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Authorities announce two deaths in Florida as the number of US cases increases to at least 400

The death toll from coronavirus in the United States rose on Saturday afternoon to 19 people, as authorities announced two deaths in Florida, the first US deaths outside the west coast, two more in Washington state and the governor of New York declared a state of emergency.

Across the country, there were at least 400 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local governments.

More than 3,000 people remained quarantined on the Grand Princess, a cruise ship moored off the coast of San Francisco, California, as authorities tested crew members and passengers among those from 50 countries onboard.

At least 21 of those had tested positive for the virus, and Donald Trump said Friday that he preferred the passengers stay onboard the ship, so they would not increase the number of coronavirus cases on American soil.

I like the numbers being where they are, Trump said, in widely criticized remarks. I dont need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasnt our fault.

The head of the US Food and Drug Administration said in a rare Saturday briefing that materials for 2.1m coronavirus tests will have been shipped to non-public US labs by Monday, as the Trump administration aimed to counter criticism that its response to the disease has been sluggish and confusing.

Stephen Hahn, the FDA commissioner, told reporters at the White House that manufacturers have told the agency they believe that by the end of next week they could scale up to a capacity of 4m additional tests.

New efforts have been announced to prevent the spread of disease and protect vulnerable people. Officials in Seattle, Washington, which has one of the largest populations of homeless people in the country, are setting up locations for homeless people who might need treatment or self-quarantine for coronavirus.

On Friday, the gig economy organizing group Gig Workers Rising had published a petition asking chief executives at Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, Instacart, DoorDash, Postmates and Handy to give workers paid sick time off during the coronavirus outbreak.

On Friday night, an Uber executive made a partial response to concerns about gig economy workers vulnerability to contagion, saying the company would pay drivers and couriers diagnosed with the Covid-19 novel coronavirus, or quarantined by public health officials for up to 14 days, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Meanwhile, the number of cases of coronavirus continued to rise across the country, fueling continued concerns about whether the nations healthcare system was prepared for the additional strain.

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A person wearing a mask walks down a street a day after 60 people were brought to nearby hospitals to be tested for coronavirus, in Boston, Massachusetts. Photograph: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

Andrew Cuomo, New York states governor, announced there were at least 76 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state as of early Saturday afternoon, a jump of 21 overnight, and that he was declaring a state of emergency, which allows a state to take special control of funds and resources.

He criticized the Trump administration, where the vice-president, who has been put in charge of containing the crisis, and the president, have been speaking at cross-purposes.

On Thursday Mike Pence, the vice-president, said there were not enough coronavirus testing kits available in the US to meet medical demand, but on Friday afternoon Donald Trump said there was testing available for all who needed it.

That has caused consternation, anxiety, Cuomo said on Saturday. You know whats worse than the virus? The anxiety, and the fear and the confusion.

There is a growing sense that the US government is not fully in control of preparing for and managing either various aspects of the medical situation or public information.

The White House should have been telling every hospital to be prepared to see these cases, knowing how to manage bed space in hospitals if this gets bad and preparing the public for the fact that were going to be facing a pandemic rather than saying its containable, Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security and an infectious-disease physician, told the Washington Post. The idea of containment requires a lot of public health resources that can be better spent.

The US capital, Washington DC, reported its first presumptive case on Saturday evening.

In the Pacific north-west state of Washington, the main center of the outbreak and death toll so far in the United States, healthcare providers said medical supplies, including masks, are growing scarce, the Seattle Times reported.

And in Washington DC, financial regulators made contingency plans for how to oversee financial markets as the coronavirus closes in on the capital. Officials said Friday that the first three cases of the pneumonia-like disease had been diagnosed in Montgomery county, Maryland, home to thousands of federal workers who commute to nearby Washington daily.

Concerns about coronavirus led to the cancellation of major events, including South by Southwest, a tech, music and film conference that typically draws more than 400,000 people to Austin, Texas, in late March.

Similarly, the forthcoming womens world hockey championships in Canada were canceled Saturday.

In California, the San Francisco Symphony has cancelled performances at its symphony hall through 20 March.

At least two universities on the west coast announced that they would temporarily hold classes online, rather than in person. The University of Washington, being at the center of the US spread so far, and Stanford University, in California, where the university announced that two undergraduate students were in self-isolation after possible exposure to coronavirus.

At the University of California, Los Angeles, three students who were tested for Covid-19 have all tested negative, and the university is continuing to hold live classes on campus for the moment, the universitys chancellor, Gene Block, said.

Internationally there is disagreement among leading experts about whether the virus has reached pandemic status.

California state authorities were working on Saturday evening with federal officials to bring the Grand Princess cruise ship to a non-commercial port and test the 3,500 people aboard.

There was no immediate word on where the vessel will dock. Pence said at a meeting in Florida with cruise line executives that officials were still working on the plan.

All passengers and crew will be tested for the coronavirus and quarantined as necessary, he said.

In Seattle, Washington, which has one of the largest populations of homeless people in the United States, local officials said they have designed a plan to help treat any members of the citys homeless population who might contract coronavirus.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/07/coronavirus-us-deaths-new-york-emergency-florida

Police report says singer punched a hotel security guard on New Years Eve

Sir Rod Stewart has been charged with battery after an alleged scuffle at the entrance to a private New Years Eve party for children at a hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.

The altercation is also believed to have involved Stewarts 39-year-old son, Sean, who is accused of pushing a security guard.

The incident began when young children in the family group were refused entry to the party. Stewart, 74, is alleged to have struck the guards chest with a closed fist, according to a police report.

Stewart and his son have both been charged with simple battery and are due to appear at the Palm Beach county criminal justice complex early next month.

According to the report, the singer has apologised for his behaviour in the incident and told police that he and his family had approached the check-in table at the Breakers hotel to try to gain entry for their children. According to Stewarts affidavit, once the family were denied access, a security guard, Jesse Dixon, became argumentative, causing his family to become agitated.

The police officers report also cites the witness statements of two other hotel employees, who have alleged that Stewart punched Dixon in the chest.

Dixon told police the Stewart family group began to get loud and cause a scene, and refused to follow instructions to leave. The guard said he asked Sean to step back when he came up about nose to nose with him.

Police say Dixon claimed that Sean then shoved him after he put his right hand on his chest, and that Stewart punched him in the ribs.

Stewart and his son are described as primary aggressors in a document filed by an arresting officer, who claims to have looked at video camera footage.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/jan/04/rod-stewart-charged-alleged-altercation-florida-hotel

Paramedics were called to Nick Gordons hotel room, officials say, as death comes nearly five years after Brown found unresponsive

The ex-partner of singer Whitney Houstons late daughter was found unresponsive in a central Florida hotel room and later died, authorities said Thursday.

Paramedics were called to Nick Gordons hotel room in Maitland, a suburb of Orlando, early Wednesday morning to check on an unresponsive man, according to a statement from the Maitland police department.

The paramedics in the Sheraton hotel room began treating Gordon, 30, who was identified in the police statement as Nicholas Bouler. Det James Anderson of the Maitland police told the Associated Press that Bouler is Gordons legal name.

Gordon was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Anderson said he couldnt offer any further details on what happened to Gordon since the case is under investigation. The detective wouldnt say if it was a criminal investigation.

Gordons death comes nearly five years after Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the singers Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, was found face down and unresponsive in a bathtub in January 2015. The 22-year-old died after six months in a coma. Houston died in 2012 after she drowned in a bathtub.

Investigators with the medical examiners office were not able to determine exactly how Bobbi Kristina Brown died. An autopsy showed that she had morphine, cocaine, alcohol and prescription drugs in her body, but the medical examiner couldnt determine if she killed herself, if someone else killed her or if her death was accidental.

Her family blamed Gordon, accusing him in the lawsuit of giving her a toxic cocktail before putting her face down in the water.

Gordon was never charged in the case, but he was found responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit. An Atlanta judge ordered him to pay $36m to Browns estate.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/02/nick-gordon-dead-unresponsive-bobbi-kristina-brown

Official praises effective temporary measure using looped childrens song to drive away people from banqueting venue

City officials in West Palm Beach, Florida, are using extremely catchy childrens music to try and drive away homeless people from one of its civic buildings.

The citys mayor, Keith James, confirmed to Fox News that the songs Baby Shark and Raining Tacos were being played at the patio of the Waterfront Lake Pavilion, where homeless people have been living.

The pavilion is a banqueting venue that hosts weddings and other events, and brings in $240,000 (192,000) of annual revenue. James complained of finding human faeces and other unsanitary things around it.

It has been effective and is a temporary measure to make the area accessible for those who have rented the facility and for future events, said Leah Rockwell, the citys director for parks and recreation. We are not forcing individuals to stay on the patio of the pavilion to listen to the music. The music is heard only if you are on the patio, a very small area relative to the rest of the waterfront.

The city has previously attempted to use classical music to deter drug dealers, but the unit powering the speakers was smashed.

One homeless man Fox News spoke to said the childrens songs hadnt been enough to move him on. I still lay down in there, Illaya Champion said. But its on and on, the same songs.

Activism network National Coalition for the Homeless criticised the initiative, with its interim director Megan Hustings calling it immoral and disturbing, showing a lack of concern for our community members who are struggling through a very rough time.

Pinkfongs 2016 song Baby Shark has become a sensation among young children and their embattled parents with over 3bn views on YouTube, making it the eighth most viewed video of all time. Beginning in August 2018, it spent 42 weeks on the UK charts, reaching a high of No 6. Raining Tacos, an upbeat tune by Parry Gripp about the meteorological phenomenon of the title, has earned 31m views on YouTube since it was published in 2012.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/jul/18/florida-city-constantly-plays-baby-shark-to-deter-homeless-from-civic-building

Survivors of the Florida attack have grown up in a world where school shootings are the norm, and they want a different future

Post-Columbine generation demands action on guns: ‘We don’t deserve this’

Survivors of the Florida attack have grown up in a world where school shootings are the norm, and they want a different future

Unsure whether he would be a victim or survivor of the mass shooting taking place outside his Florida classroom, 14-year-old Aidan Minoff sent an eight-word tweet.

I am in a school shooting right now … Aidan said, before the world knew the day would end with 17 students and teachers dead.

Tens of thousands of people locked onto Aidans feed for the next 86 minutes, where he posted messages from the linoleum floor of his classroom, amid a forest of metal desk legs.

When the carnage ended, Aidan, and other teenagers who survived the attack, faced the cold lens of news cameras, not knowing the fate of all their friends and teachers, but they were sure about one thing.

Solutions must be found to tackle US gun violence crisis. How are we allowed to buy guns at the age of 18 or 19? Thats something we shouldnt be able to do, Lyliah Skinner, who survived the shooting, told CNN.

Were children, David Hogg, a 17-year-old survivor, said. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together. Come over your politics and get something done.

Amid the ritual cycle of despair of congressional inaction on gun violence, these powerful young voices have increased the pressure on politicians only offering thoughts and prayers.

There is talk of the post-Columbine generation.

break the cycle

These Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school students were all born shortly after the 1999 shooting at Columbine high school in Colorado which is no longer in the top 10 most fatal mass shootings in the US. Theyve lived through active-shooter drills at school and have seen the introduction of bullet-proof backpacks in child-friendly bright colors and funky patterns. They have instant access on the internet to the brutal facts and footage of mass shootings in the US the five most deadly of which took place in the 10-year period from 2007 to 2017.

They have also seen lawmakers fail to stop this from happening even after 192 people and five perpetrators were killed in those five shootings at a music festival, nightclub, church, university and elementary school.

At a federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday afternoon, Stoneman Douglas students took the stage at an anti-gun rally.

Teenager Emma Gonzalez delivered an impassioned speech, holding back tears and challenging the argument that something other than stricter gun laws could have prevented the attack.

We need to pay attention to the fact that this isnt just a mental health issue, said Gonzalez. He wouldnt have harmed that many students with a knife.

The failure of US gun laws was obvious when it emerged on Friday that 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was named as the gunman and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, had legally bought the AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle and ammunition used in the shooting at a tactical supply store in Coral Springs after passing a background check. The FBI also admitted on Friday it failed to investigate a specific report in January that Cruz, a former Stoneman Douglas student, could be plotting a school shooting.

And in the 48 hours following Cruzs arrest on Wednesday, schools across the country cancelled class in response to copycat threats. Some students were arrested on suspicion of planning to carry out attacks.

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A memorial for Meadow Pollack, one of the victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. Photograph: Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images

During a funeral Friday for 18-year-old Meadow Pollack, her father looked at his daughters coffin and screamed as Floridas governor Rick Scott and 1,000 others looked on. Our kids should be safe, Andrew Pollack said.

The Stoneman Douglas students have joined the more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools who have experienced a shooting on campus since Columbine, according to a Washington Post analysis. It is a conservative calculation that does not include dozens of suicides, accidents and after-school assaults.

Hogg, a student journalist, said he interviewed people while the shooting took place. I recorded those videos because I didnt know if I was going to survive, he told the New York Times. But I knew that if those videos survived, they would echo on and tell the story. And that story would be one that would change things, I hoped. And that would be my legacy.

Cameron Kasky, a 17-year-old Stoneman Douglas high student, created a Never Again Facebook page for his peers and the community to press for action. About 50 students at a nearby high school walked-out in protest of the governments failure to respond to gun violence on Friday.

On Sunday, a group of students from Stoneman Douglas high school announced they were planning a march on Washington DC on Saturday 24 March to demand action on guns. And a National Walk Out is planned for the 20th anniversary of Columbine on 20 April.

At South Broward high school, about 30 miles from Stoneman Douglas, student protesters held signs that said: It couldve been us. and Your silence is killing us.

Student Ianna Seemungal, 17, said she participated in the protest because she was tired of not feeling safe. We dont deserve this, she said. We need to be safe. Theres nowhere to be safe. … We cant even go to school.

When the Huffington Post asked Ianna if she was worried about being punished for leaving class, she shrugged. No, Ianna said. And if I do, it was worth it.

When Donald Trump touched down in Florida on Friday night to meet with victims, first responders and doctors, students and the community continued to press for a response.

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A gun-control rally in Parkland, Florida, on 17 February. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

I dont want Trump to come but we want more gun safety, said 18-year-old student Kevin Trejos. Its a dream. It hasnt hit me yet.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) spent more than $30m in 2016 to support Trumps presidential campaign. During the visit, Trump did not respond to a question about whether gun laws need to be changed.

While conservatives who oppose strict gun laws traditionally respond by offering thought and prayers and encouraging people to not politicize tragedies, student survivors held them to account in the days after the shooting.

The conservative Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren provided the routine response on Twitter, where she said: Can the left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda?

Carly Novell, a 17-year-old Stoneman Douglas high student, tweeted the cold truth of her experience back at Lahren.

I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours, Novell said. It was about guns. You werent there, you dont know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns.

epic

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/17/florida-school-shooting-columbine-generation-gun-control

Attack on a Florida high school is the eighth shooting to have resulted in death or injury during the first seven weeks of the year

How many US school shootings have there been in 2018 so far?

Attack on a Florida high school is the eighth shooting to have resulted in death or injury during the first seven weeks of the year

Just seven weeks into 2018, there have been eight shootings at US schools that have resulted in injury or death.

Seventeen people have been confirmed dead in the latest shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Valentines Day.

Less than a month ago, a 15-year-old student opened fire at a high school in Kentucky, leaving two students dead and 18 injured. Other incidents have been grave, but on a smaller scale.

In early February, one student in Los Angeles was shot in the head, and another in the arm, when a gun concealed in a fellow students backpack went off.

The congressman Bill Nelson, a Democrat of Florida, said on Wednesday afternoon: Are we coming to expect these mass shootings to be routine? And then after every one we say enough is enough and then it continues to happen?

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Trump on Florida shooting: ‘We hurt for the entire community’ video

Congress has refused to tighten restrictions on gun ownership, even after 20 children and six educators were massacred in 2012 in Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.

Were lessening the threshold of how crazy someone needs to be to commit a mass shooting, Austin Eubanks, who survived the 1999 shooting at Columbine high school, told the Guardian last fall.

He was speaking in the wake of catastrophic Las Vegas shooting, where a depressed man took up position high up in a hotel, with a large arsenal of guns and ammunition, and sprayed bullets upon a music concert audience, killing 58 and injuring more than 800. Eubanks said he had watched an increasing pace of mass shootings across the US, in schools and elsewhere, with fear and anxiety.

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‘This happens nowhere else’: senator decries gun laws after Florida shooting video

The fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting last December passed in subdued fashion, with congressional Republicans refusing to pass new gun control laws and instead pushing for a law that would weaken gun restrictions nationwide and make it easier to carry a concealed weapon across state lines. Donald Trump won the White House campaigning on a promise to support the National Rifle Association (NRA), the influential gun rights group, and oppose any limits to Americans right to own guns.

Q&A

Why is the National Rifle Association so powerful?

Its not (just) about the money. In 2017, the NRA spent at least $4.1m on lobbying more than the $3.1m it spent in all of 2016. But for comparison, the dairy industry has spent $4.4m in the same period, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). The National Association of Realtors, one of the biggest spenders, has paid out $32.2m lobbying on housing issues.

The NRA has plenty of cash to spend. It bet big on the 2016 US elections, pouring $14.4m into supporting 44 candidates who won and $34.4m opposing 19 candidates who lost, according to CRP.

But the real source of its power, I believe, comes from voters, said Adam Winkler, a UCLA professor of constitutional law.

The 145-year-old organization claims 5 million active members, that number is disputed, but whatever its actual size, membership is a powerful tool, said Robert Spitzer, a professor at the State University of New York at Cortland.

They have a very powerful ability to mobilize a grassroots support and to engage in politics when most Americans can barely be bothered to vote, he said. And because so few Americans do those things, if you get a bunch of people in a locality who are all prepared to go out to a meeting they can have a big effect.” Read more

Photograph: Mark Humphrey/AP

In all, guns have been fired on school property in the US at least 18 times so far this year, according to incidents tracked by Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group. In eight of these cases, a gun was fired on school property, but no one was injured. Another two incidents were gun suicides, claiming the lives of one student and one adult on school property.

The repeated tragedies and frightening incidents continue to spark deeply divided political responses, with some Americans urging tighter laws on gun sales and ownership and others advocating for putting more armed guards in schools, or making it easier for teachers and parents to carry their own concealed weapons.
Experts caution that the toll of gun violence on children and teenagers falls heaviest outside of schools. Youngsters are much more likely to be shot in their own homes or neighborhoods than at school, according to research by the school safety expert Dewey Cornell.

But the emotional impact of school shootings has sparked a booming school safety industry. In 2017, the market for security equipment in the education sector was estimated at $2.68bn, according to industry analysts at IHS Markit. Some companies have capitalized on parents fears by selling bulletproof backpacks or whiteboards, as well as offering ways to fortify school buildings themselves against attack.

While refusing to pass substantive gun control restrictions, Congress has approved hundreds of millions of dollars in federal spending to help put police officers in public schools, including $45m in 2013, the year after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.

Some gun rights advocates have pushed to expand gun-carrying in schools further. Andrew McDaniel, a state legislator in Missouri who introduced legislation last year to make it easier to carry guns in schools, told the Guardian that, in rural schools where it might take 20 or 30 minutes for law enforcement to respond to a school shooting in progress, it made sense to have other armed citizens ready to step in.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/14/school-shootings-in-america-2018-how-many-so-far

This week 3,000 college students met near Trumps Mar-a-Lago resort for a summit on free speech, the culture wars, and the dangers posed by the left

Its an American tradition that any large gathering of students usually ends up in a party. Such a convocation in Florida this week, barely a stones throw from Donald Trumps opulent winter retreat at Mar-a-Lago, was billed as a political action summit for young conservatives. In the event, amid a multitude of Make America Great Again caps and Trump for America flags, it was essentially a raucous celebration of the president himself.

About 3,000 students from campuses nationwide gathered on Trumps doorstep at the Palm Beach County convention center for the four-day winter summit, hosted by Turning Point USA. The mission statement of that young persons activist group promotes non-partisan debate, dialogue and discussion. But its leanings were signalled pretty clearly in the quasi-official motto that was printed on placards placed on every seat: Big government sucks.

A succession of Trumps biggest cheerleaders joined the party as headline speakers, from former White House staffers Sebastian Gorka and Anthony Scaramucci to rightwing commentators and broadcasters including Dennis Prager and Tomi Lahren. Each warned the eager young loyalists of the dangers posed by the left.

Some of the loudest appreciation was, however, reserved for the presidents son Donald Trump Jr, who came to tell the students that faceless government officials were behind special counsel Robert Muellers investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

There is, and there are, people at the highest levels of government that dont want to let America be America, Trump Jr told his enthusiastic audience. My father talked about rigged system during the campaign, and it is. Now were seeing it.

Charlie Kirk, the 24-year-old founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, is seen as a rising star of the right. He bristled at the suggestion his lineup of speakers was weighted to deliver a strongly pro-Trump message.

Its actually a very diverse group, racially diverse, ethnically diverse and philosophically diverse, he told the Guardian, shortly before taking to the stage with Trump Jr.

One of these dishonest reporters I was talking to a couple of weeks ago said, Hey Charlie, it seems your speaker lineup is all people who love Trump and work for Fox News. I said, Thats one of the most intellectually dishonest statements Ive ever seen.

Conservative
Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren was among the speakers at the Turning Point USA summit. Photograph: Colin Young-Wolff/Invision/AP

We have Austin Petersen, who ran for president under the Libertarian party, who is a total Never Trumper. We have Ben Shapiro, who is like the leading Never Trump voice, we have libertarian speakers such as Dave Rubin.

We want big names, people that draw attention, and you know what? Theres going to be a lot of contradictory statements. Were cool with that. Theres going to be Alex Epstein in a shirt that says I love fossil fuels and were going to have speakers talking about how conservatives should better embrace the idea of climate change. It shows that we as Turning Point we embrace conservatives, libertarians, people in the middle.

So why the need for an action summit when Trump won the election 13 months ago and conservatives control both houses of Congress?

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

The President has accomplished some absolutely historic things during this past year. Thank you Charlie Kirk of Turning Points USA. Sadly, the Fake Mainstream Media will NEVER talk about our accomplishments in their end of year reviews. We are compiling a long & beautiful list.

December 22, 2017

Ive found over the last couple of years how intolerant and dangerous college campuses have become for conservatives, Kirk said, citing a culture war he sees raging between left and right.

We find it unacceptable that students are kicked out of class for wearing Trump shirts or being ostracised for their beliefs. Were not going to accept the campus culture as it is. Were not going to play the victim card like we always accuse the left of doing. Were going to be saying, You know what? Yeah were under attack, lets punch back twice as hard.

Hastily, he added: Metaphorically, of course.

Fighting the PC police

On the floor, the opening night matched anything seen at a Trump campaign rally. Shouts of lock her up echoed whenever Hillary Clintons name was mentioned; there were chants of CNN sucks whenever anybody referenced the hated media. Prager, a conservative radio talkshow host and accomplished amateur conductor, warned the left was trying to hijack and kill off classical music. Trump Jr claimed it was now illegal in California to call a man with a beard sir if they identified as female.

One of the most popular themes of the night, if not the entire conference, was the perceived victimisation and persecution of conservative students and accompanying restrictions on free speech. It was a message reinforced by breakout sessions entitled Suing your school 101: knowing and defending the first amendment on campus and Fighting the PC police on your campus.

Supporters
Supporters greet Donald Trump as he arrives at West Palm Beach airport on 22 December. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Trump Jr backed up Kirks claim of a culture war, with the nations colleges and universities as the battleground. You guys are on the frontlines, he said.

Greg Aselbekian, a 24-year-old studying business management at Nichols College, Massachusetts, said he had lost friends over his support for Trump.

I feel the whole country is even more divided, he said. You got the media, you got everybody telling you to vote for Hillary or vote Democrat, and the people who listen to them will not really listen to our side because they think the left side is the only way to be.

You have antifa destroying cities, youve got groups like Black Lives Matter and feminism just taking things way to a different level, all these marches and riots. Anyone whos white who voted for Trump is a white supremacist. Theres a price to pay when youre in favour of Trump or anything rightwing.

Joel Valdez, 18, a first-year political science major at the University of Illinois, said a campus incident in which a leftwing activist smashed his phone had only bolstered his resolve.

Im a Hispanic American and theyre calling me white supremacist, he said. After the election of Donald Trump the left was really shaken up. [But] the conservative message is going to resonate with people who felt left out by the Democrats.

Hannah Bickford, 21, a music student at Montana State University, was dressed in a Trump hat and college Republican shirt to signal her support for the president. She declared she was very happy with his performance so far.

Im here to network with people and hear from amazing speakers and people who share similar ideas, learn from each other and grow as a group of people, she said. Im open to anything, to listen and discuss.

You cant really learn unless youre open to new things.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/23/conservative-student-summit-florida-turning-point-usa-trump

The 67-year-old Partridge Family actor and singer is surrounded by his family after being rushed to hospital in Florida, spokeswoman says

US actor and singer David Cassidy is conscious and surrounded by family, his spokeswoman has said, after he was admitted to hospital for organ failure earlier this week.

The Partridge Family star, 67, was rushed to a Florida hospital three days ago and requires a liver transplant. A spokeswoman for Cassidy told the Press Association: He is now conscious and surrounded by family, following reports he had been put into an induced coma.

Cassidy rose to fame in the early 1970s through the musical sitcom The Partridge Family, where he played the eldest of five siblings who embarked upon a musical career together.

The success of the show spawned more than a dozen group and solo albums and sparked Cassidymania, with hordes of young fans buying lunchboxes, pillowcases, bubblegum and other items adorned with Cassidys image.

In February, Cassidy announced he was suffering from dementia, a condition suffered by both his mother and grandfather. He said he was in denial about his health until a fraught performance in California where he appeared to be slurring his words and reportedly fell off the stage at one point.

The star, who enjoyed hits in the 1970s like How Can I Be Sure, said he had decided to stop touring, adding: I want to focus on what I am. I want to love. I want to enjoy life.

In 2014, a judge sentenced Cassidy who divorced his third wife last year and was recently declared bankrupt to three months in rehab and five years probation for drink-driving.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2017/nov/18/david-cassidy-hospital-organ-failure

Presidents gather for fundraiser for those affected by hurricanes that struck Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

The five living former US presidents made a rare appearance together on stage on Saturday night at a fundraiser for those affected by recent hurricanes that struck Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

It was a show of unity and compassion after a week in which Barack Obama and George W Bush broke an unwritten rule to deliver implicit criticism of the present occupant of the White House.

While neither mentioned Donald Trump by name, Bush gave a speech in New York expressing concern that bigotry seems emboldened in a climate of cruel rhetoric and nativism, while Obama referred to the politics of division and folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry at Democratic campaign stops in New Jersey and Virginia.

Politics was set aside for the sold-out concert at Texas A&M Universitys Reed Arena, however, as Bush, Obama, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George HW Bush were given a rapturous welcome by the audience. Both Bushes live in Texas and the 41st presidents library and museum is on the A&M campus.

The event, Deep From The Heart: The One America Appeal, featured a host of country and gospel music stars. It was launched last month after Hurricane Harvey battered Texas and expanded when Hurricane Irma hit Florida and Hurricane Maria devastated parts of the Caribbean, together causing several hundred deaths and billions of dollars in damage.

Trump, whose response to relief efforts in Puerto Rico has come under fire, has frequently denigrated Obama and earlier this year baselessly claimed his predecessor in the Oval Office ordered Trump Tower to be wiretapped before the 2016 election. Last Monday he intimated Obama and other former presidents treated the families of dead military members with a lack of respect.

However, he recorded a two-minute video message for the appeal which was rather more collegial in tone. Now, as we begin to rebuild, some of Americas finest public servants are spearheading the One America Appeal. Through this effort, all five living former presidents are playing a tremendous role in helping our fellow citizens recover, he said.

[First Lady] Melania and I want to express our deep gratitude for your tremendous assistance. This wonderful effort reminds us that we truly are one nation, under God, all unified by our values and our devotion to one another.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/22/all-five-living-former-us-presidents-make-rare-appearance-together

Kristen Bell was shooting a movie in Florida when Hurricane Irma struck, and after helping Frozen co-star Josh Gad’s get to safety, she’s set out to spread cheer to others who are stuck in Orlando.

Bell—who’s stuck in Orlando along with the crew of her film—asked her followers if anyone in Orlando played piano over the weekend, and it didn’t take long to see what she had planned. She stopped by Meadow Woods Middle School to perform tunes for the children, including “For the First Time in Forever,” the song her character Anna sings from Frozen.

“I hope maybe some of these songs are running through your head the rest of the day and will take your mind off (the hurricane),” she said, according to CNN.

Bell also helped welcome the group of senior citizens who were evacuated to her hotel in style with rounds of bingo. Some of them were given massages in a makeshift spa area set up in the hallway

Dining with all my new friends! #irma #hurricaneirma

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She also spent some time with some of the senior citizens, including one resident named John with whom she sang a duet.

“I’m powerless over a man who serenades me,” she said in a tweet in which she tagged her husband, actor Dax Shepard.

Guys, Corey cries when she's happy too!!!! #soulmates #hurricaneirma #besthurricaneever #atriaseniorliving

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She’s trying to look on the bright side as she and the crew of her film cheer up the people who arrived at the hotel because of the storm.

“Our crew is very, very large, but also very, very kind,” she told CBS Sacramento.“People decided to bunk up together and we did a little room switching, because there are very, very few rooms left. We’re all sleeping together and it’s going to be a 48-hour slumber party.”

H/T Vulture

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/kristen-bell-hurricane-irma-orlando/