<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usTue, 26 Jul 2016 21:48:25 -0400Tue, 26 Jul 2016 21:48:25 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Obama on Russia-Linked DNC Hack: 'Anything is Possible']]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 20:57:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Obama+Russia+Hack+Today.png

President Barack Obama says it is "possible" that the Russian government would try to influence the U.S. elections by hacking into the Democratic National Committee systems and leaking the party's emails.

In an interview with "Today" show co-host Savannah Guthrie, Obama noted that while the FBI is still investigating what happened, "what we do know is that the Russians hack our systems," government and private.

"But, what the motives were in terms of the leaks, I can't say directly. What I do know is that Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin," Obama said.

Pressed on if he's suggesting that Russian president Putin might be motivated to prefer Trump in the White House, Obama said, "I am basing this on what Mr. Trump himself has said. And I think that Trump's gotten pretty favorable coverage back in Russia."

The full interview with the president will air Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. on the "Today" show.



Photo Credit: NBC News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[1 of 2 Suspects in Deadly France Church Attack ID'd]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 19:43:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NORMANDY_GettyImages-583508756.jpg

A priest was "assassinated" and another person gravely wounded when two knife-wielding attackers linked to ISIS took several nuns and worshippers hostage during morning Mass at a church in northern France early Tuesday, NBC News reported. 

A nun who was in the church said the victim, identified as 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel, was forced to the ground before his throat was slit.

The seige ended when the attackers were shot dead by police. 

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins identified one of the attackers as Adel Kermiche, who'd been caught trying to reach Syria, base of operations for ISIS, twice last year. The second attacker has not been identified.

Investigators found two fake bombs and three knives. One of the attackers wore a "false explosive belt" and another three knives, Molins said. The other attacker carried a pressure cooker — a device that terrorists have used to make bombs — wrapped in aluminum.



Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Attacks Hillary Clinton Through Her Husband's Infidelities]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 16:21:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-538716480-hil.jpg

Donald Trump is running against Hillary Clinton, not her husband, but he has not shied from attacking the former president over his sexual misconduct.

He accused Bill Clinton of rape during an interview in May with Fox News' Sean Hannity, tweeted that Clinton was "the WORST abuser of women in U.S. political history" and called Hillary Clinton an enabler who tried to destroy the women with whom her husband had affairs.

Democrats are counting on Bill Clinton and his impressive speaking skills to make the case for his wife when he speaks to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, but Trump wants to remind everyone of Clinton's seamier side. Trump's impassioned supporters and the many Clinton haters among them might approve, but the Republican nominee is struggling to appeal to women. How will they react to denigrating Hillary Clinton over her husband's infidelities?

Oda Tejeba, a Democrat from Queens, New York, who said she would vote for Clinton, does not like it. She called the line of attack petty.

"That’s like a sucker hit," Tejeba said.

"She was humiliated publicly," she said of Clinton. "If she can get past that, she can do anything."

But Elizabeth Smith, an Ohio alternate delegate for Gov. John Kasich at the Republican National Convention last week, said that if she thought Hillary Clinton were an outstanding candidate with whom she agreed on other issues, she would probably dismiss the infidelities. As it is, the Clintons' behavior is a nagging problem for her.

"You can go back and see whether she was instrumental or not," said Smith, a civil trial lawyer who said she would probably vote for Trump because she wanted to support the Republicans. "They trashed Monica Lewinsky."

Smith said she did not excuse the behavior of Lewinsky, the White House intern with whom Bill Clinton had a relationship, but noted that she was only 22 at the time. 

"[Hillary Clinton's] a smart woman," Smith said. "They talk. Hillary could have done something to pull back on that and they could have pushed it aside but the fact that they didn't as a team tells me something."

Polls show a striking gender gap between Clinton and Trump. Recent NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls of three battleground states show Clinton outpolling Trump among women in Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania by 16 percentage points or more. Trump leads among men by a similar margin in Iowa and Ohio, though not in Pennsylvania.

Women appalled that Trump would try to hold Clinton responsible for her husband's behavior are for the most part voting for Democrats, said Christina Wolbrecht, an associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. Those open to the line of attack are for the most part not.

"Frankly I think there’s a big chunk of the electorate that just doesn't care," she said. "It's not clear to me that there's a group of independent women for whom this is going to be the thing."

Once presidential nominees are chosen, partisanship usually determines how 90 percent of the people vote, she said.

"But we're in uncharted territory here," she said. "We've never had a woman at the top of the ticket."

At the Republican convention last week, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined enthusiastically in denouncing the Clintons. He called Bill Clinton "a predator president" and charged Hillary Clinton had gone after his accusers as head of "the bimbo squad."

"You don't care about women, you don't care about feminism," Giuliani said of Hillary Clinton during a breakfast for the New York delegates on Thursday. "You don't even care about your own dignity. All you care about is power."

Sharon Day, co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, tried to counter accusations that the attacks on Clinton, the first woman named as the presumptive candidate of a major party, were sexist.

"As first lady, you viciously attacked the character of women who were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of your husband," she said. "I want to see a woman become president one day, and I want my granddaughters to see a woman president, but not that woman, Hillary Clinton. Not now, not ever."

The attacks are meant to mobilize Trump's supporters and remind them how corrupt they found the Clintons.

"It's a base mobilizing thing," Wolbrecht said. "And then often with your opposition it's not so much that you're trying to convince them to vote for you so much as plant enough doubt and uncertainty and discomfort that you dampen down that enthusiasm."

Trump himself has been married three times. His first marriage to Ivana came to an end after he had begun an affair with Marla Maples, later his second wife.

In an interview with Chris Cuomo on CNN in May, said Trump had started criticizing Hillary Clinton in retaliation, after she played the "woman’s card."

"She is playing the woman's card to the hilt," Trump said. "She is going, I watched over the weekend, everything is about 'woman' and 'Donald Trump raised his voice.' And you know it's all nonsense. You know what? Women understand it better than anybody."

A video released by the Trump campaign showed Bill Clinton chomping on a cigar with audio from two women who accused him of sexual assault: Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick. It ends with a photo of Hillary and Bill Clinton with Hillary Clinton laughing. "Here we go again?" it asked.

Pressed by Cuomo about why he was talking about Bill Clinton's infidelities rather than the issues women care about, he defended his attacks.

"He was impeached," Trump said of Clinton. "And then he lied about it."

Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice but was acquitted by the U.S. Senate.

The Clinton campaign has described the attacks as a way to distract from the election's issues and. 

Logan Nevonen, a 23-year-old Republican convention delegate from Texas who supported U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, said she did not approve of the attacks on Clinton.

"I don't appreciate that rhetoric, getting at women with sexist comments and things," she said. "He diminishes everything I stand for."

Trump does not yet have her vote, she said. To earn it, he would have to be less hostile, she said.

Elaine Mcfalos, a Democrat from North Carolina who will vote for Trump, said during a visit to New York City that she did not find Hillary Clinton trustworthy but not because of Bill Clinton's scandals.

"She's a strong woman and everybody in this world has had problems like that," Mcfalos said. "So that doesn’t define her."

But she thought Clinton should have been punished for her use of a personal server for her professional emails while secretary of state, she said.

"Her integrity is in question in my mind," she said.

Another woman, Marcia Freeman of Queens, New York, will vote for Clinton. The criticism directed against her is wrong, she said.

"Any man can cheat," she said. "A marriage is a marriage. I'm a Christian and you forgive and forget."

Freeman said she was "Hillary all the way," and called Trump a racist.

Hillary Clinton weathered similar attacks when she first ran for office for a New York senate seat, against Giuliani. Giuliani ultimately dropped out of the race after he announced he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was separating from his second wife.

In an MSNBC interview, Giuliani repeated his criticism of Hillary Clinton's behavior. 

"Very few women would attack Monica Lewinsky for three or four months when it turned out that Monica Lewinsky was quite correct and her husband had in fact taken advantage of her," Giuliani said. "Very few women would do that and to pose as a feminist and to say you care about women who are victims makes you in my view a phony."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Protests, Marches and More from the DNC in Philly]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 19:14:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-583545684-dnc-o.jpg The Democratic National Convention began on July 25 with demonstrators, marchers and supporters battling the sweltering heat in Philadelphia, as the DNC officially apologized to Bernie Sanders amid a fresh email scandal. City officials expect thousands of protesters, delegates and members of the media to be in Philly for the four-day event.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DD Worker Accused of Tainting Food]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 21:19:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-454515268.jpg

An employee at a Dunkin' Donuts in Virginia allegedly sprayed day-old donuts with a cleaning solution that contained bleach before giving them away to a group of teenagers who later ate them, Virginia police said.

The teenagers had previously received the store's leftover donuts for free, and they had returned to the Dunkin' Donuts in the 2900 block of Chain Bridge Road for more on July 25, Fairfax County police said.

Someone at the store denied their request multiple times but eventually relented and told the teens to come back later in the day, police said.

Before the group came back, that employee allegedly sprayed the donuts with "a cleaning solution that contained bleach" and then handed them off to the teenagers, police said.

The teens ate "anywhere from one bite to a whole donut," police said, before they realized something may be wrong with the food and called police.

No one was injured, and a criminal investigation is ongoing.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Dunkin' Donuts]]>
<![CDATA[Meet Team USA: Athletes to Watch in Rio]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 11:50:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/3-split-athletes.jpg

Michael Phelps is a household name. In the next month, Simone Biles may become one.

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, has dominated four Olympics and come out of retirement in hopes of sweeping a fifth. It's likely to be his final Games.

Biles is on the other end of her career, but with similar expectations. The 19-year-old gymnast heads into her first Olympics with 14 world championship medals under her belt, 10 of them gold. The budding superstar is undefeated in the all-around and has been called "unbeatable" by gymnastics legend Mary Lou Retton.

Phelps and Biles are among more than 550 athletes who will represent Team USA in Rio, including 292 women, the most in Olympic history to ever compete for a single country. Of Team USA's 68 returning champions, 53 are looking to defend titles won during the 2012 London Games.

Here's a look at the American athletes to watch during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Swimming
At 31 years old, Phelps has 18 gold medals among the 22 medals he's earned in four Olympics. He set an Olympic record by taking home eight gold medals in Beijing in 2008 and is the first American swimmer to qualify for five Olympic Games.

He holds multiple world records and became the youngest male swimmer to break one at the age of 15. In August, Phelps clocked three of the year's fastest times. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Phelps will compete in the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley.

Ryan Lochte, 31, has won 11 medals in three Olympics: five gold, three silver and three bronze. He has also taken home an impressive 62 world championship medals, including 36 gold. Lochte, who has set both individual and team world records, will compete in the 200-meter individual medley and the 4x200-meter freestyle.

Rio will mark the third Olympics for swimmer Nathan Adrian, who took home two gold medals and a silver in Beijing and London. With a time of 21.37 seconds, he holds the American record for fastest 50-meter freestyle.

Missy Franklin, the 21-year-old darling of the women's team, won four gold medals and a bronze in London. She has also taken home 17 world championship medals, including 11 gold, three silver and three bronze. Franklin, who grew up in Colorado and attended the University of California at Berkeley, will compete in the 200-meter backstroke, 200-meter freestyle and 4x200-meter freestyle.

Teammate Dana Vollmer, who has won four Olympic gold medals, will be competing in her third Games. She was back in the pool two months after giving birth to her first child last March.

Katie Ledecky, 19, will compete in her second Olympics. The Bethesda, Maryland, native won gold in London and has taken home nine world championship gold medals.

Gymnastics
Biles may be only 19, but her 10 golds at the World Championships are the most of any female gymnast. She's one of just three women in history to win four straight all-around titles at the P&G Gymnastics Championships, according to NBC Olympics. A native of Spring, Texas, Biles has also won the most world medals in U.S. history.

The most decorated U.S. gymnast in London, teammate Aly Raisman returns to defend her titles. The Needham, Massachusetts, native took home two gold medals and one bronze and was fourth all-around. She has also won four world championship medals: two gold, one silver and one bronze.

Also competing in her second Olympics is Gabby Douglas, who won all-around gold in London at the age of 16. Douglas, a Virginia native who lives in Los Angeles, won team gold at the 2011 and 2015 world championships and took home all-around silver last year.

Olympic newcomers Madison Kocian, a 19-year-old three-time world championship gold medalist, and Laurie Hernandez, 16, round out the women's team.

Leading the men's team is 23-year-old Sam Mikulak, who will compete in his second Olympics. From Newport Beach, California, Mikulak placed fifth in team vault in London and won bronze at the 2014 world championship. He took home two two gold medals and two bronze at the 2015 Pan American Games.

Also returning for his second Olympics is Jake Dalton, a 24-year-old native of Reno, Nevada, who attended the University of Oklahoma. Dalton has won four medals in four world championships. He did not medal in London.

London alternates Alex Naddour and Chris Brooks will also compete for Team USA, along with 2012 team member Danell Leyva. Leyva replaces John Orozco, who qualified for Rio after tearing his Achilles tendon, only to injure his ACL in June and withdraw from the team.

Basketball
Rio will mark the fourth Olympics for New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, the only U.S. men's basketball player in history to qualify for four Games. Anthony, 32, has won two Olympic gold medals and one bronze. He set a Team USA single-game scoring record in London with 37 points against Nigeria and took home bronze in the 2006 world championship.

Kevin Durant, 27, of the Golden State Warriors, will compete in his second Olympics. A member of the 2012 gold medal team, Durant was named MVP of the 2010 world championship game and was selected to play on that year's All-World Championship Team.

Indiana Pacers guard Paul George, 25, will compete in his first Olympics after overcoming a horrific leg injury, which caused him to miss most of the 2015 season. George's right tibia and fibula snapped on the court during the 2014 USA Basketball Showcase, stunning teammates and spectators alike. The NBA All-Star has made a full recovery and is expected to serve as a key member of the team in Rio.

The powerhouse U.S. women's basketball team includes half a dozen players from the University of Connecticut, a force to be reckoned with in the world of college basketball. Former UConn stars Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore and Tina Charles will help lead the team. Joining them is recent UConn graduate and Olympic newcomer Breanna Stewart, who went to the Seattle Storm as the No. 1 WNBA draft pick in 2016.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings, 37, will also compete. The Indiana Fever forward and Duncanville, Texas, native has played in three world championships, earning two gold medals and a bronze. She's one of only nine players in history to have won an Olympic gold medal, world championship gold medal, NCAA title and WNBA championship, according to USA Basketball.

Track and Field
Champion sprinter Allyson Felix, 30, returns to compete in her fourth Olympics. The Los Angeles native has won four gold medals — three in London and one in Beijing — and two silver medals. She has also medaled 13 times in seven world championships and was named 2012 IAFF World Athlete of the Year.

Felix, who fought through an ankle injury during the Rio trials, fell a hundredth of a second shy of qualifying for the 200-meter dash — her first failure to qualify since she was 15 years old, according to NBC Sports. She will compete in the 400-meter and 4x400-meter dash.

Tianna Bartoletta, 30, will compete in the 100-meter dash and long jump. She won gold in the 4x100-meters during the 2012 London Games and has competed in six world championships, earning five gold medals and two bronze. Bartoletta also competed in 2012 for the U.S. national bobsled team alongside fellow track and field Olympian Lolo Jones. She took bronze in the 2012 bobsledding World Cup.

Devon Allen, 21, is a new face in the Olympic crowd. A wide receiver and runner at the University of Oregon, Allen has competed in three NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships and one outdoor championship. He'll run the 110-meter hurdles in Rio.

Distance runner Galen Rupp, 30, qualified for Rio by winning the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in his first ever 26.2-mile race. He competed in both Beijing and London, where he took home silver in the 10,000-meter, becoming the first American to medal in that event since 1964. The five-time USA Outdoor champion has competed in six world championships, with a top finish of fourth in 2013. 

At age 41, Meb Keflezighi is the oldest American man to run the Olympic marathon the only one to make three Olympic teams. He won the 2014 Boston Marathon and 2009 New York City Marathon and the American record for the 20-kilometer. Keflezighi has competed in two world championships.

Soccer
Co-captain and midfielder Carli Lloyd, 34, hopes to clinch a third consecutive Olympic gold medal. Lloyd scored the game-winning goal in the 2008 gold-medal match against Brazil and netted both goals in Team USA's 2-1 victory over Japan in 2012. The New Jersey native has also won two world championship medals and in 2015 became the first player in team history to score in four consecutive FIFA World Cup games.

Despite concerns about the Zika virus, record-setting goalkeeper Hope Solo will join her team in Rio to compete in her third Olympic games. She won gold in both Beijing and London and served as an alternate in Athens in 2004. Solo is a FIFA World Cup Golden Glove Award winner and a member of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team.

Rio will be the second Olympics for 27-year-old forward Alex Morgan, who scored three goals in London, one of which sent Team USA to the gold-medal match. Morgan graduated early from the University of California at Berkeley and plays for the Orlando Pride.

Midfielder Megan Rapinoe was a toss up for Team USA after tearing her ACL last December, but recovered to qualify for her second Olympic Games. Rapinoe, 31, was a member of the U.S. women's national team when it won the World Cup in 2015 and was selected to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team.

The U.S. men's soccer team did not qualify to compete in Rio.

Other Sports
Beach volleyball champ Kerri Walsh-Jennings, 37, heads to Rio for her fifth Olympics without her partner of 11 years, Misty Mae-Treanor, who retired to start a family after the 2012 games. Together, the two won 21 consecutive Olympic matches and lost only one set — to Austria in 2012. Walsh-Jennings won gold in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games and will have the No. 3 seed in Rio with partner April Ross, whom she defeated in London.

Water polo captain Tony Azevedo will also compete in his fifth Olympics. The 34-year-old native of Brazil in 2012 became the first American men's water polo player to compete in four Olympics, along with teammate Ryan Bailey. Azevedo won a silver medal in Beijing and took gold in five Pan American Games. He has competed in eight world championships.

Dominant forces on the tennis court, sisters Serena and Venus Williams will take their talents to Rio to compete in their fourth and fifth Olympics, respectively. Together they are unstoppable, making the winningest doubles team in Olympic history. They go into the games with a perfect 15-0 doubles record and seek to tie the record for overall tennis medals — five.

Equestrian Phillip Dutton is one of only a handful of athletes in Team USA history to compete in the Olympics for a sixth time. At age 52, he is also the oldest athlete on Team USA. Dutton has won two Olympic gold medals and competed in six world championships. He moved from his native Australia to the U.S. in 1991 and became a citizen in 2006. 

The youngest member of Team USA, 16-year-old Kanak Jha, will compete in table tennis. The first-time Olympian has won multiple national titles and became the youngest ever World Cup participant in 2014.

First-time Olympic golfer Bubba Watson, has nine tournament victories under his belt, most recently the 2016 Northern Trust Open and the 2015 Travelers Championship. Watson, 37, has represented the U.S. three times in the Ryder Cup and twice in the Presidents Cup.

The women's rowing team heads to Rio with 10 consecutive world titles under its belt and a reputation for being one of the best sports teams in history, according to NBC Olympics. Leading the women's eight are third-time Olympian Eleanor Logan and second-time Olympian Meghan Musnicki, both members of the 2012 gold medal team. They're joined by coxswain Katelin Snyder, Amanda Elmore, Tessa Gobbo, Emily Regan, Lauren Schmetterling, Amanda Polk and Kerry Simmonds.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A Look Inside the 2016 Democratic National Convention]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 21:44:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-583547368-dnc.jpg An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sanders Delegates Walk Out]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 20:31:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/216*120/sanders+walkout+rigged+brian+lead+image.jpg

Dozens of Bernie Sanders delegates walked out of the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night following Hillary Clinton's nomination for president, and many promised to leave the political party in protest.

Vincent Venditti, a Georgia delegate pledged to Sanders, said outside Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center that he considers himself a political independent effective immediately.

Their protest and exodus is in line with what hundreds of protesters had been saying outside the convention's security perimeter. Many said Hillary Clinton's nomination as the Democratic candidate for president would prompt them to quit the party.

"They know where to find me," Venditti said, noting that he would consider returning to the party if Clinton's candidacy was abandoned.

The group held a sit-in at a tent for journalists, some with tape over their mouths.

The Democratic Party and their convention have been roiled by an email controversy. Hacked emails published by Wikileaks appeared to show some in the Democratic National Committee favoring Hillary Clinton, a charge leveled throughout the presidential primaries but which party leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz had denied.

But the email scandal led to her ouster on Monday — she had been supposed to gavel in the convention on Monday, but did not do so. Even Sanders was booed at an event Monday, when he told supporters it was in the country's best interest to elect Clinton president.

 



Photo Credit: NBC10 | Brian X. McCrone
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Rio Olympic Torch Travels Around the World]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:38:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-579466538-rio.jpg The Rio 2016 Olympic Torch relay began its three-month journey on May 2, 2016, in Brazil. The torch will travel around the world before arriving in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 5, to light the cauldron.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A List of Trump's Rapidly Changing Policy Positions]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 17:24:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Trump-Unity.jpg

Donald Trump once offered up three different views on abortion in eight hours, and after a year of campaigning, the Republican nominee has continued to expound powerfully incoherent rhetoric and constantly evolving views.

According to NBC News, Trump and the Republican Party are putting forward the most elusive presidential platform in modern history, and many of Trump's policies conflict with the party's own platform.

 To better understand what the Republican Party nominee believes today — and yesterday — NBC News compiled a list of Trump's views since he announced his candidacy a year ago.

"You have to have a certain degree of flexibility," the nominee said in a March debate when confronted on his evolving policy platform, taking a stance on immigration he'd reverse hours later. "You can't say, it's OK, and then you find out it's not OK and you don't want to do anything. You have to be flexible, because you learn."



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA['Whites Only' Cemetery Turns Away Widow]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 16:37:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_cemetery0726_1500x845.jpg A South Texas cemetery is facing the threat of a lawsuit after telling a woman her husband's ashes couldn't be buried there because he was "a Mexican." The cemetery later said it was reversing the policy. ]]> <![CDATA[FDA Strengthens Warning on Powerful Antibiotics]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 16:46:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-1170747.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration strengthened warnings on a class of antibiotics, calling it too strong to be used for sinus infections, bronchitis and simple urinary tract infections.

Fluoroquinolones, which include levofloxacin (as known as Levaquin) and ciprofloxacin (Cipro), can cause serious and sometimes permanent side-effects, NBC News reported.

"While these drugs are effective in treating serious bacterial infections, an FDA safety review found that both oral and injectable fluoroquinolones are associated with disabling side effects involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system," the agency said in a statement.

The drugs are worthwhile to use for potentially fatal infections such as plague, anthrax and some types of bacterial pneumonia but not for the more minor stuff, FDA added.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wildest Moments in Convention History]]> Thu, 21 Jul 2016 11:47:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Abe+Lincoln+1860-96943976.jpg Republicans and Democrats will crown their presumptive nominees at back-to-back conventions this month, hoping to unify their parties behind the candidates. These now made-for-television publicity events were once critical to choosing candidates. The Constitution’s framers did not envision a system of parties and did not include provisions for how primaries or conventions should be run. For much of the nation’s history, most of the American electorate was excluded from the nominating process and presidential candidates were picked by party elites at sometimes rowdy gatherings. As candidates sought the nomination amid intra-party disputes, heated political disagreements could turn violent.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Weiner, Trump Jr. Spat Over Possible NYC Mayoral Run]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 20:29:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/weiner+trump+jr.jpg

Amid speculation over whether Donald Trump Jr. may be mulling a run for New York City mayor, failed candidate Anthony Weiner offered an opinion that sparked a snarky response from the younger Trump.

Asked by a TV news reporter Tuesday about the possibility of a Trump Jr. run for mayor, Weiner said, "I'd come out of retirement just to beat him like a rented mule." 

Trump Jr. tweeted in response: "Too soon Anthony!!! You probably shouldn't be talking about beating anything ever again. Go back to your cave."

The scandal-scarred Weiner badly lost the Democratic primary of the New York City's mayoral race in 2013. By that time, he'd been caught in two sexting scandals, once in 2011, when he used Twitter to send provocative photos of himself while in Congress, and again in April of 2013, shortly after he announced he was entering the mayoral race. That's when revelations of an online relationship with a woman named Sydney Leathers surfaced. 

Weiner, 51, appeared on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" Monday night after The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where his wife Huma Abedin -- longtime top aide to Hillary Clinton -- was working.

He told Politico in 2014 his political career was "probably over" and that he planned to stay busy with business, media appearances and his son with Abedin, Jordan. 

Trump Jr., 38, meanwhile, has refused to rule out a run for mayor after his appearance at the Republican National Convention last week. He said on CNN's "State of the Union" show: "As my father has always said, I want to -- we always like to keep our options open." 

Mayor de Blasio said he welcomes the challenge.

"In terms of Donald Trump Jr., I will predict something right here and now," he told Politico. "That his father and his values will be rejected soundly by the people of New York City in November. So, if after that he thinks that it’s a great idea to run against me, be my guest."



Photo Credit: AP/Getty
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Visualizing the Olympics: Medal Counts & More]]> Tue, 31 May 2016 08:53:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-149332217-edited.jpg Which countries have the most gold medals? And how much does it cost to host an Olympic Games? Get ready for the Rio Olympics – and the answers to those and many other Olympic-related questions – with this series of graphics. Click here for the visualization.
View Full Story

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2 Soldiers Killed Defending Woman at SC Bar]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 17:12:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SFC+Jonathon+Prins.jpg

Two soldiers were fatally shot Sunday while trying to protect a woman from a gun-toting man in a South Carolina bar, NBC News reported.

Staff Sgt. Charles Allen Judge Jr., 40, and Sgt. First Class Jonathan Michael Prins, 29, were at the Frayed Knot Bar & Grill in Lake Murray, west of Columbia, when Jospeh Elijah Mills "physically assaulted a female companion and was physically separated from her by several bar patrons," according to arrest warrants obtained by NBC News.

Among those who stepped in to help the woman were Judge and Prins, the warrants state. "Mills then presented a handgun" and allegedly fired the fatal shots.

The 25-year-old suspect was arrested shortly after Sunday's double killing charged with two counts of murder.



Photo Credit: SFC Jonathon Prins' GoFund Me]]>
<![CDATA[Cheers on Twitter for Hillary Clinton's Historic Nomination]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 19:31:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-579365810.jpg

Democrat Hillary Clinton made history Tuesday night when she became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party.

Other women, including Democrat Shirley Chisholm, have sought a major party nomination. And others have made third-party runs.

But after defeating U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton shattered a glass ceiling.

Supporters took to social media to applaud Clinton for her achievement.



Photo Credit: FilmMagic
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Faces You Won't See in Rio]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 14:33:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/not-going-to-rio.jpg Some athletes are opting out of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, citing injuries or concern about the Zika virus, among other reasons.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Fact Check: DNC Day 1]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 07:25:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-580950636-rnc.jpg

The 2016 Democratic National Convention is underway, and the factual inaccuracies on the first night focused on income, college tuition and something the Republican ticket had said or done.

  • Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “would cut taxes for the richest Americans at the expense of the middle class.” But all income levels would get some tax relief under Trump’s plan.
  • Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy wrongly claimed that Mike Pence, the GOP vice presidential nominee, “signed a law that would have forced women to hold funerals for fetuses.” The law said aborted or miscarried fetuses “must be cremated or interred” by the hospital or abortion facility.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders said Hillary Clinton “will guarantee” free tuition at public colleges or universities for families with annual incomes of $125,000 or less. But free tuition is not guaranteed. States must put up matching funds for the students to receive free tuition.
  • Sens. Casey and Kirsten Gillibrand both claimed that Trump had said that wages are “too high.” Trump was specifically talking about a $15 minimum wage when he made that comment, not wages overall.
  • Sanders said the “top one-tenth of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent,” a statistic that has been questioned by economists at the Federal Reserve Board.
  • Sanders also said the “top 1 percent in recent years has earned 85 percent of all new income,” but economists whose work Sanders has cited put the figure at 52 percent for 1993 to 2015.
  • Rep. Joe Kennedy III said Americans’ wages “have not budged in 40 years,” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren said wages were “flat.” Wages plunged in the 1970s and 1980s, and more recently have showed strong growth.

Note to Readers

This story was written with the help of the entire staff, including some of those based in Philadelphia who are at the convention site. As we did for the Republican National Convention, we intend to vet the major speeches at the Democratic National Convention for factual accuracy, applying the same standards to both.

Analysis

Trump’s Tax Plan

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Donald Trump “would cut taxes for the richest Americans at the expense of the middle class.” The wealthiest Americans would receive the largest tax cuts under Trump’s tax plan, but everyone would get some tax relief. Middle-income Americans would receive average tax cuts of about $2,700 in 2017 under Trump’s plan, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center.

Trump’s plan would, among other things, consolidate the current seven income tax brackets into four, with a top marginal rate of 25 percent (it’s currently 39.6 percent).

According to an analysis of the plan by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Trump’s proposal would “reduce taxes throughout the income distribution.” Nonetheless, the biggest cuts would come for the wealthiest Americans, in both raw dollars and as a percentage of income, the Tax Policy Center found. The top 1 percent, for example, would get an average tax cut of more than $275,000 (about 17.5 percent of after-tax income) in 2017.

But middle-income people would see a tax cut, too. “Middle-income households would receive an average tax cut of about $2,700,or about 5 percent of after-tax income,” the Tax Policy Center concluded.

An analysis by the Tax Foundation reached a similar conclusion — the biggest gains in after-tax income would accrue to the wealthiest taxpayers under Trump’s proposal. But the plan “would cut taxes and lead to higher after-tax incomes for taxpayers at all levels of income.”

The Tax Foundation analyzed the plan’s impact with (dynamic) and without (static) taking into account the expected effect on the economy. On a static basis, middle-income taxpayers — between the 30th to 80th percentiles — would see an increase in their after-tax adjusted gross income of between 3 percent and 8.3 percent. Taking into account the positive effects on the economy that the tax cuts could be expected to stimulate, the Tax Foundation found middle-income taxpayers — between the 30th to 70th percentiles — would see a nearly 20 percent increase in after-tax adjusted gross income.

The Tax Foundation cautioned that the loss in revenue under Trump’s plan — even with expected benefits to the economy — would “increase the federal government’s deficit by over $10 trillion” over 10 years. One could argue that such large tax cuts might lead to spending cuts that disproportionately affect middle-income taxpayers. But Trump has not been specific about where he would begin making spending cuts.

Funerals for Miscarriages?

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy claimed that GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence “signed a law that would have forced women to hold funerals for fetuses, even in some cases, for a miscarriage.” That’s not so.

The controversial anti-abortion bill Malloy referred to, which Indiana Gov. Pence signed into law March 24, contained a provision stating that an aborted or miscarried fetus “must be cremated or interred,” and that the hospital or abortion facility (not the mother, as Malloy suggested) is responsible for the disposition.

Some have characterized this as fetuses receiving “what amounts to a funeral.” But that’s incorrect.

The word “funeral” refers to a ceremony, not to the burial or cremation that follows. For example, Dictionary.com defines “funeral” as “the ceremonies for a dead person prior to burial or cremation.” (Emphasis added is ours.)

And in fact, the Indiana law required no funeral ceremony. It even specified that the parents would not be required to provide a name for the fetus. A federal judge blocked the law from going into effect late last month.

Clinton’s Tuition Plan

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “will ​guarantee”​ free tuition at in-state public colleges or universities for families with incomes of $125,000 a year or less. But free tuition would not be guaranteed. States must put up matching funds for free tuition.

Also, the free-tuition plan would be phased in and not available to families earning as much as $125,000 until 2021.

Sanders mentioned the free-tuition plan in his speech as an example of how Clinton has adopted some of his ideas for the general election in a show of unity after the contentious primary.

Sanders: During the primary campaign, Secretary Clinton and I both focused on [college debt] but with different approaches. Recently, however, we have come together on a proposal that will revolutionize higher education in America. It will guarantee that the children of any family in this country with an annual income of $125,000 a year or less – 83 percent of our population – will be able to go to a public college or university tuition free.

Clinton announced her plan on July 6, but her plan calls for states to “step up and invest in higher education.” The New York Times wrote that “the federal government would provide tuition grants to states that agree to put up some matching money.”

The paper noted that “some experts said details of the initiative — including exactly how it would work and be paid for — were sketchy, and raised concerns that some states would decline to contribute money.”

More recently, Times columnist Kevin Carey wrote, “States will be able to opt out of the Clinton plan, just as a significant number have chosen not to accept large federal subsidies to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.”

Also, free tuition would be gradually phased in, beginning with families earning $85,000 or less. “By 2021, families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities,” Clinton’s plan says.

So Sanders overstates the impact of Clinton’s plan when he says it “will ​guarantee”​ free tuition for families with incomes of $125,000 a year or less. Actually, the plan “could eventually provide free in-state tuition to eligible students,” as the Times writes.

Trump on Wages

Two speakers claimed that Trump had said that wages are “too high” in the United States. Not exactly. Trump said that in response to a question about raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Sen. Casey said that Trump said, “Wages in America, quote, are too high,” and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York repeated the talking point, saying, “Donald Trump actually stood on a debate stage and said that wages are ‘too high.’”

At a Nov. 10, 2015, debate hosted by Fox Business Network, Trump was asked if he was “sympathetic” to those who were calling for a $15 minimum wage. He responded that he “can’t be” because the country “is being beaten on every front economically.” He went on to say, “taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is.” The “it” was the federal minimum wage.

Here’s the question and Trump’s full answer:

Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Nov. 10, 2015: Mr. Trump, as the leading presidential candidate on this stage and one whose tax plan exempts couples making up to $50,000 a year from paying any federal income taxes at all, are you sympathetic to the protesters cause since a $15 wage works out to about $31,000 a year?

Trump: I can’t be Neil. And the and the reason I can’t be is that we are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily. There is nothing that we do now to win. We don’t win anymore. Our taxes are too high. I’ve come up with a tax plan that many, many people like very much. It’s going to be a tremendous plan. I think it’ll make our country and our economy very dynamic.

But, taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it.

Cavuto: So do not raise the minimum wage?

Trump: I would not do it.

Trump was criticized for the comment and was asked about it two days later on Fox News. Trump said, “And they said should we increase the minimum wage? And I’m saying that if we’re going to compete with other countries, we can’t do that because the wages would be too high. … The question was about the minimum wage. I’m not talking about wages being too high, I’m talking about minimum wage.”

Trump’s original statement may not have been clearly worded, but the context, and his explanation two days later, show he was talking about a $15 minimum wage being too high, not all wages in the U.S. in general.

Sanders’ Wealth and Income Talking Point

Sanders continued to strain the facts about inequality of income and wealth, as he had done throughout his campaign.

Wealth: Sanders said the “top one-tenth of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.”

That’s a hotly debated claim. Sanders referred to a study by economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics and Political Science, first published in October 2014. Their study indeed concluded that as of 2012, the top 0.1 percent of American households held 22 percent of the nation’s personal wealth, while the bottom 90 percent held 23 percent.

However, as we reported last year, Saez and Zucman’s work has been criticized by economists at the Federal Reserve Board, which has conducted its own studies of the wealth held by U.S. households since the 1960s.

The Fed’s survey data put the share of wealth held by the top 0.1 percent at 14 percent, not 22 percent, and the Fed said that group’s share had grown at only half the rate that the Saez-Zucman study stated.

Furthermore, in a paper published in 2015, four Fed economists argue that the Saez-Zucman methodology has an “upward bias.” It is based on inferring wealth from the income reported on federal tax returns, but the Fed economists argue that this fails to capture untaxed cash benefits to middle-income families, such as employer-paid health insurance and employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare.

Income: Sanders also said the “top 1 percent in recent years has earned 85 percent of all new income.” But that’s no longer so, even according to Saez and Zucman.

A June 2016 update by Saez now puts the percentage of income growth captured by the top 1 percent from 1993 to 2015 at 52 percent. That’s barely half — far below the 85 percent figure Sanders gave.

That same study also found “robust income growth for all groups” between 2013 and 2015, and said that for the bottom 99 percent, “incomes grew by 3.9% from 2014 to 2015, the best annual growth rate since 1999.”

So there is indeed evidence of large inequalities in the distribution of wealth and the growth of incomes. But Sanders exaggerates by using outdated or questionable data.

Roller-Coaster Wages

Rep. Joe Kennedy III said Americans’ wages “have not budged in 40 years,” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, his former law professor, said wages were “flat.” In fact, wages have had a roller-coaster ride during that time, and have been rising for years.

Kennedy: [Elizabeth Warren] taught us that [the law’s] impact lay not in classrooms or textbooks, but in a society where wages have not budged in 40 years.

Wages have more than “budged,” plunging in the 1970s and 1980s, and more recently showing strong growth.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 12.46.34 AM

It’s true that real (inflation-adjusted) average weekly wages for rank-and-file, nonsupervisory workers were still 3.2 percent lower in June 2016 than they were 40 years earlier, in June 1976, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But they were anything but stagnant in the interim, dropping 16.6 percent between January 1976 to the low point in January 1996.

Since then, weekly paychecks for nonsupervisory workers have regained nearly all that loss, and the upward trend continues.

Warren repeated Kennedy’s claim during her own speech, saying that “wages stay flat” in America.

Warren: I mean look around — Americans bust their tails, some working two or three jobs, but wages stay flat.

Actually, real average weekly earnings climbed 8.6 percent in the past eight years, and 4.5 percent in the past four years.

Kennedy and Warren are not the only politicians to have made this incorrect claim recently. “Flat wages” is also a Clinton claim, as we wrote previously here and here, and we flagged Trump on his statement that “wages have not been raised” here.

— Robert Farley, with Eugene Kiely, Brooks Jackson, Lori Robertson and Jenna Wang

Sources

Making college debt-free and taking on student debt.” Press release. Hillary for America. Undated, accessed 26 Jul 2016.

Saul, Stephanie and Matt Flegenheimer. “Hillary Clinton Embraces Ideas From Bernie Sanders’s College Tuition Plan.” New York Times. 6 Jul 2016.

Carey, Kevin. “The Trouble With Hillary Clinton’s Free Tuition Plan.” New York Times. 19 Jul 2016.

Hulse, Carl. “Candidates Join Clinton in Push for Tuition Plan Inspired by Sanders.” New York Times. 13 Jul 2016.

Donald J. Trump for President. “The Goals Of Donald J. Trump’s Tax Plan.” Accessed 25 Jul 2016.

Nunns, Jim, et al. “Analysis of Donald Trump’s Tax Plan.” Tax Policy Center. 22 Dec 2015.

Cole, Alan. “Details and Analysis of Donald Trump’s Tax Plan.” Tax Foundation. 29 Sep 2015.

Farley, Robert. “Trump on Clinton’s Tax Plans.” FactCheck.org. 28 Jun 2016.

FoxNews.com. “Special Report with Bret Baier” transcript. 12 Nov 2015.

WashingtonPost.com. “Who said what and what it meant: The 4th GOP debate, annotated.” 10 Nov 2015.

Saez, Emmanuel and Gabriel Zucman “Wealth Inequality in the United States Since 1913; Evidence From Capitalized Income Tax Data” National Bureau of Economic Research. Oct 2014.

Bricker, Jesse and Alice Henriques, Jacob Krimmel, and John Sabelhaus. “The Increase in Wealth Concentration, 1989-2013.” Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Jun 2015.

Bricker, Jesse and Alice Henriques, Jacob Krimmel, and John Sabelhaus. “Measuring Income and Wealth at the Top Using Administrative and Survey Data.” Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-030. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. April 2015.

Saez, Emmanuel. “Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States (Updated with 2015 preliminary estimates.” 25 Jun 2016.

House Enrolled Act No. 1337.” Indiana General Assembly.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Federer to Sit Out Olympics After Knee Injury]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 14:10:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Federer-GettyImages-545911056.jpg

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer will be sitting out the Rio Olympics and the rest of the 2016 season.

Federer, 34, announced his decision Tuesday on Facebook, citing a knee injury and a long road to recovery.

"Considering all options after consulting with my doctors and my team, I have made the very difficult decision to call an end to my 2016 season as I need more extensive rehabilitation following my knee surgery earlier this year," Federer wrote.

He said doctors instructed him to rest and heal if he wants to continue playing without further injury. Federer underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in February.

"It is tough to miss the rest of the year. However, the silver lining is that this experience has made me realize how lucky I have been throughout my career with very few injuries," Federer said, adding that he plans to return "strong, healthy and in shape to play attacking tennis in 2017."

Regarded as one of the best players in the history of tennis, Federer has won a record 17 Grand Slam titles and was ranked No. 1 in the world for years.

He fell awkwardly during the Wimbledon semifinals earlier this month, which he lost to Canada's Milos Raonic. Federer, who hasn't played since, said at the time he was unsure how seriously he had been hurt.



Photo Credit: Corbis via Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighter Battling Wildfire in San Diego Loses Home in Sand Fire]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 13:32:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/207*120/07-25-2016-sand-fire-5.jpg

Senior firefighter Sergio Toscano with the Little Tujunga Hotshots was on an assignment when he learned his house had been destroyed Saturday by the Sand Fire in the Angeles National Forest.

Toscano was fighting a fire in the Cleveland National Forest near San Diego at the time his home was destroyed.

Toscano's friend and colleague, Brandon Opliger, set up a Go Fund Me page for Toscano and his family. In the one day the site has been up over $16,000 of $30,000 goal has been raised, with over 260 unique donors.

Toscano discovered the Go Fund Me page and wishes to split funds with the family of two other firefighters that lost their homes in the same fire. Toscano has a young son who was with his mother during the fire.

The Sand fire has burned more than 58 square miles and at least 18 homes in the Santa Clarita Valley north of Los Angeles. It was 25 percent contained Monday morning.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Susan Sarandon, Sarah Silverman Ignite DNC Celebrity Bern]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 13:26:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sarandon-silverman.jpg

There's no doubt the Democrats trounced the Republicans in one contest: the Day One convention celebrity lineup. Scott Baio, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson proved no match for the wattage of Demi Lovato, Eva Longoria, Paul Simon and Sarah Silverman.

What's less clear is whether controversy sparked by some of the entertainment-world guests did their respective parties more harm than good.

Donald Trump supporter Baio got called out during an interview with MSNBC for retweeting a vile post slurring Hillary Clinton. Former underwear model Sabato absurdly insisted in an interview with ABC that – despite all evidence to the contrary – his fellow Christian President Obama is a Muslim.

On Monday night, Democratic schisms played out, in part, through the stars. While Simon's poignant croak of "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" sought to heal, comments fired from the convention stage by Sarah Silverman and eye-daggers shot from the crowd by Susan Sarandon threatened to irritate an open wound.

While the duo couldn't overshadow the night's biggest star – First Lady Michelle Obama – the attention Silverman and Sarandon grabbed underscored not only the growing role of celebrities in high-stakes political races, but the unpredictability they bring.

The GOP learned as much in 2012, via Clint Eastwood's bizarre improvised comedy act with an empty chair.

Silverman, a Bernie Sanders fan who is now supporting Clinton, offered a far funnier (including a racy crack about getting a cream for her “Bern”) and nuanced performance. She extolled Sanders and made a case for Clinton, without slamming Trump – normally an easy target for a caustic, left-leaning comedian.

Still, her comic instincts kicked in amid booing by from Sanders diehards, prompting her to react as if she were putting hecklers in their place. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," she said with comedian-turned-senator Al Franken at her side.

While her words likely rang true to many Democrats, they starkly highlighted a lack of the kind of unity party leaders had hoped to project on a night when even pleas on Clinton's behalf from Sanders and his fellow liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren couldn't ground the boo-birds.

Sarandon, meanwhile, gave voice to the split without uttering a syllable. The Sanders supporter, who told TYT Politics last month that Clinton “in a way” is “more dangerous” than Trump, became an Internet meme after journalist Ian McKenna tweeted a gif of her looking miserable in the Philadelphia arena.  

“Susan Sarandon is having literally the worst time at the #DemConvention,” McKenna noted. Sarandon retweeted the observation, and added: "Accurate."

Her short, if not sweet, tweet likely won't be the final word from a celebrity during a divisive president election cycle in which both parties got humbling reminders that reaching out to the stars brings a risk of feeling the burn.

Jere Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.



Photo Credit: WireImage/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DNC Day 1: 'I'm With Her' and Other Top Moments]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 07:54:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/MichelleBernie.jpg

The Clinton campaign's call to unite to defeat Donald Trump ran headlong into angry supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders as the Democrats opened their convention in Philadelphia on Monday to protests inside and outside the Wells Fargo Center. Even as the camps worked together to bring the convention under control, Sanders' backers remained enraged after leaked emails seemed to show the Democratic National Committee working against Sanders during the primaries.

The opening night of the convention featured Sanders, first lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

"An Outstanding President"
Sanders' endorsement was unequivocal: "Based on her ideas and her leadership Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States," he told the convention.

The election for president was not about any of the candidates, he said, but about the needs of the American people and the kind of future that is created.

"This election is about which candidate understands the real problems facing this country and has offered real solutions – not just bombast, not just fear-mongering, not just name-calling and divisiveness," he said.

The country needs leadership that will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor, leadership that brings people together and makes the country stronger, he said.

"If you don't believe that this election is important, if you think you can sit it out, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate -  and what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights and the future of our country," he told his supporters.

The last speaker of the night, he began only after a long ovation. The election is about the threat of climate change, moving the United States toward universal health care, passing comprehensive immigration reform and repairing a broken criminal justice system, he said.

"Our job now is to see that strong Democratic platform implemented by a Democratic-controlled Senate, by a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton presidency," he said. "And I am going to do all that I can to make that happen."

"In this Election, I’m With Her"
First lady Michelle Obama told the convention that she trusted Clinton to lead the country because she had seen Clinton's lifelong devotion to the country's children. Clinton, she said, has spent decades trying to make a difference in their lives.

The election is not about Democrats or Republicans, she said. It is about "who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives."

Eight years ago, when Clinton did not win the nomination, she did not get angry or disillusioned, Obama said. She did not pack up but became the secretary of state.

"She never buckles under pressure," Obama said of Clinton. "She never takes the easy way out and Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life."

Obama said she wanted someone as president who had proved she would preserve, not someone with a thin skin or a tendency to lash out.

It was one of several time she took on Trump without using his name.

She said she wanted in the White House "someone who understands that the issues a president faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters." 

Addressing Trump's past insinuations that her husband wasn't born in the country, Obama said she urged her daughters "to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith." 

"Our motto is: When they go low, we go high."

Obama also riffed on Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again." 

"Don't let anyone ever tell you that this country isn't great, that somehow we need to make it great again," she said. "Because this right now is the greatest country on earth."

"Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters, and all our sons and daughters, take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States," she said.

Obama told the crowd: "In this election I’m with her."

The Keynote Speaker
Warren, the Democrat from Massachusetts and a darling of the left, has memorably called Trump a "small, insecure money grubber."

Monday's keynote speaker, she went after Trump again with fervor — calling Trump University, the real-estate training program founded by Trump and now the subject of two class-action lawsuits, a "fake." His bankruptcies allowed him to protect his own money while his investors lost theirs, she said.

"What kind of man would do that," she asked.

"I'll tell you what kind of man, a man who must never be a president of the United States," said Warren, who remained neutral during the primaries and who endorsed Clinton in June.

She said that Trump thought that he could win votes by fanning the flames of fear and hatred, by persuading the country that its problem was other Americans who look different or talk or worship differently.

"That’s Donald Trump's America," she said. "An America of fear and hate. An America where we all break apart. Whites against Blacks and Latinos. Christians against Muslims and Jews.  Straight against gay.  Everyone against immigrants.  Race, religion, heritage, gender – the more factions the better."

But when white workers in Ohio are pitted against black workers in North Carolina or Latino workers in Florida, who benefits? she asked.

"When we turn on each other, bankers can run our economy for Wall Street, oil companies can fight off clean energy, and giant corporations can ship the last good jobs overseas," she said.

"When we turn on each other, we can't unite to fight back against a rigged system," she said.

"You're Being Ridiculous"
Comedian and actress Sarah Silverman, a well-known supporter of Sanders, offered one of the most memorable lines of the evening.

"To the Bernie or bust people, you're being ridiculous," she said to his die-hard backers.

Sanders showed the country what was possible and what it deserved but Clinton was now the Democratic nominee "and I will proudly vote for her," she said.

Minnesota U.S. Sen. Al Franken, a former writer and performer for "Saturday Night Live," showed his comedy chops Monday night as he attacked Trump's business record, particularly Trump University.

Franken joked that he had gotten a doctorate in megalomania studies from Trump University, paying for it by emptying his 401K and taking out a reverse mortgage on his house.

"Sure he scammed a lot of people," Franken said of Trump. "But did you know that Trump's school of ripping people off is ranked second in the nation right behind Bernie Madoff University. That is no mean feat."

Franken mocked the Trump business school’s bankruptcy program, a reference to Trump’s bankruptcies, and what he called its most popular course, Bankruptcy 101: How to Leave Your Partners Holding the Bag.

At the end, Silverman and Franken waited awkwardly for Paul Simon to take the stage to sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Turmoil at the Democratic National Committee
Debbie Wasserman Schultz's fall was complete on Monday, first as the Democratic national chairwoman and then as a speaker at the party's convention in Philadelphia.

Wasserman Schultz was booed at the breakfast for Florida delegates, her home state, in the morning, and greeted with signs reading "E-MAILS" and "Thanks for the Help Debbie!:)." By the afternoon she had told the Florida newspaper, the Sun Sentinel, that she would step aside for the convention's opening.

"I have decided that in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note that I am not going to gavel in the convention," she said.

Sanders' supporters are furious about leaked Democratic emails that appear to show that the party had tried to undermine him — a charge the Sanders camp made throughout the primary season. In one email, Wasserman Schultz said of Sanders' statement that he would oust her: "He isn't going to be president."

Wasserman Schultz agreed on Sunday to step down as chairwoman at the end of the convention. On Monday, the Democratic National Committee apologized to Sanders and his supporters for what it called "inexcusable remarks made over email."

The emails went counter to the committee's "steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process," it said.

During the day on Monday, Sanders told his supporters: "Her resignation opens up the possibility of new leadership at the top of a Democratic Party that will stand with working people."


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Top Sports Photos]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:26:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_16208116252680.jpg Click to see dramatic game action photos from professional football, hockey, basketball, baseball and more.

Photo Credit: LM Otero/AP]]>