Vice President Joe Biden has announced plans to lend railway operator Amtrak $2.45 billion to expand services and make upgrades. Amtrak's plans include expanding high-speed trains between Washington DC and Boston. The vice president said "America needs to go big on infrastructure" investment. The new trains, which Amtrak expects to begin running in 2021, will have initial speeds of up to 160 mph, but will be capable of speeds up to 186 mph. read more
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: [Donald] Trump's campaign has been a roiling, noxious, dysfunctional mess from the start, characterized by public feuds, subject to sudden leadership changes and unable to fulfill key functions (like actually having a campaign apparatus in key states). And Trump's personnel selections have been both instructive and disastrous. Consider this list of Trump's chosen: Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski had a brutal and demeaning style that resulted in a staff revolt, and his manhandling of a female reporter overshadowed the Trump campaign for weeks. Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was paid lucrative consulting fees by foreign interests and resigned after reports that Ukraine anti-corruption investigators were scrutinizing millions in alleged payments there. ... Confidant Roger Ailes recently stepped down from his job at Fox News under a cloud of sexual harassment claims. And Steve Bannon, Trump's new campaign chief executive, is known for his bullying tactics and for running a website (Breitbart News) that flirts with white nationalism. read more
The woman who caused a massive panic on a crowded subway train by releasing a swarm of crickets admitted that she orchestrated the disgusting stunt in an attempt to go viral on social media. Zaida Pugh, known for a series of bizarre online pranks, said she brought 300 crickets and 300 worms onto the D train Wednesday and had a friend flip the insects into the air. A innocent passenger pulled the emergency brake as the D train was crossing the Manhattan Bridge. Riders were stuck in the cricket-filled car -- with no air conditioning -- for 30 minutes.
In the North Carolina governor's race, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper holds a significant 52% to 43% lead over incumbent Republican Pat McCrory. Another 3% say they will vote for Libertarian Lon Cecil and 3% are undecided. McCrory's HB2 bill, like other GOP favored bills banning transgender bathroom use, has hurt North Carolina's economy, costing them millions after several corporations cancelled expansion plans and the NBA moved itsA All-Star game out of North Carolina. McCrory's approval rating is also upside down at 45-46%. The Monmouth University Poll also found that 7-in-10 voters (70%) feel the passage of HB2 has been bad for North Carolina's reputation nationally.
Anti-Trump Republicans are preparing to launch a broadcast TV ad in a handful of swing-state suburbs urging Donald Trump to quit the presidential race so the party can replace him with a more electable nominee. The ad, titled "Keep Your Word," features footage of Trump during the Republican primary in which he suggested he'd drop out if he saw his poll numbers decline. The 30-second spot is marked for a limited run on broadcast networks in suburban Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Michigan, according to Regina Thomson, a Colorado Republican activist and leader of Free the Delegates, the organization that failed to stop Trump's nomination at last month's national convention. read more
Tony Romo will miss significant time yet again. The Cowboys starting quarterback has suffered a broken bone in his back after taking an awkward hit on the third play of Thursday's preseason game in Seattle. "We're going to monitor his condition day by day and we'll see how he feels going forward," Garrett said. "There's no timeframe when he's going to return." Garrett would not speculate if Romo would even miss the Sept. 11 season opener against the Giants, although he said earlier that the Cowboys are expecting the veteran quarterback to come back during the season. Various media reports have Romo missing as much as 10 weeks. read more
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem during a preseason game Friday out of protest against America's treatment of "black people and people of color." He said, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way." read more
"America's crackpot realists create the terror for which they then provide the antidote. ... In Vietnam, every time we took fire, we went berserk. We'd blow up everything. The mentality of absolute destruction. But when I came back from Vietnam, I thought that intelligence would finally start to reign. Didn't happen. Reagan's warning to the world was that Americans could be truly barbaric. That was the lesson of Hiroshima too -- to let the Soviet Union know that America was capable of anything." -- filmmaker and Vietnam vet Oliver Stone read more
Donald Trump's campaign CEO Stephen Bannon was accused of anti-Semitism by the same ex-wife who accused him of domestic violence 20 years ago, court documents reveal. Mary Louise Piccard said in a 2007 court declaration that Bannon didn't want their twin daughters attending the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles because many Jewish students were enrolled at the elite institution. "The biggest problem he had with Archer is the number of Jews that attend," Piccard said in her statement signed on June 27, 2007. "He said that he doesn't like the way they raise their kids to be 'whiny brats' and that he didn't want the girls going to school with Jews."
Dylan Byers, CNN: Hillary Clinton is surrounded by suggestions of controversy. Terms like "Clinton Foundation," "email server," and "Benghazi" hover around her like a faint smoke that hints at the existence of fire. But finding the fire -- the lie, the misdeed, the unethical act -- is proving to be rather difficult, as evidenced this week by an inaccurate tweet and arguably misleading story from the Associated Press that were quickly rebutted by the Clinton campaign and dismissed by many media outlets. Three days later, the Associated Press is still standing by its story and has yet to correct its tweet, despite near unanimous agreement among other journalists that the tweet, at least, was false. read more
To help out America's dairy industry by clearing out some of its surplus of cheese, a 30-year record, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday said it would buy $20 million worth of the ripened milk curds to donate to food banks and pantries across the country. Its purchase makes up less than 1 percent of the 1.3 billion pounds of mostly cheddar and mozzarella that's currently in storage in America, as NPR reports. But it also will give out $11.2 million in financial assistance to dairy producers. American consumers can help reduce the cheese glut by eating an extra three pounds of cheese this year, the Wall Street Journal estimated in May.
The Pentagon has said a U.S. Navy vessel fired three shots to warn an Iranian military boat off in the Gulf. Spokesman Peter Cook said it was one of several incidents of Iranian vessels harassing U.S. ships in the past week. Cook said the intention of the Iranian ships was unclear but their behavior was unacceptable, as the boats were in international waters. But Iran's defense minister, General Hosein Dehghan, said the U.S. ships were in Iranian waters. He said his forces would warn or confront any foreign ship that entered his country's waters. American patrol ship the USS Squall fired three warning shots after an Iranian craft approached it head on, coming within 200 yards before turning away, the Pentagon says. The shots, fired from a 50-caliber gun, caused the Iranian vessel to turn away, the spokesman added.
Donald Trump rocked the political media world by hiring Breitbart.com honcho Stephen K. Bannon to be his campaign CEO, and while the move has mainstream pundits scratching their heads, its meaning appears to be crystal clear to David Duke and his followers. The former Klan leader and current U.S. Senate candidate closed out the week celebrating the move with Stormfront-friendly radio co-host Don Advo, who got a chuckle from Duke by saying that the Bannon hire means "We've taken over," an assessment that Duke mostly agreed with.
Heather Bresch, the Mylan CEO under fire for skyrocketing EpiPen costs, believes Americans should redirect their anger toward a "broken" health care system. Mylan was forced to respond to the national outrage over a more than 400% increase in price for the lifesaving allergy treatment by pledging on Thursday to make it more affordable. But Bresch argued that a lack of transparency in the complex health care system -- with bigger cuts for everyone along the supply chain -- "incentivizes higher prices" in the industry. She pointed out that copays and deductibles are on the rise, too.