Monday, January 22, 2018

Rivendell Writers' Colony to close at the end of March


Rivendell Writers’ Colony, a nationally renowned residency program for authors, will close at the end of March.

A statement on the organization’s website from benefactor and board chair Mary Elizabeth Nelson says she plans to transform the property in Sewanee, Tennessee, into a center for spiritual healing and exploration.

Nelson says the move is painful because of the success of the writers’ colony, but she’s pursuing a lifelong dream.

The mission of the colony was to inspire imagination among writers by offering programs, workshops and residencies to published and aspiring writers.

Nelson says the nonprofit has helped hundreds of writers over the past five years.

The Latest: Hundreds pack church, pray for girl who was shot


The Latest on a shooting at a Texas high school (all times local):

9:50 p.m.

About 300 people packed a church in a small North Texas community to pray for a girl wounded in a shooting at the town’s high school.

The vigil Monday night at Central Baptist Church in Italy (IT’-lee) was held to bring comfort to residents in the town of 1,900 in the wake of the shooting at Italy High School.

Authorities have a 16-year-old boy in custody as a suspect in the shooting of the 15-year-old girl, which occurred Monday morning in the school cafeteria.


4 p.m.

A fellow student says the suspect in a shooting at a North Texas high school has been violent at school in the past.

Cassie Shook tells The Associated Press that she was just arriving at Italy High School when the shooting happened Monday morning. The 17-year-old says she saw the cafeteria doors fly open and a rush of students running out after a girl was shot. Police say the victim is hospitalized.

Shook says she had complained about the suspect at least twice before to school officials, including a vice principal. She says the first time was after he allegedly made a “hit list” in eighth grade and her name was on it.

Then last year, she says the boy got angry during a class and threw a pair of scissors at a girl. She says he also threw a computer against a wall. Shook says police came to talk to the class. She says the boy was removed from the school but eventually was allowed back.

Police have not named the 16-year-old suspect.

School officials say they cannot comment on disciplinary actions involving students.


This update has been corrected to show that the shooting was at a high school in North Texas, not central Texas.


2:45 p.m.

Officials say a 16-year-old suspect in a Texas high school shooting “engaged the victim” and fired several shots from a handgun before being confronted by a school district staffer and fleeing.

Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge didn’t say how many times the 15-year-old victim was shot Monday at Italy High School. Authorities have said the girl was airlifted to a Dallas hospital.

Edge says both students attended the school in the tiny town of Italy, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Dallas.

Edge says the male suspect fired a semi-automatic .380 handgun. The teen fled the cafeteria after the confrontation with a staffer but was arrested by law enforcement on school grounds.

Edge says a possible motive is unclear. He also says he doesn’t yet know what charges the suspect might face.

Italy Independent School District Superintendent Lee Joffre says that school will be held Tuesday and grief counselors would be on campus.


11:10 a.m.

Authorities don’t know if a 16-year-old Texas boy arrested in a high school shooting knows the 15-year-old girl who was airlifted to a hospital after the attack.

Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald of the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office says he doesn’t know how many students were in the Italy High School cafeteria when the shooting happened there Monday morning.

Fitzgerald and school district superintendent Lee Joffre said at a news conference that they don’t know the relationship between the boy and girl. Neither knows the girl’s condition.

Joffre says the 16-year-old boy left the building immediately after opening fire. He would not say whether the boy has had disciplinary issues at the school.

Joffre says the district is working to reunite parents with their children.


10:20 a.m.

Authorities say a 15-year-old female student has been airlifted to a hospital after being shot at a Texas high school and a 16-year-old male student is in custody.

Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald of the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office says the female student was airlifted to a hospital in Dallas following the shooting early Monday in the small town of Italy (IT-lee), 45 miles (70 kilometers) south of Dallas.

He said he had no information on her condition.

The sheriff’s office says students have been moved from the school and an investigation is ongoing.

A sheriff’s office dispatcher, Debra Murray, said the shooting took place at Italy High School.

A message left with the school district was not immediately returned.


This item has been corrected to show the sheriff’s official is named Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald, not Sgt. Joe Fitz Fitzgerald.


9:15 a.m.

Sheriff’s officials say there’s been a shooting at a high school in a small town south of Dallas and a suspect is in custody.

The Ellis County sheriff’s office said on Twitter that the “shooter is in custody” after the shooting early Monday at the school in Italy (IT-lee), some 45 miles (70 kilometers) south of Dallas.

No injuries have been confirmed in the shooting.

The sheriff’s office says students have been moved from the school and an investigation is ongoing.

A sheriff’s office dispatcher, Debra Murray, said the shooting took place at Italy High School. Murray declined to release additional details.

A message left with the school district was not immediately returned.

Purple Heart recipient, daughter killed in double-homicide, police say


A Purple Heart recipient and his daughter were the victims of a double-homicide — with their bodies discovered at their home in Aurora, Indiana, Fox 19 reported Monday.

Walter Bryant, Jr., 78, was a retired master sergeant in the U.S. Army. He had been awarded two Purple Hearts for injuries he suffered in Vietnam. Bryant had served in the Army for 21 years, according to Fox 19.

Faith Craig, 58, Bryant’s daughter, also was killed in the attack in southern Indiana, some 30 miles southwest of Cincinnati.

The bodies of Craig and Bryant reportedly were uncovered Friday after family members requested a welfare check at their home.

A suspect – whose name has not been released – was arrested Saturday in Kentucky on a warrant unrelated to the homicides, officials said. The formal identification of the suspect is being held until official charges are filed.

“When I heard about what had happened, it was sad,” Mayor Donnie Hastings said, according to Fox 19. “Deepest condolences from the city of Aurora. It’s very, very sad.”

No official cause of death has been announced as autopsies are being performed on both Bryant and Craig. Detectives were investigating and collecting evidence.

“I’m telling you Walt Bryant was a true American hero, a true American Patriot,” P.G. Gentrup, a friend of Bryant, told Fox 19.

Mexico: Woman slain, dismembered, cooked; ex is lead suspect


Authorities in southern Mexico are investigating the killing of a young woman in which they believe she was slain and her dismembered remains cooked on a stove.

Her ex-husband is suspected in what is being classified as a “femicide.”

Guerrero state prosecutors say in a statement that the woman left her home in the city of Taxco the morning of Jan. 13. She later said that she would pick up her children at her ex-husband’s home in the afternoon, but was not heard from again.

It says the victim’s remains were discovered Monday.

State security spokesman Roberto Alvarez confirms that the woman’s “dismembered” remains were found inside pots atop a stove. He says that “it is presumed that she was cooked.”

Alvarez says the divorced husband is the chief suspect.

Audio released of Rand Paul 911 call after neighbor's alleged assault


Authorities in Kentucky released audio of Sen. Rand Paul’s 911 call Monday, in which the Republican reported that he “was assaulted by my neighbor” this past November.

Paul, who can be heard breathing heavily on the audio, tells the dispatcher that the incident is “not a life-or-death thing, but I’d like to have a police car come by.” He gives his full name, Randal Paul, when asked by a second dispatcher and tells her that he was attacked “in my yard, while I was mowing the grass.”

The audio was made public on the same day it was revealed that federal prosecutors would seek a 21-month prison sentence for the man accused of attacking Paul outside his Bowling Green, Ky., home Nov. 3.

In comments to police, Rene Boucher indicated the attack on Paul was not politically motivated, according to a court document filed by prosecutors. Instead, it had to do with a dispute over yard maintenance that boiled over.

Boucher said he saw Paul stacking more brush onto an existing pile and had “had enough.” Boucher made a “running tackle” of Paul in the lawmaker’s yard, it said.

The document said Paul “did not see the attack coming until the last second, and was unable to brace for the impact.”

FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 file photo, Rene Boucher, center, appears in court for an arraignment hearing with his attorney Matt Baker, left, at the Warren County Justice Center in Bowling Green, Ky. Boucher the man accused of tackling U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in the Kentucky lawmaker’s yard has been charged with assaulting a member of Congress as part of a federal plea agreement. (Austin Anthony/Daily News via AP, File)

Rene Boucher told authorities he had ‘had enough’ after Paul stacked brush onto an existing pile.  (AP)

Paul suffered several broken ribs in the attack and later developed pneumonia. Paul has since said he’s recovering well from the attack.

Boucher has been charged with assaulting a member of Congress as part of a federal plea agreement that surfaced last Friday.

While federal prosecutors will recommend a nearly two-year prison sentence, Boucher’s attorney said Monday he will argue that his client should not serve any jail time. Attorney Matt Baker said his client is “a good and a decent person” who made a “big mistake.”

“Everyone needs to remember, first and foremost, that this is a dispute between two neighbors,” Baker told the Associated Press in a phone interview. “It was not and has never been politically motivated. And if this very same incident had occurred between two private persons, neither of whom were a congressman or a senator, we wouldn’t be in federal court.”

Boucher is “very meticulous” about how he maintains his yard, while Paul takes “a much different approach” to the upkeep of his property, Baker said last week.

The federal charge against Boucher carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The plea deal also raises the prospect that Boucher — a retired anesthesiologist in his late 50s — will pay restitution to Paul.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Neil Diamond announces retirement from touring, Parkinson's diagnosis


Just days before his 77th birthday, singer and songwriter Neil Diamond has announced that he’s retiring from touring on his doctor’s orders after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Diamond has worked for five decades as one of the most popular touring musicians, with his song “Sweet Caroline” a concert tradition.

Going forward, he’ll focus on songwriting and recording.

Diamond released a statement on his official website announcing the diagnosis. Sadly for fans, this means that the third leg of his 50th anniversary tour has been canceled.


Neil Diamond says he’ll focus on songwriting and recording.  (AP, File)

“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows,” the singer wrote. “I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come. My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”

The third leg his tour would have taken him to Australia and New Zealand after selling out venues in the United States and Europe.

While he’s ending his touring, Diamond can be seen again at the upcoming Grammy Awards as Billboard notes he’s been named by the Recording Academy as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award along with Tina Turner and Queen.

Inmate's brother gets 35 years in Holly Bobo murder


The younger brother of a man serving life in prison for the murder of a 20-year-old Tennessee nursing student pleaded guilty Monday to facilitating her kidnapping and killing.

John Dylan Adams entered a so-called Alford plea, officially maintaining his innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him of facilitating first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in connection with the death of Holly Bobo. He cannot appeal his sentence.

“Our goal when this started was to punish this man as much as we could,” Shelby County Assistant District Attorney Paul Hagerman told reporters. “And today, with a guilty plea, John Dylan Adams will serve a 35-year sentence without parole in the Tennessee Department of Correction for his role in this terrible crime.”

Adams’ brother, Zachary, was convicted this past September of kidnapping, raping and murdering Bobo, who disappeared near her home in rural Parsons, Tenn., in April 2011. Her remains weren’t found until September 2014, when they were located by two ginseng hunters in woods not far from their home, about 100 miles southwest of Nashville.

Prosecutors relied on witness testimony to convict Adams after failing to recover useful DNA evidence from Bobo’s remains.


Zachary Adams was sentenced to life in prison plus 50 years after reaching an agreement with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty. He is seeking a new trial.

Holly Bobo’s mother, Karen, told reporters that John Dylan Adams’ plea was “some justice” for her daughter’s killing.

“But there is no closure,” Karen Bobo added, “and she’s still the last thing on my mind when I go to bed every night and the first thing when I wake up every morning.”

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent testified at Zachary Adams’ trial that the agency made a mistake when it did not pursue leads only days after Bobo went missing that pointed to four men who lived in a dark underworld of crime and drug use: the Adams brothers and their friends Jason Autry and Shayne Austin.

Autry, also charged with Bobo’s kidnapping, rape and murder, testified in expectations of getting a lenient sentence and is on a list of witnesses who have been offered immunity. He said the Zachary Adams told him in graphic detail how he, John and Austin raped Bobo. Autry also testified that he served as a lookout while Zachary Adams shot Bobo under a bridge spanning the Tennessee River. Austin committed suicide in Florida in February 2015.

A fellow jail inmate, Shawn Cooper, testified that Zachary Adams told him he was involved in the “Holly Bobo murder case” and wanted him to deliver a message to his younger brother: Stay quiet, or he would “put him in a hole beside her.” At the time, Cooper was about to be transferred to the same jail where John Dylan Adams was being held.

Autry, meanwhile, testified that Zachary Adams asked him to kill his younger brother to silence him.

Prosecutors have not publicly revealed the details of John Dylan Adams’ involvement, but Shelby County Assistant District Attorney Paul Hagerman did say Monday that he had less involvement than his older brother.

No hearing has been set to resolve Autry’s charges, but his lawyer has told the judge that a trial does not need to be set, indicating that he has reached a deal with prosecutors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Why the Average American Has Thousands in Credit Card Debt


The U.S. economy may be bouncing back nicely, but way too many households still struggle every month just to keep up with the bills. If your expenses are greater than your income, the inevitable result is ever-mounting debt — usually on credit cards. Indeed, a recent LendingTree survey found that 42% of Americans who are carrying credit card debt got into debt in the first place while simply trying to make ends meet.

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And that’s just one of the common reasons why people end up in debt that they can’t pay off. Luckily, you can escape this financial trap by rebalancing your income and expenses.

Balancing your household budget

Having to turn to credit cards to pay your regular monthly expenses means you’ll be trapped in an endless cycle of ever-growing debt. The only way to escape that cycle is to adjust your budget so that your expenses are no longer greater than your income.

The quickest way to free yourself from credit card debt is to make some short-term sacrifices that significantly reduce your monthly expenses. For example, if you currently buy lunch on workdays, try making your lunches at home instead and brown-bagging at least a few days a week — this can save you a respectable chunk of cash over the whole month, even if you normally eat at McDonald’s. You might also consider switching your cable or satellite package to a cheaper lineup, cutting back your cellphone plan to bare essentials, and getting serious about reducing your energy costs. Even though each of these tactics might only save you a few dollars a month, they’ll add up quickly.

The first step in balancing your budget is to have a budget in the first place. Said budget doesn’t have to be an ongoing thing; tracking your expenses for a month or two will be enough to uncover where your money is going. You may even identify a few painless ways to free up some income, such as canceling a subscription to a magazine that you’re not reading anymore. Intuit’s free Mint budgeting program can make the entire tracking process much easier and even comes in app form for Android and iOS devices.

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Once you’ve sliced and diced your expenses, consider looking for ways to increase your income as well. For example, taking on a temporary part-time job or side gig in addition to your primary job can make paying off that credit card debt much easier. By addressing both sides of the budget equation, you’ll pay off your debt far more quickly.

Preparing for one-time emergency expenses

After excess monthly expenses, the most common causes for credit card debt are car repairs (29%) and medical expenses (27%). The simplest way to protect yourself from the damage these expenses can do is to create an emergency savings account. Having just a few thousand dollars saved up for emergencies may be enough to keep you from having to reach for plastic when one inevitably occurs. And though it may take a while, if you can save enough to cover at least six months’ worth of basic living expenses (rent, food, utilities), you’ll protect yourself from even a severe financial emergency such as losing your job (the cause of 14% of credit card debt, according to the survey).

Health insurance is also essential to protect yourself from the financial blow of a major medical crisis. If you’re in good health and don’t typically make many trips to the doctor, then a high-deductible health plan paired with an HSA can provide an excellent balance between cost and coverage.

As long as you’re carrying credit card debt, paying it off is your top financial priority. However, once you get your debt situation under control, you can put some of the money you’d been using for credit card payments into your new emergency savings account. The amount you’ll need to save will depend on several personal factors — such as how steady your income is, how many earners are in your household, how secure your job is, and more — but a good minimum goal is three months’ worth of living expenses. If you have a large family or a particularly uncertain job situation, six months’ or even a year’s worth of living expenses would be a worthy savings goal.

Getting rid of a hefty burden of credit card debt is a challenge, and it will probably require you to give up some things you love. However, the sacrifices should be strictly temporary. With your debt gone and a reasonable amount saved for future emergencies, you’ll be able to do a little fun spending once more, rather than limiting yourself to absolute essentials. And saving enough to protect yourself from future emergencies can help to guarantee you’ll never wind up in that situation again.

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3 Stocks You Can Safely Own Until 2030


Buy-and-hold investing is the best way to predictably generate wealth over the long term. And we’re talking about holding your investments for years, not months weeks, or days.

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But finding high-quality stocks that stand the test of time is easier said than done. So to that end, we asked three top Motley Fool investors to each pick a stock that they believe investors can safely own until the year 2030 — more than a decade from now.

Read on to learn why they chose Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A)(NYSE: RDS-B).

Toasting to world domination

Steve Symington (Anheuser-Busch InBev): With operations in over 50 countries and a portfolio of hundreds of beers, including seven of the world’s most popular brands, Anheuser-Busch InBev is an industry stalwart that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Heck, the company generated revenue of more than $14.7 billion last quarter alone, which translated to a nearly 58% increase in normalized profit to shareholders, to nearly $2.6 billion. Speaking to the merits of diversification, it achieved this growth despite recent weakness in the U.S. beer market, which was offset by higher international sales of A-B InBev’s three “global brands” in Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Corona.

For all that relative strength, shareholders in the brewing juggernaut can partly thank its $100 billion megamerger with SAB Miller in late 2016. But we should also keep in mind the fruits of that merger are still continuing to flow toward AB InBev’s bottom line. Though the company has already captured more than $1.75 billion in pre-tax synergies (cost savings) from the combination, it’s targeting a total of $3.2 billion in savings by the late 2020.

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Thanks to a modest pullback following its latest results in October, AB InBev stock also offers a hefty dividend yielding just over 5% annually at today’s prices. For investors who buy and hold as it solidifies its world leadership in the brewing market, that’s why I think AB InBev is a perfect long-term portfolio candidate.

A diversified healthcare giant

George Budwell (Johnson & Johnson): Honestly, the healthcare sector isn’t a great place to look for stocks that can be held for a decade or more. The ever-changing regulatory landscape, rapid pace of innovation, and risky nature of clinical trials, after all, makes it exceptionally difficult to predict where companies will be even a year from now. Diversified healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson, however, is perhaps the only exception to this rule.

J&J is a great long-term buy for three key reasons. First off, the company has a rock-solid foundation with its consumer healthcare segment that sells top brands in baby care, oral care, beauty products, and OTC medicines. If everything else fails, J&J can always count on people who need baby powder and Band-Aids, after all.

Second, J&J has also consistently been a leader in the field of biopharmaceutical innovation that’s helped it stay one step ahead of its competitors, and the patent cliff. Despite losing exclusivity of its top-selling anti-inflammatory medicine Remicade and experiencing a steep drop in sales for its hepatitis C medicine, Olysio, J&J’s pharmaceutical segment still posted a whopping 15.4% rise in sales during the third quarter of 2017. That double-digit increase is directly attributable to the launch of new growth products like the multiple myeloma medicine Darzalex, and the parade of successful label expansions for the blood cancer drug Imbruvica.

Last but not least, J&J has one of the best dividend programs in the healthcare sector. Supporting this claim, J&J has raised its dividend for 55 consecutive years, and its trailing payout ratio of 57% is well below average for its peer group. So while J&J’s current yield of 2.29% is slightly below that of most other big pharma stocks, the company’s dividend is arguably among the safest and most reliable sources of passive income in healthcare.

In sum, J&J is a solid long-term buy because of its core consumer healthcare unit, best-in-class pharmaceutical research division, and top dividend program, that should act in concert to deliver sustainable returns on capital for years to come.

Planning for the future

John Bromels (Royal Dutch Shell): If you’re looking for a stock that you can feel safe buying now and forgetting about until 2030, check out Royal Dutch Shell. Its stellar dividend yield — currently about 5.4% — along with its solid fundamentals and an eye for the future offers the perfect combination of security and income.

With the price of oil on the rise, Shell’s fortunes are continually improving. The company implemented strict cost-cutting measures during the thick of the oil price downturn. Those measures are now paying off, turning the company’s most recent third quarter — during which Brent crude prices averaged about $52 a barrel — into a bonanza, with profits up 47% year over year, to $4.1 billion. Brent crude prices have stayed above $60 a barrel since November and even briefly edged above $70 in mid-January, so the company’s short-term outlook is fantastic.

There’s also good reason to be bullish on Shell’s long-term prospects. Shell has been divesting underperforming assets, with a goal of dropping some $30 billion in assets by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, it has expanded its liquefied natural gas business, a market it expects to grow even faster than oil in coming years. That should help keep investors’ money safe even if the oil market softens five or 10 years down the road. That makes it a great “buy and hold” stock.

The bottom line

There’s no way to guarantee that these three companies will continue to survive and thrive for the next 12 years. But given their positions of industry leadership, solid financial positions, and long-term-oriented businesses, we think there’s a great chance that they will do just that for patient investors willing to buy and hold their shares.

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George Budwell has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. John Bromels has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A look back at every government shutdown in US history


Lawmakers breathed a sigh of relief Monday as they reached a compromise to end a three-day shutdown to keep the government open until Feb. 8.

The government has now shut down a total of 19 times since Congress introduced the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act, which established the federal budget process in 1976. Half of those shutdowns occurred over a weekend.

“I call them ‘fake shutdowns,'” Marc Goldwein, senior policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget – a bipartisan, nonprofit organization that educates the public on fiscal policy issues – told Fox News. “Most shutdowns occur over the course of a weekend. We’re talking days or weeks – not months.”

But there have been a handful of lengthy U.S. government shutdowns. According to data from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), six shutdowns in the past four decades lasted more than 10 days.

However, Goldwein says, only three of those shutdowns are significant.

Two occurred during the Clinton administration in the winter of 1995 to 1996 when former President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress were at odds and shut the government down for a total of 26 days, Goldwein said.

The third occurred during the Obama administration in 2013. A stalemate between the House and Senate led to a 16-day hiatus.

Here’s a look back at every government shutdown in the history of the U.S.

President Gerald Ford

When: Thursday, Sept. 30 to Monday, Oct. 10, 1976

Duration (full days): 10 days

The first partial shutdown occurred under Gerald Ford’s presidency when Ford vetoed a $56 billion spending bill for the Departments of Labor and Health, Education and Welfare, according to a 1976 report from The New York Times.

This was the year the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act became law, allowing Congress to take an extension, known as a continuing resolution (CR).

President Jimmy Carter

When: Friday, Sept. 30 to Thursday, Oct. 13, 1977

Duration (full days): 12 days

When: Monday, Oct. 31 to Wednesday, Nov. 9, 1977

Duration (full days): 8 days

When: Wednesday, Nov. 30 to Friday, Dec. 9, 1977

Duration (full days): 8 days

There were three shutdowns, referred to as the “abortion shutdowns,” in the late 1970s under the presidency of Jimmy Carter. The Democratic party may have dominated both the House and the Senate, but they couldn’t get Republicans on board when it came to using Medicaid to pay for abortions.

When: Saturday, Sept. 30 to Wednesday, Oct. 18, 1978 

Duration (full days): 17 days

In 1978, Carter vetoed a $37 billion defense authorization bill, which included a $2 billion nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier — equipment he didn’t consider essential to national security, The Washington Post reported. This led to the second largest shutdown in the history of the nation.

When: Sunday, Sept. 30 to Friday, Oct. 12, 1979

Duration (full days): 11 days

Another funding gap took place a year later when the House and Senate disagreed over raising pay by 5.5 percent for members of Congress and senior civil servants, The Washington Post reported. And there was yet again another debate over abortion funding.

President Ronald Reagan

When: Friday, Nov. 20 to Monday, Nov. 23, 1981

Duration (full days): 2 days

President Ronald Reagan vetoed a spending bill because it didn’t make enough cuts. 

When: Thursday, Sept. 30 to Saturday, Oct. 2, 1982

Duration (full days): 1 day

The government shut down for one day when Congress failed to pass the spending bill on time. 

When: Friday, Dec. 17 to Tuesday, Dec., 21, 1982

Duration (full days): 3 days

Both the House and Senate wanted to increase public works spending in order to create more jobs — a move Reagan opposed. The House also opposed MX missile funding, which, The Washington Post noted, was a “major defense priority” of Reagan’s.

When: Thursday, Nov. 10 to Monday, Nov. 14, 1983

Duration (full days): 3 days

Reagan argued over the Democratic-controlled House’s proposed foreign aid and spending cuts and their plea for an increase in funding for education. At the same time, Reagan was pushing for more funding for the MX missile.

Eventually, both parties reached an agreement.

When: Sunday, Sept. 30 to Wednesday, Oct. 3, 1984

Duration (full days): 2 days

In short, Reagan agreed to the House’s proposed crime-fighting package, but he opposed their water projects package.

“Reagan offered to forgo his crime bill in exchange for junking the water package…but a deal wasn’t reached in time to avoid a brief shutdown,” The Washington Post reported.

When: Wednesday, Oct. 3 to Friday, Oct. 5, 1984

Duration (full days): 1 day

Lawmakers reportedly needed another day to discuss the spending bill.

When: Thursday, Oct. 16 to Saturday, Oct. 18, 1986

Duration (full days): 1 day

The Democratic-controlled House was once again in disagreement with Reagan and the Republican-controlled Senate. This time, over a welfare package deal.

When: Friday, Dec. 18 to Sunday, Dec. 20, 1987

Duration (full days): 1 day

Reagan and Democrats couldn’t agree on funding for Nicaraguan “Contra” militants. Democrats also pushed to reinstate the “Fairness Doctrine,” which required licensed broadcasters to give equal air time for people with competing political points of view.

President George H.W. Bush

When: Friday, Oct. 5 to Tuesday, Oct. 9, 1990

Duration (full days): 3 days

Only one shutdown took place during George H.W. Bush’s presidency. It occurred in October 1990 after Bush vetoed a stopgap spending bill, The New York Times reported at the time.

But the timing was right. The shutdown happened over Columbus Day weekend and most federal workers were already off for the holiday.

President Bill Clinton

When: Monday, Nov. 13 to Sunday, Nov. 19, 1995

Duration (full days): 5 days

President Bill Clinton vetoed a continuing resolution in November 1995 over Medicare premium increases.

“The government is partially shutting down because Congress has failed to pass the straightforward legislation necessary to keep the government running without imposing sharp hikes in Medicare premiums and deep cuts in education and the environment,” Clinton said during an address on Nov. 14, 1995.

When: Friday, Dec. 15, 1995, to Saturday, Jan. 6, 1996 

Duration (full days): 21 days

It’s the longest shutdown in U.S. history: 21 days.

The government shut down after Clinton vetoed the spending bill proposed by the Republican-controlled Congress.

After a long three weeks, the president and Congress agreed to a seven year budget plan, which included “modest spending cuts and tax increases,” according to research by the Regional Oral History Office at the University of California, Berkeley.

President Barack Obama

When: Monday, Sept. 30 to Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013

Duration (full days): 16 days

Seventeen years later, the government shut down once again. Lawmakers couldn’t seem to come to an agreement on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in 2013.

The House passed several versions of the bill to fund the government. But each time, the Senate sent it back.

“This is an unnecessary blow to America,” Harry Reid, the Senate democratic leader at the time, said of the shutdown.

John Boehner, the House speaker during the shutdown, said Republicans were fighting to keep the government open, but the Senate “continued to reject our offers.”

President Donald Trump

When: Saturday, Jan. 20 to Monday, Jan. 22

Duration (full days): 3 days

When it comes to immigration and spending, President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers and Democrats were divided.

Republicans controlled the Senate but they still needed 60 votes to break a filibuster.

“When you only have 51 votes in the Senate, then you have to have Democrat support in order to keep the government — to fund the government,” OMB Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters during a White House press briefing Friday.

Democrats said from the beginning that they’d reject any deal that didn’t include a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era program, which offers protection for immigrants — also known as “Dreamers” — who came into the U.S. illegally as minors.

“I am proud of House and Senate Democrats’ unity in insisting on a budget that supports our military and the domestic investments that keep our nation strong, and that honors our values by protecting the DREAMers,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement as the government shut down.

Trump, on the other hand, said Democrats only had themselves to blame when it came to both shutting down the government and failing to make a deal on DACA.

“Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military,” Trump tweeted. “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.”

In the end, Democrats reached a compromise to reopen the government through Feb. 8 — with one condition.

“After several discussions, offers, counter-offers, the Republican leader and I have come to an arrangement,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said on the Senate floor. “We will vote today to reopen the government to continue negotiating a global agreement, with the commitment that, if an agreement isn’t reached by February 8, the Senate will immediately proceed to consideration of legislation dealing with DACA.”

There was a total of six shutdowns, averaging about two days, during President Ronald Reagan’s two terms.

The Latest: Mexican Uber driver in US illegally denies rapes


The Latest on an Uber driver accused of rape and other crimes against young women in California (all times local):

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6:05 p.m.

An Uber driver living in the country illegally has pleaded not guilty to charges of raping, assaulting and robbing young women in California.

The San Luis Obispo County district attorney’s office says Alfonso Alarcon-Nunez appeared in court Monday and pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts.

He remains in jail with bail set at more than $1.4 million.


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12 p.m.

California prosecutors say an Uber driver living in the country illegally has been charged with raping, assaulting and robbing young women.

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said Monday that Alfonso Alarcon-Nunez’s alleged victims are between 19 and 22 years old and three were intoxicated when they were assaulted.

The 39-year-old Mexican citizen faces 10 criminal charges including forcible rape and first degree burglary.

It wasn’t immediately known if Alarcon-Nunez has an attorney.

Dow says detectives are looking for potential witnesses and trying to determine if there are additional victims in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties northwest of Los Angeles.

Officials say Alarcon-Nunez returned to the U.S. illegally after a voluntary deportation from New Mexico in 2005.

The Latest: Mexican Uber driver in US illegally denies rapes


The Latest on an Uber driver accused of rape and other crimes against young women in California (all times local):

Continue Reading Below

6:05 p.m.

An Uber driver living in the country illegally has pleaded not guilty to charges of raping, assaulting and robbing young women in California.

The San Luis Obispo County district attorney’s office says Alfonso Alarcon-Nunez appeared in court Monday and pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts.

He remains in jail with bail set at more than $1.4 million.


Continue Reading Below

12 p.m.

California prosecutors say an Uber driver living in the country illegally has been charged with raping, assaulting and robbing young women.

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said Monday that Alfonso Alarcon-Nunez’s alleged victims are between 19 and 22 years old and three were intoxicated when they were assaulted.

The 39-year-old Mexican citizen faces 10 criminal charges including forcible rape and first degree burglary.

It wasn’t immediately known if Alarcon-Nunez has an attorney.

Dow says detectives are looking for potential witnesses and trying to determine if there are additional victims in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties northwest of Los Angeles.

Officials say Alarcon-Nunez returned to the U.S. illegally after a voluntary deportation from New Mexico in 2005.

The Latest: Mexican Uber driver in US illegally denies rapes


The Latest on an Uber driver accused of rape and other crimes against young women in California (all times local):

Continue Reading Below

6:05 p.m.

An Uber driver living in the country illegally has pleaded not guilty to charges of raping, assaulting and robbing young women in California.

The San Luis Obispo County district attorney’s office says Alfonso Alarcon-Nunez appeared in court Monday and pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts.

He remains in jail with bail set at more than $1.4 million.


Continue Reading Below

12 p.m.

California prosecutors say an Uber driver living in the country illegally has been charged with raping, assaulting and robbing young women.

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said Monday that Alfonso Alarcon-Nunez’s alleged victims are between 19 and 22 years old and three were intoxicated when they were assaulted.

The 39-year-old Mexican citizen faces 10 criminal charges including forcible rape and first degree burglary.

It wasn’t immediately known if Alarcon-Nunez has an attorney.

Dow says detectives are looking for potential witnesses and trying to determine if there are additional victims in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties northwest of Los Angeles.

Officials say Alarcon-Nunez returned to the U.S. illegally after a voluntary deportation from New Mexico in 2005.

Trump signs bill ending government shutdown after 3 days


The federal government will be open for business Tuesday after President Trump signed a bill funding the government until Feb. 8. 

Trump signed the measure Monday evening, hours after the House and Senate approved the package by wide margins as Senate Democrats backed off their opposition. 

Democrats agreed to re-open the government after Republicans assured them the Senate would soon consider legislation that would protect illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children. It was a stark contrast from the Senate Democratic position just a few days ago.

“In a few hours, the government will reopen,” Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said on the Senate floor on Monday.

The Senate then voted 81-18 to break a Democratic filibuster on the stalled government spending bill. Several hours later, the Senate approved the bill by the same margin and the House followed suit, 266-150.

“I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders and insurance for vulnerable children,” Trump said in a written statement. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., holds a news conference to talk about the Democratic victory in the Alabama special election and to discuss the Republican tax bill, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer faced heavy pressure to end the filibuster of a government funding measure.  (AP)

During Monday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the administration expects the bill to make it to the president’s desk late Monday and the government to open at full capacity on Tuesday morning. 

Sanders pushed back against the notion from Democrats that Trump wasn’t doing enough behind the scenes during the shutdown. She said Trump was busy working the phones with lawmakers and Cabinet officials.

“The president was putting pressure and standing firm on exactly what he was willing to do and what he wasn’t,” Sanders said. “And it very clearly worked.”

The funding and reopening of the government would allow U.S. military personnel to be paid, end the furlough of nearly 1 million federal workers and resume all federal services and operations.

But congressional lawmakers made it clear Monday that they’re still faced with challenges, like how to fund hurricane disaster relief and craft a comprehensive immigration reform bill on which both parties can agree.

“We still have a lot more work to do,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

empty capitol

The Capitol Visitor Center is empty, as the government shutdown entered its third day.

After days and weeks of blaming and finger-pointing, a bipartisan group of senators met Sunday and brokered the deal in which rank-and-file members would provide the 60 votes in exchange for Senate leaders’ promise to immediately proceed to immigration reform.

Democrats largely had opposed the stopgap spending bill because it did not include provisions to protect the illegal immigrants from deportation under former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order. Trump last year set a deadline of early March to end the protections, but has indicated he wants to provide permanent protections for the young illegal immigrants — along with border security, particularly funding for his U.S.-Mexico border walll. 

Under the apparent deal to end the filibuster, Schumer said Monday they would negotiate on immigration, and immediately consider such legislation if there’s no agreement by Feb. 8.

Schumer lauded the bipartisan group’s weekend efforts and suggested the group could lead efforts to replace DACA with permanent, legislative protections.

However, he also needled Trump, whom he said on Friday rejected his compromise plan that included money for the border wall.

“Today we enter the third day of the Trump shutdown,” Schumer said before saying they would provide the votes to get to the spending bill. Republicans call it the “Schumer Shutdown.” 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., then thanked Schumer and said: “I think if we’ve learned anything during this process, it’s that a strategy to shut down the government over the issue of illegal immigration is something the American people didn’t understand and would not have understood in the future. So I’m glad we’ve gotten past that.”

With Republicans having just 50 senators available to vote Monday, they needed the support of roughly a dozen Democratic senators to break the filibuster. They got 33.

The 18 senators who didn’t vote to end debate included Republican Sens. Mike Lee, of Utah, and Rand Paul, of Kentucky.

The 15 Democrats in opposition were Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both of Connecticut; Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, both of New Jersey; Catherine Cortez Masto, of Nevada; Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York; Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii; Patrick Leahy, of Vermont; Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, both of Massachusetts; Jon Tester, of Montana; Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both of Oregon; and Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, both of California. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, also voted in opposition.

Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain did not vote because he’s home fighting cancer.

Early Monday, before the votes, the Trump White House and Capitol Hill Republicans cranked up the pressure on Democrats to abandon their immediate demands for immigration measures and vote in support of the temporary spending bill.

“They shut down the government,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning. “The pressure is on them.”

Trump tweeted that Democrats shut down the government to appease the “far left base” and are now “powerless” to change course.

“The Democrats are turning down services and security for citizens in favor of services and security for non-citizens. Not good!” he tweeted.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.

Last Week's GE Stock Plunge Made No Sense


Last summer, General Electric (NYSE: GE) began a thorough review of its insurance obligations — a legacy of its once-massive GE Capital business — because of higher-than-expected claims on an old long-term-care reinsurance portfolio. Expecting a big charge, management stated that GE Capital would not pay any dividends to GE until the review was complete.

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General Electric recently finished this review, and the results were worse than expected, leading to a $9.5 billion pre-tax charge. This outcome caused GE stock to plummet 13.3% last week, its worst weekly performance since the Great Recession.

The massive decline in GE’s stock price knocked more than $20 billion off its market cap. That seems like a clear overreaction on investors’ part.

General Electric takes a big charge

During the past few months, GE undertook a thorough analysis of its insurance liabilities to determine what it is likely to owe. It hired two independent actuarial consulting firms to work with the internal GE Capital team on the review.

Back in November, new CFO Jamie Miller told investors the company was likely to take an after-tax charge of more than $3 billion related to the insurance review. The actual after-tax charge was twice that size — $6.2 billion — under the 2017 tax system, and $7.5 billion including the impact of tax reform.

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The cash impact of the insurance shortfall will be even larger. GE Capital will contribute a total of approximately $15 billion to its insurance reserves over the next seven years. Doing so will prevent GE Capital from paying any dividends to the parent company for at least a few years.

Analysts (and investors) panic again

GE had telegraphed the fact that the insurance review would lead to a sizable special charge, but the ultimate size of that charge was significantly larger than analysts and investors had expected. Still, even looking at the cash cost of $15 billion — which will be smaller net of taxes — it doesn’t really justify the extent of GE stock’s recent decline.

However, the bad news on the insurance front brought out the GE bears in full force. Deutsche Bank analyst John Inch struck the most alarming tone, warning that General Electric faces a “cash crunch” and could be forced to cut its dividend again, raise equity, or both.

Meanwhile, Cowen analyst Gautam Khanna repeated his contention that GE stock could be worth as little as $11 if the company were broken up — one option management floated — after accounting for its debt and pension liabilities.

Arguments like these appear to have accelerated GE stock’s decline. However, neither one is very convincing. On the cash side, while GE Capital won’t be paying dividends to the parent company for a while, CEO John Flannery has made cash production a key priority for General Electric’s industrial businesses. Management expects industrial free cash flow, excluding pension contributions, to rise from around $3 billion in 2017 to $6 billion-$7 billion in 2018.

Cash flow should continue to rise in subsequent years. Furthermore, GE plans $20 billion of asset divestitures over the next two years. It could also sell off its stake in Baker Hughes, which is currently worth nearly $25 billion and could rise in value if oil prices remain elevated. This situation hardly sounds like a cash crunch.

The argument that GE stock would be worth even less in a breakup scenario because of debt and pension liabilities doesn’t make much sense, either. While General Electric had $136.4 billion of debt at the end of the third quarter, $97.5 billion of that figure was GE Capital debt, which is fully offset by cash, investments, receivables, and other assets. Meanwhile, GE’s $31 billion pension deficit is significant, but it will shrink significantly if long-term interest rates rise.

Nothing has changed, really

The bottom line is that very little has changed at General Electric. It would have made sense for GE stock to decline by a few percent, in light of the larger-than-expected insurance charge. But last week’s tumble makes the stock look like even more of a bargain. Its market cap has fallen to just $141 billion, whereas GE’s aviation business, which accounts for less than a quarter of the company’s revenue, may be worth about $100 billion by itself.

There’s no doubt that General Electric faces serious challenges right now. Market conditions for the power business may not improve anytime soon. GE Capital needs to rebuild its balance sheet. Several smaller units need to be sold or spun off.

That said, GE stock could move significantly higher over the next few years. Investors just need to be patient while management works through the process of simplifying General Electric’s operations and cutting costs in the power business.

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Back to work: Government shutdown ends after Dems relent

President Donald Trump signed a bill reopening the government late Monday, ending a 69-hour display of partisan dysfunction after Democrats reluctantly voted to temporarily pay for resumed operations. They relented in return for Republican assurances that the Senate will soon take up the plight of young immigrant “dreamers” and other contentious issues.

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The vote set the stage for hundreds of thousands of federal workers to return on Tuesday, cutting short what could have become a messy and costly impasse. The House approved the measure shortly thereafter, and President Donald Trump later signed it behind closed doors at the White House.

But by relenting, the Democrats prompted a backlash from immigration activists and liberal base supporters who wanted them to fight longer and harder for legislation to protect from deportation the 700,000 or so younger immigrants who were brought to the country as children and now are here illegally.

Democrats climbed onboard after two days of negotiations that ended with new assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate would consider immigration proposals in the coming weeks. But there were deep divides in the Democratic caucus over strategy, as red-state lawmakers fighting for their survival broke with progressives looking to satisfy liberals’ and immigrants’ demands.

Under the agreement, Democrats provided enough votes to pass the stopgap spending measure keeping the government open until Feb. 8. In return, McConnell agreed to resume negotiations over the future of the dreamers, border security, military spending and other budget debates. If those talks don’t yield a deal in the next three weeks, the Republican promised to allow the Senate to debate an immigration proposal — even if it’s one crafted by a bipartisan group and does not have the backing of the leadership and the White House, lawmakers said. McConnell had previously said he would bring a deal to a vote only if President Donald Trump supported it.

Sixty votes were needed to end the Democrats’ filibuster, and the party’s senators provided 33 of the 81 the measure got. Eighteen senators, including members of both parties, were opposed. Hours later the Senate passed the final bill by the same 81-18 vote, sending it to the House, which quickly voted its approval and sent the measure on to President Donald Trump.

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White House press secretary Sarah Sanders predicted that operations would return to normal by Tuesday morning.

The plan is far from what many activists and Democrats hoped when they decided to use the budget deadline as leverage. It doesn’t tie the immigration vote to another piece of legislation, a tactic often used to build momentum. It also doesn’t address support for an immigration plan in the House, where opposition to extending the protections for the dreamers is far stronger.

The short-term spending measure means both sides may wind up in a shutdown stalemate again in three weeks.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer lent his backing to the agreement during a speech on the chamber’s floor. “Now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the Senate,” he said of legislation to halt any deportation efforts aimed at the younger immigrants.

The White House downplayed McConnell’s commitment, and said Democrats caved under pressure. “They blinked,” principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah told CNN. In a statement, Trump said he’s open to immigration deal only if it is “good for our country.”

Immigration activists and other groups harshly criticized the deal reached by the Democratic leadership.

Cristina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream, said the members of the group are “outraged.” She added that senators who voted Monday in favor of the deal “are not resisting Trump, they are enablers.”

Other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union expressed disappointment and shared similar criticism.

A block of liberal Democrats — some of them 2020 presidential hopefuls — stuck to their opposition. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Dianne Feinstein of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey voted no, as did Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Feinstein said she wasn’t persuaded by McConnell’s assurances and did not know how a proposal to protect the more than 700,000 younger immigrants would fare in the House.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana voted no on the procedural motion to re-open the government — the only no vote among 10 incumbent Democrats facing re-election this year in states won by Trump in 2016. Tester said in a statement that the 17-day budget did not include any funding for community health centers that are important to his rural state, nor did the deal include additional resources for border security.

The short-term funding measure includes a six-year reauthorization of the children’s health insurance program, which provides coverage for millions of young people in families with modest incomes. It also includes $31 billion in tax cuts, including a delay in implementing a tax on medical devices.

The votes came as most government offices cut back drastically or even closed on Monday, as the major effects of the shutdown were first being felt with the beginning of the workweek.

Republicans have appeared increasingly confident that Democrats would bear the brunt of criticism for the shutdown. The White House and GOP leaders said they would not negotiate with Democrats on immigration until the government was reopened, and White House officials boasted that Trump didn’t reach out to any Democratic lawmakers during the shutdown.

In fact, Trump, who regularly disrupted negotiations in recent weeks, had been a relatively subdued player in the weekend debate. On Monday, he accused Democrats of prioritizing services and security for noncitizens over U.S. citizens. “Not good,” his first tweet said. In a second tweet, he said, “Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don’t want to do it but are powerless!”

Trump’s first tweet appeared to undercut comments by his legislative affairs director, Marc Short, who told CNN that the immigrants in question are law-abiding and “productive to our society.” Short said the administration wants to “find a pathway for them” to stay in the U.S.

Although the Democrats initially dug in on a demand for an immigration deal, they had shifted to blaming the shutdown on the incompetence of Republicans and Trump. The Democrats seemed sensitive to being seen by voters as willing to tie up government operations to protect immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

In an impassioned closed-door meeting, Schumer told his members that McConnell’s pledge was the best deal they were going to get.

On the Senate floor, No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas said that for shutting down the government, the Democrats “got nothing.” He added that even though McConnell promised to take up the immigration bill by February, “he was going to do that anyway.”

While lawmakers feuded, signs of the shutdown were evident at national parks and in some federal agencies. Social Security and most other safety-net programs were unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions continued, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay.


Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Kevin Freking, Luis Alonso Lugo, Catherine Lucey, Matthew Daly and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

Vikings moving forward after crushing defeat in Philadelphia


EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The lilt in Case Keenum’s voice was missing as he spoke about the end of the Minnesota Vikings’ season in a softer-than-usual tone.

More Vikings coverage

His eyes misted over, Keenum carefully maintained enough composure to keep his voice from cracking. There was no hiding the hurt from the shellacking in Philadelphia, though, that left the Vikings again one victory short of reaching the Super Bowl.

“You go to bed and don’t sleep, and you wake up early and don’t go back to sleep,” Keenum said on Monday in a largely empty locker room at team headquarters on the heels of the shocking 38-7 defeat by the Eagles . “That’s the what-if, could-have, should-have, would-have, but I did everything I could during the week. I prepared the best I’d been prepared. I just didn’t make the plays, and the ball didn’t bounce our way.”

Keenum committed three turnovers on Sunday night, after only nine giveaways in his previous 16 games. The Eagles turned those into 14 points on top of what the Vikings could have scored on the possession that ended with a sack-fumble deep in Eagles territory. The game was still within reach then, in the second quarter, but after halftime it was well out of hand.

“We believed that we were going to win that game, just like we believed every week prior to that that we could win the game that week,” running back Latavius Murray said. “We were capable of it. We believed in everybody in the locker room, and we had the guys to do it. We just didn’t play well, and they played really well.”

The defense that was the stingiest in the NFL this season was scorched by backup quarterback Nick Foles and a bunch of receivers who appeared to do whatever they wanted to up and down the field.

“I could’ve called a lot better game, obviously,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “Point the finger at me before you point it at the players.”

Becoming the first team in history to play in a Super Bowl on home turf was the dream scenario that didn’t materialize, but the Vikings were primarily stunned by how poorly they played on the next-biggest stage and disheartened by how, after 4 months of such strong performances, they were ultimately left without the chance to play for a championship like the 29 other teams eliminated before them.

Instead, after a sixth NFC championship game loss by the Vikings since their last Super Bowl appearance 41 years ago, the Eagles will take on the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 4.

“I’ve never had so much fun coming to work in my life, never had so much fun playing football in my life, as this year. That’s not cliche. That’s the honest truth,” wide receiver Adam Thielen said. “So I think that makes it a little tougher, too, because you really don’t know what’s going to happen year to year, as far as a group changing and things like that, and that’s why you have to take advantage of those opportunities because you never know when you’ll be back.”

The offseason uncertainty starts at quarterback, where Keenum is the consensus favorite to return after a breakout performance that altered his career narrative following five years as a backup. His contract is scheduled to expire along with Sam Bradford’s and Teddy Bridgewater’s, though, leaving no guarantee for any of them.

“I have an inkling that all those guys are going to be starting quarterbacks in this league for someone, and they’re going to win a lot of games,” Thielen said, “because they’re that type of character guys, they’re that type of football players, they’re guys you want on your team, and they’re guys you want to play for.”

Bridgewater was inactive for the two playoff games, with Bradford the backup, a development that didn’t bode well for his future in Minnesota. Asked whether he sees himself as a starter in the league somewhere in 2018, Bridgewater replied, “Definitely, yeah. Without a question.”

Bradford was not in the locker room when it was open to reporters. Keenum, though unwilling yet to speculate about his pending free agency, made clear he would prefer to remain with the Vikings if it’s up to him.

“Just the attitude and the character and the culture they have around here is awesome,” Keenum said, “and not to mention Minnesota itself. The people here have been great. My biggest fear coming here was the snow, and I didn’t even shovel that. So it’s been a great year.”

Zach Galifianakis says former 'Baskets' producer Louis C.K. grosses him out


Zach Galifianakis cut ties with Louis C.K. — who executive produced Galifianakis’ FX show “Baskets” — as soon as his sexual misconduct scandal broke.

“It was so disruptive in a harmful way to so many people,” Galifianakis told Vulture. “We just kind of put our heads down and worked on the new season.”

The “Hangover” star called out C.K. for succumbing to “the poison of celebrity culture,” adding, “The fact that someone can think that just because they’re loved, they can do what they want. It grosses me out.”

FX severed ties with 50-year-old C.K. and his production company Pig Newton in November after five women came forward and accused him of sexual misconduct.

“Today, FX Networks and FX Productions are ending our association with Louis C.K.,” the network’s November statement read. “He will no longer serve as executive producer or receive compensation on any of the four shows we were producing with him – ‘Better Things,’ ‘Baskets,’ ‘One Mississippi’ and ‘The Cops.’”

Two months later, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf announced an investigation into the claims of sexual misconduct found nothing involving C.K.’s work at the company.

This article originally appeared in Page Six.

Man in Georgia arrested for allegedly shooting glass door to hotel lobby


A man is in police custody after he allegedly shot out a Georgia hotel’s glass lobby door Monday morning, the Henry Herald reported. 

The incident unfolded at the Home2 Suites by Hilton in McDonough. Police Capt. Joey Smith told reporters that people reported seeing a “distressed” man.

Shermane Jernine Perkins, 43, is accused of shooting the door. 

“Detectives have determined that Perkins made his way on foot from Grover Turner Way and ran through the wood line and made entry to the Hotel by shooting out the glass side entry door with a hand gun,” Henry County police said in a release. 

Perkins, according to authorities, headed to the hotel’s third floor and gained entry to a room by gunpoint. He then headed to a stairwell and police took him into custody. 

No employees or hotel guests were hurt. 

Perkins was not staying at the hotel, officials said.

“Officers advised that he appeared to be under the influence or suffering from possible mental issues,” police said.

Perkins has been treated for cuts, according to authorities. Police say he claimed he was being chased by people at his house, which they couldn’t confirm. 

“Basically we’re just going to be spreading out now, trying to check his histories, his address history, to determine if there’s another incident somewhere,” Smith was quoted as saying by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We just don’t know right now.”

The incident prompted a major police presence in the area. Authorities searched room-to-room as a precaution.

Police are also investigating another possible crime scene after observing Perkins, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported

Fox News’ Shira Bush and Zoe Szathmary contributed to this report.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

November trial likely for man charged in hospital shooting


A trial for a man accused of killing his mother in a New Hampshire hospital’s intensive care unit will likely be held later this year.

Both sides in the preliminary hearing for 49-year-old Travis Frink of Warwick, Rhode Island, on Monday agreed that a trial could be held as soon as November. They agreed to submit a proposed schedule for moving forward on Feb 15.

Frink is accused of shooting his mother multiple times at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon on Sept. 12. He was indicted last month on both first- and second-degree murder charges.

Frink pleaded not guilty at his initial court appearance and is being held without bail.

His mother, 70-year-old Pamela Ferriere, was from Groton.

'Most Interesting Man in the World' gets more interesting in new commercials


Beer-drinking “Most Interesting Man in the World” has a different favorite drink – tequila.

The pop culture icon made famous for his Dos Equis commercials has picked up the gig with Astral Tequila last year, but the new commercials show he’s the same old Jonathan Goldsmith.


In the new commercials, Goldsmith plays a similarly accomplished character who “bends spoons with his mind, holds his breath for an hours, receives a signed copy of the Bible and becomes the namesake of the sun,” a press release revealed.

But the actor and meme does have a new addition. In the commercials, Goldsmith gets a sidekick. A young and eager-to-please assistant now accompanies the once solo cigar-smoking spokesman. Perhaps grooming him to be the next More Interesting Man in the World.


Fortunately, legendary Goldsmith seems to be settling into his new spirited job – and his new partnership – well. At least well enough to nonchalantly disarm a bomb while blindfolded.

The “This Calls for Tequila” campaign was created by Eric Kallman, the man behind the strangely hypotonic Old Spice advertisements. 

Bill Cosby jokes he 'used to be a comedian' to supportive crowd amid legal battle at his first show since 2015


Bill Cosby took a break from his usual routine of staying out of the public eye for a special surprise comedy concert in Philadelphia on Monday.

The now-disgraced comedian announced the news on Facebook just prior to the ticketed event’s start time. The show was billed as a special performance to honor jazz musician Tony Williams. It was open to the public, which was reportedly receptive to the comedian despite dozens of pending allegations of sexual assault.

“Cosby will honor his fans with a historic performance with the Tony Williams Jazz Quartet and he will be performing a special comedy concert that will culminate the evening.”

The 80-year-old entertainer took the stage for about an hour Monday night at a Philadelphia jazz club for his first show since May 2015. Before a friendly crowd, he told stories, honored old friends and finished by leading the band in a set, first using his mouth to scat in place of a missing horn section and then taking a turn at the drums.

As previously reported, Cosby has been out and about in Philadelphia, posting rare public images of himself on Sunday visiting local haunts in the city. He was sporting Philadelphia Eagles attire to celebrate the team’s recent run for the NFL Championship that landed them a spot against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Cosby, handing the drumsticks off to the 11-year-old son of the bass player, asked if the boy knew who he was and then told him.

“I used to be a comedian,” Cosby deadpanned to laughs from the crowd.

Bill Cosby plays the drums at the LaRose Jazz Club in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. It was his first public performance since his last tour ended amid protests in May 2015. Cosby has denied allegations from about 60 women that he drugged and molested them over five decades. He faces an April retrial in the only case to lead to criminal charges. (AP Photo/Michael R. Sisak)

Bill Cosby played the drums and told stories at his first public show since 2015.  (AP)

The show marked the first time he’d taken the stage since 2015 when his previous tour was cut short as roughly 60 women came forward to accuse him of sexual assault. Cosby has since denied the allegations against him.

Since then, he’s stayed out of the public eye amid a legal battle and several accusations from women who say he drugged and assaulted them over the course of five decades. In June, his trial over one of these alleged assaults was declared a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict. Now, a new trial has been pushed back to April of 2018.

Jury selection for Bill Cosby’s criminal sex assault retrial will start March 29 in the suburban Philadelphia county.

It seems that, in the meantime, Cosby is dipping his toe back in the waters of public appearances, beginning Monday with his show at the jazz event.

As Deadline notes, rumors of the famed comedian hitting the road for a comedy tour have swirled in one form or another, but sources tell the outlet that Cosby has received hundreds of requests for him to tour comedy again.

Reps for Cosby did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NFL rejects veterans group's Super Bowl ad urging people to stand for the anthem


The National Football League has rejected a Super Bowl advertisement from American Veterans urging people to stand for the national anthem.

The nation’s largest veterans service organization had been invited by the NFL to place an ad in the Super Bowl LII program. AMVET’s advertisement included a two-word message – “#PleaseStand.”

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“It’s a simple, polite request that represents the sentiment of our membership, particularly those whose missing or paralyzed limbs preclude standing,” wrote National Commander Marion Polk in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell.

American Veterans accused the NFL of outright censorship by rejecting the advertisement.

“Freedom of speech works both ways. We respect the rights of those who choose to protest, as these rights are precisely what our members have fought – and in many cases died – for,” Polk wrote. “But imposing corporate censorship to deny that same right to those veterans who have secured it for us all is reprehensible and totally beyond the pale.”

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Why 2017 Was a Wild Year for Ubiquiti Networks


Roughly one year ago, I wrote an article about Ubiquiti Networks (NASDAQ: UBNT), saying that despite its 125% surge over the past 12 months, I thought the company could exit 2017 even higher. That ultimately proved true, with the stock ending 2017 13% higher than on the day my article was published, but not without plenty of excitement (and heartburn) along the way. Like a death-defying roller coaster, Ubiquiti stock endured several wild swings around earnings reports, the company introduced new experimental products, and the stock was the victim of a short-seller attack. Here are the big events in Ubiquiti’s wild year.

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An immediate plunge

The (virtual) ink on my recommendation was barely dry when Ubiquiti’s stock plunged roughly 25% after its February earnings release. So much for timing — but hey, that’s why we’re long-term investors! The plunge was due to concerns over margin compression — and therefore, competition — with gross margins falling to 44.6% from 48.4% in the previous-year quarter. That big gap worried investors, even though revenue handily beat expectations. Ubiquiti’s February report covered the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2016.

There were several factors that played into the gross margin. One was aggressive pricing on the company’s second-generation AirMAX AC equipment, the adoption of which CEO and founder Robert Pera believed was strategically important for the company. This is likely due to the upcoming release of AirMAX LTU, which is supposed to be a big leap forward in wireless broadband technology, but is compatible only with the AC Wi-Fi protocol.

In addition, Ubiquiti had a manufacturing hiccup with its new AmpliFi home router product, which it had to rush in order to have in time for the holiday season (which made shipping more expensive), and the company invested in new distribution centers to speed up deliveries in the future — all of which came at a cost.

Out-there consumer products

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Despite several new releases in both its core AirMAX (wireless broadband) and UniFi (wireless LAN networking) segments, Ubiquiti showed it wasn’t done experimenting in its new consumer division, Ubiquiti Labs. The summer saw the introduction of FrontRow, a wearable “life-logging” camera that hangs around your neck like a piece of high-tech bling. Yet despite the sleek design and impressive tech, with its own operating system and seamless integration with major social media apps, the product hasn’t taken off.

One nifty innovation that may be more relevant to the consumer division is AmpliFi Teleport, unveiled in November. If you have an AmpliFi router in your home, Teleport allows you to connect with your home network over an encrypted connection from anywhere in the world.

The CEO sold stock, yet increased his stake

One element Fools will like about Ubiquiti is its huge insider ownership, as Pera currently owns over 56 million of roughly 78 million basic shares outstanding.

Another crazy thing that happened in 2017 was that Pera’s ownership stake actually increased, even though he sold 1 million shares at $61.25 each. That wasn’t necessarily a knock on the stock; Pera potentially will have to buy out his partners in the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, which he co-owns, in the near future, so he might be selling to raise money for that. Still, it was Pera’s first substantial sale since 2013.

Yet despite the sale, Pera’s percentage ownership of Ubiquiti increased due to the company’s well-timed share repurchases at much lower prices throughout 2017. In October 2016, Pera owned 57.3 million shares, which amounted to 69.5% of shares outstanding, according to the company’s proxy statement. One year later, Pera owned 56.3 million shares, but now that amounts to 72.3%.

That shows how near-term volatility can be advantageous to shrewd capital allocators — assuming all is well with the business, of course … and that came into question in September.

A short-attack

To cap off a momentous year, Citron Research announced a short position on Ubiquiti on Sept. 18, laying out several “red flags” that led it to believe Ubiquiti is a “fraud.” The stock plummeted, down to the $50 level, and short interest skyrocketed. Pera responded to the Citron report at the time with a tweet saying, in part, “I just put my head down and let the products and numbers speak for themselves.”

In the fall, I said I didn’t think there was much substance to the short-case, due to the company’s strong cash generation, increased buyback, and the fact that its bank, Wells Fargo, increased the company’s credit line with terms unchanged. In addition, I noted high short-interest could be setting up a big short-squeeze if the fraud case petered out. Investors seemed to shake off the Citron allegations and the stock rallied more than 25% in the fourth quarter to finish the year at $71 per share, up about 23% for the year, slightly ahead of the S&P’s gain.

Looking ahead

Despite the craziness, investors should try to ignore the noise and focus on the long game for this competitively advantaged company. The main drivers of the stock in 2018 will still be adoption of second-generation AirMAX AC and its new LTU radios, as well as the potential for Unifi adoption in higher-end enterprises. You know — the same drivers as last year!

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Billy Duberstein owns shares of Ubiquiti Networks. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Ubiquiti Networks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Woman identified as inspiration for Rosie the Riveter dead at 96


A woman identified by a scholar as the inspiration for Rosie the Riveter, the iconic female World War II factory worker, has died in Washington state.

The New York Times reports that Naomi Parker Fraley died Saturday in Longview. She was 96.

Multiple women have been identified over the years as possible models for Rosie, but a Seton Hall University professor in 2016 focused on Fraley as the true inspiration.

James J. Kimble published his findings in the journal Rhetoric & Public Affairs, saying a photo of Fraley at work was the basis for a widely seen poster of a woman flexing with the caption, “We can do it!”

Fraley was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, she went to work at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, among the first women to do war work there.