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Monday, July 06, 2015

When a city has seven shooting deaths in two days, including the death of a 7-year-old boy, something is systemically wrong. That's what Chicago's police chief said after a spate of bloodshed that tormented the city over the weekend. "We need to repair a broken system," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters Sunday. "Criminals don't feel the repercussions of the justice system." Even with a 30% increase in the number of police on the streets over the holiday weekend, seven people were killed between Friday morning and Sunday afternoon, the superintendent said. Another 40 people were wounded in weekend shootings, McCarthy said.


Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said he won't attack primary rival Donald Trump for his comments on Mexican immigrants. "I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration," the Texas senator said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday. "The Washington cartel doesn't want to address that. The Washington cartel doesn't believe we need to secure the borders. The Washington cartel supports amnesty and I think amnesty's wrong, and I salute Donald Trump for focusing on it." In his June 16 campaign kickoff, Trump said Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists, leading many business partners to end their relationships with him.


Brian Tashman, Right Wing Watch: It's only been five days since the court issued its ruling, but conservative pundits have already predicted that gay marriage will ultimately be responsible for natural disasters, terrorist attacks and the destruction of freedom. While there haven't been any terrorist attacks against the U.S. since the court's ruling, whenever there are, anti-LGBT activists will know who to blame: gay people who want to get married. Louie Gohmert also warned that "God's hand of protection will be withdrawn as future actions from external and internal forces will soon make clear. I will do all I can to prevent such harm, but I am gravely fearful that the stage has now been set." read more


Debris from a car that crashed into the catchfence at Daytona International Speedway sent a spectator to the hospital and caused 14 others to be medically evalauted. During the final lap early Monday morning of the rain-delayed Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Austin Dillon's car went flying into the catchfence on a turn, sending a massive cloud of debris in to the grandstand. Dillon walked away from the crash. Dillon drives the No. 3, the same as Dale Earnhardt Jr., who died in a crash at Daytona in 2001. read more


In the second quarter of 2015, Democrats regained an advantage over Republicans in terms of party affiliation, Gallup reported. Forty-six percent of those surveyed identified as Democrats or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, while 41 percent identified as Republicans or leaned Republican. Gallup's Jeffrey Jones describes recent shifts in party affiliation this way: "Republicans have seemingly lost the momentum they had going into last fall's elections, which saw them make significant gains in congressional seats, including taking partisan control of the Senate. After those victories, Americans' overall opinions of the Democratic Party worsened while the public grew slightly more positive toward the GOP."


Sunday, July 05, 2015

An incredible storm of early goals, including a hat trick by Carli Lloyd, led the United States to a 5-2 victory over Japan in the Women's World Cup. The U.S. avenges the 2011 loss in the Final and hoists the championship trophy for the first time in 16 years. Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath also scored for the Americans, who become the first country to win the Women's World Cup three times. Hope Solo won the Golden Glove as the cup's best goalkeeper, Lloyd the Golden Ball as best player.


A 22-year-old Florida man died on July 4 after holding a powerful mortar-type firework on his head and setting it off with his lighter. Devon Staples of Orlando was at a family gathering in Calais, Maine, when he suffered severe head trauma. "I was the first one who got there. There was no rushing him to the hospital. There was no Devon left when I got there," said his brother Cody Staples. "It was a freak accident ... But Devon was not the kind of person who would do something stupid. He was the kind of person who would pretend to do something stupid to make people laugh." Staples had been drinking with his friends when the incident occurred, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. read more


"Wow, Huffington Post just stated that I am number one in the polls of Republican candidates," Donald Trump bragged as the week closed. "Thank you, but the work has just begun!" Trump was touting his first place in an average of 105 polls. Of the 14 candidates who have declared, Trump topped the field with 13.6 per cent support to 13.3 per cent for Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and son and brother of two past presidents. Ari Fleischer, a former spokesman for George W Bush, told Politico, "Donald Trump is like watching a roadside accident. Everybody pulls over to see the mess. And Trump thinks that's entertainment. But running for president is serious. And the risk for the party is that he tarnishes everybody."


With almost all the ballots counted, results from the Greek referendum show voters decisively rejecting the terms of an international bailout. Figures published by the interior ministry showed nearly 62% of those whose ballots had been counted voting No, against 38% voting Yes. Greece's governing Syriza party had campaigned for a "No", saying the bailout terms were humiliating. Greece had been locked in negotiations with its creditors for months when the Greek government unexpectedly called a referendum on the terms it was being offered. Banks have been shut and capital controls in place since last Monday. read more


South Carolina residents began receiving robocalls on Friday comparing the movement to remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds to ISIS. The state's General Assembly is set to begin debates Monday on removing the flag, which has flown over the statehouse since 1961. Talk of removing it grew heated after a white supremacist gunned down nine African-American churchgoers on June 17, including State Senator Clementa Pinckney. The message, featuring an eerie-sounding and likely digitally-generated voice, was paid for by a group called the Conservative Response Team. According to their Facebook page, the group dropped 40,000 robocalls. "Just like ISIS, Obama's haters want our monuments down, graves dug up and school, roads, towns and counties renamed," the recording states. "They've even taken Dukes of Hazzard off TV. What's next? This attack on our values is sick and un-American and it has to stop right here and right now in South Carolina."


Michael Lind, Politico: Every year the Fourth of July is marked by ringing affirmations of American exceptionalism. We are a special nation, uniquely founded on high ideals like freedom and equality. In practice, however, much of what sets the United States apart from other countries today is actually Southern exceptionalism. The United States would be much less exceptional in general, and in particular more like other English-speaking democracies such as Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were it not for the effects on U.S. politics and culture of the American South. I don't mean this in a good way. A lot of the traits that make the United States exceptional these days are undesirable, like higher violence and less social mobility. Many of these differences can be attributed largely to the South.


Will Hermes, Rolling Stone: They came from the East, the West, the North and the South Side, pilgrims all: the stoned and the rehabbed, wistful greybeards and start-up dreamers, pungent trustafarians and parking-lot strivers, CEOs and short-sellers, doctors and lawyers, dealers and hustlers and Teva-strapped miracle-seekers, jackasses and zen masters, cowboys and card sharks, bros and flower children, lovers, BFFs, clients and drug buddies -- thousands blanketing the provisional Mecca of Chicago with roses, tie-dyes, grinning vibes and kind-bud vapor. Not to bury the Dead but to praise them, pay proper respects and party our asses off. read more


Some small family farms in America's heartland along the Mississippi River in Minnesota and Wisconsin have begun turning their crops into pizzas, creating the new summertime ritual of the pizza farm. Diners bring lawn chairs, blankets and plates and are served pizzas made from the farm's organic meats, veggies, cheeses and herbs. A to Z Produce and Bakery in Stockholm, Wisconsin, has been holding the events since 1998. Joy Summers of Eater Minneapolis writes of the experience, "A late night dinner on the farm with a blistered, yeasty crust topped with vegetables picked at their peak, sometimes augmented with a little happily raised pork -- it is magic."


A five-year-old girl was killed Thursday evening after a sturgeon leaped out of Florida's Suwannee River and struck her while she was boating with her family. Jaylon Rippy, her mother and eight-year-old brother all were struck by the fish, which on the Suwannee can grow up to eight feet long and weigh 200 pounds and are known to leap. A GoFundMe account for the family's needs has raised over $10,000 since the accident.


Fourteen people were injured, two critically, when a deck collapsed at a North Carolina beach house as a family was preparing to take a group photo Saturday evening. The accident occurred at Emerald Isle on a deck about 12 foot square that was around 10 to 12 feet off the ground, said Fire Chief Bill Walker. "It was a one-story house on pilings," Walker said. As many as 20 people were taken to the hospital.


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