power of removing those for whom he cannot continue to be responsible” because the “buck stops with the President,” the Supreme Court said.

Tillis and Coons are attempting to take away the president’s power to ensure the accountability of subordinates within the Justice Department. That is a direct, frontal attack on his constitutional authority.

Supporters of this bill will no doubt point to another Supreme Court case, Morrison v. Olson, in which the Supreme Court in 1988 upheld the constitutionality of the now-defunct independent counsel law.

This is the law under which independent counsels such as Ken Starr were appointed by a group of federal judges to conduct far-ranging investigations of executive branch officials – including President Clinton – that seemed to never end.

Congress allowed the independent counsel law to expire in 1999 after much criticism of the constitutionality and wisdom of such a law.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a scathing dissent over the basic violations of constitutional principles posed by a prosecutor who is unaccountable to the chief law enforcement officer of the United States – the president.

Scalia described the independent counsel law as a “wolf (that) comes as a wolf.” The “investigation and prosecution of crimes is a quintessentially executive function” and the executive power of our government is solely “vested” in the president, the justice said.

Thus, according to Scalia, the “President’s constitutionally assigned duties include complete control over investigation and prosecution of violations of the law.”

In any event, Mueller is not an “independent” prosecutor chosen by federal judges. He is an employee of the Justice Department, which is an executive branch agency entirely under the authority of the president.

So the bottom line is that Congress cannot limit the president’s authority to remove a political appointee such as Mueller.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was right to voice his concern over the Tillis-Coons bill, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., took the correct path in announcing that there will be no floor vote on this unconstitutional proposal.

School bus driver removed from route for leading young passengers in prayer

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A Minneapolis-area church pastor who also drives a school bus says his rights to free speech and religion were abridged when he got taken off his route for leading students in prayer.

And it’s not the first time prayer on the bus has gotten him in hot water, either.

The Associated Press reported that the driver, George Nathaniel, 54, was fired in Burnsville, Minn., four years ago for the exact same reason.

Quality Care Transportation removed Nathaniel from his route last week, the Star-Tribune newspaper reported. He began working for the company in January 2017 and drove children to Nasha Shkola, a charter school in Brooklyn Park focused on Russian language and culture.

He started folding prayer into the bus ride this winter. “The students would volunteer to lead the prayer,” Nathaniel said, according to The AP. 

School officials received complaints that Nathaniel was forcing minors to pray, said Muk Musa, owner of Quality Care. While bus drivers are given time for personal prayer, leading children is not viewed as a part of the job, he said.

Nathaniel said he never forced students to pray. He also expressed shock that parents had complained because he’d talked about the issue with them. “That’s where the Constitution comes in,” Nathaniel said, according to the wire service. 

Nathaniel isn’t fired, but hasn’t received a new route either, Musa said.

Nathaniel is also a pastor for a Minneapolis-area congregation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Seaford Voters Elect Mayor David Genshaw & 2 Council Members

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Image courtesy City of Seaford

Seaford voters have overwhelmingly sent David Genshaw back to the mayor’s office with 375 votes to Alfred Cannon’s 63.  Orlando Holland will return to the city council – he was the second highest vote-getter behind James King.  King won 233 votes, Holland got 195.  Matt McCoy received 185 votes and Shane Beard and Pat Jones each got 99 tallies.  Genshaw, King and Holland will be sworn in at the May 8th city council meeting.

 

 

 


At Sylvester Stallone's urging, Trump weighs 'full pardon' for boxer Jack Johnson

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President Trump Saturday said that he is considering a “full pardon” for boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson, after being urged to do so by “Rocky” actor Sylvester Stallone.

Trump said that Stallone had called him and told him about Johnson, and that he is now considering a posthumous pardon.

“His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,” he tweeted. “Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”

Johnson, born in Galveston, Texas, was the target of racial resentment, particularly after he defeated a white boxer in the 1910 “Fight of the Century,” a bout that sparked race riots. Three years later he was convicted by an all-white jury of violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport a woman across state lines for “immoral” purposes.

In their efforts to prosecute Johnson, authorities first targeted Johnson’s relationship with the woman in question, Lucille Cameron, who later became his wife, but she refused to cooperate.

But they found another white witness, Belle Schreiber, to testify against him. Johnson fled the country after his conviction, but he agreed years later to return and serve a 10-month jail sentence. He died in 1946.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been calling for a pardon for Johnson since 2004, and criticized President Obama for leaving office in 2017 without having granted one.

“Johnson’s imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a shameful stain on our nation’s history,” McCain said in a statement in January 2017.

Johnson’s great-great niece has also pressed Trump for a pardon. Also favoring one was former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., according to USA Today.

Fox News’ Ben Florance and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for FoxNews.com. He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

Scalise discharged from hospital after 'planned surgery' following 2017 shooting, hospital says

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House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was released from the hospital Saturday after undergoing a planned surgery related to injuries he sustained when he was shot last year at a Republican baseball practice.

The Louisiana congressman’s office and MedStar Washington Hospital Center confirmed that he had been discharged and “the planned surgery was successful.”

“The Congressman will be recovering at home for the next several days,” the hospital said in a tweet.

SCALISE RETURNS TO CAPITOL HILL FOR FIRST TIME SINCE SHOOTING, DECLARES ‘I’M BACK’

Scalise, 52, was critically wounded in June 2017 after a gunman opened fire during a GOP baseball practice. Four others were also wounded in the incident. The team was preparing for a congressional baseball game taking place at Nationals Park.

The congressman’s team and the hospital confirmed on Monday that Scalise had “initiated a series of planned, inpatient procedures related to his ongoing recovery from injuries sustained in last summer’s shooting attack.”

SCALISE SHOOTER: DEAD GUNMAN ID’D AS TRUMP-HATING BUILDING INSPECTOR FROM ILLINOIS

They added that Scalise was likely to receive hospital care for several days but said he was “in excellent spirits” and was “eager to return to work as soon as possible.”

The lawmaker also informed his colleagues via email that he was having a “follow-up procedure.”

“I’m blessed to have made tremendous progress in my healing, and am grateful for your continued support,” Scalise wrote. “Rest assured that I plan to be fully engaged in my work as I recover from this surgery, and I am eager to be back at the Capitol as soon as my doctors say I’m able.”

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.